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CS 20/20: How to Push the Boundaries of Customer Success with Product-led Retention

Grace Gagnon Jan 29 2020

Customer success is the third-fastest growing profession in the world. The reason why should be obvious—everything your company does all comes back to one person: the customer. This is why we invited CEO of Gainsight, Nick Mehta and his colleague, Kate Peter to speak at Recur 2019; they know the ins and outs of pushing customer success boundaries. 


“Customer success has totally blown up. It’s actually one of the hottest professions in the world.” -Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight. 


As Nick said, the last 10 years of customer success have been people building and figuring it out. But, there are concrete numbers to prove its growth:

From 2015-2017 the number of CSMs on LinkedIn grew by 8x

Outside the U.S., that growth is 10x

From 2017-2018: the number of CS positions posted on LinkedIn grew by 84%

Gainsight is a customer success software, so understandably the company’s mission is to do business in a more human way. With that, Nick broke down five trends within “Customer Success 20/20,” which includes human-first leadership, operationalizing outcomes, customer data infrastructure, product takes center stage, and customer success to customer growth. 





Customer Success 20/20: the breakdown 


Customer success to customer growth

According to Gartner research, 80% of a company’s future revenues will come from 20% of its existing customers. Meaning, you don’t make money simply from acquisition alone. Eventually you will get to the point where you need to make more money from existing customers. When considering customer success to customer growth, ask yourself this—how do you get your customer success to never lose sight of the customer value and adoption, but also become an engine for growth? 


Customer data infrastructure

Another research finding from Gartner says: data is the #1 impediment to becoming more customer-centric. The reason why is due to the challenges in unifying customer data in B2B. If you can find a way to activate, gather, and unify customer data, data won’t be an impediment toward becoming customer-centric. 


Human-first leadership

Customer success was once a very product and data-oriented job. Not anymore. As Nick said, “Change is driven with the human beings in our customers.”

In short, it’s not only about the data and the products—it’s about human beings. With that, your company needs to invest more time, money, and resources in building the customer experience.


Product takes center stage

Gainsight research found that 90% of customer success professionals say a “very close” relationship with product is ideal when in reality, only 58% say they actually have this sort of relationship today. If your product isn’t designed around customer success, then the CSM team will constantly be filling the gaps. 

To achieve product-led customer success, make data-driven product roadmap decisions. Additionally, accelerate on-boarding and continual new feature adoption with in-app guides. Finally, understand customer health by correlating key features with retention and expansion.


Operationalizing Outcomes

People don’t buy your product just so they can log into the software. They buy your product to gain some sort of value. The problem is, though, most companies don’t know how to turn that statement into reality.

Gainsight research found that performing companies are three times more likely to prioritize identifying and driving customers’ business outcomes as part of the plan to be more “customer-centric.”



Final thoughts

Kate Peter, Chief Outcomes Director, spoke in depth about how Gainsight does customer success. She provided two takeaways on customer success that’s applicable to your business. Kate said Gainsight thinks of customer health in two ways:

      1. Outcomes health: Is the customer achieving their outcomes and deriving value?

      2. Experience health: Does the customer like the experience of working with our company and product?

Gainsight’s purpose is to be living proof that you can win in business while being human-first. While you can have a great product, priced wonderfully, you need also consider the people behind the transaction.  

As Nick said, “Customer success is fundamentally a human endeavor.” It makes sense because we’re all human, right?

By Grace Gagnon

Content Marketer

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