Customer Success: A company-wide priority6 min read
“Customer success has to be a company-wide priority”, said Nick Mehta, CEO at Gainsight, in his 500 words of wisdom.
Customer success will never scale as a job function.
One of the top things a company can do is actually make customer success a core part of the metrics you report on.
When you think about your board presentation or your company all hands, and you have a slide for sales and you have a slide for marketing, having a really great slide for all of the metrics you track and customer success and making sure you have metrics is just as important.
Only then will it be treated like a first class part of the strategy.
To get more insights from Nick, watch his full 500 words of wisdom on our YouTube channel. You can also read the full transcript of this video below.👇
The work one is that at Gainsight we had to create a new category. We built software for the customer success field, but there really wasn’t a customer success field when we got started. So not only did we have to create our software, we had to kind of create a whole new category, that meant creating the need for the job of customer success manager, convincing companies to hire them, convincing investors of the value of them, convincing people to go into the career. So that was the biggest challenge and we continued to work on it, but it’s been great. And then on the personal side, I started out as a very lonely kid. I just really didn’t feel like I fit in, ate lunch alone every day from kindergarten through 12th grade growing up, really just never felt like I fit in, always wanting to be part of the cool kids group, but just on my own. And then something happened I think in college where I finally found people that I connected with and over time my confidence built and built and today I’m very much an extrovert, but finding myself was the biggest personal challenge.
Well, if I could go back in time, I would wish somebody had told me to buy Amazon stock. That probably would be number one. But if I wasn’t focused on the stock market, I would say that the power of being your authentic self and just leaning into whatever craziness and silliness and goofiness you have in your own self and showing it to the world, that’s definitely been the superpower that I tried to develop.
My number one life hack, which is very relevant for the time that we’re in COVID quarantine is I love walking. And so when it was in-person business, I would do lots of walking meetings. Today I do a significant number of walking, phone calls, and zoom meetings and so on. And I actually hold myself accountable every day to our company on our slack system. I publish a list of what I did today, and I always publish my step count. And so that step count is something every day I’m building up to, what number am I going to share with the company? My all-time record so far is a 32,000 steps in a day which is about 16 miles. So not too bad.
I may need to listen to the rest of your episodes because I’m still trying to figure out how to make a good hire versus a bad hire, but I’ll share a two things I’ve thought a lot about. Number one is I think part of the secret to a good hire is actually making people good and setting them up for success in terms of how you onboard them early on. And so over the years, for example, early on I would bring in a new executive and say, “Go figure it out.” Hoping that they would, and now I’ve built with some of my teammates, a extremely detailed plan of what they need to do to learn our company and our culture and meet people and so on. So I think that onboarding plan, even for senior people is really important. And then the other thing I’ve learned is I think part of it is figuring out what’s the essence of your company and who are the good hires.
So one of the projects we’ve gone through and continue to work on is who makes for a great Gainsight employee? We call them Gainsters. Who makes for a great Gainster? And what is that essence that we’re looking for? I wish I had spent more time figuring that essence out early on.
I’ll give one professional and then two personal. So on the professional side, running a company called Gainsight, we recently partnered with Vista Equity Partners, which is a investment firm and when we talk to our employees, we talk about being in a new phase of Gainsight. We call it G5. The fifth phase of Gainsight. So my goal is to really launch G5 to our teammates and to our investors and make everyone feel like we continue to live up to our purpose of why we do what we do and that hasn’t changed, but we’re going to take our execution and scalability to the next level this year. So I hope everyone feels we haven’t lost our soul, and we’ve figured out how to take things to the next level. And then on the personal side, I’ll share two goals. One is I love reading. Last year I set a goal of reading 50 books in a year, which isn’t a huge number, but it’s about one a week so I was proud. This year I’d just like to beat that goal. So maybe it’s 51. Maybe it’s a little more than that.
And I’ve become one of those people that picked up golf and guitar during COVID, just having nothing else to do. So I would like to become serviceable at both golf and guitar.
Customer success has to be a company-wide priority. It will never scale as a job function. So to me, one of the top things a company can do is actually make customer success a core part of the metrics you report on. So when you think about your board presentation or your company all hands, and you have a slide for sales and you have a slide for marketing, having a really great slide for all of the metrics you track and customer success and making sure you have metrics, so it’s treated like a first class part of the strategy.
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