What’s the point of continuing to fill in the leaky bucket if all the water keeps flowing away? This is the very idea behind Customer Success, and while the topic is growing, many companies are still lagging behind.
But first, why did I came into customer success ?
My first steps into customer support
In the 1990s, I was VP EMEA at Verity, the first generation of search engine (before the Internet existed ;)). I was selling an enterprise software, which implied big deals, team efforts and a lot of excitement. The job was fun, but it was also frustrating: once the deal was closed, I had very little feedback from the end users, except when they called the support team. I didn’t know if the client had managed to install the software correctly, and whether the teams were happy with it or if it became shelfware.
In 1999, I founded Qualys(QLYS), a SaaS security company. At the time, I opted for a SaaS model in order to have a better interaction with customers. Indeed, I have always being passionate with the product. The second reason was to generate recurring revenues rather than a sole sale.
More than a decade later, Qualys is public, doing very well, and since then I have managed several other SaaS startups… until founding Salesmachine.
The urging need for a Customer Success software
In 20 years, some things haven’t changed. Companies still run after new customers and neglect their current customers.Likewise, account managers are still managing manually their accounts in CRM like Salesforce, and do not track proactively the “health” of their customer.
Meanwhile, the end user’s expectations have changed drastically. We are now in the era of the consumption economy. Subscription-based and on-demand models are becoming the norm. Moreover, end users are much more involved in the decision process, and migrating to another vendor is easier than ever(read our article on the topic: The revenge of the farmers). That’s when Customer Success emerged.
According to Lincoln Murphy, Customer Success guru:
“Customer Success is when customers achieve their desired outcome their interactions with your company.”
So, the purpose of a Customer Success manager is to help his or her customers achieve their desired outcome. And the role is quickly growing inside companies.
Indeed, the Customer Success market is worth $900 million and growing by 30% every year. At the same time, Customer Success jobs are exploding — but in order to do their job, they need to have the right tools.
But the options in terms of Customer Success solutions were limited and constrained:
- The price was too high: only large organizations can afford one.
- The solutions were not flexible: their implementation cycle is long, locking the user into one solution with upfront costs and an unproven ROI
- The interface wasn’t intuitive and usually required training
How to fix it?
At the time, my conclusion was that the established solutions were not in line with the expectations. The market needed a much more agile solution, intuitive (in order to foster team adoption), accessible and affordable, offering a free trial, and connected to other business tools.
That’s how I decided to create Salesmachine: a product to help Customer Success teams be more productive and do a better job at onboarding, growing and retaining their customers.
Building the next-gen Customer Success Platform
In order to fulfill our mission, I made some decisions without compromise for Salesmachine:
1/ Entering data should be easy as pie — Salesmachine automatically collects data from several sources (CRM, HelpDesk, NPS, etc.) and tracks product usage (activity, sessions, licence utilization…).
2/ It should automatically identify which customers need attention at each cycle of their lifetime using the product — Salesmachine scores your customers’ health based on custom rules (such as their level of use of your product).
3/ The product should help CSMs manage their tasks and run adequate playbooks based on the customer situation — With Salesmachine, you can define specific playbooks for your own business, for your customers’ onboarding, expansion, renewal…
4/ It should help educate the customer on your product — Salesmachine helps you automate nurturing campaigns and drive your customers to using all the functionalities they need, in order to reduce churn.
5/ Finally, it should measure the performance of your strategies and your team — Salesmachine directly displays the “health” of your MRR and produces customer and productivity reports.
For the past 2 years, we have spent our days and nights building the Customer Success platform we were dreaming of. We have iterated and improved over time with the help of hundreds of incredible clients, such as Zapier, Pipedrive, Mention, Marvel, Instapage… Through their feedback and suggestions, they are helping us create the future of Customer Success.
Wanna be part of this wonderful crowd? Why don’t you give a try to Salesmachine? We would love your inputs and we’ll make sure to make it a success for you.
Gilles Samoun, Founder & CEO @ Salesmachine