Customer success (CS) is a commonly-used phrase in enterprise as we speak, usually confused with customer expertise and customer service. 

To put it merely, customer success is the gathered success achieved by a customer, made attainable via a mutually-beneficial relationship and collaboration between a software program supplier and its clients. But this definition doesn’t do the idea justice.

Below, we clear up the confusion round what CS is. We additionally clarify how CS is depending on, and interconnected with, a whole group, each from a income and a collaboration perspective.

What does customer success imply as we speak?

To perceive what CS actually is at its core, it’s useful to first perceive the evolution of CS, and why it has change into so essential as we speak. Customer success is virtually fully contained throughout the realm of B2B SaaS companies.

The thought of your customer being profitable utilizing your product is easy to understand. To conceptualize it in the way in which it’s getting used as we speak, we should have a look at the beginning of modern-day cloud computing.

Cloud computing turns into mainstream 

Until 1999, laptop software program was offered on floppy, then compact discs, that had been put in on an area laptop.(1) When the software program supplier launched an replace, you obtained a brand new disc and put in the replace your self.

Then, one thing revolutionary occurred. A gross sales govt from Oracle based Salesforce, with a imaginative and prescient that to be able to make highly effective B2B software program out there to the plenty, it needed to be accessible via the web. 

An surprising problem

When B2B SaaS merchandise turned widespread within the early 2000s, distributors started to face an issue. They’d invested considerably in buying new clients and rising model consciousness however hadn’t invested in customer coaching, nor thought of retaining these new clients and renewing their subscription-based contracts. 

This pissed off clients as they had been utilizing sophisticated software program however not receiving ample steering on how you can use it correctly. High customer churn charges turned rampant and this new methodology of delivering software program was in jeopardy. 

Customer success is born

At that time, customer success arrived on the scene. It was the device early B2B SaaS firms found and applied to resolve these points and gradual customer churn. They realized clients had to achieve success utilizing their merchandise, in any other case their recurring income enterprise mannequin won’t survive. 

This planted the seeds that will develop into trendy customer success and proceed to outline its evolution.

Defining customer success as we speak

With that background in thoughts, right here is a extra nuanced definition of customer success:

Customer success is the top results of a multi-faceted, organization-wide effort to know customer wants, challenges, and targets, then work immediately with clients to satisfy and surpass these goals. 

This requires distributors to supply all of the instruments and schooling wanted to make sure that clients: 1) perceive the aim of the product they’re utilizing, and a pair of) know how you can use it successfully to drive their very own enterprise success and income progress. 

Customer success in 2020: Who wants it & why?

B2B SaaS firms want an inside customer success perform. Today, many B2B SaaS firms have their very own CS groups centered fully on educating clients on how you can efficiently use their software program because it pertains to every customer’s particular use case.

Teams of customer success managers (CSMs) help clients on a one-on-one foundation with the top purpose of driving their enterprise success. Each customer has a devoted CSM that understands their wants, challenges, and targets. CSMs help and assist every particular person customer obtain their distinctive targets and in a means that aligns with their working practices.

This is mandatory given growing competitors in B2B SaaS. The firms leveraging success packages are pulling forward of those who don’t. Customer expectations now obligate B2B SaaS firms to take action.

Why is customer success so essential? 

CS impacts the remainder of your corporation in some ways. It offers quite a few advantages and includes many transferring components. In brief, it’s all interconnected and it begins with a vendor’s worker satisfaction charges.

Let’s unpack this net of interconnectedness.

Employee satisfaction

Satisfied staff are extra motivated to supply a high-quality work product. They pay extra consideration to clients’ wants, resulting in a greater customer expertise.

Customer expertise

When your organization delivers a constructive customer expertise, it generates glad clients. They advocate in your model and are loyal to it. They assist increase your model consciousness via phrase of mouth promoting. This creates market belief and attracts new clients.

Organizations can ship a greater expertise by leveraging the non-public and historic customer knowledge captured and saved in a unified CRM. A unified CRM offers many advantages, together with the flexibility to drive customer success. 

Customers profit when an organization makes use of a unified CRM via the elevated high quality of help and a spotlight they obtain from their vendor. Vendors profit via greater charges of customer retention and decrease charges of customer churn.

Customer churn and retention

The happier and extra loyal clients are, the extra seemingly they’re to stay together with your firm over the long run. This reduces customer churn charges and consequently will increase customer retention charges. Those two components result in additional advantages for the seller.

Increased income & enterprise progress

When customer churn is low and retention is excessive, your organization has a dependable supply of recurring income. This is essential to notice as a result of, on common, 83% of SaaS income comes from customer contract renewals.(2) 

This feels like an easy-to-navigate course of, but it surely’s extra sophisticated than it seems on the floor.

How does customer success work?

Customer success groups take the baton from scales as soon as a brand new customer is acquired. CSMs’ first activity is to conduct complete customer onboarding packages, full with intensive product coaching.

CS groups then proceed to work immediately with clients to make sure that success is achievable, scalable, and sustainable. 

This requires customer check-ins, routine well being checks, and a deep understanding of how profitable clients are at any given cut-off date. It additionally requires CSMs to provoke extra touchpoints to make sure clients all the time have the instruments they want and obtain extra schooling when wanted. 

Customer success doesn’t begin and finish with onboarding, however relatively it continues via a clients’ complete lifetime and relationship with the seller.

What do CS groups do?

Ensuring long-term customer success requires CS groups to have customer success playbooks that outline actions that ought to happen at given factors within the customer journey. For instance, every CS group ought to have a customer renewal playbook that is put into motion when a customer’s renewal date approaches.

How a unified CRM facilitates success

A unified CRM facilitates customer success via automated notifications and trigger-based actions which might be prompted by customer habits. 

At every touchpoint, CS groups step in—usually in collaboration with different inside groups—to use CS playbooks at every pre-defined level alongside the customer journey. 

They collaborate with gross sales, advertising and marketing, customer help, account administration, and extra. In this fashion, customer success is a company-wide initiative that wouldn’t be attainable with out participation from different groups.

Continuing the dialogue

You now perceive what customer success is and have a excessive stage of understanding of the way it works.

Stay tuned for half two the place we dive deeper into what it is advisable to put together for and launch your customer success initiatives. 


Read extra like this:



  1. “Introducing customer success 2.0: The new growth engine”, McKinsey and Company, 2018

  2. “Customer success accelerates user adoption by rapidly creating product experts,” Mindbody, 2018

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