Every year we are astounded by the attendance at Gainsight’s Pulse events. It’s a symbol that people are focused on learning more about customer success. They want to improve best practices that will affect their businesses while achieving more as individual CS professionals.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic, we understand the need for remote work and social distancing. As the world began to open back up, we were excited to see our Pulse Everywhere conference evolve into a hybrid event.
Some of our speakers conducted presentations from great distances, others, especially our keynote speakers, were present at August Hall in San Francisco on June 9th and 10th, 2021. Though it was not the size of our usual in-person gatherings, the ambiance was filled with joy and a sign of things to come. There was especially tremendous excitement around our GameChanger Awards.
At Gainsight, we have defined GameChangers as customers who shift their thinking to transform their business outlook. They push beyond the familiar and comfortable to achieve remarkable results for their company, teammates, partners, and customers. To us, all of our customers are GameChangers. However, there are a few that stand out in various areas. We look for The Visionary, The Experience Maker, The Challenger, The Defender, The Dream Team, and The Transformational Leader.
While this was an incredibly challenging year for us all, Gainsight is honored that our customers turn to us to help drive growth and health for themselves and success for their customers. There were many applicants among our customers, all of whom were thrilled to share their success stories with us. As always, when we examined the submissions, common themes emerged.
This year the prominent theme was overcoming the adversity of the COVID-19 pandemic. We learned how our customers went beyond the call of normal business activities to reach higher levels of productivity for themselves and their customers. We were incredibly proud of companies who strived to keep customers’ businesses alive in a show of genuinely human-first behavior. We are beyond elated to announce the 2021 GameChanger Awards! Congratulations to all the winners and honorees.
The Visionary 2020 Winner: Jamf
Nominated by Ben Michael, Director, Customer Operations, Jamf
The Visionary Award is given to companies that know that they need a unified view of customer data. Jamf has mastered using 360-degree views, scorecards, and reporting to shift their teams from reactive to proactive.
Their most significant influence on customers was in the last year developing a strategy centered on “positive change in customer health.” They identified many of their customers who would be enduring financial hardships and the potential to increase churn drastically. Jamf began with cross-functional alignment and stakeholder feedback across the company to get the process in motion. They evolved their Health Score and devised a new scorecard system aligning each of their customers’ segments. This process contained an incredible level of accuracy—as much as 99% for their top-tier clients. They also discovered the ability to predict future ARR growth.
Their hard work of moving from proactive motions to predictive action has paid off and is proof of the value of visibility into the customer base. Congratulations to Jamf for a well-deserved award. They helped their business and customers not only remain stable, but also thrive during the challenging COVID-19 pandemic economy.
The Experience Maker Award: Sonatype, Inc.
Nominated by Pam, Sutela, Customer Success Operations Manager, Sonatype, Inc.
The Experience Maker Award is given to a company hyper-focused on improving their customers’ experience and personalizing relationships at scale. By leveraging Gainsight’s functionality, they align their organization around customers.
This year’s Experience Maker is Sonatype, Inc. Their Customer Success mantra is “Getting it Done and Doing it Right.” Being proactive in creating meaningful communication with their customers has proven to be vital to their success and an essential element of driving renewals, expansions, upsells, and advocacy.
Sonatype focused on critical areas this past year, including value realization, meaningful interactions, and customer communication. This new focus fulfilled their CS operations goals of reviewing inefficient processes and automating them.
For example, Sonatype personalized their onboarding process based on segmentation, with some customers getting a high-touch approach while others received an automated tech-touch experience. The result was increased time to first value for their customers. Another example is increased efficiency in their Gainsight dashboards that shortened reporting times from hours to seconds.
At Gainsight, we are encouraged to see companies embrace their CS beliefs to take their customer experience to an elite level. Congratulations to Sonatype!
The Challenger Award: RD Station
Nominated by Erika Tornice, Customer Success Sr Director, RD Station
The Challenger Award recognizes an organization that takes on unforeseen challenges and finds solutions to thrive with an uncompromising dedication to the success of the individuals in their organization, their customer base, and their community. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, RD Station embraced a new mission. Their human-first focus was to “Empower heroes and scale-ups who grow the economy!”
They successfully shaped a strategy around the mantra “Support the Team” with safe remote working transitions to support customers and partners while keeping lead engagement strategies active. They grew through digital marketing and engagements incorporating teammate training, office hours to discuss cases, new frameworks, and best practices centralized in Gainsight. RD also devised a Revenue Defense Committee with executive representation from CS, Finance, and Operations. Together they mapped at-risk revenue, problem-solving scenarios, and learnings from early outcomes. RD even created a “risk coverage” metric to identify high-need customers and support them with strategies.
