Implementing a Vibrant Online Community Image

Implementing a Vibrant Online Community

By implementing the following suggestions, you should be able to create a vibrant community that keeps the customers happy, provides a superior support system to the customers and builds trust between the customers and the vendor. As a result of having a vibrant community, you will be able to understand more about your customers: who is happy; who needs attention; identify up-sell opportunities; get valuable feedback for innovation for products and services; and an opportunity to find new customers, including referrals from happy customers. 3 Types of Online Communities Velvet Rope Private Community In my opinion, an online community should exist for existing customers only and not prospects, consultants, and others (with ulterior motives). Since customers like to network and meet each other to discuss things they have in common, Velvet Rope Private Communities work well with existing customers. Such a pristine environment where the customer is protected from the outside world and not polluted by people trying to sell them something is a great place where only like-minded people can talk, network with each other, share ideas, ask questions, and help each other. This is an “all about the customer” place that works well as a support system because customers can […]

6 min readDecember 9, 2015
What Does Your CEO Think About Customer Success? CEOs From Box, Zuora, Xactly and Gainsight Weigh In Image

What Does Your CEO Think About Customer Success? CEOs From Box, Zuora, Xactly and Gainsight Weigh In

Some are born great Some achieve greatness And some have greatness thrust upon ’em – Wm. Shakespeare, Twelfth Night I’ve been preaching now for at least a couple of years that Customer Success is only in its infancy and, as an expertise, the explosion and proliferation of roles in this area will happen over the next five years and beyond.  If you have chosen Customer Success as your career because you saw this coming, congratulations.  If you find yourself in this role because you’ve worked hard and proven you can be trusted with significant responsibilities (like customers), well done.  If you have simply been minding your own business and a Customer Success role has just fallen in your lap, you might want to buy a lotto ticket, too. However you got there, you are part of a select group of people who will be teaching much of the rest of the world some extremely valuable skills over the next few years.  Think about it this way – what if you had decided in 2001 that this Salesforce.com thing was not just a fad but was going to be one of the key pieces of infrastructure in hundreds of thousands of businesses over the […]

5 min readDecember 9, 2015

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Marketing Automation + Customer Engagement Management Drives SaaS Revenue Image

Marketing Automation + Customer Engagement Management Drives SaaS Revenue

SaaS success requires acquiring new customers, growing their account revenue, and retaining these customers – nailing these three areas leads to strong growth in a SaaS company’s reoccurring revenue. SaaS companies must drive both the number of customers and their Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) Maximizing Revenue for SaaS Companies is more than Customer Acquisition.  Marketing Automation together with Content Marketing and Sales Force Automation (SFA) drives new customer acquisition.  Customer Engagement Management provides the tools which drive the increase in Customer Lifetime Value. These goals can be realized by: Marketing Automation dramatically increases the ability to cost effectively close new customers; Customer Engagement Management dramatically increase trial conversions, customer success, customer satisfaction, customer referenceability, revenue per customer, and customer retention. Customer Services together with Customer Engagement  Management drive Up-Sales, Cross-Sales, and Customer Retention using related techniques. These components effectively become part of the Customer Relationship Management system also including Sales Force Automation and Customer Service providing a complete view of the customer. Marketing Automation: Driving the purchase through prospect interaction tracking and automation Marketing Automation software use is exploding as it efficiently drives new revenue through a personalized approach giving each prospect (or customer) the right message to the right […]

13 min readAugust 3, 2018
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Highlights From Pulse 2013

The Customer Success movement was officially launched last Thursday as we welcomed nearly 300 CSM executives to San Francisco for the inaugural Pulse 2013 conference.  You could feel the energy in the room throughout the day, as speakers from over 30 leading technology companies shared their perspectives on how a fundamental shift is occurring in the way businesses drive value to their customers. The event started with our announcement of wearable Customer Success technology with the introduction of Gainsight Glass.   We had way too much fun working on that video.  To give you a better idea about the highlights from our inaugural conference, we’ve included below a post from Pulse attendee and former Senior VP of Customer Success at Lyris, Nello Franco.  You can view his original post and learn more about Nello on his blog. — The “Three R’s” Nick Mehta, Gainsight CEO opened by introducing some key fundamental objectives of Customer Success – and they’re all measurable.  I’ve referred to them as the “Three R’s”: Retention, Renewals, and References. Geoffrey Moore and the “Four Gear Framework” Geoffrey Moore, Author of “Crossing the Chasm” and “Inside the Tornado”, presented an alternative framework to the traditional Technology Adoption Lifecycle, explaining that […]

5 min readDecember 9, 2015
3 Things You Can Learn About Customer Success From Kitchen Nightmares Image

3 Things You Can Learn About Customer Success From Kitchen Nightmares

If you’re at all connected with pop culture, or are on some sort of social network, you’ve probably seen the recent meltdown by the owners of Amy’s Baking Company on the nationally broadcast reality show, Kitchen Nightmares. For those of you that haven’t, check it out here. If you don’t have time to watch the entire video, the first 10-15 minutes are quite eye opening. I don’t watch this show on a regular basis, but I was captivated by this particular episode. Having been involved in customer service—with a passion toward customer success throughout my career—I was spellbound by the complete lack of customer focus that the owners of this business exhibited.  They essentially did everything you shouldn’t do when it comes to customer service. Within the first two minutes of the opening credits, we’re shown the company’s namesake: “The customer is not always right.”  Yikes. While this may be true in reality, it seemed to be the flawed basis on which they run their business. Throughout the show, the owners demonstrated an outright animosity toward their customers, employees, and a complete inability to take even the most benign criticism. To make matters worse, all this happened before Chef Ramsey even walked […]

