In How to Differentiate Customer Success From Customer Support, we explore the difference between these two mission-critical functions and how outcomes for customers differ.
What’s fueling the explosive growth of customer success? What’s trending now in customer success? And how will customer success continue to evolve in the future?
Customer success contributes to pipeline growth, customer retention, and customer loyalty. Customer success managers (CSMs) play a vital role in operationalizing your company’s commitment to helping customers extract value from their investments. And, as a result, customer success professionals are in high demand.
A 2019 Gainsight study about the State of Customer Success revealed:
- The number of customer success manager job postings on LinkedIn grew by 8x between 2015-2018 in the US.
- The number of customer success manager job postings on LinkedIn grew by 10x between 2019-2018 outside the US.
- The number of customer success job postings on LinkedIn grew by 84% between 2017-2018.
This is incredible growth. But where is that growth and demand coming from? These five business drivers will continue to accelerate your customer success investment.
1. Demand for improved B2B experiences
How often do you bring your experience expectations from home to work? And how frequently are you disappointed? You’re not alone. B2B customer experience (CX) index ratings significantly lag behind those of B2C, according to McKinsey & Co. B2C companies typically score in the 65% to 85% range, while B2B companies average less than 50%. This gap becomes even more apparent as B2B customer expectations rise. Customer success managers play a critical role in closing the B2B customer experience gap by providing proactive, relationship-based engagement.
2. Need to accelerate embedded customer base growth
According to Altify’s recent Customer Revenue Optimization benchmark study, companies project 58% of their growth in the next 12-18 months will come from existing customers. Existing companies cite experience as the top factor influencing future purchases, according to Gartner. And customer success is critical to delivering differentiated customer experience.
3. Opportunity to create shared risks and shared Accountability
How often do customers ask your company to put some “skin in the game?” Customer success managers and their clients can develop a shared understanding of the value clients seek and how that value will be measured. At Salesforce, CSMs align with customers to understand their desired outcomes, and they work along with them on their path to success.
4. Discover hidden customer needs
Today’s leaders are bombarded with big data, swamped with surveys, and flooded with feedback. Leaders can easily fall prey to managing “relationships by the numbers,” seeking the stories they want to hear while ignoring mission-critical red flags and opportunities to address customer concerns. CSMs play a critical role in uncovering hidden customer needs and critical context that enable companies to take timely actions on what matters most to customers.
5. Innovate together
Customers want opportunities to disrupt competitors and capture additional market share. Shared innovation is an opportunity to create shared value by providing solutions that meet new needs, unmet needs or existing market needs in unique ways. Customer success teams put your company’s products and solutions front and center by helping customers discover new ways to go to market with you.
If you’re ready to invest in customer success at your company, learn the 5 things you need to know about building your customer success organization.