RD Station’s Challenger strategy revealed excellent results, with revenue retention remaining consistent into 2021. The progressive actions to challenge the COVID dilemma for themselves and customers demonstrated their worthiness of the Challenger Award. Congratulations to RD Station!
The Dream Team Award: PTC
Nominated by Jean Nairon, Vice President, Customer Success Operations, PTC
The real secret of customer-centric organizations is the ability to build deep partnerships spanning across organizations. With a collective strategy, shared goals, and the right technology, Dream Team Award winner PTC brought together Customer Success, Sales, Product, and Marketing to generate secure customer relationships.
Over the past year, PTC leveraged Gainsight to elevate the impact of Customer Success. First, they transitioned to NXT and then took the opportunity to reinvent how to use Gainsight across their customer-facing teams. This motion united numerous functions within CS around a single source of truth. It also allowed them to build deep partnerships, both internally and externally, while driving engagement amongst their teams. Additionally, it helped support their core values, including “Customer First and PTC for All.”
When PTC embraced Customer Success, they expected that their CSMs could influence customer relationship data. PTC realized that the more people documenting customers’ needs, the more robust the collaboration and communication to achieve outcomes. As a result, they attained a Net Retention of 103.4%, NPS Increased 4 points quarter over quarter, and they achieved double-digit ARR and Revenue growth. Did we mention a community of users that grew by 229% over the past six months?
With a human-first approach, PTC created a Customer Success Dream Team. Gainsight agrees that the stronger the documentation, the stronger the interaction with their customers and leaders. Congratulations to PTC!
The Defender Award: SAP Concur
Nominated by Frank Lucier, Vice President, Client Development, SAP Concur
Every company wants to “future-proof” their business. This motion was especially true during the COVID-19 pandemic. Companies wanted to identify and forecast risk areas to increase product adoption, retention, and decrease churn. That is the epitome of a Defender, and that award for 2021 goes to SAP Concur.
SAP Concur has long recognized the value of Customer Success and built an extensive organization focused on ensuring customers get the most value out of their solutions. Following a phenomenal year with new strategies and leveraging the Gainsight platform in 2019, the pandemic brought unforeseen challenges in 2020.
Their Digital Team leveraged Gainsight to pivot and focus engagement while shifting to remote work, right-sizing commercial terms, and reallocating customer spend to other solutions that would provide more value throughout the pandemic.
As a result of the customer focus, SAP Concur was able to retain 97%+ of Digital customers while exceeding revenue growth objectives for the year. More importantly, they were able to demonstrate a customer-first mentality helping customers weather the economic storm. Both SAP Concur and its customers are now in an excellent position to return to travel, ramp up expense utilization, and tailor partnerships to the new work environment that lays ahead. Excellent work, SAP Concur! Congratulations!
The Transformational Leader of the Year: Software AG
Nominated by Andrew Cutler, VP Customer Success, Software AG
A transformational leader is one that has demonstrated and driven change within a company evolving the customer success organization into a critical driver of growth. This year the Transformational Leader of the Year is Software AG, and their award comes with quite a story.
Software AG has been a part of the era of innovation, entering digital transformation early on. To accelerate and shift the company towards a SaaS business model, they developed a go-to-market transformation stream realizing that customer adoption and success were crucial to their growth and transition. Software AG wanted to use the best CS had to offer, to drive growth forward. This progress came in a recent acquisition called TrendMiner, which included an incredible CS team and a dedicated land and expand model.
In 2020, TrendMiner and Software AG generated a plan to develop a new CS team. They partnered with Gainsight to create a solid foundation through the use of a unified CS platform. The team utilized the latest version of Gainsight’s NXT with its full functionality. Not only were each of its product lines autonomously connecting to its own data source, but divided customers were visible in one place.
Gainsight gave structure to the entire organization, even across regions. Various directors could drive specific content, health scores, playbooks, and data globally. Each product family had its own culture within the broad spectrum of CS management. The CS team’s growth was fantastic, but Software AG wanted attention on its products. That is when they implemented Gainsight PX. Customers benefited from in-app guidance and onboarding programs. NPS responses grew, and ROI improved. In just nine months, one product group saw a conversion rate from a free trial to a paid model of 268%+. There were also thousands of users onboarding in-app!
Utilizing Gainsight has been business-changing for Software AG. Their company continues to grow with continuity while delivering tangible financial results. Looking to the future, potential synergistic environments are waiting for any new merger or acquisition. At Gainsight, we realize that Software AG is a true partner with incredible transformative leadership. Their success is not only due to their CS team but a CS mindset from the CEO down. They have taken a complex process and laid it across the enterprise with ease. They are stronger and better positioned for the future. Congratulations, Software AG! What an example of transformative leadership.