No one could have predicted the wild and tumultuous year that 2020 has turned out to be. While the customer success world (and the larger SaaS economy in general) has experienced its fair share of ups and downs this year, the industry will be even more prepared in the future.
Thanks to the unique situation that 2020 presented to us, customer success industry leaders can be ultimately prepared for what 2021 will bring – even if things don’t go quite as planned.
Here are 3 predictions for 2021 that will help customer success teams and leaders alike strategize, plan, and prepare:
1. Customer success will go from an important part of the SaaS industry to one of the most critical parts of the industry.
2020, thanks to its massive turbulence, shone a bright light on the importance of customer success; a department that has long been overshadowed by the flashier sales side of SaaS. With the nation’s economy at a temporary standstill, many organizations were unable to rely on new logos and instead turned their attention to keeping existing customers happy and growing.
This new industry focus on customer success will continue into 2021 as executives, boards, and decision makers will look to build on the success of customer accounts. There is no way customer success teams will go back to existing in the shadow of sales – instead, customer success will be paving the way to success in 2021.
2. CSMs will need their own tools and solutions to keep customers running successfully.
As customer success as a focus continues to grow, the role of the CSM and/or account manager will become more important than ever. And, as CSMs start taking on more and more responsibility in their organizations, they will need the right tools, resources, and solutions to be successful.
High-functioning customer success teams will no longer be able to leverage industry-agnostic PM tools or sales-focused CRM platforms. Instead, customer success teams in 2021 will need customer management solutions built specifically for their needs.
3. Every single department within an organization will start to rely heavily on customer success metrics.
Throughout the past year, SaaS companies of all shapes and sizes were forced to ‘pivot’ and change directions to better meet their customer goals. As such, data and metrics became a defining factor in decision making.
With customer success departments on an upward trajectory, the data compiled and shared from customer success teams in 2021 will go on to inform decision making and strategic planning across an entire organization. Every department from marketing to product to finance will need access to – and a detailed understanding of – customer success metrics and data.
After the whirlwind of 2020, it can be downright impossible to try and ‘predict’ what is what 2021 will bring. However, in a unique way, 2020 has actually put customer success teams in a prime position to survive and thrive in 2021 and beyond.
Interested in learning more? Check out these resources:
- Webinar & Report: The State of Customer Success in 2020
- Report: Top Customer Success Executives Predict 2020 Trends
- Toolkit: Customer Success Trends Toolkit