4 min readDecember 9, 2015
New “Growth” Module Helps Sales Drive Renewals and Upsells Image

New “Growth” Module Helps Sales Drive Renewals and Upsells

At forward-thinking companies, Customer Success is no longer just an organization, it’s an attitude.  Building a customer-driven enterprise requires a collaborative effort and shared vision across the entire company.  Today, we’re proud to announce a new module built specifically for Sales that streamlines the renewal process and improves the renewal forecast, proactively identifies up-sell opportunities, and automates the notification of out-of-compliance customers. Available today as an add-on to Gainsight Enterprise Edition and working together with the Gainsight Customer360 database, the Growth Management Module provides sales teams with the automation and workflow needed to drive more revenue from their existing customers.  The Growth Management Module includes the following features: Up-Sell Alerts: Within Salesforce, sales teams get alerted to indicators of up-sell opportunity including upcoming renewal dates, positive survey feedback and product / feature adoption metrics. Renewal Dashboard: Sales reps can quickly view upcoming renewals alongside relevant customer health indicators including survey scores, product / feature usage metrics and other customer intelligence data. Out-of-Compliance Reports: Sales management can easily identify customers who are over-utilizing allocated licenses and contact them for overage, up-sell and renewal discussions. “Our sales organization required more visibility into customer data in order to better serve our customers,” said Eric Johnson, vice […]

2 min readJuly 25, 2018
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Veteran Rookie

Anyone who knows me is painfully aware that I’m a diehard Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL football) fan.   I’m “that guy” with the Steelers jerseys, t-shirts, socks, paintings, helmets, bumper stickers, fight songs…even a Steelers wallet.  As a child, I dreamed of oneday quarterbacking my team to the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, due to a tragic lack of any physical coordination whatsoever, I soon recognized my need for a backup plan.  And though I never made it to the Steelers, I’ve been fortunate to work with and coach a number of great teams over the years. Every time I join a new team, I get to start out as a rookie all over again – and that’s amazing. With that in mind, I’m thrilled to join the team at Gainsight (formerly JBara Software) as CEO. I come to Gainsight from my role as an Executive-in-Residence at venture firm Accel Partners and before that from leading SaaS email archiving provider LiveOffice (which we sold to Symantec in 2012).  A bit more about me is here and here. At LiveOffice, we went through the evolution every recurring revenue company goes through.  In the early days, it was all about new customers.  As we grew, our existing customers became a bigger and bigger part of […]

4 min readJuly 27, 2018
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Customer Success – Now What? Image

Customer Success – Now What?

In past posts, I think we addressed the question of whether Customer Success is changing. Of course it is. In fact, in many ways, it’s not so much changing as it is being created. How many companies even had an organization called “Customer Success” five years ago? It exists because SaaS has changed everything. If we accept that supposition, then the logical question is “Now What?” I’ll try to address that question in this post. I am going to contend, without a lot of details for now, that there are four primary things that have to be carefully thought through if you are going to run an effective Customer Success organization today: Customer Stratification – you need to take this seriously and do it carefully because you can’t treat all customers alike. Customer Touch Model – this goes hand-in-hand with #1 but it also requires you to understand the overall customer experience at your company. Metrics – renewals, upsells, ROI, etc. Everything is different and you need to figure out what to measure, how to measure it, and what the right targets are. Automation – you must have a purpose-built application to help guide you in best practices and manage the complexities of this world you live in. Your […]

2 min readDecember 9, 2015
Is Product Usage the Holy Grail? Image

Is Product Usage the Holy Grail?

For many, the thinking is that there’s a lot of customer information out there that might have some minimal value, but if you could just get a handle on how/if they are using your product(s), you’d have the problem 90% solved. Let’s examine this claim more closely. Let’s say you had a perfect scoring methodology for usage. So, if you had a customer who scored an 80 on a scale of 1-100, it really would indicate that that customer is using exactly 80% of your product. If you scored all your customers and knew that the average score across your install base was 72, would you really need any other data? How about a few hypothetical questions to make a point: What score did the users give us on our last NPS survey? What score did the decision makers give us on our last NPS survey? Does it matter what this customer is saying to us on our surveys? How long have they been a customer? If they just signed up, is that usage an indicator that they are in training or is it our Services team using the product to get them set up and configured? What is their […]

2 min readAugust 3, 2018
Customer Success – How Hard Can That Be? Image

Customer Success – How Hard Can That Be?

“So what if there are applications being built for Customer Success? That certainly doesn’t make them necessary. I mean, c’mon, how hard can it really be? It’s not like Finance or Sales or even Marketing. Those organizations are complex and changing daily. Of course they need apps. But Customer Success? Just staff enough people and call every customer regularly and handle any problem that comes up, right? What’s an application going to do? Track all those calls and whatever issues come out of them? You can easily do that in Salesforce.” Ah, the voice of the skeptic. Always good to hear from him. Let’s just throw out a few questions here to help him understand the breadth of “customer success” and the enormous competitive advantage available if you do it really well. If you are successful as a company and get 1,000 customers, how do you staff to take care of them? Can you afford to have 20, 15, or even 10 people managing customers? Is their contract value a factor? Or how long they’ve been a customer? Do you know what your churn rate is? By contract value? By Industry? By Sales Rep? Can you predict the likelihood of […]

2 min readDecember 9, 2015