How to Prevent Blind-Side Churn by Identifying and Aligning With Customer Stakeholders Image

How to Prevent Blind-Side Churn by Identifying and Aligning With Customer Stakeholders

I frequently hear from customer success and sales leaders that two of the most common reasons for churn or downsell (revenue compression) are executive/sponsor change and lack of perceived value (for your product/service). When I dig into this some more, the most actionable root causes turn out to be a few things: We are not aware of the shifting priorities at our customers’ businesses (hence we cannot keep up with change in what “value” means to them). We are not top of mind with executives. We are not talking to multiple levels and key influencers (e.g., IT) within the customer org. We are blindsided when sponsors leave (especially in our volume or SMB segments). So I decided to get tactical by sharing our perspective on a framework for Stakeholder Alignment (it’s called the Executive Sponsorship program in many companies) and how to operationalize it. “As your customers change priorities and shift strategies, maintaining alignment with their executives and decision makers becomes paramount. With Stakeholder Alignment, Gainsight helps you set up a regular process for executive check-ins, monitor when there are organizational changes, and keep an eye on stakeholder sentiment over time. We need to keep the #humanfirst approach to keep interactions as […]

5 min readFebruary 12, 2019
Why I Moved From Customer Success to Product-led Growth Image

Why I Moved From Customer Success to Product-led Growth

Last month, I quit my position as head of Customer Success at my company, RD Station. It was a dream job for a CS leader, if I may say so myself. In those six years leading the team, I’ve led its growth from one person to 180 people that are now spread across five different functional teams: Customer Success Manager (CSM), Partner Success Manager (PSM), Professional Services, Support, and CS Ops. We structured them around assets such as a customer outcomes map, a journey of success milestones, playbooks, dashboards, quality assurance processes, and so on. The people were exceptional! I’ve hired managers and directors from the most well-known software companies and we’ve also developed talented people from inside. So why on earth would someone quit this position to lead a five-person team running a small project inside the same company? I’ll try to explain the reasons I think product-led growth is going to be our company’s next main growth driver. The Upmarket Trap RD Station is one of the fastest-growing SaaS companies in Latin America. We have thrived because we managed to build a sales machine that is scalable and predictable. By sales machine, I mean the whole process of marketing, selling, […]

7 min readFebruary 11, 2019

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Recap: Customer Success at SaaStr Image

Recap: Customer Success at SaaStr

I had a great time at SaaStr this week. I hosted a panel on “How to Take Customer Success from Idea to Action” with three incredible customer success leaders: Ashley Fryar (VP of Customer Success at NAVEX Global), Bernie Kassar (Chief Customer Officer at Xactly), and Mary Poppen (Chief Customer Officer at Glint). In case you missed it, here were the takeaways. To set the context for the discussion, we referred to a framework, created by David Skok of Matrix Partners, to describe the life of a startup, with three stages: Stage 1: The Search for Product-Market Fit Stage 2: The Search for a Repeatable Growth Model Stage 3: Scaling the Business In my mind, the stages of customer success for a SaaS product directly mirror those. In Stage 1, we’re figuring out the “whole product,” which inevitably includes not just product features but also human intervention. Very few products deliver value 100% “out of the box”—help from a person is required. That’s where customer success comes in. In Stage 2, we’re figuring out what’s the right model for customer success in my business. In Stage 3, we’re executing that model at scale. Here’s the panel’s guidance on how to tackle each of those stages: […]

5 min readFebruary 11, 2019
Who Should Own Renewals? Image

Who Should Own Renewals?

