In today's episode, customer success visionary and Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta joins us to discuss growing a massive tech conference focused on helping customers achieve outcomes, the evolution of the customer success industry, and his new book.
Before becoming CEO of Gainsight, guest Nick Mehta was the CEO of leading Software-as-a-Service E-Discovery provider LiveOffice through its acquisition by Symantec and prior to that was a Vice President at VERITAS Software and Symantec Corporation. As CEO of Gainsight, Nick leads team responsible for the premier Customer Success Management platform that leverages customer intelligence and automation to proactively manage retention, reduce unexpected churn and identify up-sell opportunities. He is one of the world's leading experts in Customer Success and co-author of the book of the same name.
On Gainsight Pulse Conference: "When something is working, double down on it"
This year was Gainsight's fourth annual Pulse Conference. Each year Pulse has grown and evolved as the Customer Success industry has evolved. The 2016 Pulse Conference was held in Oakland and provided deeper content around Customer Success. Presenters were encouraged to provide more detailed and technical content and networking opportunities.
Pulse has become a flag bearer of the movement, and a true community event; it also now features the in-person version of Gainsight's Customer Success University, powered by Learndot LMS.
Sponsor Message: Educated Customers Are Better Customers
An educated customer uses more of your product, purchases more product, achieves desired outcomes, and renews at higher rates. Find out how fast-growing, next-generation software companies use Learndot to educate customers and grow their software businesses.
Customer Success: The Book
Customer Success is one of the fastest growing new fields in the tech industry. It is the foundation of a future that runs on subscriptions. But what exactly is it? Where did it come from? Where is it going? Three of the pioneers and thought leaders of the movement answer those questions and more in the definitive new book on Customer Success. Nick and co-authors Lincoln Murphy and Dan Steinman aimed to help reach a broader audience. Get your copy.
Technology Is Becoming a Commodity
In the new world, with Amazon Web Services, people learning programming in grade school, the idea that you're going to differentiate yourself because you've built a better web app on a database than something else is ridiculous. That's why Customer Success is more important than ever.
Customer Success: Has the industry evolved?
Customer Success has become a business imperative. Salesforce implemented a Customer Success program, WebEx, Success Factors, and other early SaaS companies did this, but it's become a generalized problem where businesses have to re-earn business over time. What's changed is 3-4 years ago we were educating people on what is customer success and why you need to think about it, including the fact that companies grow faster if they retain their client. It was a new insight back then, but now we understand companies with better retention rates are valued higher. People wanted to know how to take action, so there's energy on measuring customer health, improving outcomes and adoption, and more.
The next phase: Customer Success isn't just about a function; it's about the whole company rallying around your customer. it's the evolution of what is customer success and why it matters to how do you do it to now, who needs to take action? Not just CSM team but everyone in the company including product making product better, sales selling to better fits, and more.
Is Customer Success really about customers' outcomes or just about vendor renewals?
By definition, Customer Success is helping customers achieve outcomes. Are vendors only talking about our world (increasing "our renewals") vs. actually delivering customer outcomes? There's customer success from the vendor point of view, which is renewal rates, upsell, advocacy, stickiness, profitability, and then CS from the client point of view which is time to value, outcomes, not adoption but it is in the middle of a venn diagram of overlaps. It's healthy to look at both sides; if there's a company just looking at client side, you need a sustainable business model for that internally. As much as you care about CS it needs to be tied to business model. But if it's just about renewals, call it a renewal team. You have to link those together and find math that connects customers that will renew are same ones that are likely to have validated outcomes or use these features, etc. Everyone is striving for a connection between your company's business outcomes your customers' business outcomes at their company.
Education: A Key Component To Customer Success
Gainsight has launched a new administrative training for technical training on Gainsight customer success platform, because they believe education helps customers get more value. As a vendor, you have to think about how you're educating customers if you want to retain them. Education played a key role in Gainsight Pulse Conference.
Advice for exec teams that haven't yet embraced Customer Success: Recognize It As a Competitive Differentiator
Nick says that one of the biggest things to look at is how customer success becomes a competitive differentiator. It's about retention, upsell, and both of these are great, but you can make it a differentiator for new business, too. If you're in a competitive market, everyone is introducing new technology and features and clients understand value isn't just about technology, it's about prescriptive processes for getting outcomes. Is it just a website or is it a whole methodology? We've all been sold shelfware, and Customer Success can be a differentiator for new sales cycles. Our tech is the best AND our methodology for getting you the outcome is the best, and we'll explain what w'ell do. We won't just assign an account manager and call it a day. We'll assess the value, here's our process for meeting with you, framework for measuring how we're doing, here's how we know if we're living up to our promises. And that's just as valuable as the technology you sell.
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