“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay
“It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” – Yogi Berra
Given the uncertainty right now, it’s hard to predict what will happen in January—let alone all of 2023. But here goes nothing … here are 10 Customer Success (CS) predictions for 2023 by Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight.
1. CS Is More Important in a Downturn
Customers will scrutinize outcomes and value more, making CS critical for retention. While many companies recently “battened down the hatches,” the first place for new investment will be CS.
2. More and Better CS Exec Hires
Lately, I’ve seen an uptick in CS exec searches. Companies want execs who are extremely performance-driven and will hire CS leaders who understand the SaaS economic model deeply.
3. Digital as Strategy
Digital CS will be core to every company’s playbook. They will start applying digital strategies even to high-touch motions, freeing up time for higher-value activities. New hires will combine CS skills, marketing techniques, and data orientation, so their businesses do more with less.
4. Ops Gets More Important
Digital CS will often become part of the broader CS strategy and Ops function. CS Ops teams will continue pruning CS activities and wasted effort—CSMs can’t be a catch-all.
5. Digital Hub
Many companies have a fragmented set of sites—training, community, documentation, self-service, etc. “Digital hubs” will bring the experience together and facilitate easier collaboration with clients.
While not for everyone, many established vendors will combine premium CS with premium support, training, and professional services credits into a recurring value realization offering. This self-funding model will be important for margin improvement in SaaS.
7. Outcomes Focus
We’ve talked about outcomes FOREVER in CS, but the time to deliver is now. Given economic pressure, customers are cutting any spend that’s not tied to value.
8. Relationship and Commercial Skills
CS teams will invest in mapping client orgs, tracking stakeholder changes, and generally building more relationships. With every company trying to save money, CSMs need to learn the basics of pricing and negotiations. Even if they aren’t on point, they must be comfortable enough to set their commercial colleagues up for success.
9. The CFO Is the Decision Maker
In the new world of economic turmoil, the CFO is the decision maker for all vendors. CSMs need to get better at reaching out to CFOs, speaking their language, answering their questions, and arming their champions to do the same.
10. Vendor Consolidation
CFOs are pushing to reduce the number of vendors they deal with. If you are a point solution company, the platform players are coming for your customers. Vendor consolidation will also cause CSMs to become more familiar with competitive and adjacent solutions in the market.
What would you add? What did we miss? Join the conversation on LinkedIn.