ArticleBest PracticesSeptember 5, 2017
Don’t Let Perfect CRM Data Be the Enemy of Good Customer Success Image

Don’t Let Perfect CRM Data Be the Enemy of Good Customer Success

By Marie Forshaw

Thought leaders like McKinsey, Bain, Gartner, Forrester, and Geoffrey Moore have been vocal about the impact Customer Success can have on a company’s growth. In our own benchmarking study, we found companies experience an average 18-point growth improvement from Customer Success initiatives. There is a strong correlation between investment in Customer Success and exponential growth.

But if the evidence is clear, why aren’t more companies acting now to accelerate their growth? Often they are waiting for their CRM data to reach a state of perfection.

Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

In today’s tech-driven world, all good stories start with data, and Customer Success is no different. You need a viable list of Customers and Contacts to get started, and most companies keep this data in their CRM.

The same CRM that is…

  • Undergoing a massive data cleanup for dirty or duplicate data
  • Tightly controlled by a central IT team that has other priorities
  • Designed to manage opportunities and not customers
  • Currently being replaced by a different CRM from a different vendor
  • Merging with the CRM from an acquired subsidiary

And that’s where the story ends for the majority of companies. It’s easy to wait until your CRM is ‘perfected’ and IT can gift you the exact right list of Customers and Contacts—which could leave you waiting indefinitely. The ‘Perfect CRM’ is parallel to the ‘Data Myth’ our CCO, Allison Pickens, recently wrote about, and waiting for either can have a material impact on your company’s future.

So don’t wait for the completion of the most recent CRM remodel or data overhaul before implementing a Customer Success Management (CSM) Solution. Your company can start piloting a Customer Success strategy and deploying Gainsight today with a simple set of data and limited IT involvement.

Act Now, Iterate Quickly

It doesn’t matter whether you run Salesforce or another leading CRM system, the process is simple.

For CRM systems such as Oracle CRM, SAP CRM, Microsoft Dynamics, Netsuite CRM, or SugarCRM, all you need is an initial load of Customers and Contacts (check out these simple templates you can use to gather the data you need). Once you have this data, you can push it into Gainsight and get started. Then, once your company is ready, you can setup the integrations needed to keep Gainsight and your CRM system in sync.

For Salesforce, your process to get started is identical. We can deploy Gainsight independently of your core Salesforce environment with the same list of Customers and Contacts.

No matter your CRM setup, you can start delivering superior customer outcomes immediately with Gainsight.

Integrate when Ready

Gainsight’s native Salesforce capability increases cross-functional visibility and reduces total-cost-of-ownership. If you’ve deployed Gainsight independently of your main environment, you can easily capitalize on these benefits when that instance is ready with Gainsight’s powerful data tools.

Bring Gainsight from your independent deployment into your central Salesforce with minimal effort. These out-of-the-box tools can handle the two primary components of the migration:

  • Migrate Configuration: Gainsight can push your custom configuration into your core Salesforce so you don’t need to reconfigure anything.
  • Push your Data: You’ve either integrated customer data into Gainsight or generated it through use of the system (historical health scores, completed tasks, survey results, etc.). Gainsight can move the full history of your customers so you can pick up right where you left off.

One of our customers, Cisco, followed this deployment path. Cisco purchased Gainsight in October, 2014 and initially deployed Gainsight independent of their existing Salesforce environments. Since that deployment, the Cisco Customer Success team has been using Gainsight to realize an impressive 14% increase in upsell revenue. Now, Cisco is in the process of moving Gainsight into their central Salesforce environment. If Cisco had waited for the ‘Perfect CRM’, that incremental upsell revenue would never have materialized.

Your CRM will never be perfect. There will always be an ongoing IT project that could prevent you from realizing an 18-point growth improvement on average from Customer Success. So don’t let perfect CRM be the enemy of good Customer Success. Act now.

If you want to see what Gainsight looks like integrated with your CRM, I encourage you to watch a demo.

Picture of Marie Forshaw
Marie Forshaw Marie Forshaw is Senior Product Marketing Manager at Gainsight

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