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Strategy Institute Customer Summit 2018 Recap Part I

Updated: Apr 15, 2019


Customer Success Trends and Tips

The beautiful Old Mill in Toronto was recently the venue for Strategy Institute’s Customer Success Summit 2018.


A first for Toronto, and for us Canadians in the Customer Success industry that regularly visit Silicon Valley, a real treat having a conference in our own backyard!


In attendance from various industries were roughly 100 people, all linked together through a keen desire to learn about and keep developing the practice of Customer Success.


Participants talked about the value of coming together as a group to share experiences and learn from others.


Presenters noted that sharing their story was a way of paying it forward, as they benefitted from the learnings of the pioneers before them.


The audience was treated to two days of presentations chalked full of learnings and suggestions for Customer Success practices that could be implemented back at the office, as well as examples of Customer Success transformations organizations are undergoing on their journey to Customer Success maturity.


Moderated by one of our own in the industry, Kelly Hall, Chief Customer Office at Vision Critical, kicked-off and lead the two days expertly recapping salient points from each speaker before introducing the next one.


With plenty of valuable information shared, I have aimed to cover the highlights from each session.


Day 1 Highlights

  • Pintrest’s Dutta Satadip covered how Artificial Intelligence and big data assist in automation allowing Customer Success to focus more on building customer relationships.


  • Steve Monti from Centro discussed how company culture differentiates Customer Experience and creates raving customer advocates. His tip for hiring – hire awesome people because awesome likes to, and works well, with awesome.


  • I covered how to drive revenue through holistic customer management by leveraging the customer journey. As Kelly summarized afterwards: “Her message was clear and concise, map your customer journey to know what is required for success, align your business to the journey and measure the progress.”


  • LinkedIn’s Perry Monaco highlighted how Customer Success Plans can and should be used to intelligently manage customers to their end goal. Use them to understand why customers buy – don’t come to the table with preconceived notions of what the customer needs to be successful – and ascertain whether they will buy again.


  • Mary-Ellen Anderson from Microsoft reviewed how in one year, the company transformed from an organization with no Customer Success to it being one of the most important motions that Microsoft is taking on.  Radical for the company is the understanding that Customer Success = Microsoft’s Success.


  • Gordon Sexton of Genesys shared how Artificial Intelligence can be used for Customer Success and Customer Experience.  Today the majority of companies make most of their decisions based on static rules which is a mistake.  Companies should use AI and their data to predict how to respond to customer’s needs.


  • Assent Compliance’s Rick Hiladie presented on the topic of how to achieve executive buy-in for Customer Success. He used a snorkel-scuba-submarine analogy to ask the question “What’s the narrative?”. Companies say they love their customers but what does that actually mean?


  • I moderated the panel on Customer Acquisition versus Retention where we explored how to incorporate customer retention within a company’s growth strategy and encourage existing customers to buy new products or services.


  • Natasha Narayan Regional Sales Director of Gainsight, shared her sales vantage point of how Customer Success has evolved before introducing Mike Maday who provided a very thorough overview of his daily account responsibilities to manage risk and churn on his enterprise accounts.


  • Leadspace’s Sherrod Patching reviewed how to manage risk by proactively identify issues. She led the audience through an account of the company’s transformation highlighting lessons learned through two specific case studies and left the audience with four key takeaways for risk mitigation: align with the customer’s business objectives, map risk along the journey, establish a common view of what risk looks like, and track, automate and iterate often.


  • Emilia D’Anzica shared how to drive product advocacy via a customer engagement program. A company’s involvement in the buying process influences it by only 35%, 65% of the time buyers are influenced by word of mouth.  Emilia offered a range of tips for creating an advocacy program to create those valuable word of mouth advocates.


Stay tuned for next week’s post covering Day 2 highlights!

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