Customer Success is all about revenue growth and retention. It’s not just about customer satisfaction – something many people get wrong, according to Aaron Ross.
In his book “From Impossible to Inevitable”, he dedicates an entire chapter to this mission-critical business function for any SaaS startup. He goes so far as to predict in the future, Heads of Customer Success will be treated with equal importance to the Heads of Sales, Marketing, and Operations in the executive suite.
It’s a bold claim. His philosophy is data-driven and empirically verified. I’m excited to discuss with my own CEO. I might even have to send him this book.
The 6 Keys to Customer Success
Here’s a basic outline to Aaron Ross’s views on Customer Success:
- Customer Success is your core growth driver.
Customer Success is meant to decrease churn and increase revenue.
It’s a profit center, not a cost center for the business.
- Customer Success is 5 times more important than Sales.
Sales is a huge priority, sure. But if you’re on a monthly model, and keep 95% of your customers month over month, you’ll lose 60% of your revenue by the end of the year. Sales can’t prevent that. Customer Success can.
- Start early, hire early.
Don’t wait (like we did) to hire Customer Success. Aaron Ross recommends hiring 1 Customer Success Manager for each $2M in revenue – before you reach it.
- Visit customers in person.
This can only improve the relationship. Customers appreciate in-person attention. A phone call isn’t a substitute.
- Customer Success needs financial responsibility and metrics.
One bad assumption is: “a great product will automatically-create happy customers”
The purpose is to create “net-negative churn” – meaning increased revenue.
- Evolve Customer Success and metrics as you grow.
The needs for customer success differ at different stage of revenue attainment. $0-$1M SaaS companies need to figure out what customers want and do with your product, while $20-$100M SaaS companies needs to focus getting customers to expand seats and improve features.