Correlation vs. Causation in Customer Success Image

Correlation vs. Causation in Customer Success

I’m reading this fabulous book right now that is perfect for anyone making important decisions—The Book of Why. The author, Judea Pearl, subtitled the work as “The New Science of Cause and Effect,” and the “new” part is what caught my eye. In the introduction, Pearl shares how the distinction between causation and correlation—and the science underlying this difference—is relatively new in the human situation. And in my experience in business, the shades of gray between these categories are still lost on many people. Recognize any of these? “I can think of at least three customers that we lost because of this feature.” “Many of our best people worked at [company X] before…” “The top performing IPOs all have great cultures.” And of course, the supposedly causal relationship that’s so accepted it’s almost never discussed: “Our sales target is going up, so obviously we need to hire more reps!” This dialog reminds me of all of the spurious correlations we find in life—like: The divorce rate in Maine is highly connected to the per capita consumption of margarine. Total revenue generated by arcades links up directly with the number of Computer Science doctorates awarded in the US. And my favorite: The number of pool […]

1 sharesOctober 31, 2018
3 Ways Churn Is Killing Your Growth Image

3 Ways Churn Is Killing Your Growth

It’s a dark, stormy night. You’re sitting at your computer. The lights flicker as you click open your reports and there you see it; the silent killer. Churn. Churn is what folks in the subscription economy community call the percentage of customers that leave after subscribing to your product. Churn is one of the most important metrics in a recurring revenue business. These types of businesses rely on customers renewing and expanding their contracts, so closely following churn can be a huge indicator of company health. Below is a simple way to calculate churn based on customers. For more on calculating churn, check out our Essential Guide to Churn. (Number of Customers Lost) ÷ (Original Number of Customers) In classic slasher films, the characters always seem to ignore the little signs of danger. That bump in the night? Probably just the wind. Dogs barking? They always do that. Then all of a sudden—BAM! Freddy Krueger or Jason or Michael Myers is on them like a kid on Halloween candy. Churn can seem like an innocuous part of running a business. You’re bound to lose some customers, right? But, neglect your churn rate for too long and it might be the […]

1 sharesNovember 1, 2018

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How to Gamify Customer Success Image

How to Gamify Customer Success

Gamification is one of the hottest topics in software for basically any vertical or use case. Everyone wants to achieve that snowball effect of engagement and growing depth of use between client and product. But it can be a dangerous game—there are probably more failed schemes than there are successful. Imprivata has figured out how to gamify Customer Success for its clients. Join Imprivata’s Worldwide Director of Customer Success, Roelf Kuitse, and Gainsight’s Director of Product Marketing, Ganesh Subramanian, as they explore a successful Customer Success gamification strategy and answer your questions on how you can do it at your company. In this webinar, you’ll learn: How to leverage data to create your strategy Best practice milestones to target How to incentivize your customers to engage And much more!

5475 registered
3 Keys to Improve Product Adoption and Cut Churn Image

3 Keys to Improve Product Adoption and Cut Churn

Product adoption is one of the few surefire leading indicators of churn. Whether you’re on the Product team or the Success team, it’s your job to improve adoption—or watch your customers leave. But when you have so many internal organizations jockeying for the client’s attention span and almost all your day-to-day interactions happening digitally—generating dozens of data streams, how do you respond to each client’s unique roadblocks with the product experience. And how do you do it at scale? There are three pain points to product adoption in SaaS and there are three key strategies to overcome them. Join Gainsight’s COO and CTO of Aptrinsic, Allison Pickens and Mickey Alon, as they reveal the keys to better product adoption. You’ll learn how to: Improve alignment between Product and CS teams Drive more effective engagements with your customers Collect and leverage the right data signals to get insights And much more!

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All Your Aptrinsic Questions Answered Image

All Your Aptrinsic Questions Answered

We know you have questions about Gainsight’s acquisition of Aptrinsic. We tried to answer all the questions we anticipate will be common, but we’d love to field any specific inquiries you might have. If you don’t know who to contact, just email us at First, why not take a look at this video—you can hear from both companies’ leadership in their own words why they made this decision and what it could mean for you. Strategy and Business Decision   1. What does Aptrinsic Software do? Aptrinsic is a product-led growth solution that delivers powerful analytics and in-product engagements used to increase adoption, retention, and expansion in B2B companies. The software enables digital products to increase trial conversions and accelerate return on product investments to help drive customer retention. With Aptrinsic, companies can implement effective product-led go-to-market strategies that increase product adoption and customer lifetime value. Aptrinsic provides product managers and marketers with tools to make informed decisions on what to build next, collect relevant feedback from the right customers, and guide prospects and customers to “a-ha!” moments. 2. Why did Gainsight acquire Aptrinsic? Customer Success leaders want better visibility into product adoption to influence the product roadmap and […]

6 min readNovember 6, 2018
‘CSM & Product’ Is the New ‘Sales & Marketing’ Image

‘CSM & Product’ Is the New ‘Sales & Marketing’

If you take a look at my LinkedIn page (and scroll way, way down), you’ll see exactly where my career took a left turn. (No, not—you scrolled too far!) I started my professional career as a product manager.  Well, I tried to start my career by doing a Master’s in Computer Science in college, which taught me I wasn’t smart enough to be a developer, but maybe I could hang with them. Over the years, I moved up from Product Manager to “Manager of Product Management” (still a bizarre title to me!) and so on. That was my career trajectory, and I couldn’t have been happier. It checked all the boxes for me—strategic thinking, working collaboratively, creativity, working with sales, and above all a total focus on giving the customer a great experience. Not to mention lots of PowerPoint! When I left the world of product management to become a CEO, Customer Success was barely a gleam in my colleague Dan Steinman’s eye! But when I look back on it, I can see how it was preparing me for this crazy world of CS, and how the skills I honed in PM are so complementary to my job today. For the […]

