The Best Customer Success Resources of 2016

March 9, 2016 Matthew McLaren

The Best Customer Success Resources of 2016

Editor’s note: This is a living document, and our goal is to update it regularly with the best resources around customer success. Have a suggested link we should add? Let us know in the comments below.

The Best Customer Success Resources of 2016

Surely, you are staying up to date on the latest customer success trends – did someone say “customer marketing”? But in order to bring it up a notch, you need to discover some new resources. Maybe even step away from your desk and get a front-row seat to some action.

With so many customer success resources to choose from, we’ve selected the top customer success resources and events that we think will educate and inspire you for the rest of the year.

Blog Posts

Advocates: The Future of Customer Success

If advocacy isn’t part of your customer success strategy, you could be missing a big opportunity.

Are Your Customer Success Stories Being Heard?

Communicating your customer's successes can be one the strongest marketing approaches there is. Reviews have really changed the way we buy in the B2C world, and for B2B, really demonstrating the benefits of your product versus just telling can be a big differentiator in the buyer’s journey. 

Customer Success Management Comes of Age

One has only to look at our daily routines to realize that customers' relationships with companies have evolved significantly in recent years. If you're running low on hand soap, you can log on to Amazon.com and order a fresh supply through your Prime account. When you're visiting an expensive and unfamiliar city, you can tap into your monthly Zipcar subscription and summon a GPS-equipped car for the amount of time you need it.

Customer Success Strategy: Why a Personal Approach Matters

When a CSM creates an environment where learned skills can be easily transferred to new team members and leadership, we multiply the yields of our efforts. Customers who have clear goals and a strong understanding of how to reach these goals are able to keep themselves on track.

Exploring the Top 5 Benefits of Customer Success

The nature of the SaaS model means that there is a very direct relationship between your company’s ability to achieve its corporate goals and your customers’ ability to achieve their goals. You cannot have one without the other.

How to Hire for Customer Success

Once you convince the influential players in your company that Customer Success is on the cutting edge of innovation in the post-sales ecosystem, and before you choose a Customer Success Automation platform, you have to find the right people to fill your CS team. Here are the primary criteria you should emphasize when hiring your Customer Success operators.

How To Set Yourself Up for Customer Success With The Need For Speed

Not too long ago, long shipping times were the norm, the expectation. Customers accepted it. Then we jump to today where we have Amazon testing two hour delivery by car or truck (in certain markets) and using autonomous vehicles to fulfill a record number of orders.

How to stop firefighting and start managing your time as a CSM

You head into work with a strict schedule: call your three newest customers to see how onboarding is going, meet with the product and development teams, and finish helping the client who phoned in yesterday with questions about your app’s newest feature. You’re chugging along when all of a sudden you get a call—one of your clients has lost all their data. Now, your job is reduced to firefighting.

Improve Your Onboarding Practices for Customer Success

During the onboarding period, customers are highly motivated to get started and are awaiting clear instructions from you, the vendor, as to what to do next. How you handle this transition will have a great impact on their decision to continue with your solution.

Inside Customer Success: LinkedIn

With more than 414 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is the world's largest professional network on the Internet. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, LinkedIn has offices across the globe. We sat down with Perry Monaco, Manager of Customer Success - The Americas, to discuss how Customer Success has evolved at LinkedIn over the last 5 years.

Team Trifecta: Why Align Customer Success with Sales & Marketing?

Why is this so important? Easy: the modern buyer doesn’t make a distinction between these three groups, they only see the one company. As a result, when one of those teams is out of alignment with the others, it is the business as a whole that suffers.

The Real Value of Customer Success

If a business can help its customers be successful, they will make the business successful as a result—makes sense. Establishing and executing a strategy that evolves with customer expectations and trends is where the real challenge comes in.

The Reason Why More Companies Are Using Customer Success Teams to Ensure Customer Lifetime Value

Customer retention rates are important to the success of your business regardless of the industry you’re in. Why? According to a study by Gartner Group, 80% of a company’s future profits come from 20% of their existing customers. This means that opting not to have a customer success team undoubtedly results in lower revenue and damage to, what should be, long lasting relationships with your customers.

This Customer Success Thing

If you are a Customer Success professional or just an evangelist of it, you likely get what Customer Success is and how it’s achieved. But, for those of you that are intrigued by Customer Success and don’t yet have a firm grasp on how impactful it can be in your organization, it’s important for you to first understand how the Customer Success Manager fights the good fight.

