Customer Success Goals: Cohorts, Metrics, and Prioritization

Também disponível em Português por Conpass I asked the VP of Customer Success what her goal was for the Customer Success Management (CSM) organization, and she said, “to ensure customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with our company.” That’s the definition of Customer Success that I developed, so I obviously loved that answer […]

Contents of an Awesome Customer Success Playbook

Customer Success has been clearly defined and what goes into Customer Success Management has been fully documented. But when it comes to certain aspects of Customer Success Management, there are still a few things that remain a bit mysterious to some. A great example of that is the concept of the Customer Success Playbook, the sports […]

Understanding Customer Success Management Compensation Models

What’s the best Comp Model for Customer Success Managers (CSM)? How can I create a compensation model that drives the type of behavior we need? What percentage of CSM comp should be variable, and what impact should individual vs. org-level performance have on the variable piece of compensation? The more this comes up, the more […]

Determining the Number of Accounts per Customer Success Manager

This is otherwise known as, “How to Determine Customer Success Practitioner Coverage Ratios.” Initially, the question was “how many accounts should a Customer Success Manager (CSM) handle?” But people quickly realized that answers like “37 on the low end; 200 on the high end” weren’t actually helpful. Then, an ex-CEO-turned-VC with a strong content marketing […]

Customer Success-driven Growth: Rapid, Exponential, and Efficient

Doing whatever you can, spending whatever you can spend, to acquire any and all customers – whether they’re a good fit long-term or not – is played out. That’s not a valid growth strategy anymore (it never really was). Today, Investors, Boards, Executives, and Startup Founders are all looking for rapid, exponential, and efficient growth. […]

Why You Can’t Offset Churn with Upsells

If you lose $1 in revenue through churn – either because a customer cancels their subscription or decides to stay but pays you less because of discounts or downsells – you first need to replace that $1 before you can start to grow. Now, you can acquire those churn-offsetting revenue dollars in two ways: by […]

9 Things Customer Success is Not

The definition of Customer Success has been clearly laid out. What goes into Customer Success Management has been fully documented. But there’s still a chance that you have a misconception or misunderstanding about Customer Success that could keep you from fully embracing this potentially transformative concept. So I want to make sure any preconceived notions […]

Customer Success Management: An Executive Overview

Customer Success is when your customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their Interactions with your company. The actual process of moving customers toward their ever-evolving Desired Outcome is called Customer Success Management. It’s important to understand the difference between Customer Success and Customer Success Management; the former can be thought of as an Operating Philosophy, while […]

Customer Success Management: The 8 Elements of this Valuable Business Function

What actually is Customer Success Management? This article takes you through the 8 elements of this valuable business function.

Orchestrating Sales and Customer Success Alignment

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of Customer Success yet, it’s when your customers achieve their Desired Outcome (what they need to achieve, the way they need to achieve it) through their interactions with your company. Customer Success begins at the first interaction with prospects by your sales team, and continues across their entire […]

Success Potential: The Foundation of Customer Success

Também disponível em Português por Exact Sales Customer Success starts with acquiring customers that have Success Potential. Customers that have Success Potential are said to be good fit customers. This is the opposite of bad-fit customers that cannot get value from a relationship with us now or in the near future. If you knowingly allow […]

Excuses and the Myth of Near-Zero Churn

Churn is a drag on growth. Churn hurts company valuation. There is no good reason to have churn in your business. I did an “Ask Me Anything” on Slack as part of the build-up for my “Building an Engine of Growth” Workshop and Keynote at SaaStock 2016 in Dublin, Ireland and it was awesome… until […]

Success Vector – a Better Customer Health Score

Customer Success is a Growth Engine. Investing in Customer Success-driven Growth is an efficient way to drive revenue and company valuation, and we need a metric that is designed to measure that growth. Introducing, Success Vector. Customer Health Score, historically the Key Performance Indicator (KPI) of Customer Success, is too much of a moment-in-time snapshot; […]

Don’t Mix SaaS Free Trial and Churn Metrics

Any metric that’s not acted on is a vanity metric, right? Sure, but that doesn’t cover every situation. Sometimes we measure things because we’re “supposed to” but honestly don’t know what to do once we have the result (add that to the list of things that are true but few people will admit publicly). It’s […]

SaaS Free Trial Conversion Rate Benchmarks

I’m frequently asked about SaaS Free Trial Conversion Rate Benchmarks; after being asked for the 97th time – this week – I decided to publish this post. First, a bit of a disclaimer. Benchmarks are neat… it’s cool to see how you stack up against other companies. Benchmarks are how some executives make decisions and […]

Churn is a Symptom, Not a Disease

Também disponível em Português por Mathias Luz Churn is when customers cancel their account, don’t renew their contract, or remain your customer but pay you less; the latter is referred to as “revenue churn” and includes discounts, down sells, etc. Now, many companies find out about Customer Success when searching for ways to reduce customer […]

7 Ways Customer Success drives Company Valuation

I’ve been saying for years that Customer Success is transformative; driving exponential value for both the vendor, as well as the customer. In fact, it’s that value growth for the customer that truly drives the value growth for the vendor. What goes around, comes around. And while the following is something I’ve shared with clients, […]

Customer Success: The Difference between Stretch and Bad-Fit Customers

What are the characteristics of a Bad-Fit Customer for your business? It’s great to know who your Ideal Customer is (my Ideal Customer Profile Framework is constantly updated), but it’s much easier – and I say required – to first identify the types of customers that are a bad fit and the characteristics that make […]

Two Ways to Reduce SaaS Cancellations

Fairy Tales have happy endings. That’s why they’re so popular; even if they include scary moments with monsters and evil blended family members, everything is pulled together nicely at the end when the naive protagonist is magically okay. In business, the same types of fairy tale exist, with one being that customers cancel their subscription […]

