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3 lessons on Customer Success Management in 2012

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On Tuesday evening I attended another great CSM Forum event in San Francisco organized by Mikael Blaisdell. Speakers included customer success and customer advocacy professionals from Xtime, Yousendit and Marketo.

My favorite 3 takeaways:

1. Mikael’s Customer Success Maturity Model

I have heard it before but this time I took copious notes!

There are 4 maturity stages of responsibilities of Customer Success organizations.

1. Firefighters

2. Facilitators

3. Account Maintenance

4. Owns 100% of the Customer Relationship

An organization may or may not be in the same level of maturity across Strategy, Process, People and Technology.

Where does your company rank? You can use the matrix below to score yourself! Please share with the community!

Of the speakers at the event, Yousendit was the most mature of the three. Their CSMs own 100% of the customer relationship and are compensating CSM reps based on usage, upsell and NPS scores.

2. “Customer retention is revenue retention.”

This too I have heard before from Mikael, but it’s worth repeating. And it closely aligns with our own motto that “recurring revenues” is really about delivering “recurring customer value”. Value first, and revenues will follow.

3. “The main reason for churn is not properly launching customers in the first place.”

Time and time again we see that the root cause for churn is a failed onboarding process which leaves a customer underutilizing your solution and your features. Finally, frustrated with the lack of value delivered, the customer will cancel.

Lastly, I just wanted to leave you all with some additional materials. There was a really good discussion during the Q&A which, which were answered in recent Totango studies.


Jill Rubin

Jill is a senior marketing and business development executive with experience leading successful teams in both large companies and startups. She has taken companies from early stage to strong revenue growth and propelled established businesses to industry leadership positions.

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