An Enlightening Customer Success Meetup with Venk Chandran

September 16, 2014 John Kennedy

Customer Success


As one of the attendees said: “Venk Chandran had enough expertise, experience, and insights to fill a 2-day course!”

The Customer Success Meetup group has grown to nearly  200 members in it’s first year.  It was great to see that the majority attendees at this session were new members that were engaged in Customer Success in some capacity.

Last night’s speaker was Venk Chandran, Senior Manager, Strategy and Enablement, Customers For Life at Salesforce. From his early days at a few Toronto based startups including Workbrain, Infor, and Rypple to his senior role at Salesforce, looking through a particular lens derived from music, theatre and behavioral psychology, Venk has developed deep insights into the strategic value of Customer Success.

A slight technical issue with Apple TV didn’t discourage Venk from providing an exceptionally informative, engaging and entertaining session.  He keep the audience busy furiously taking notes.

To set the stage, Venk challenged the audience to define Customer Success as “What do you want your customers to become”.

Using his experience, he highlighted three things he would do differently if he had the opportunity to ‘do over’.  He encouraged others to start now with:

  1. Scale First!
  2. Economics
  3. Success Trends

The new baseline is 1:Many Customers and no longer 1:1. You need the ability to drive adoption of your product across many customers.

SCALE FIRST TAKEAWAY: Create Success Scale Programs depending on your business’s stage of development:

Startup (Angel)

  • Customer Communities
  • Drip Email Campaigns
  • Webinars/Office Hours (a Google Hangout Session for customers to vent)

Series A/B

  • Customer Segmentation
  • Inspiring Assets (tear sheets, play books, explainer videos)
  • Precision Engagement Model (process, milestones, handoffs)

ECONOMICS TAKEAWAY: Identify and measure the two categories of metrics that matter:


  • Deal Score/Revenue at Risk
  • Coverage Ratios
  • Scale Programs (webinar registration, email open rates, community engagement)
  • Product Usage (use cohort analysis to determine customer happiness)


  • Renewals (churn of contract value and number of customers)
  • Secondary Revenue (increase in licenses; charge for services)
  • Reference-able Customers

Tip: Package and price the customer success activities early. Create a quick start program by bundling the hours and activities and put a price on it. Then introduce the program at key deals and use it to qualify. It is also something the sales team can use to negotiate down from – they won’t be negotiating the license but rather the service

Unfortunately we didn’t have time to delve into the 3rd ‘do over’ – Success Trends – but hopefully we can entice Venk to speak at a future meetup to reinforce the first two and get to the details on this one.

I thought I would share a few of the comments we’ve received:

“Very helpful. Especially when I compare shared experience with my own, I start to re analyze some issues of my current strategy. I’m enjoyed and inspired.”

“Venk was excellent. Great insights!”

“Thanks for organizing the meetup. Really appreciated Venk’s insights and experiences shared!”

“Amazing event – enjoyed the content (thank Venk) and also enjoyed the company!”

“Good experience sharing. Some actionable items that can be implemented right away.”

Venk is looking for feedback on his session. So please take time to provide it to him via this link:

This is just a summary of what was shared. Venk has promised to post his slides – follow @getamity to learn when they are available.

A special thank you to Venk for setting the bar for all future meetups, and Lynn, Monique and the Vend team for being amazing and gracious hosts!

Our Community Announcements don’t seem to change from one meetup to the next, but that’s ok it proves that customer success is thriving:

Vend, Unbounce, Viafoura, Nulogy, and eCompliance are all hiring!

The next Customer Success Meetup will be announced soon. If you aren’t already a member, it’s time to sign up!

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