Move Fast and Break Things… But Better Be Sure Your Customers Are Successful

Matt Abrams

Investment Partner

“Success is the new Sales” is the trademark for ClientSuccess. Dave Blake and team have set out on a mission to ensure that this is the new reality. Let that sink in for a moment and truly understand as to what that means as this is a philosophical shift from what we traditionally see in the software world.  The software industry, as a whole, has grown up with the notion that it is critical to “move fast and break things”.  That is indeed critical; however, for today’s software companies to succeed, they need to move fast, iterate, and ensure their customers are wildly successful.

Fundamental Industry Transition

Until recently customer success had largely been a reactive function on the part of software companies.  Moreover, for the large enterprise software organizations it had been defined by measuring whether customers continue to pay exorbitant maintenance and implementation fees over a multi-year period.  But the industry is going through a fundamental transition from reactive to proactive to predictive and from “build my own infrastructure” to the Cloud.  Where once startups required their own infrastructure, they now rent from providers such as Amazon, Google, and Microsoft.  Where once the 800 pound gorilla’s in the enterprise world were able to continue to rely upon on-premise software sales, they are now moving rapidly to offer every layer of their stacks on the Cloud – from the Database to the complex enterprise applications and everything in between.

Proactive Customer Success

With this new model for startups and equally for the large enterprise software companies, comes a critical requirement to transition from reactive Support models to proactive Customer Success.  There is a business imperative to understand customer engagement and product problems before they lead to customer churn. Obtaining this feedback and, more importantly, being able to predict problems that lead to customer churn allows software companies to more rapidly optimize their product and services to align with the needs of their customers.  And, in the SaaS world, this drives the ultimate value necessary for the company to succeed – customer renewals. With SaaS products, the power has shifted to the customers who’s switching costs have dramatically dropped, putting enhanced pressure on the software providers to create durable. “sticky” products that generate strong renewals and upsells. The ClientSuccess solution allows any software company to proactively manage, measure, communicate, and predict the usage, engagement, and ultimately success of their customers throughout the complete customer lifecycle.  (Reach out to Dave and his team for a demo to see this in action) Their solution should be part of every forward thinking customer success organization.

Customer Experience Maturity Model

At Seven Peaks Ventures, we believe we’re in the early stages of this market and it’s just getting started. Gartner recently suggested that ~75% of organizations are in the nascent stages of the Customer Experience Maturity Model, of which Proactive Customer Success is the critical driver for “mature” organizations. Most importantly, mature organizations have learned to focus heavily on retaining their existing customers, while those lower in the maturity model are struggling to or myopically focused on only acquiring new customers. Generally, it is known that acquiring a new customer costs ~5x the cost to retain an existing one and >70% of the revenue in any SaaS business comes from the renewals and upsells.  ClientSuccess provides the fundamental platform for companies to move up that maturity curve and optimize customer retention and value.

Customer Success Software Focus

The team that Dave Blake has assembled knows this space and the need for this better than anyone.  Dave lived the pain of not being able to easily, quickly, and proactively understand the state of his customers at Adobe and Omniture.  And, in the short amount of time since the team received their initial funding, they have built a fantastic product and cemented tremendous partnerships. I emphasize that last point as the team has an ethos that their customers are their partners and they’re climbing the pitches together and overcoming each obstacle every step of the way.

All too often we come across technology products and entrepreneurs which hold significant potential, but lack the fundamental team makeup and compass that makes an enduring and resilient company. The team at ClientSuccess embodies what it means to make customers successful and it is something that they are deeply passionate about.  The humility, intensity, and speed at which the team executes, combined with their expertise in this area set them apart from others. This is the type of team we invest in and the type of team that makes something better for all of us. We’re privileged to be a part of their journey.


eBooks:

5 Ways to Surprise & Delight Your Customers

Customer Success as a Culture: Customer Success Leaders Edition

Blog Posts:

The Golden Rule of Customer Success: 8 Guiding Principles

6 Listening Techniques of Great Customer Success Leaders

Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong Customer Success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.

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