ArticleBest PracticesJuly 16, 2014
Enabling Digital Publishers to Drive Value: Customer Success at PubMatic Image

Enabling Digital Publishers to Drive Value: Customer Success at PubMatic

By Kyle Dozeman

At PubMatic, our mission is to enable publishers to realize the full potential of their digital assets. Today, we are accomplishing this by providing a cloud-based software platform designed to allow publishers to manage and drive their advertising business in real-time. Because we deliver our platform as a service, we have many of the same attributes as a quintessential SaaS company, including:

  • Velocity focused sales and a high upsell opportunity
  • Real-time customer usage monitoring and frequent product updates
  • An engineering culture in which customer priorities are the focus
  • A strategic and proactive approach to customer success
  • A core philosophy of customer delight

Like other SaaS companies, these business dynamics have amplified the need for a strategic and proactive approach to customer success. Maintaining customers and managing churn are critical to long term success. However, in addition to our current revenue stream, the growth opportunities within our existing customer base, both from up-sells and cross-sells, are significant.

Publishers are experiencing large increases in mobile usage and need to extend their display solution across a multitude of screens. They are now seeing value in using RTB-based programmatic platforms to automate direct sales. And what about new formats, including video, native, digital radio and connected TV?

For PubMatic, these growth vectors are promising, but successful execution will require continued focus and growth within our customer success organization. Customers will only grow their business with us if we prove our value every single day. Consistently exceeding our customers’ expectations is a key focus area for us, and we are doing a number of things to accomplish this.

We currently have a robust and talented team focused on assisting our customers and ensuring our platform is exceeding their expectations. We have also built a professional services team focused on ensuring customers achieve rapid time-to-value through effective implementation and use of our solutions. That team, along with our marketing team, is also tasked with growing and supporting the broader community of PubMatic users. And finally, our management team, along with everyone in the company, is held accountable to building a culture of customer success. All of these efforts are critical – our ability to truly delight customers over a sustained period of time may prove to be our greatest competitive advantage.

I am part of the corporate strategy team at PubMatic, and by no means an expert in customer success. Nevertheless, I have supported that organization over the past year, and can offer a few learnings.

Customer Success Learnings at PubMatic

  • Customer success is not an organization, it’s a culture
    If it’s not bred into your common set of values, you will fail.
  • It’s not about blame, it’s about process

    There is very little value in customer success team members (or any team member for that matter) placing blame. I’ve never seen it improve the situation and worse, it usually moves the focus away from the customer. Customer success teams that focus on building and refining strong organizational habits improve at exceptional rates. This is a value that must be instilled within the team.

  • Don’t forget the expectations-setting aspect of the customer success equation
    This is often the lowest hanging fruit. Things like tiering your customer base and clearly communicating the corresponding SLA’s to your customers goes a long way in establishing what it means to ‘beat expectations’.
  • Don’t underestimate the positive impact from customers who experience great value
    Customers who have experienced your value, understand your value. Understood value translates into a willingness to pay.

PubMatic operates in an extremely fast-paced industry, but we believe that our success will be determined by our ability to slow down and focus on creating successful customers day-in and day-out.

Forrester Research just published “Measuring Customer Health to Drive the Right Conversations” which goes into great detail on understanding both quantifiable and qualifiable inputs into Customer Health. Download your copy today.

forrester-customer-health-paper

KD
Kyle Dozeman

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