Customer Success: Key Learnings from Saastr Europa 2018

ParisI just returned to San Francisco after an exhilarating two days at SaaStr Europa 2018 in Paris. What struck me most was the champion network that was being built everywhere I looked. People eager to connect and share their challenges and to share ideas on how to overcome them.

On June 14th & 15th, approximately 1500 technology aficionados descended on Paris, France for the first annual SaaStr Europa.

The event was remarkable, inspiring & action packed. Starting with a happy hour at ‘The Family,’ in a trendy but hidden alleyway in Paris. Upon entering the airy lounge, one could feel the excitement among the SaaS obsessed. Champagne flowed and laughter and dialogue filled the room. For the speakers, the night continued at a French Bistro where we had the opportunity to meet other speakers.

The next day, the event kicked off early at the Intercontinental – Le Grand. Salesforce sponsored a hearty breakfast and espresso to jolt the eager attendees. The venue was perfect for an inaugural event: from the historic building hosting us, to the bigness of the foyer and conference rooms, to the lavish attention to details, it was one of the most memorable tech events I’ve been to in a while. The event topics were relevant to any person starting a company or seeking to expand their start-up strategy. There were also several investors there seeking to meet with founders looking for their next series of founding. CEOs like Ross Mason, founder of Mulesoft, were in attendance to generously share their stories in the trenches as they built successful companies from the ground-up.

I showed up excited to speak on a panel focused on “Customer Success Best Practices: maximizing revenue, NPS and going beyond delivering ‘happiness.” I also had other goals – meet as many women in tech as possible and other Customer Success & Experience professionals working in Europe.

I flew in from San Francisco, while others arrived from several cities including Portugal, Palo Alto, and Oslo. I  appreciated the conference focus on cultural and gender diversity and inclusion.

One of the best reasons to attend an event such as SaaStr is there are opportunities to meet people you may never connect with otherwise. I made a commitment to meet as many CEOs who wanted to learn about customer success and advocacy at the conference. SaaStr offered “Braindates” where people posted their area of expertise online and others scheduled them for advice. I met with six CEOs from all over Europe who had started companies and wanted advice on expanding in Europe and the USA. They wanted to know ‘how do I leverage my customers to build my brand.’ This is a question that is not easily answered in a 30-minute conversation but one that is commonly asked over and over again across companies in all segments…and if your company is not asking this question, I would ask, ‘why not?’

How customer success can impact the growth of your company is something Jason Lemkin and Aaron Ross talk about in their book ‘From Impossible to Inevitable’ but few companies have figured it out.

Companies globally are racing now to build or buy technology to facilitate in leveraging the customer digital adoption experience while other companies are investing in their employee training programs to better deliver customer value with velocity. These efforts have common goals – increase product adoption, reduce churn and sell more through the voice of the customer.

After all, have you ever purchased a SaaS product that didn’t offer some sort of customer support – whether it be in-product and contextual, via chat, support email, a customer community, a training program, or through a customer success manager?

Customer Success was only one of the topics that were discussed at the event. Others topics included “How to build a no BS marketing engine in SaaS,” “SaaS Metrics,”, “Building a Culture that Scales,” and “Breaking Through $15m ARR.”

SaaStr Europa 2018 finished up with a smashing party and plenty of food and drinks to go around. The best part, however, and I think many will agree, was the opportunity to meet so many people in an intimate setting. The new relationships being formed will surely continue long after the event.

Congratulations to the team who created such a well-thought-out gathering and for the customer experience you created for your attendees and speakers. I know I will be trying some new French recipes from the book you gave the speakers and the SaaStr Eiffel Tower snow globe will always remind me of what a special event I experienced.

‘Vive Le SaaStr Europa!’

Published by Customer Growth Advisor

Emilia D'Anzica is the founder of Customer Growth Advisors. The company was acquired by Winning By Design in December 2018. She is a senior technology business leader with nearly 20 years of delivering customer outcomes. Leveraging extensive comprehension of and talent for customer success transformation, Emilia is a valuable asset for tech, e-retail, recruitment, HR, communications, and telecom industries seeking expert assistance with digital transformation, building a customer success team from scratch, customizing professional services, creating exceptional company cultures, and establishing scalable operations and processes. Prior to launching her own consulting firm, she was the Vice President of Customer Engagement at WalkMe™ for three years where she built the customer success team and customer marketing team across four global locations. The team won a 2016 Customer Service Award from Stevie's as a result of her transformational work. Previously, Emilia served as a Director of Customer Success for both BrightEdge and Jobvite, scaling programs and teams globally. Emilia has been recognized as one of the “Top-25 Customer Success Influencers” and a 'Top 100 Customer Success Strategists' by Mindtouch. She was also recently named as one of the '7 most influential women in Customer Sucess'. Emilia has served as public school board member and part of a Parent Action Coalition in San Francisco, making a lifetime commitment to supporting public schools because it was those teachers who had the largest impact on her future. In addition, Emilia served on two SaaS advisory boards, Crowdvocate, and Catalyst, and has been on other boards over the past decade. Emilia holds a Masters of Business Administration (MBA), with Honors Distinction, from Saint Mary’s College of California. She focused on global strategy and competition. She attained a Bachelor of Arts Degree with a Canadian Studies Major, and a Social History Minor, from the University of British Columbia. You can contact Emilia at Emilia@winningbydesign.com.

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