What I Think About When I Think About Customer Success

Barry Devon
Oct. 18th, 2021

I've been involved with Customer Success Software for a while now and sometimes I make the mistake of thinking everyone understands what Customer Success is all about 😬. So, to clarify, here is what I think about when I think about Customer Success...

In SaaS, REVENUE COMPOUNDS, this is the 9th wonder of the world (the 8th is compound interest — according to Warren Buffett) i.e. If you keep adding new customers AND retain the existing ones long enough, you will likely see huge growth and profitability. It’s simple (but not easy).

Customer Success is a practice that has developed in response to this new world of SaaS. It’s an evolving set of ideas, principals, processes and tools that are used by SaaS companies to maximize the value they get from their customers through time.

The old paradigm of Sell and Support, realizing all of your revenue up-front and looking to minimize post sale interactions to a bare minimum is obsolete (in SaaS at least). Recent research indicates the average initial sale in SaaS contributes less than 30% of the lifetime value of the customer. That leaves a lot more potential revenue on the table, and a lot more work to earn it. This is why the the traditional ‘funnel’ model for sales has evolved into the SaaS/subscription bow-tie model [below].


This evolution in business has led to the development of a new breed of software to optimize for the management of customers in the ‘post-sales’ environment i.e. Dedicated, custom built CS platforms (rather than the endless array of general productivity tools you’re already familiar with, from email to spreadsheets to Helpdesk software to CRMs).

A well implemented CS platform (like Akita) can manage most of your key repeatable Customer Success processes, track your key metrics, surface the right data and insights for the right people at the right time and give your Customer Success Managers time to focus on building long term relationships.

This means, if you find the right solution and implement it well, your Startup can operationalize and automate:

  • Customer Onboardings
  • Product adoption
  • Customer Health
  • The Customer Journey
  • Playbooks
  • Task management
  • Key notifications…and more.
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