CustomerSuccessCon Seattle Takeaways


Having been at The Customer Success Association's CustomerSuccessCon West in January, I was thrilled to attend CustomerSuccessCon Seattle earlier this week also led by CSA Executive Director, Mikael Blaisdell. The takeaways from CSC West focused on CS Exec and CS Team trends and my notes from CSC Seattle expand upon these topics with a great lineup of speakers

Customer Success Industry Trends

Learn to speak the language of profitability because most Customer Success Teams own/share revenue accountability.

  • 64% own/share revenue accountability
  • 36% have no connection to owned revenue

Customer Success is moving outside of Software. The Internet of Things (IoT) provides usage info outside of SaaS to drive CS into new industries. Having this data can improve CX and increase the ability to proactively guide clients to value has created an opportunity to act on this data. To read more about this, check out this article on CS Strategy for IoT.

There is still varying definitions of Customer Success and many of the trends seen from CSC West are still true. Thank you Mark Pecoraro and Kia Puhm for candidly sharing your experiences and lessons learned.

How CS Leaders use Data

  1. Successful CS leaders parlay data to build/grow influence. For example, showing 20% QoQ growth for assigned accounts vs. unassigned can be a compelling business case for additional resources.
  2. Ruben Rabago, CS Dir. at Gainsight, shared how their Implementation and Customer Success teams calculate a customer's Readiness Score before a deal is closes. This aligns your teams and the customers on expectations. When potential gaps are revealed, the teams agree on a plan to address them.
  3. Kristen Hayer, Founder & CEO of The Success League, recommended metrics for your team to fall into 3 buckets - Churn/Retention, Expansion, and CSAT

Your Customers' Lifecycle

Step through your Customer Lifecycle (Onboard > Adopt > Grow > Renew) to reveal the bumpiest points of the journey. Innovate on your reactive & proactive touch points and plays in response to risks/opportunities. Determine when to automate and when to incorporate your CSMs. Additional tips from Sherrod Patching (VP of CS at Leadspace) for this process:

  • During the sales handoff, include competitor review since you’ll likely see them again.
  • Executive Business Reviews (EBR) at the 6-month mark gives you enough time to deliver impactful value or course correct with your customer.
  • When determining when to schedule these value-alignment & strategy meetings make sure your economic buyer is showing up. If not, it’s a waste of time.

 While CSMs as band-aids for product deficiencies is not a realistic strategy, the best product/service cannot be appreciated for it's full potential without Customer Success guiding continuous value-realization with your clients.

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