What’s the one question people are always asking you about your job? If I had to stack-rank all the questions I get asked by customer success leaders, the question of who should own renewals bubbles to the top—no contest. But when you peel the onion a little bit, this is actually a layered question. Let’s say you decide on CSM “owning” renewals. You still must answer: Who should own the renewal number, Sales or Post-Sales? Should the CSM execute on the commercial/renewal paperwork? Should the renewal and expansion motions be executed by the same person? This is obviously a hotly debated topic across companies, so I’ll share my framework for how to think about where renewals and expansion can fit in your organizational structure. We also have a very detailed look at our internal renewal process in this webinar. Feel free to adapt it to your business! In my experience, the two criteria that most dictate your organizational structure and renewals strategy are: Product Complexity: Can your product do many things or does it do one or two things really well (and that are used by 80% of your customers)? Is the onboarding process easy or does it take several […]

4 min readFebruary 5, 2019
How to Build a Data-Driven Product Your Customers Love Image

How to Build a Data-Driven Product Your Customers Love

The way to your customers’ hearts is through your product—but what does it take to build something that keeps them coming back? The Gainsight PX platform helps you deliver superior product experiences through insights and in-app engagements. This easy, powerful, and complete platform provides product managers with tools to make informed decisions on what to build next, collect relevant feedback from the right customers, and guide customers to “aha!” moments. Join Gainsight executives Nick Mehta (CEO), Allison Pickens (COO), Mickey Alon (CTO, Gainsight PX), and Travis Kaufman (VP, Product Growth) as they share how Gainsight can make your customers fall in love with your product over and over again. In this webinar, you’ll learn: How to make data-driven product roadmap decisions. How to accelerate onboarding and adoption. How to drive customer growth through your product. How to demonstrate the business impact of your product investments. And much more!

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4 Types of Product Analytics You Need to Build a Better Roadmap Image

4 Types of Product Analytics You Need to Build a Better Roadmap

Ask, “What’s next on our product roadmap?” and you might find yourself drowning in an overwhelming amount of opinions. There’s a tried-and-true way to cut through the noise and it’s hiding in plain sight. Your customer data is a goldmine wrapped in a bow covered in glitter. Why? Because your customers are the most important source of information when it comes to prioritizing your product roadmap. Your customers’ primary interaction with your company is through your product. Therefore, if you want to continuously deliver positive experiences and outcomes, you need to tailor your product to fit their needs. Without data, you’re at the mercy of your loudest stakeholders and this could mean risking a lot of precious time and resources. With the right data, you’ll be able to confidently build a product roadmap that’s backed by your insights. In short, it’ll make your life way easier. You don’t need perfect data before you start searching for insights, you simply need to know what you’re looking for. Make sure you have the following data at your disposal before your next roadmap strategy session. User Feedback What do customers think about your product? This kind of sentimental data is key. It can come […]

4 min readJanuary 31, 2019
Mastering Product Experience in SaaS Image

Mastering Product Experience in SaaS

Are you using your product as a means for growing your business? If not, you’re missing out on a goldmine. After all, your customers’ most frequent interaction with your company is through your product. Product-led growth has contributed to the success of companies like Slack, Dropbox, and Atlassian. “Mastering Product Experience in SaaS” is a valuable resource for today’s recurring revenue businesses and will change the way you look at expanding through your customer base. We live in an era where customer experiences are key and if you want to succeed, you need to make them personalized and deliver them in your product. Download your free copy of “Mastering Product Experience in SaaS” today to learn: Tactics for delivering personalized product experiences Product-led growth strategies used by SaaS leaders Best practices to capitalize on your product as a primary go-to-market channel How to lay the groundwork for scalable, repeatable customer acquisition

5 Questions Product Leaders Must Be Able to Answer Image

5 Questions Product Leaders Must Be Able to Answer

So you think you know your product… but just how deeply do you understand the value it provides? As a product leader, you’re the subject matter expert when it comes to your product. But as we all soon learn, the product is only part of the job. Understanding how your product fits into broader business goals is just as important. The following five questions will help you discover your weak spots and realign your product around customer and business needs alike. What problem(s) does our product solve? This can feel like a loaded question. At first glance, the answer should be obvious, but the reason behind this question is to force you to define and understand your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) and the variety of people (personas) that use your product. Take Marketo for example. There were a number of different personas that interacted with our product every day. Demand Generation, Sales, Marketing Ops, and Marketing Data Analysts. Each of these personas were trying to address different problems with Marketo. They used different aspects of the product with different frequency. Products leaders must understand the problems of each user/persona, what alternatives are available to address those problems, and the unique ways your […]

