When Should You Refer a Customer to Professional Services? Image

When Should You Refer a Customer to Professional Services?

It is useful to think about Customer Success providing a roadmap and motivation to do more and Professional Services as the arm to help customers execute on that roadmap.  If you are doing both, your customers are demonstrating commitment to your product and continuing to build on the value that your product provides. So how do you do this well?  If Customer Success is talking to customers with low usage, customers that are only doing the basics, doing quarterly business reviews or addressing customers that really want to do more but are not making progress, it is important to understand why this is.  Customer Success can really help in this area– assisting the customer understand what is holding them back from doing more. Once you establish this and help the customer realize this, Customer Success can help with the plan to do more. When the customer needs knowledge, time or specific skills to execute on the plan, this is a good opportunity to refer the opportunity to your Professional Services team. Knowledge – Professional Services assists multiple customers in execution towards their goals with your product.  They have seen the details of what works and what does not in multiple […]

3 min readDecember 27, 2013
Fighting the Churnbot | A Memoir Image

Fighting the Churnbot | A Memoir

We may never have met formally, but I think we know each other quite well.  My name is Sally McField.  My family knows me as Sally or Mom, and my business card reads Customer Success Manager. However, I have a secret life that I keep hidden when I go to work everyday – I transform into Super Sally, red cape and all. Being a superhero is not easy, but someone needs to protect Techocon Town from the evil, customer-stealing Churnbot. The Churnbot preys on customers who are not receiving value from products and services. As more companies embrace the Internet of Customers trend in 2014, companies must find ways to get proactive about growing the lifetime value of their customers. The Subscription Economy has made Customer Success more important than ever before.  A company can only be as successful as their customers are.  We Customer Success Managers often work in the shadows, keeping a close eye on customer data, planning QBR meetings, evaluating early indicators of churn.  It’s sometimes a thankless job, but today, a shift is occurring. That’s why I’ve published my memoirs in an all new children’s book titled Sally vs. Churnbot.  As my holiday gift to you, the book is available for […]

2 min readDecember 12, 2013

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Churn and Burn: Why “Customer Success” Needs to be a Board Priority Image

Churn and Burn: Why “Customer Success” Needs to be a Board Priority

I was sitting in a board meeting for one of my portfolio companies last month and two interesting things happened. First, the company reported it had zero customer churn (or 100% retention) in the quarter for the first time in its history. Next, the company’s CEO shared a story about a panel at a conference at which he was asked to name his most important executive. The other panelists named obvious candidates, like their VPs of sales or engineering. This CEO, however, said his most important executive is his VP of customer success. His rationale? “If I can’t make my customers successful, nothing else matters.” I tend to agree with him. The notion of dedicating an entire position, let alone a department, to “customer success” at a company might seem silly or just glaringly obvious at first blush. What company doesn’t want their customers to be successful? But as most software companies have evolved over the last several years to embrace a subscription business model, I—and certainly the CEO described above—have concluded that customer success is a critical, and often under-used, tool for most modern start-ups. Simply put, a subscription business model means customers must continually renew to keep revenue flowing […]

5 min readDecember 3, 2013
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Renewals Management

Simplify renewal management and maximize customer lifetime value with Gainsight. Why Download? Gainsight, the first and only complete Customer Success solution, helps businesses grow faster by reducing churn, increasing upsell, and driving customer advocacy. The company’s SaaS solution uses predictive analytics to drive revenue from sales, usage, support, survey and other sources of external customer data. Discover more about it’s capabilities when you download the Renewals Management guide. Align your team, processes and systems around managing renewals Optimize performance with insight into the effectiveness of the team and efficacy of specific actions Spot revenue opportunities by looking at the whitespace of products and contracts against the account health

1 min read
Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone! Image

Happy Thanksgiving, Everyone!

Although full bellies, football games and a giant Snoopy floating above the streets of NYC, often distract us, Thanksgiving is a time for family, friends and reflecting on what we are blessed with. We feel especially fortunate at Gainsight, having just gone through a second round of funding, a great experience at Dreamforce and the addition of several new hires. At Gainsight, we hold three key values close to heart: Success for All, Childlike Joy and Golden Rule.  As a company, we keep these in mind with anything we do. Success for All: We don’t believe in the Zero Sum Game. Customer Success is all about creating a relationship that is beneficial to everyone.  Customer Success is ensuring that your customers are happy and fulfilled by the service that you provide. Our success is tied to the success of our customers, partners and friends. A Customer Success Manager’s job is to answer customers’ questions before they even ask. It is not only our CSM team that works for the “Success for All,” every department works with this value in mind.   Childlike Joy: With an arsenal of kid-friendly junk food in our kitchen and Nerf guns and giant stuffed animals lying around the office, it’s […]

3 min readNovember 28, 2013
The Internet of Customers | Dreamforce 2013 Recap Image

