In this episode, we deep-dive into how MixMax is partnering with Gainsight to increase efficiency for individual CSMs and remove barriers to effective customer feedback. Elliot Kohtz (Director of Customer Success, MixMax) tells us his personal story on joining MixMax, how MixMax is partnering with Gainsight, and more.
Brian Brannon [00:00:01] You’re listening to Gainsight Partners showcase, a series that highlights key companies in the Customer Success ecosystem who have partnered with Gainsight to drive meaningful results across the community. In this episode, I sit down with Elliot Kohtz (Head of Customer Success, MixMax) to discuss how MixMax is partnering with Gainsight to deliver success for their customers and for the community at scale.
Brian Brannon [00:00:24] Elliot, Thanks for coming on.
Elliot Kohtz [00:00:24] Yeah happy to be here. Thanks so much, Brian.
Brian Brannon [00:00:26] Of course! Elliot there are many in our audience and who probably don’t know what MixMax does and who its customers are. Can you give us a brief break down on what MixMax does?
Elliot Kohtz [00:00:37] Yeah for sure. So MixMax, at its core, is basically a customer success or sales engagement tool. I think about what really makes us stand out is we sit seamlessly on top of the Gmail that you know and love today and supercharge all of your Gmail functionality with a really rich feature set.
Elliot Kohtz [00:00:58] So what does that mean right?
Elliot Kohtz [00:01:00] MixMax can give you email tracking, scheduling, reminders, send later, sort of marketing drip campaigns, as well as like Salesforce automation, and other integrations with apps that everybody knows and loves like Slack or Docusign. So it’s a really robust product that does a lot of things.
Brian Brannon [00:01:19] It sounds like you’re the toolkit for getting sales teams off one piece emails and getting them really integrated within the entire ecosystem of their business. That’s amazing.
Brian Brannon [00:01:30] I wanted to talk about your background. You’ve had a very interesting career in customer success. Prior to MixMax, you came from Quantic Minds as the Director of Customer Success. Prior to that, you were actually an Account Manager at Zenefits. So you’ve really seen the revolution and evolution of account management to customer success. What has that journey been like and really what have you brought from those two previous roles to your role at MixMax?.
Elliot Kohtz [00:01:53] Yeah. I think the most interesting thing when I think the differences between those two past lives is they both kind of sat on different continuum of the sort of the SaaS spectrum if you will. Where Zenefits was very much a large surface area SaaS product that did a lot of things with tons of customers which might have a very small like annual contractual value. So it was much more around like support, sales, and enablement and how can we make sure all of these customers get like a really solid experience at scale. And Quantic Minds was kind of on the opposite end of the spectrum where we had maybe, you know, sub one hundred customers but which with very high ACV’s and it was much more of not just a SaaS platform but also professional services built in too. Where, you know, very heavily unlike on-sites making sure things are running correctly. And just Quantic Minds was much more centered towards like PPC marketing and Google AdWords. So very very different businesses and I think it’s great because I’ve kind of got a blend of SaaS on on both ends at both ends of the spectrum.
Brian Brannon [00:02:58] That’s awesome. One thing that doesn’t change across all those businesses is doubling down their customer’s success and their desired outcome. So I’m interested to know, what initially brought you to MixMax and what was the motion for you joining?
Elliot Kohtz [00:03:12] Yeah. I think whenever I’m looking at a new opportunity I look at a couple of things and the thing that stood out with MixMax was really the product first.
Elliot Kohtz [00:03:22] Once I use it I was able upsell while there’s like immediate value here I think looking at a lot of SaaS startups in the ones that sometimes don’t make it is they might be catering to like a very niche audience right. And that’s not the case. Like anyone who uses G suite can get a lot of value out of MixMax. So I was like “wow the total addressable market is fantastic.” And then the other piece was just the people, the founding team and getting to talk to them meant a lot. That’s Olaf, Chanpory, and Brad. Their backgrounds were amazing coming from Skype, Gmail and Inkling another really successful SaaS startups here in the valley. And the thing I really like about when I had the opportunity to talk to them was it felt like an extremely customer centric organization. Olaf’s a product founder and so he views everything through that lens as our CEO where is obsessed with the product, He’s obsessed with our customers and coming into a Customer Success role that’s really exciting, right, where you know you’re gonna have that top level support to make sure there’s a level of polish and urgency around all customer interactions. And that was that really just kind of put me over the edge I said, “hey, between the team, the founders here and the product and when it does like this seems like a really good fit.”
Brian Brannon [00:04:35] That’s super good to hear and very interesting as well because now MixMax and Gainsight are partnering together and so I want to talk about that partnership a little bit and how MixMax is bringing that focus of the customer into the ecosystem of the Customer Success ecosystem and really partnering with Gainsight to help enable a better focus on the customer. So, I’m intereted to hear from your perspective, what does the partnership with MixMax and Gainsight mean for the broader customer success community and how will be working together?
