Pulse 2022 is officially underway! The theme this year is “Unstoppable Together” and the opening keynote by Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, proved just how important that message is for everyone at this moment in time.
It’s no secret that the last few years have been a challenge for all of us. And just as we started to feel comfortable again, the economy took a downturn that significantly impacts the SaaS world. While we may not be able to predict what comes next, one thing we know for sure is that we are unstoppable together.
Mehta reminded everyone in the room and streaming at home that whether we are collaborating on product roadmaps, helping our customers reach their goals, or supporting our communities, we are always more successful when we approach these projects together.
And while Mehta acknowledged that there are challenges ahead for all of us, there is reason to be optimistic. The reason? Business strategies and tools that drive durable growth.
Efficiency is in vogue (again!)
The growth at all costs mindset that venture capitalists and others encouraged during the last few years will not work in the future. Now, Mehta said, “Our customers have a new mindset.” He said customers now think, “I’m not just going to buy every product out there. I’m going to rank my products in order of outcomes to find which I need and which I can cut.” Instead, Mehta said, “Companies are looking for efficient growth.”
For SaaS companies, that means everyone will feel a little more pressure. There will be more approvals, fewer seats purchased, and, overall, a more cautious purchasing process.
It also means that competition will thin out. As customers start to make choices about what solutions are right for them, the companies with durable growth strategies will be the ones to endure. And, as he always does, Mehta has a plan.
Net Revenue Retention is the all-important metric
“We talked to investors and CEOs who said Gross Retention and Net Revenue Retention are the most important metrics for them this year. They also said customer success is the organization least likely to see cuts in spending over the next year.” Mehta explained.
We’ve said for a while that investing in customer success (CS) is the key to increased NRR, but Mehta encouraged everyone at Pulse to think about their investment in their customers as more than just their customer success manager headcount. It’s an investment in efficient, durable growth.
Durable growth in six steps
Mehta brought out Karl Rumelhart, Chief Product Officer and Executive Vice President at Gainsight, and Kellie Capote, Chief Customer Officer at Gainsight, to unveil a plan to not just survive this economic downturn, but thrive during it: the six-step Durable Growth Playbook.
The six most important steps to building durable businesses that will thrive through the ups and downs include:
- No surprises: To avoid unpleasant churn surprises, develop a risk management program centered around a customer health-scoring framework—a framework that provides early-warning signals.
- Keep the Customer in Customer Success: To leverage every expansion opportunity, SaaS companies need organization-wide strategies for acquiring customers, managing them, and driving them to verifiable success again and again.
- Go on offense: In today’s business climate, it’s imperative to promote greater collaboration between your sales and success teams to unlock the expansion potential of your install base.
- Scale through digital: Digital-led CS should no longer be viewed as a segmentation strategy for your lowest-spend customers. To do more with less while delivering a more personalized experience, target your entire customer base with a digital-led program or strategy.
- Grow through your product: Everyone on your GTM team should be collaborating to put the customer at the center of the universe. All teams need to coordinate with Product to make sure that customers are ready to consume what you’re preparing to ship.
- Be human-first: Show empathy to customers. Some of them may be going through a downsizing. Others may be experiencing problems in their personal lives. Displaying a little empathy and creating special moments for them can be a key differentiator between you and your competitors.
Gainsight underscores the importance of human-first
At the end of the keynote, Capote reminded everyone that being human-first in critical to building a durable business. She said, “Unleashing human potential is the key to being unstoppable.” Both Capote and Mehta acknowledge that it will be hard work, but everyone at Gainsight believes that durable growth is possible, and this is the time for human-first leaders to drive their organizations there.