The Internet of Customers | Dreamforce 2013 Recap

Well in case you missed it last week, a small company called Salesforce.com hosted their annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.  The destination event managed to drive over 100,000 people to the city by the bay, resulting in a whole lot of traffic, but even more excitement over the future of the enterprise cloud computing ecosystem. At the conference, Salesforce.com CEO Mark Benioff outlined the company’s vision by announcing the arrival of the “Internet of Customers” era.  The premise is simple—that behind all the technology and every online connection is the customer, the single most important element in any business equation. Although the moniker may be new, the spirit has been here all along.  Salesforce has put the stake in the ground, validating the CSM movement on a grandiose scale and ensuring that 2014 will certainly be the year of Customer Success. We were incredibly excited to officially debut Customer Success on cloud computing’s biggest stage this year and support the Salesforce team as they unveil their new customer-centric messaging.  For those who did not attend the conference, we filmed a recap (below) that captures all of the highlights, including the first Customer Success session in the Dreamforce agenda, a flash mob of […]

3 min readNovember 26, 2013
Scorecards: Quantifying Customer Health Image

Scorecards: Quantifying Customer Health

The subscription economy is forcing companies to take a serious look at revenue from existing customers. The success of your business now relies on retaining and growing revenue from your customer base… or in other words, making sure your customers are healthy. But how do you quantify the health of your customers? Today, most companies create assumptions based on subjective factors like executive relationships and reference-ability — however, can often be blindsided if those assumptions are wrong.  But what if you could leverage actual customer data alongside those subjective factors to create a holistic health score for each customer account, and view it in context across all customers over time? We announced today a new feature in Gainsight that we’re calling Scorecards. Scorecards follow a consistent, data-driven methodology to help you go beyond individual assumptions in your customer base, measure the impact of your Customer Success efforts, and benchmark your customers across the portfolio. Let’s see how it works. Step 1: Select a grading scheme Gainsight currently supports three schemes to score your customers–numeric (0 to 100), character (e.g. A through F) and RYG (red-yellow-green). You can choose whichever works best for your unique measurement needs. Step 2: Add and group […]

3 min readNovember 13, 2013
How to Add Customer Success to Support: The Wrike Way Image

How to Add Customer Success to Support: The Wrike Way

Dan had some great comments in his post on Nov. 5 about “Aligning Customer Success and Customer Support.”  However, there’s something to be said for many companies who have built a traditional sales/support organizational structure without Customer Success in the original plan.  So how does a company get from the traditional Sales & Support model to one with added Success?!  Let’s start with a bit of backstory on Wrike, and I’ll explain how we did this in incremental steps. At Wrike, we started our customer service department as the basic all-encompassing customer support for break/fix as well as how-to questions from any and all customers.  If a customer had a question, then we were there to answer.  Over time it has evolved to email, live chat, and phone support, 24/7 for our thousands of customers around the world.  And it works great!  Customers sometimes even tell us they’re choosing our product over our competitors because of our great customer support. That said, when the reactive Customer Support team was the only team, then it meant we were missing opportunities to proactively reach customers who needed our help for the exact situations that Dan specified: the champion leaves the company, low usage, […]

5 min readNovember 7, 2013
Gainsight Raises $20 MM To Build The Subscription Yellow Brick Road Image

Gainsight Raises $20 MM To Build The Subscription Yellow Brick Road

“Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.” – Wizard of Oz Today, we announced that we raised $20 billion. Just kidding and checking if you’re reading carefully. But we did announce we raised $20 million (almost as cool), led by our new friends at Bain Capital Ventures with participation from Summit Partners and our existing investor Battery Ventures. The Wicked Witch Of Churn Is Dead When our investors asked for our wire instructions for the $20 MM, we told them to send us gold bricks instead.  Sure, that caused them to look at us funny and double check their diligence background checks.  But beyond our company value around Child-like Joy, we feel that Dorothy and Toto from The Wizard of Oz are a great metaphor for customer success. A senior exec at a public SaaS company recently told us: “I know my company has tons of data about our customers – what they’re using from us and how often, whether they’re paying their bills, what support issues are open.  But every time we need to get this data, we have to go to Engineering or IT and it feels like asking the Wizard of Oz.  So most of the time, we have to go into customer […]

4 min readNovember 6, 2013
Aligning Customer Success and Customer Support Image

Aligning Customer Success and Customer Support

Although the title says “aligning”, the most important thing in this particular subject might be “defining”.  Because so many Customer Success organizations grow up in the Services part of the enterprise, this means they sit right alongside the Customer Support function.  Nothing wrong with that in theory, but in practice the differences can often be confusing.  That problem is exacerbated in situations where Customer Success is viewed, or, worse yet, created as an extension of Customer Support. If the two organizations are not clearly defined and differentiated, they will either meld together in an unhealthy way or everyone involved will simply be confused, including your customers.  This is obviously not a good thing so let’s set out to see if we can adequately define both of these critical organizations. Customer Support has been around forever so let’s start there.  They are typically defined as the group that does “break/fix” and are often characterized as always-on-call and the people behind the 800 number.  That’s all well and good but it doesn’t necessarily help your customer or internal folks to whom this doesn’t matter.  “Break/fix” doesn’t necessarily mean a lot to a customer although it does get at one of the key […]

6 min readNovember 5, 2013
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