Welcome to the Success Economy: Enter the Age of the Subscriber

It goes without saying that we’ve entered a new age when it comes to the customer. The Software as a Service (SaaS) model, moved the customer into the driver seat, and they are not going to give it up.

Why Every SaaS Employee is a Part of Customer Success

Customer success isn’t a lonely department. It should be engrained in every employee’s position. Work with your entire team to fully engage your customers and to add more value at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

Why the Customer Success Manager is the Product Manager’s New BFF

Customer Success Managers are uniquely well-positioned to help Product Managers develop, improve, and update products – which benefits every part of the company. As Lincoln Murphy points out, “Customer Success Management is the proactive orchestration of the customer’s journey toward their ever-evolving Desired Outcome.

Why Your Customer Success Strategy Needs Marketing Alignment

There is a new kind of economy in the marketplace—the “subscription economy.” Subscription models, like those used by Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, create a much lower barrier for entry for customers and allow for much higher adoption rates of new and innovative services.

16 Thought-Provoking Quotes on Customer Happiness and Success

Whether you work for a high-growth technology startup, an enterprise behemoth, or a company that's somewhere in between, the following insights on customer success will inspire you to reevaluate how you manage your customers' happiness.

2 Mistakes Destroying Your Customer Success

Do your clients know, understand and use all aspects of your product or service? Are they staying with you or are you experiencing high levels of churn? You may be suffering from some critical mistakes that are demolishing your customer success.

3 Ways to Elevate Customer Success in Your SaaS Business

Elevating customer success in your SaaS business will pay big dividends. McKinsey & Co. recently ran an analysis looking at the biggest predictors of growth for $100 million companies that turned into $1 billion companies. They looked at 600 companies over a 15-year time period.

3 New Aha's in Customer Success

What happened when members of the Axosoft Customer Success team traveled to San Francisco for the Customer Success Summit on March 21-22? They found some new inspiration, cutting-edge ideas and a couple of surprising insights. Read on to learn what their team took away from the convention; perhaps you can find something useful too.

4 Focuses of a Customer Success Learning Centre

Usually when “education” and “customer success” appear in the same sentence, it’s referring to the education of customers and ensuring that they’re up to speed on your products and services. But building a customer success learning culture is more than that. It’s about learning from customers, and it begins at the top with the executive team.

5 Core Values That Define a Great Customer Success Manager

Customer success is founded upon fostering strong relationships. That starts with exhibiting true empathy for your customer’s needs and setting realistic expectations both internally and externally.

5 Daily Habits of Happy Saas Customer Success Teams

Here are a few specific habits that the Customer Success team over at Aha! uses each day -- the habits that have helped their team scale to supporting thousands of customers worldwide.

5 Tactics For Ensuring Customer Success

In light of the “customer-as-a-hero approach,” here are AirPR's go-to tactics for ensuring success from a customer/client management perspective. Because when you have the foundational skills for maintaining and growing relationships, you have what you both need to succeed.

5 Valuable Insights to Spotlight Customer Growth [Infographic]

As we are aware, SaaS and other recurring revenue models have three core stages critical to their success – acquiring customers, retaining customers and monetizing customers. For each of these core stages, there are 5 insights that can be applied.

8 Ways to Use Video for Customer Success, Education, and Advocacy

Video is the modern web browser’s medium of choice. And not just while they’re scrolling through Facebook or spending hours on YouTube; studies have shown that even at work, people prefer to watch video than read text. And that means you! And more importantly (no offense), your customers.

75+ Actionable Insights and Resources To Customer Success for SaaS Startups

Whether you are bootstrapping or have a budget to spend, think of this as an essential reading list. Here, you will get an idea of the various ingredients involved in creating Customer Success magic for your SaaS startup. The best part? You can dip into and find use for every step of the way. Here goes!

Events

February 9-11 - SaaStr Annual 2016

From Impossible to Inevitable, where 5,000 attendees will come together over three action-packed days of high-quality networking, learning from those who’ve done it, and of course, great food, generously-poured drinks, and plenty of fun.

February 16 - Difficult Decisions and Customer Success Challenges

Guest speaker, Jocelyn Brown, will discuss challenges that Customer Success teams encounter when their software business grows. She'll discuss difficult decisions related to customer success, account management, and service enablement from her experiences at Oracle (formerly Eloqua).

