With Pulse Europe 2022 in the rearview mirror (we can’t believe it either!), it’s time to reflect on our top moments from the conference.
Robin van Lieshout, founder of inSided, and I are already reminiscing about customer conversations and micro piglets, digital-led strategy and Dutch clogs.
London’s weather held up and despite the Tube strikes, every attendee went out of their way to get to the venue, no matter the delay. If that isn’t a testament to the great Community at Pulse Europe, I don’t know what is. ❤️
1. Our customers can’t stop talking about Digital CS
Nearly every conversation with CS and community practitioners started with: “how can I make Community a core part of our digital-led CS strategy?” Given the economic downturn, budgets are under pressure, and the industry is increasingly turning towards digital and scaled CS. Customers felt a community hub is the solution in tough times.
Here are a few of our key moments:
- Zapier plans to send more and more customers to the community for P2P support instead of the regular Support team. This will be a huge uplift in activity for their community and a weight off of their CSMs.
- Bynder uses its community as a core part of its digital-led strategy. The ultimate goal? For every new customer, the onboarding experience will start within the community as a first step to customers developing a habit of finding their information in the community. This allows Bynder’s CSMs to focus on high-level retention and expansion strategies and leave the rest to their community. And they believe inSided-CS integration is crucial to actualizing these goals.
- Cognite has hundreds of customers but operates a super high-touch community, with all customers registered in the community. According to their executive leadership, Community is a must-have. Multiple departments are vying to own the community since it’s so crucial for their high-touch strategy and growth. Cognite CSMs joked that the community is “taking their job away” (in a positive way!) because the Community helps customers skip the middleman and get answers in real-time.
2. The demand for Community strategy was off the charts
We dedicated 10+ sessions to Community practices and examples—including our own session on the Laws of Community—and every session was filled with people—and sometimes even exceeded seating capabilities. I love that companies have recognized the value of building a community around their products and services, and are seeking out new ways to do that together with their customers.
A great example was the session by Vanessa Lovatt, Head of Community at Notified, called Putting Community at the Heart of your Commercial Strategy. Another prime example was the session by Daphne Costa Lopes, Head of CS at Hubspot, titled Connected Growth: Measuring and Driving *Real* Customer Success. Both of these got at the heart of the value of Community in CS.
3. We got practical and actionable on Digital-led strategy
When we were putting together the calendar for all of the sessions at Pulse, we wanted to make sure that we could broaden the scope of the conversation around digital strategies for Customer Success. Of course, we’re all talking about Digital Customer Success as a new motion, but the conversation usually stops at process and high-level assumptions.
We really wanted to bring forward several practical cases that can work for any company and also highlights some of the vital parts of any digital strategy like Community, Digital Product capabilities, and customer feedback. I believe we succeeded, with the pinnacle conversation happening during the keynote panel, Building a Digital-Led Program from the Ground up, which I had the pleasure of moderating.
The panel featured Anika Zubair, VP of Customer Success, Mari Frances Bentvelzen, SVP and GM at SAP Concur SMB, Amy Manning, SVP of Worldwide Customer Success & Support at Comeet, as well as Sonia Leighton, Chief of Customer Success at Arbor Education, and Ky Ismet, Director of CS at Ometria.
4. CS leaders are preparing for a positive impact in tough times
I caught up with a lot of Customer Success leaders or CSMs that quite frankly had been quite worried about the global economy, and the effects it could have on their businesses. And rightfully so—especially in tech, it’s not easy out there right now.
But what I thought was unexpected were the thoughts ready to also make a positive impact on their company. As a community I thought we were quite well prepared, having thoughts and strategies ready to improve NRR, decrease cost-to-serve or explain why our CS teams have such a positive impact on company-wide efficiency. Well done, CS community! It’s not easy taking the helm in times of distress.
Businesses are leveraging digital strategy to drive efficiency in uncertain economic times. This is the kind of resiliency we’ve seen in the Community.
5. The Product anticipation is unstoppable
Although an integrated self-service environment is already common in the world of B2C, we are spearheading this in B2B right now, And, as witnessed by Robin, the excitement is palpable. “After the product keynote, all I could hear was ‘Nucleus…’ ‘Nucleus…’ among the audience members”
Customers are eager to start conversations and deepen existing ones, in no small part due to a rockstar Product Keynote session by Maksim Ovsyannikov, EVP of Product and Design at Gainsight, and Joris Dieben, Chief Product Officer at inSided.
Joris dove into how to drive durable growth with the community-led and product-led flywheel and in addition to the big product reveal, Maksim also received his first pair of Dutch clogs.
6. So much customer love.
We had dozens of customer meetings where we gathered feedback on their needs, recent wins, and the conference itself. Beyond business, attendees more than welcomed the diversity of speakers on stage across disciplines, roles, and functions.
We learned more about each other, too, and connected on a human level at the happy hours and of course, the Pulse party. Is there a better way to connect than inside an igloo or on an ice skating rink? We think not.
And more than that, Gainsight came across as an inclusive and engaged international company.
7. And of course, the micro piggies!
Look at these faces. What more is there to say?
I’ve been to Pulse before, so I have been subject to the magic that is the Customer Success community. It’s exhilarating.
But I had never seen this event up close, as an organizer. And I have to say: WOW. The amount of work done by the event teams, and the on-site staff to make sure every attendee has the BEST experience and every session is prepared to bring the most value to its audience is inspiring.
I cannot wait for Pulse 2023.