Missed Gainsight’s PulseCheck2016?


Lucky for you, there is a replay scheduled for Aug 16th for EMEA folks and it was recorded, so look at some of my takeaways to decide which videos will make your “must watch” list. What is PulseCheck2016? It is a dive into the top 8 topics from Pulse May 2016 where Gainsight shares how they:

  1. Make Customer Success a company-wide priority
  2. Build a consistent value (not just adoption) framework across Sales, Services, and Success
  3. Re-segmented clients using adoption and NPS
  4. Built Customer Success organizational structures and departmental charters
  5. Track client's specific goals across Sales, Services, and Success
  6. Track effectiveness using strategic metrics
  7. Integrate Customer Success in the product planning process
  8. Manage reviews, references, and advocacy


1) How to make Customer Success a company-wide priority: Nick Mehta, Allison Pickens, & Matt Lindeman (VP, Customer Success at GuideSpark)


Customer Success is more than "just a team" where inter-dependencies through a risk framework can be highlighted. Executive encouragement for cross-functional learning of this sets the CSMs up as true quarterbacks empowered to help product and sales teams.

Another key shared was around At-Risk Meetings and the importance of focusing on accountability and actions vs. getting bogged down by details. Not everything can be "equally important", so look for systematic issues and narrow it down to the top 3 at any given time to spotlight the areas for your teams.

The timeline to deliver value is 6-months regardless of the length of contract. So, when there is churn, be brutally honest if this was a deliberate decision by your org vs finding a defensive response.


2) How to build a consistent value (not just adoption) framework across Sales, Services, and Success: Julia Guyadeen, Dir. of Prod Mgmt at Gainsight

V3D: Value, Discovery, Delivery, & Demonstration

V3D: Value, Discovery, Delivery, & Demonstration


Be thoughtful and consistent about aligning your teams around your customer's business challenges. How do we solve their problems and deliver value beyond providing the technology?


3) How to re-segment clients using adoption and NPS: Nick Mehta & Annie Tsai (CCO, DoubleDutch)

Example of segmentation aligning with company maturity

Example of segmentation aligning with company maturity


Effective value-delivery is not achieved via a one size fits all approach. Segmentation should be used to determine appropriate strategies for each segment, not meant to make any segment feel more important than another. This is usually common sense for external communications, but especially needs to be reinforced internally.

Annie shared that their analysis showed 80% of the revenue and most expansion opportunities were found within 30% of the segments. So, what's the recommended data driven approach?

  • Look for trends in 1) Install base 2) Pipeline 3) Market opportunity 
  • Satisfaction segments (high and low)
  • Adoption levels (high and low)


4) How Gainsight built Customer Success organizational structures and departmental charters: Allison Pickens


Previously shared on webinars discussing their re-organization, Allison reiterated the importance of determining the true ROI on Customer Success through cost metrics, operating metrics, and recognizing how the CS org is key to driving predictable revenue.


5) How to track a client's specific goals around Sales, Services, & Success: Barr Moses (Sr. Dir, Business Ops) & Ed Daly (Sr. Dir., Global Customer Success at Cisco)

Building on topics covered in the first and second sessions, Barr and Ed restated the benefits of Customer Success to work with sales on identifying business goals and determine unique challenges or top initiatives for key customer segments.

V.A.L.U.E - (V)alidate outcomes and experience, (A)wareness of product and capabilities, (L)earning to empower the customer, (U)tilization of product and features, (E)stablish customers' realization of value.


6)  How to track effectiveness using strategic metrics: Kelly Dehart (Director, Customer Success)  & Sonam Dabholkar (Manager, SMB Customer Success Team)


When determining the criteria for the right metrics to track, Gainsight looked at metrics that were: 

  • Objectively valuable and a discrete unit
  • Measurable
  • Frequently achieved
  • Attributable to CSMs
  • Correlated with financial metrics

Remember: Tracking activities is not the same as tracking towards a desired outcome


7) How to integrate Customer Success in the product planning process: Gaurav Kotak (Sr. Dir, Products) & Mara Lising (Manager, Customer Success at Box)


Regardless of the level of "awesome-ness" on any team in your organization, no single team can handle all the demands of customers on their own.

CS and Product teams need to work together to grow the customers' trust in the product and limit any detractors of perceived value. Any limitations felt by the customers will hinder adoption and take focus away from more strategic engagements or opportunities to turn these customers into advocates.


8) How to manage reviews, references, and advocacy: Nathan St. Martin (Enterprise Marketing) & Maria Pergolino (SVP, Global Marketing at Apttus)


This was a great way to end the day of sessions to improve the partnership between Customer Success and Marketing. 

Similar to Allison's comments on the ROI of Customer Success, results also need to be measured through advocacy to understand how this affects the deals and dollars in your pipeline or market opportunity. 

Customer Success works to build the value, understand use cases, where the strongest advocates are while Marketing mobilizes and enables these advocates throught the right programs and spotlighting where advocates are needed.

Most importantly (and my favorite point from the session) - When enticing your prospects, remember to reward your customers. They are prospects too!

So, what are you waiting for? Download a copy of the PulseCheck2016 Workbook and make time to bring more Customer Success. 

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