Gainsight Acquires Northpass: Five Reasons Customer Success Starts with Customer Education Image

Gainsight Acquires Northpass: Five Reasons Customer Success Starts with Customer Education

By now, you’ve heard the big news (but just in case you didn’t): Gainsight acquired the leading Customer Education Platform Northpass. For the boring version of this news, click here. And to see a video of Steve Cornwell (CEO of Northpass) and me realizing our companies are a perfect match, check out below.

What comes to mind when you think about education? Maybe you think of memorizing the periodic table of elements in a summer camp? (just me? I guess you all had FRIENDS growing up…) Or maybe like me, your kids are teaching you all of the ways you act like a boomer. Whatever the case, one thing is for sure — education has a special meaning when it comes to Customer Success.

Customer Education is defined as follows: “programs that provide content designed to onboard, engage, and retain customers, delivered at scale via a Learning Management System (LMS) platform,” and in just that definition, there’s an immense amount of crossover with Customer Success. Essentially, both are about helping a customer adopt behaviors to drive the business outcomes they are seeking. And it’s that aligned mission that makes it a natural step in the evolution of Customer Success.

As such, here are five reasons Customer Success starts with Customer Education (CE).

#1: Onboarding is Often the First Customer Experience

After surveying leaders across both of our industries, the top four goals across CS and CE are the same: Adoption, Scalability, Time to Value, and Onboarding. This means we are prioritizing the same things and are delivering similar value to our customers. And a lot of this starts with onboarding. 

CE Chart 1

Onboarding is such an important focus, and it is one of the primary focuses of LMS software. Even without a dedicated education platform, it’s always been a focus at Gainsight. As the Customer Success company, we offer new Gainsight Admins a foundational course (we call it GS 101) as the first step in onboarding during the customer journey. Now, with a dedicated Customer Education platform through Northpass’s thought leadership, we can scale our onboarding experiences to the next level—and ensure their first interaction with the product is smooth and empowering.

#2: Digital & Scale are Hot in Both Industries

Many companies are investing in Digital GTM initiatives with a focus on Scalability, especially given the ever changing SaaS industry. For CS and CE, Digital & Scale are existential. Joining forces now makes more sense than ever, especially after our successes scaling with a joint CS, PX, and community platform

Looking Around Adam Scott GIF by Apple TV+ - Find & Share on GIPHY

Making our platforms more digital-empowered and scalable drives other northstars like stickiness and adoption. We must equip our customers to succeed in a shifting economic landscape—providing them with the tools to use new technology to accomplish the shared mission of CS and CE.

#3: Outcomes Drive Customer Success and Customer Education

One incredible feature of an LMS is learning success planning. For Customer Education, it’s a pivotal tool to track and manage a customer’s journey as they learn about their product. Which has incredible use cases in Customer Success, too.

With learning success planning, CSMs can communicate verified outcomes with their clients and vice versa, to help the customer get to their desired outcome.

#4: Product is the Glue Holding Both Industries Together
At the end of the day, Customer Success and Customer Education are all about enhancing the Product Experience. Combining both into a unified platform scales that mission by returning to the glue holding both industries together. CS & CE helps companies utilize their product to guide users towards their desired outcomes through:

  • In-app engagement 🦾
  • Education courses 🧑‍🏫
  • Digital onboarding 🤝

This move takes the Customer Success journey to a whole new level. CS, PX, Community, and CE can now provide one unified experience for the user—from start to finish.

#5: Brand Advocacy Starts with CS and CE

Brand advocacy begins with education! I always enjoy seeing customers complete our Gainsight Admin certification and post their reviews & learnings on social media. Community members already do this across CS & CE platforms, so with both industries working in tandem, these shared learnings can be scaled to encourage even more brand advocacy. 

In fact, Customer Education has been linked to higher Net Promoter Scores (NPS), so it’s a no-brainer to have your customers learn more. As they say, happy clients = happy life (not sure who says this exactly, but I think it holds true).  



I’ve always been a little bit of a nerd (but who’s judging). Whether it was nerding out in high school, or learning the Gen Z selfie technique (0.5x!) from my oldest daughter, I’m an eternal student. And I couldn’t be more excited to have Northpass, a leader in the Customer Education industry, joining Gainsight. Let’s learn from each other and bring company-wide Customer Success to reality!

To learn more, read Northpass CEO Steve Cornwell’s perspective here.