6 min readJanuary 28, 2019
I’ve Answered Hundreds of Customer Success Questions From SaaS CEOs. Here Are the Top Six. Image

I’ve Answered Hundreds of Customer Success Questions From SaaS CEOs. Here Are the Top Six.

I don’t know about you, but I constantly think about measuring my life in “moments.” Some of those measurements are profound. How many more Christmases will we have all together with our entire extended family? How many Saturday daddy-and-kid brunches do I get with my three little ones while they’re still somewhat little? How many more reunion getaway weekends will I have with my college roommates? No matter what, the answer seems destined to be “too few.” And some moments are more likely to fall into the category of “too many.” Like, how many hours of video conferencing do I have left in my life? How many more times will I board a delayed United flight, land on the East Coast at 2:00 a.m., and eat dinner from the check-in pantry of the Courtyard by Marriott (#winning)? Or how many more times will I perform my trademarked karaoke version of “Lose Yourself” by Eminem? (Opinions diverge on whether the answer is “too many” or “too few.”) I love this post on WaitButWhy on this concept. But in my day job as CEO of Gainsight and “Chief Karaoke Officer” of the customer success movement, I think about other measurements: How many people will […]

7 min readJanuary 27, 2019
The Case for User-Level Onboarding in the Age of the Customer Image

The Case for User-Level Onboarding in the Age of the Customer

The majority of churn events can trace their origins to botched customer onboardings. It’s hard to overstate how important a rock-solid onboarding process is—and it’s just as hard to overstate how difficult that is to achieve. Why is it so difficult? Most companies onboard at the account level, even though it’s ultimately end users who need onboarding. But that’s where you run into scalability issues. So what’s the answer? Gainsight is proud to partner with Skilljar, Conversica, and Coastal Cloud to address this mission-critical issue. Join us for a can’t-miss webinar that will make the case for user-level onboarding and give you a strategy and a process to scale it across your customer base. Featuring: Travis Kaufman, VP Product Growth, Gainsight Jamey Jeff, Managing Director – Customer Success Solutions, Coastal Cloud Brian Kaminski, Chief Customer Officer, Conversica Linda Schwaber-Cohen, Product Marketing, Skilljar In this webinar, you’ll learn: How to leverage and optimize different onboarding channels. How to balance automation with personal touch to scale without sacrificing results. How to create a “continuous onboarding” strategy as opposed to a one-time process. And much more!

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How to Build Your Brand at Pulse 2019 Image

How to Build Your Brand at Pulse 2019

In 2019, customer success continues to be one of the fastest growing and most influential professions in the world, overseeing the most critical component of the subscription economy: customer outcomes. So, where do all these superheroes of renewal and retention go to find the latest tools and best practices, network with their peers, and flex their surging buying power? The answer is simple. Year after year, they go to Pulse, the epicenter of the customer success movement. Gainsight’s Pulse Conference gathers the world’s largest community of executives, practitioners and thought leaders for three days of education and networking. And in 2019, Pulse will be bigger and better than ever, welcoming more than 6,000 delegates into the world-renowned Moscone West Convention Center in Downtown San Francisco. What does all this mean for the speakers, sponsors, software and service providers for the industry? A LOT. And there’s nobody better explain it than Gainsight CMO, Anthony Kennada, and Marketing Chief of Staff, Scott Salkin. So, don’t miss out on a unique opportunity to join Anthony and Scott as they take you you through an overview of Pulse 2019 sponsorship and speaking opportunities, some exciting program announcements, and best practices for brand activation, lead […]

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