Elliot Kohtz [00:05:03] Yeah I mean when I look at the partnership it just makes a lot of sense right. I think there’s great synergy between Gainsight and MixMax. Like we both are totally devoted to helping CS teams stay engaged with their customers and ultimately what do we want to drive?
Elliot Kohtz [00:05:18] We want to drive them towards retention and growing their business.
Elliot Kohtz [00:05:21] Right. And so I know we’ve been working on a couple of things with our marketing team. You know we were at Pulse a couple of weeks ago which was fantastic and it’s great to see that show always growing. We’re working on a couple of blogs and videos as well and excited to see what else we have in store down the pike.
Brian Brannon [00:05:40] So looking towards the future, how do you see MixMax helping enable CSM teams. How does the MixMax product for customer success things makes sense and really how can they leverage it to become more efficient and more productive as an individual CSM?
Elliot Kohtz [00:05:59] Yeah totally. When I think about it I just think MixMax helps customer facing teams be more productive in like a variety of ways. And when I say customer facing I mean our core customer segments: CS teams, recruiting teams, and account executive teams. And how can we give people time back with our toolset so they can focus on what actually matters and like dealing with their customers. So how do we get there right? You know from a specific example for our CS teams around a renewal. I know all CSMs are always chasing renewals or you know some some function of the CSM at a company is chasing renewal and you’ll run into a situation where someone might not be getting back to you, right? What we do here internally, which is really powerful, using MixMax you can add like a call to action button in that email or a poll which basically says, “Hey, Click this if you want to renew” or “Hey, if you’re not going to renew, can you give me one of these three answers on why?” And we’ll see customer responses uptick very quickly because someone might not want to write you a long email but they’ll sure as hell click on a button and get back to you quickly. And that’s just one example I like how using just one of these singular features and MixMax gets people more productive and more time back in their day.
Brian Brannon [00:07:15] And it’s really just eliminating that barrier between the uplift of writing that email going into that detailed that they’re not going to renew versus just giving them a very quick and easy way to add sentiment to that customer history and that customer status, the health score if you will. I think that’s really really interesting. I’m interested to know MixMax has a lot of various customers across different industries and job functions. What are some of the key areas that you’re solving for those customers and what are some of the common issues that you see customers facing when they’re doing things like the renewal like you just said?
Elliot Kohtz [00:07:55] Thinking about that, we sort of moved into this new world where customers want solutions instantly. Right? And if you’re not getting back to them yesterday about something and being mindful of their time, they can escalate. Right? I think there’s just this sort of demand economy that’s generated if you look at Netflix and all these other solutions where everything’s just instant and at your fingertips. So we’re trying to sort of solve a problem for our customers where how can they have this really authentic communication at scale but also make it feel personal at the same time. And like what’s an example of that where we can move really quickly at scale but also feel personal? You know you can set up a marketing campaign in MixMax where you can have specific variables that you know you can fill in maybe from your CRM system on a potential candidate on a potential lead or you can call out things regarding their previous employment or something that they’ve worked on and then send that out at scale to maybe like your 10 or 15 hottest leads. So you’re doing something that can still feel very authentic. But at the same time you can move quickly. And I think that’s tough, right? That’s what you always work with when you’re working with automation. How can you leverage it but also not feel like you’re doing kind of like a spray and pray approach?
Brian Brannon [00:09:09] I absolutely, at that Gainsight we always talk about this concept being human first in everything that you do from customer interactions to the way the products and sounds and MixMax is definitely carrying on that ethos of trying to create the most human-forward thinking interactions and products available. That’s fantastic.
Brian Brannon [00:09:32] Elliot, looking across the portfolio of your customers, you have a lot of different segments and a lot of different types of companies. At different seasons of growth. Can you tell us little bit about what your initial market was and then how your your portfolio has grown from there.
Elliot Kohtz [00:09:46] Yeah for sure. I think that was one of the most interesting things about MixMax and what drew me to the company when I was first having conversations with our CEO Olaf and the team. We came from this team of maybe 15 or 20 engineers and product folks who built this solution that had a great annual recurring revenue based solely on viral growth. We hadn’t spent a marketing dollar. And these are single seats where users would sign up for a single seat tell their friends and other folks sign up and that was just amazing. Since then in the past couple of years, we’ve actually grown out a go to market team where we have a full marketing function and full sales function and full success function. And we’re now moving upmarket to SMB, mid-market, and enterprise companies and have a lot of those interspersed with our book. And that’s why I see that the tools so powerful where anyone who has G suite we can present value to them regardless of where you kind of are on that spectrum.
Brian Brannon [00:10:44] Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of the Partner Showcase series. You want to check out more of our partners visit our web site at www.gainsight.com.