Rocketlane was a proud Titanium Sponsor at Gainsight Pulse 2022, and we had a gala time! From the joy of networking with the brightest of minds in the business to the high-energy keynotes and sessions that were content dynamos, the two days just flew by!
From all the sparkling conversations and insightful sessions, here are our Pulse 22 top 10 takeaways.
Customer onboarding is being recognized more and more as a function in itself rather than just being a part of overall customer success activities. There were callouts in the opening keynote, companies focused on customer onboarding being top tier sponsors for Pulse 2022, onboarding and CS experts who are passionate about the onboarding function like Donna Weber and Irit Eizips, and customer onboarding professionals at the event. Customer onboarding has marked its presence in the SaaS scene, and is here to stay and grow as a domain in itself.
As evidenced by data from polls by Gainsight and Bain & Company, Customer Success is an area that is recognized by companies, teams and even investors, as worth investing in despite the economic downturn. This was further proved right when there was a great response to our Preflight Huddle event in NYC, where the panel spoke about the importance of investing in CS especially in the current economic situation. When you’ve got your ideal customer journeys mapped out right, and know what customers and segments drive your business, your company is going to grow and your customers are going to be happy. Win-win!
One of the most surprising yet delightful revelations we had from observing the turnout at Pulse 2022 was that a lot of companies have teams that have been built from scratch specifically for customer onboarding. We also observed that these teams are being built thoughtfully - it isn't just getting carved out from existing CS teams, but these teams are getting built with specific traits and skills in mind.
Read our guide to get started on setting up your first customer onboarding team!
4. NRR - the champion metric
Net Revenue Retention is the most important metric that points to your company’s growth. Gainsight even revealed the Durable Growth Playbook, a six-step framework dedicated to leveraging CS processes to increase NRR! From the opening keynote to several sessions by CS leaders, NRR was the champion metric that was referred to and most correlated with the ‘success’ in customer success. The NRR metric is not just how most CS teams identify if the company is growing, it is also how they find out if they are contributing to the company making money, saving money, and mitigating risk.
Gone are the days when CS teams just gave technical support; value delivery and a good ROI for the customer also means that they have a good relationship and a lot of trust that’s been built with your CS team. Value orientation and delivery is your ‘foot in the door’ to open up a conversation with your customers to talk about expansion and, in turn, increase your NRR. This again is achieved through a smooth onboarding experience and actually applying their feedback to create a better product for them. It is also vital that your CS teams keep checking in with the customer to see if your product is in alignment with their key business goals and values in order to justify the ROI. This approach should also be applied to every single customer that you have, no matter how big or small.
If your CS team plays defense, it means they’re focusing on avoiding churn or if they are busy putting out fires. However, taking an offensive approach is the way to grow if you want to deliver a better experience to your customers while initiating expansion conversations and ensuring that your NRR increases. Taking an offensive approach to CS was also something that was talked about in the opening keynote, and Gainsight included it in their Durable Growth Playbook.
Our CEO, Srikrishnan Ganesan, led a full-house session at Pulse 2022 on building an offensive approach to customer success. In a survey he took, he found that a majority of COOs want to take an offensive approach to CS, while their CSMs lean heavily towards playing defense. Srikrishnan shared ideas from companies like Gong, Drift, Freshworks, Outcome Chains, and Rocketlane that would help CS teams play offense by focusing on value orientation & delivery, leadership connections & relationships, building a better product, and ensuring onboarding & CS health. Check it out here!
Customer Success has become popular enough to be taken very seriously by today’s companies. However, this means that it is also imperative that CS has the numbers as proof of their impact delivery and to make data-informed recommendations to their customers to ensure the same. CS operations roles are the latest in demand amongst companies, and they are recognizing the potential of CS Ops and investing in it early. No matter how nascent or advanced your CS Ops arm may be, it is now a definite strategic advantage if you have people to make sense of the abundance of data that is available and come up with actions that drive CSMs to help customers see value from the product.
Call it a lingering reaction to the pandemic, but professional online communities have been a godsend; they helped us feel heard, seen, and be able to relate with other people who perform similar roles and face similar challenges as we do. Community was the buzzword during Pulse 2022, and we’re glad to have built the Preflight Community for CS and Onboarding professionals! If there’s one thing that affirms our faith in this world, it’s that there are always people to learn from and people that will help you out. A lot of organizations have dedicated communities related to their area of operation, and even more specifically, dedicated community managers! With the closing keynote of Pulse 2022 focusing on the power of community, it is no wonder that organizations today are willing to dedicate a significant amount of their marketing budget toward community activities. Communities are becoming extremely crucial not just for networking but also for interactions with people from the industry to build feedback mechanisms and playbooks which revolve around the customer.
With more post-sales orgs being identified, more processes are being implemented in companies. What we’ve observed from the sessions and conversations at Pulse 2022 is that most companies that have faced success with the implementation of these processes keep the customer’s experience in mind and lay out extensive playbooks that detail every step of their journey, from onboarding to adoption and expansion. While customers may not follow these frameworks to a T, the existence of playbooks can mean that your CSMs can leverage data to nudge customers back on track with the journey you’ve planned out. Defining the right values for each stage along with a reasonable expectation of outcomes, and taking an approach that allows for human touchpoints, is how your CS and onboarding teams will have a breeze and your customers see value.
Attending Gainsight Pulse 2022 was almost cathartic after staying in our own bubbles for so long during the pandemic. Pulse 2022 being the first in-person CS event in two years, it was no surprise that companies brought their A-game with swag and activities! An absolutely irresistible puppy playpen that everyone absolutely loved, booths conducting live podcast recordings, a booth that handed out mouth-watering cookies, a company that donated money to charity for every demo taken, carpool karaoke, air hockey - the list of creative swag and activities can go on.
And we have it in popular opinion that people were fascinated listening to the story of Félicette, our mascot, and loved our laptop sleeves, totes, and onboarding snakes-and-ladders game!