after attending SaaStr Annual 2016. For me, it was exciting, inspirational and a must-go-to conference for anyone starting a business or in the early stages of raising capital. The networking alone is worth it!
The speakers, including many of the most influential tech industry founders, VCs, CEOs, and VPs, shared how important customer success is to their profitability.
Here are the six key insights I gained from the conference:
1. Amazing New Team Onboarding Experience is Key
Making every new team member onboarding experience amazing will have lasting impacts on your company success, regardless of the phase the company is in. In customer success, this means making sure your team has the tools and knowledge they need to be successful, beginning from day one. If your employee has a great onboarding experience, the chances of delivering a successful onboarding to your customers are much higher.
2. Hey Ms. CEO – I Need Your Advice
Successful customer success managers (CSMs) are empowered to call on all company staff, including the CEO, to improve the customer experience. This will only work if the CEO makes herself available to the customer team and their customers. It is this type of “transformational” company thinking that Gainsight’s Dan Steinman (@dantsteinman) shared. I am lucky to work for a company who already thinks and acts this way.
3. Net Retention as Your Number One KPI
Incentivize and measure your customer success team with KPIs as a motivational tactic. From a company success perspective, the most important KPI is net retention.
4. Don’t Stop
Constantly watch and act on customer usage and act quickly to implement key findings. NPS scores, surveys, and customer relations can help your company be pro-active and avoid surprises later on. This advice was given by Hubspot’s founder, Dharmesh Shah (@dharmesh), and is true regardless of the stage your company is in.
5. Reducing Customer Effort Level is King
Product ease-of-use will set your company apart from the competitors. Several of the speakers talked about how important this factor is to long-term customer success. If your product isn’t easy-to-use or sticky, then find tools to improve product usability.
6. Major Mistakes SaaS Vendors Must Avoid
This came from a talk where CCO of DoubleDutch, Annie Tsai (@meannie) summed up nicely what not to do when building a customer success team. The 5 mistakes to avoid are: ignoring sales handoffs, just hearing your customers, listening to the wrong customers, skipping instrumenting customer success and treating support and success as the same thing. I can’t agree more after being part of three dynamic start-up customer success organizations. Is your company doing any of these five things? If you answered yes, it is time to roll up your sleeves and re-evaluate your customer strategy. As Annie said, ‘Just don’t do it!’