SuccessCon Boston hosted by the Customer Success Association (CSA) saw 100 people in attendance this year.
The theme for this year’s conference was The Customer Success Blueprint looking at the strategy, process, people and technology aspects of Customer Success.
The intimate afternoon event consisted of a main plenary session followed by best practices and case study sessions for each of the Strategy & Process and People & Technology aspects.
During the plenary sessions Mikael Blaisdell reviewed how the Customer Success (CS) profession is evolving by sharing the statistical trends occuring over a period of nine years (2009-2018), the time period over which the CSA’s research program has been tracking this data.
Customer Success Trends
Some interesting numbers that Mikael shared were:
Revenue Ownership (either owned or shared): in 2017 36% of the respondents said that their CS teams had no revenue connections whereas in 2018 that number decreased to 26%. That is, the trend for Customer Success teams to own revenue continues to grow.
Customer Success Plans (CSP): 56% of organizations have some form of CSP, 29% of respondents reported standard CSPs and 18% reported they do not use CSPs.
There were a number of other elements noted as being used including profitability, net revenue retention, code red saves, health scores and nothing at all which highlights the immaturity of the industry in measuring the profession’s impact to a company.
Measuring Individual Customer Success Manager (CSM) performance: 51% of participants sited net revenue retention as the basis for measuring CSM performance followed by increasing revenue (38%), measured progress on CSPs (36%) and customer health scores (34%). Customer health scores, NPS, logo renewal, CSAT, code red saves, number of QBRs and meeting quota were also sited.
Where Customer Success reports into: 40% cited that CS reports into the CEO/COO (down from 48% in 2017), 17% report to the CRO/CCO (up from 15% in 2017), 7% into VP Sales, 7% into VP Ops and 29% into VP other.
I had the pleasure of being on the experts panel to answer the audience’s questions for the Strategy & Process component, along with my former colleague Chad Horenfeldt.
The main themes of the questions coming out of the Q&A were about aligning with Sales, how to resource and organize CS on customer accounts and how to demonstrate Customer Success’ value and contribution to revenue within the organization.
Customer Success continues to evolve from “Random Acts of Customer Success” towards a more disciplined, repeatable practice of driving customer success.
As an industry we need to continue employing more standardized approaches to the work we do to ensure our efforts of driving successful customers is aligned to also increasing profitability for the companies we serve.