Evangelism Isn’t the Solution Image

Evangelism Isn’t the Solution

For the past 3 years, I’ve met many Customer Success evangelists.

You know who you are. You go to all the Customer Success meet-ups. You’re well-versed in best practices for EBRs. You can talk all day about automated emails for your long tail of small business customers.

I know what you’re thinking about, because I’m right there with you. We’ve probably traded war stories at one of those meet-ups.

We’ve probably waxed poetic together about creating a “customer-centric culture.”

And some of us have succeeded in creating one. Some of us have shown our Sales team that they should give up some of their budget to invest in CSMs. Some of us have convinced our Product teams to save room in the roadmap for enhancements based on customer feedback. Some of us have persuaded our Support teams to consider the customer’s context when prioritizing tickets.

But many of us haven’t.

I was talking to a fellow Customer Success exec at our Chief Customer Officer Summit a few weeks ago. This person was talking about the speed of executive turnover in our industry. They were saying that the #1 reason why Customer Success execs leave their jobs is because they can’t convince their fellow exec team members to get on board the CS train. They come up against a brick wall.

Here’s the harsh reality. If your CEO is not on board with Customer Success principles, you won’t succeed. You can’t do this alone.

And if your CEO/exec team is not on board, and you can’t do it alone, then your company is not going to succeed. Period.

Lots of folks are starting to realize this. They’ve come to us asking if we can facilitate a discussion with their broader executive team, to help the other execs come to the realization that times are changing.

In the past 5 business days alone, we’ve done these Success Briefing Centers with 4 of our clients. What’s so remarkable about these cross-functional discussions is that the other functional leaders are asking to serve as references for the SBC.

I’ve actually never felt so positive about the future of Customer Success. When you witness those “Aha” moments, it’s hard not to get giddy:

  • The head of Customer Marketing realizes that there’s a way to pair up an advocate with a prospect in 24 hours, not 7 days.
  • The head of Field Sales realizes that she can get customer usage trends into the hands of a strategic account executive who’s on the road all day.
  • The head of Professional Services realizes that he can prove he’s driving fast time-to-value and not just breaking even on a P&L.
  • The head of Inside Sales realizes that there’s a way to help account managers avoid the embarrassment of pushing an upgrade on a customer that’s in the middle of a support escalation.
  • The head of IT realizes that there’s a better way to work with the business leaders to build the customer hierarchy he’s been trying to create for 3 years.

(Psst…Did you hear that? That’s the sound of renewed optimism.)

Our CEO Nick and I have time to do 10 more of these before our Pulse conference in May. If you’re interested, feel free to send us a note.

Allison: apickens@gainsight.com
Nick: nmehta@gainsight.com