6 sharesOctober 22, 2018
How to Build Human-First Products Image

How to Build Human-First Products

Today we announced that Gainsight is acquiring Aptrinsic. I couldn’t be more excited to start working closely with Aptrinsic’s CEO and co-founder Mickey Alon. I’ve come to respect Mickey deeply as a thought leader, and his vision for how to help his customers is very aligned with ours. In this post I’ll share the “why” behind this acquisition, which gets to the root of Customer Success philosophy. It may even challenge us to think differently about what Customer Success is really all about. Ask Why “I need to scale.” This is a statement I’ve made myself, and that I’ve heard many times over the years from Chief Customer Officers and their teams. It’s such a common refrain at this point that we take for granted that the need to scale is a central responsibility in the CCO role. But perhaps it would be worth our time to ask, “Why?” And to ask it again, and again, and again. Let’s play devil’s advocate with ourselves. “Why do you need to scale?” “Because CS isn’t a priority at my company.” “Why are you saying it’s not a priority?” “Because my CFO won’t give me more budget.” “Why isn’t your current budget sufficient […]

8 min readOctober 22, 2018
Here’s Why Your Customer Success Strategy Needs Data Science Image

Here’s Why Your Customer Success Strategy Needs Data Science

All over the world, companies are using data science to cultivate a healthy customer base. However, there are still a lot of questions surrounding this technological advancement. Let’s go on a quick journey to explore three major components of a holistic data science strategy and how these can improve your Customer Success strategies. The Limit Does Not Exist…Yet Look around you. Notice how many of your surroundings are made of plastic. When plastics were first created, it took time for companies to find all of the applications and workflows to accompany its production. At its introduction, plastics were considered an almost magical material that could solve a variety of problems. As time went on, its limitations were identified and the best applications have gone on to be most successful. Data science has found itself in the same position as plastic. The concept of data science predates computers, but we’re still discovering new ways to apply it. At its simplest, data science is the practice and profession of using statistical tools to answer strategic and tactical business questions. If you don’t work in or closely with the data science space, the term can sound like something out of a science fiction […]

8 min readOctober 19, 2018
So You Want to Build Your Customer Success Platform In-House? Image

So You Want to Build Your Customer Success Platform In-House?

Humans are a resourceful species. But sometimes in an effort to save time and conserve resources, we end up expending more. It’s the age-old software evaluation question: Do we build in-house or buy an existing platform? Each side has their pros and cons, but they’re irrelevant if you don’t think long-term. What may seem like a leaner option now can end up becoming incredibly cumbersome as your team grows and your list of needs becomes longer. Avoid wasting valuable time, energy, and resources by understanding what your team and your in-house solution will need to make them the most effective. Know what you’re giving up by building in-house When you’re building your own solution, you are in control. This is both comforting and an immense amount of pressure. Customer Success is a highly-collaborative function. If you’re building out a solution, it makes sense that you would want it to benefit as many customer-facing organizations as possible to justify the effort being put into it. But, this means having to take input from everyone involved. Finding middle ground in these situations is harder than it sounds. You also need to get IT onboard very early on. Customer Success requires more than just […]

4 min readOctober 19, 2018
Servant Leadership: A 4-Step Playbook Image

Servant Leadership: A 4-Step Playbook

From the time I was little, my dad shared stories with my brother and me about heroes. There was a story about how the Wright Brothers, two little-known bicycle mechanics who worked tirelessly on their flight experiments for years, were greeted in France by unfamiliar praise from crowds of admirers of their innovation. There was another story about how Roosevelt secretly sent aid to the British before the U.S. entered World War II, even when faced with political opposition to getting involved, because it was the right thing to do. There were other stories that my dad made up at bedtime, sitting in the hallway between my and my brother’s respective bedrooms, about heroic kids who saved the day. The stories varied, but a central character recurred: a leader with a vision to humbly serve others. A servant leader. Nowadays, I don’t hear many stories about servant leadership in the media. I could go on about the very different narratives of leadership that are told nowadays—carrying themes like narcissism, greed, materialism, workaholism, sociopathy, mental illness, and others—but those have been well documented elsewhere. I think we need more compelling stories of leadership in our lives. We need to know what […]

13 min readOctober 16, 2018
The Hunter/Farmer Business Model Is Dead. Long Live the Builder! Image

The Hunter/Farmer Business Model Is Dead. Long Live the Builder!

I cringe every time I’m in a conversation with a Sales leader talking about Customer Success and they make the familiar reference to our outbound Sales team as “Hunters” and the CS team as “Farmers.” If you can relate, this post is for you! It’s time to scrap this notion of “hunting” and “farming” as the dominant models for how we work with customers. Customer Success has exploded as a function because every industry has changed—or is in the process of changing. In the same way, it’s time to change our mindset from thinking purely about Hunters and Farmers and welcome a new model: “Builders.” Don’t get me wrong. I like to eat, and I know a lot of Farmers (real and metaphorical), and they’re really good people. But the Farmer metaphor is old and implies the wrong things when I think about Customer Success (or at least the way we think about it at Axonify) and it doesn’t reflect the direction I intend to go in Customer Success. This archaic model is self-serving in that it glorifies the Hunter. It implies “organic growth” with proper nurturing by the “industrious farmer.” It ignores the fact that complications arise and needs change. […]

10 sharesOctober 12, 2018