The Only Two Reasons Customers Churn

Churn is the antithesis of growth. When you lose a customer, in order to grow by one customer, you have to first replace that customer you lost, and then add a new customer. And when a customer leaves, they take the revenue they were paying you with them (often to a competitor!); but they also […]

You Have to Know why Your Customers Churn

When customers churn, that’s a problem. Even if their churn was “unavoidable” it still hurts. Churn hurts on several levels: from lowering revenue to hurting employee morale. And churn means something happened to the customer (out of business, acquired, etc.) or – and MUCH more likely – they didn’t achieve their Desired Outcome through their […]

Pricing Strategy Framework for SaaS Startups

Pricing doesn’t exist in a vacuum and is therefore not something you can tackle on its own. Pricing is a function of marketing and determines, among other things, your market position. It also indicates – or is ideally derived from – the type of customer you want to do business with. And of course in […]

Qualifying Leads in a SaaS Free Trial

I got this set of questions on Twitter: “Is there a certain level of activity during the free trial that is likely to predict conversion from free to paid? Also, how do other companies handle Sales vs. Marketing Qualified Leads (SQL vs. MQL) when it comes to Free Trials?” I thought that was an awesome […]

Reasonable SaaS Free Trial Conversion Rate

What’s a reasonable conversion rate from free trial to a paid customer? I get some form of this question from time to time and I’ve answered it several times over the years. Well, I got it again so it’s time to revisit this very simple question. As with most “simple questions” the question is easy to […]

Acceptable Churn Rate for Small Accounts

What drives a company to focus on Customer Success is changing. In the past, churn (or retention, depending upon how you look at things) was generally the catalyst. Once churn is under control, the catalyst changes to expansion; driving use, consumption, and revenue within existing accounts. And these days, startups are building Customer Success into […]

Success is Uncomfortable

I’ve talked before about holding customers accountable and how customer success isn’t about making customers happy. Sometimes you have to push customers out of their comfort zone and – if you’ll allow me to channel my inner Tony Robbins -progress is rarely made within our comfort zone That means moving toward success – whether for […]

The Risk (and Opportunity) in Stealing Customers

Picture it, São Paulo, Brazil, October 2015. After one of the sales and customer success workshops I did, a few of us went out for a snack – fried polenta sticks – and to talk shop… and the idea of Success Gaps came up. In particular, we talked about prospects that experienced Success Gaps with your competitor’s […]

A Foolproof Way to Get Testimonials Without Asking for Them

Personally, I’ve always found it difficult to ask for testimonials. It just doesn’t come naturally to me. In fact, one of the reasons I like doing calls on Clarity is that the platform closes the loop with the client for me, asking for a star rating and optional comments; to me, that part alone is […]

Success Milestones: The Path to the Customer’s Desired Outcome

I talk about Success Milestones all the time, not just in the context of Customer Success, but in the context of the overall success of my SaaS clients and the companies I work with. The concept of Success Milestones is a relatively simple one to grasp, but the power and the value of this way […]

This Customer Acquisition Mistake Can Kill your Growth

Também disponível em Português por Mathias Luz Can the customers you’re actively going after actually achieve success with your product or through their interactions with your company as things are today? If not, that’s a problem. The reasons they might not achieve success range from their readiness (they don’t have the necessary data or internal […]

Stop Using these Anti-Customer Terms

Ugh… isn’t dealing with customers that don’t get it and having to hold their hand along the way or check-in with them to make sure they’re okay, annoying? It’s so nice when you can hand ’em off to someone else, right? I hear that all the time from clients, on Clarity calls, and from companies […]

7 Reasons to Optimize your SaaS Free Trial

For SaaS vendors, the Purpose of a Free Trial is to create a customer. Period. If you don’t agree with that statement then you really won’t like pretty much everything else I’m going to say in this article. Free Trials are not for tire-kicking freeloaders – and if that’s what you’re getting in your free trial, […]

Desired Outcome is a Transformative Concept

Também disponível em Português por Mathias Luz One of the most powerful concepts I’ve ever come across in business is the idea of the customer’s Desired Outcome. And if you’re thinking “one of the most powerful concepts in business” seems like a pretty hefty charge, you’re right; this concept has transformational properties. When I first […]

The Seeds of Churn are Planted Early

“The Seeds of Churn are Planted Early” is a phrase I came up with in early 2013, published shortly thereafter, and have said and used many times since. I wanted to go on record with that – BTW, if you see the term’s use outside of my work or that of Gainsight’s, maybe send them this […]

5 Situations When Massive Churn is Just Fine

The mantra of “grow at all costs” – that seems to include acquiring wrong-fit customers (those who aren’t your Ideal Customers), churn be damned – has popped up several times lately and my reaction to it is two-fold. First, I immediately thought how stupid this is and how it flies in the face of everything […]

5 Lesser-Known Ways Churn Hurts your Company

The common refrain by SaaS experts that think business is just a math problem is that if a customer stays long enough to pay back the cost to acquire them (the metric is called Customer Acquisition Cost or CAC), they became a “profitable” customer (“unit economics” don’tcha know) and everything is great. Just do more of […]

Podcast: Getting Inside the Minds of Your SaaS Customers

How do you define success for your SaaS customers? While it sounds simple, it’s not. Success is only achieved when your customers reach their Desired Outcome by their interactions with your company. But first, you have to understand what it is that your customers want to achieve — and that can take some work. I […]

The Fiction that Friction Improves Customer Onboarding

A few months back an article was published that talked about how this popular brain training game (I can’t remember what it’s called) made their onboarding process MORE complex – not less – and increased their active users by 10%. While the article was very clear on when to add friction, most of the discussion […]