March 7-9 - Influitive Advocamp

Join 1,000 customer-obsessed business leaders over 3 days to learn how to delight your customers and turn advocacy into a sustainable competitive advantage.

March 21-22 - Customer Success Summit

Customer Success Summit 2016 promises 2 days of interactive sessions, practitioner best practices and networking to master the business of customer success. Plus the Customer Success Hero Awards.

April 25 - Customer SuccessCon Europe

Led by Mikael Blaisdell, Executive Director ofThe Customer Success Association, Customer SuccessCon is a conversation about the current state of the profession and the vision for its future. The conference speakers include some of the most experienced and visionary thought leaders in the Customer Success community.

May 10-12 - Pulse 2016 Conference

Similar to the Customer Success Summit, Pulse is also about sharing best practices, networking with peers and celebrating successes and interestingly very few of the speakers overlap, so if your budget can afford two you’ll likely be rewarded at both.

LinkedIn Groups

Customer Success

Network with others involved with Customer Success strategies. Meet like-minded people responsible for success in part or all of the customer lifecycle.

Customer Success Managers in Action

The goal of this group is to bring together ideas, strategies and tactics from customer success professionals across the globe in order to provide the best service possible for clients.

The Customer Success Forum

The Customer Success Forum is a part of the Customer Success Association, which offers a variety of resources for customer relationship management and optimization.

Webinars

January 13 - How to Build a Customer Success Culture with Strong Sales Alignment & Collaboration

In this webinar, Mitch Macfarlane, SVP of Customer Success at Instructure and Marc Maloy, EVP of Sales at Instructure discuss principles, trends, and real-life examples that will help you enable collaboration between your sales and customer success departments to build a strong customer culture.

January 18 - How to Create a Customer Community to Drive Engagement and Manage Support Costs

Welcome to the Age of the Customer. In today’s customer-centric world, providing an online community has gone from nice-to-have to essential. Your customers have come to expect a seamless user experience and instant access to information.

January 26 - Driving Product Adoption with Insight Driven Playbooks

Driving product adoption is the key activity of any Customer Success team. It determines the effectiveness of free trials, paid pilots, churn reduction, renewals, upsells and referrals. Strong adoption leads to very strong growth.

January 28 - Top 5 Ways to Accelerate Your Customer Success Evolution

Organizations are adopting a vigilant approach to delivering customer value and business outcomes. In an outcome-driven world, one size definitely does not fit all; however, there are ways to accelerate your customer success evolution.

February 2 - Developing the Ultimate Customer Success Strategy

Want to adopt Customer Success but don't know where to start? A seasoned customer success manager looking to optimize your team, workflow and organization? Join Lincoln Murphy, Customer Success Evangelist, for this 45-minute webinar.

February 4 - Why Invest in a Customer Success Platform: The Business Case

Join Salesforce's Former EVP of Customer Success, Daniella Degrace, Nulogy's CEO, Jason Tham, and Igloo Software's CEO, Mark Stevenson, for the can't miss event of the year.

February 18 - Is Customer Success Worth it?

How can you measure the value of customer success to your organization? What is the actual bottom-line dollar value customer success will have for your company? Join Kate Leggett, VP and Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, to learn the answers to these questions and more.

February 18 - The Next Wave of Digital Customer Experience

Join CMSwire with Jahia’s Jessica Sundstrom and Forrester’s Mark Grannan for a one-hour webinar that tackles fundamental questions on digital experience’s evolving mandate.

February 23 - Defining and Managing Your Customer Lifecycle

Defining and standardizing both your internal process: (sales pipeline, trial conversions, onboarding, adoption management, etc) and your customer's journey are essential elements of a scalable SaaS organization.

February 23 - From Product Fixes to Customer Success

Customers are changing: so must the way in which brands support them. Technology support is no longer just about just break/fix; access to intuitive support must now accompany the customer through every stage of their journey with your products – from purchase to installation, through use and troubleshooting, all the way to upgrade – in order to strengthen customer loyalty. We call this new paradigm of support “Connected Support.” 

February 25 - There’s No Customer Engagement Without User Adoption

During this 30-minute webinar, John Ragsdale, VP Research, Technology & Social with TSIA, will give you a picture of what an engaged customer looks like and how education services, professional services, and others in your organization impact this key indicator.

