Welcome to the Customer Success Market – What took you so long?

October 15, 2014 Paul Philp

Welcome, Salesforce. Seriously. Welcome to the most exciting and important market since the CRM revolution began over 20 years ago! And congratulations on your first foray into the Customer Success Market – a game changer for cloud companies, of which you are considered a pioneer. Does anyone else see the irony?

Apparently there are telltale signs in the air – it is hanging high on the Moscone and it reads “ Salesforce The Customer Success Platform”.

Regardless, more competition in an effort to help SaaS companies succeed is welcome, especially on the grand scale that only Salesforce afford. Only time will tell if this is anything more than the positioning statement of the year for Dreamforce, but decidedly it does bring a certain sense of validation for those of us who are pioneers in this space. Who don’t treat customer success as the latest trend, buzzword or coined term and who have looked at customer success through the lens of what is critical for SaaS and the customer-facing practitioners of this new role.

It will be interesting to see how Salesforce addresses the needs of this market. Extensive research and development to create a purpose-built platform has exposed time and again that Salesforce just can’t meet the needs of customer success teams. It can’t be retrofit because SaaS executives and customer success teams need more than dashboards – they need insights, analytics, practical intelligence and automation to deliver customer success and business value. And only through repeatable, streamlined business processes can customer success teams scale to meet company growth and can SaaS companies continue to grow by controlling churn.

The initial close isn’t even the starting line today. The starting line has moved to a point where traditional CRM solutions are no longer equipped to handle. In a subscription business over 80% of revenue comes after the close – further down the funnel, at different stages of the customer lifecycle. That requires a platform that meets the unique business process requirements at each stage, that enables high-touch engagement, and that measures the efforts of customer success on customers over time. And one that delivers quick time-to-first-value for it’s customers and it’s customer’s customers. Your challenge is big, if you are starting from a different place.

It would be remiss of us, however, not to thank Salesforce for bringing some much needed attention to this very cool industry. By driving our vision, Amity is helping SaaS companies succeed today so then can continue building innovative products that people derive value from, because they are able to control customer outcomes. And we are helping customer success teams demonstrate performance and ROI so that this nascent industry can mature and thrive.

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