So G2 put out a survey and report on customer success recently that was an eye-opener:

  • 67% of CS execs report having a sales quota
  • 53% of CS execs now view their job as primarily a sales role

Now some of this may be semantics.  Business software companies have had “account managers” responsible for upsell since the earliest days.

As customer success came into its own, it was often seen as distinct from account management, focused on customer retention and happiness and NPS and CSAT.   Account management was often a “different department” if it existed at all, and often reported to sales.

The pressures of the last 18+ months to monetize the base in the face of slowing net new customer growth has led to a rebooting of the function and role.

CS now is primarily an upsell and sales function in many cases.

But who is left to truly help the customer?  To solve onboarding issues?  To get that integration working?  To make sure … they don’t leave and go to a competitor?

Often, no one.

Just a few bits of advice here:

  • Focus as much on New Net Customer Growth and Logo Retention / GRR as NRR.  Elevate keeping customers and acquiring new ones above monetizing the base by force-ranking your KPIs.  It may leave a few nickels on the table this year. But it ensures a brighter future.
  • If nothing else, make sure your Top 20% customers have true dedicated CS to solve their problems.  That aren’t primarily on a sales quota.  You need your top CS folks at least solving the top problems for your top customers.  Not trying to get them to buy more seats.  Or threatening them if they want to downgrade.
  • Measure the CSAT of your CS team.  So few actually do this.  Everyone does this in support, but so few in CS.  Do your customers love their CS exec?  And how often do they call them?

I don’t love this trend.  I like CS’s only core job being making customers truly successful.  But like side hustles, the trend looks to be here to stay.

A related post here:

Customer Success Has Gone from The Customer’s Ally To Its Nemesis

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