December 5th, 2019
In this newsletter:
- How to get notified of major changes in your customers' business
- Making your product and CSM team sing in harmony
- How I use Gainsight day-to-day
- And more!
Last month, I published an article on LinkedIn called Attention CEOs: Fire Yourself. It struck a chord I was not expecting and became one of my most shared posts. The gist is my job has changed dramatically since I first started over six years ago, and I've learned that Gainsight needs a new CEO annually. I've learned to "fire myself" and adapt to those needs each year.
With that in mind, it's my pleasure to introduce you to the new CEO of Gainsight: it's still me (or is it?), but I’ve realized that the next phase of customer success needs me to go beyond the high-level fluff and get into the details of how the best companies are operationalizing CS in Gainsight.
INTEGRATE CUSTOMER SUCCESS AND YOUR PRODUCT IN REAL-TIME
In the early days, I spent a lot of time preaching you can’t ignore your customers in the cloud world. The good news is many of you got the message. The bad news is in some cases, we built customer success “silos” that are now killing the customer experience: CSMs reach out to clients while parallelly, uncoordinated in-product guides and pop-ups are firing. Meanwhile, Marketing is blasting clients via email. The end result is that customers are more annoyed than ever.
As such, we were excited to unveil our new version of Journey Orchestrator which now allows for a coordinated customer journey across CSM outreach, personalized emails, surveys, in-product guides and messages, text messages, and third-party API calls. The net-net is you can now build a customer journey—for onboarding, for new feature adoption, for new releases—that leverages every channel in harmony. (You can also check out this webinar for more.)
WHAT I LEARNED ABOUT THE CS EXEC JOB MARKET FROM MAKING 200+ INTROS
Customer success is a relatively new and fast-growing field and that means a LOT of companies are looking for people. As such, almost every day, I get an email from a CEO asking for “recommendations on a good CS leader.” In this article, I document some of my learnings about the CS career and exec hiring process.
GET ALERTED IN SLACK ABOUT YOUR CUSTOMERS' BUSINESS CHANGES
Let’s face it: no matter what you do, how your end customer is doing as an overall business is going to hugely impact your CS goals. Are they growing or shrinking? Are they launching new products? Did they just get acquired? Do they have a new CEO (keeping with the theme above)? Using some pretty cool Natural Language Processing technology, our new Company Intelligence module lets your CSM and Sales teams get alerted about key news (right in Slack) about your customers and then launch playbooks to respond.
HOW TO TALK ABOUT PRODUCT WITH YOUR BOARD
Several years ago, customer success was still nascent. As such, companies had no idea how to discuss the topic with their boards. We're at a similar phase now with product. Product is one of the biggest levers in modern cloud-based businesses, but many boards don’t know how to have data-driven conversations about the topic. I recently had a conversation with our board member, Ajay Agarwal from Bain Capital Ventures, about the topic—I highly recommend you listen to the recording.
DATA SHOULD BE YOUR BEST FRIEND IN CUSTOMER SUCCESS
Customer success is a people problem and it’s a process problem. But it’s also a data problem. And for most companies, the data is THE problem. A core challenge is that CS involves “blending” data from lots of places—usage/adoption, NPS, support cases, CRM data, and the like. That's why I’m excited about our new Data Designer that helps our customers combine data sets in real-time to answer questions like, “How does training correlate to customer adoption?” or “Which feature’s usage correlates to faster expansion?” In parallel, our Tableau Connector allows you to integrate these data sets into your larger business dashboards.
AN INTERVIEW WITH HITACHI VANTARA'S VP GLOBAL CS
We were able to sit down with Steve Wilson, the Vice President of Global Customer Success at Hitachi Vantara, in November. I love hearing stories like his, because they really look ahead to the future of customer success. His company is undergoing a digital transformation, and have had a lot of success in breaking down data and organizational silos to unify the company around a shared customer success mission. I've seen both startups and enterprises struggle to overcome silos, so it's great to hear how successful companies like Hitachi Vantara are doing it.
HOW CISCO USES SALESFORCE AND GAINSIGHT TO TRANSFORM THEIR CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE
Karthik Chakkarapani is VP of CX Digital Transformation at Cisco. He presented a great session at Dreamforce that goes in-depth into their CX processes across the lifecycle from before the sale all the way through renewal. Salesforce and Gainsight are huge parts of that lifecycle, and Cisco is using them together in a way that maximizes that partnership. Gainsight has always worked seamlessly with Salesforce, and Cisco has done a great job leveraging the two technologies together.
HOW I USE GAINSIGHT DAY-TO-DAY
Last but not least, I just published an updated version of my own Gainsight use case. I'm in Gainsight all day, every day. If you're curious how a CEO might use Gainsight to prep for a board meeting, for example, I talk about that in-depth. This updated version includes how I'm using our mobile app and how I use PX as well.
Thanks again for reading all the way through. I love hearing feedback on stuff like this—if you reply with your thoughts, I'll make sure my next quarterly newsletter takes into account your feedback! And if you have any questions, don't hesitate to reply and I'll connect you with the right person on my team to answer.