March 8 - Managing Knowledge for Customer Success

If training is support before customers need it, knowledge management is support in the moment customers need it. Francoise Tourniaire, Owner of FT Works and author of the book Collective Wisdom: Transforming Support with Knowledge, joins us to discuss the importance of knowledge management in helping customers succeed. 

March 10 - Is Sales Prep Killing Your Pipeline? Empower Your Reps With More Insight On Their Customers

Jason Robinson, SVP of Sales and Marketing at MarketBridge and Amar Sheth, VP of Customer Success at Sales for Life discuss tactics that companies like Microsoft, Thomson Reuters, Dell and Intel have used to increase the productivity of their sales teams and in turn drive pipeline. 

March 11 - The State of Customer Success 2016

Join TSIA’s Vice President of Research for Customer Success, Peter Armaly, for a 30-minute webinar during which he will share how the growth of customer success is being fueled by the following three major financial trends playing out in the technology industry.

March 16 - What Is the Perfect Amount of Transparency for Customer Support?

In this webinar, Kaegan Donnelly, Chief Happiness Officer at Baremetrics and Gary McGrath, Customer Success Consultant at Kayako, discuss the key ways you can act now and be more transparent and honest with your customers. 

March 22 - Best Practices in Leveraging Feedback for Customer Success

Tune in for a Q&A discussion between Intacct’s Customer Success rockstars, VP of Client Services, Derek Taylor and Program Manager, Kimberly Graham, alongside Waypoint Group Principal, Steve Bernstein. They will share how they’ve created a workflow that helps close the loop with ALL respondents, tackle Silent Accounts who are known to churn faster, and strengthen relationships with customers to build Customers for Life.

March 29 - Improving Customer Retention by Managing the Customer Journey

For any SaaS company focused on customer success, the customer journey needs to make customers feel comfortable, confident and excited about being successful with your product. By focusing on helping make customers successful each step along the way, you will keep your customers happy, loyal and buying more. Success for both you and your customers!

March 29 - Certify Customer Success: SAML Setup

As organizations adopt cloud-based apps, they need to tighten security and maintain compliance. Join Nick Mika from the Centrify support team, along with Centrify’s Software Engineer Terry Fog for a 30 minutes Q&A session on SAML setup. 

May 25 - Customer Success - Managing the Customer Experience for Loyalty and Profit

Whether a traditional product company or one that offers cloud-based subscriptions, suppliers that deliver customer success reap both higher profits and deeper loyalty than organizations that don’t. In this one-hour interactive webinar, we will explore the results of a recent Customer Success research study conducted jointly by Service Strategies and Dr. James  “Alex” Alexander.

June 1 - Inside Customer Success at LinkedIn: The Webinar

Join Perry Monaco, Manager of Customer Success - The Americas, to learn how the largest professional network on the Internet grew Customer Success in Canada.

Whitepapers

Beyond Sales & Marketing Alignment: Add Customer Success for a Winning Team Trifecta

Go beyond just sales and marketing alignment and include customer success to build a winning Team Trifecta that will allow you, and your company, to make the most of the opportunity that is — literally — sitting right under your noses.

Customer Success Automation 

In this whitepaper, learn best practices for reducing churn and upselling high-value customers using intelligent automation.

Customer Success Leaders Edition - Scaling Your Customer Success Team

This eBook shares best practices focused on the strategic and tactical aspects of building and scaling effective customer success teams.

Customer Success Salary Benchmark Report

Customer Success Management is at the cutting edge of the SaaS frontier. As a CSM, you can expect to be on the ground floor of an exploding job sector. But how much can you expect to earn? How much experience do typical CSMs have when they start? Do customer success salaries vary by region? The usual sites may not have the information you need.

The ROI of Customer Success Software

For fast-growing SaaS companies, it is easy to focus on new customers. When someone makes a purchase, it means the value of your product is resonating and your marketing and sales efforts are driving conversions.

The State of Customer Success: 2016

This report takes a look at the state of customer success organizations. It focuses on the top issues facing customer success executives and provides guidance on how member companies are continuing to refine the charter and scope of their customer success teams.

5th Annual SaaS Metrics Report

A comprehensive survey of professionals at SaaS companies ranging from early startups to established businesses with over $100M in revenue. New topics covered this year include company spending on customer retention and the definition/measurement of customer health.

 

What are your favorite Customer Success Resources?

About the Author

Matthew McLaren

Matthew McLaren works as a Digital Marketing Manager at Amity. His passion for creative design has motivated him to explore the many uses of technology.

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