8 Customer Success Thought Leaders You Should be Following

By November 17, 2016Blog

It’s no secret that when it comes to customer success and the world of SaaS, things are always changing. We’ve talked before on our blog about why customer success should be one of your core operating philosophies, but who can you follow to make sure you’re on the cutting edge of new customer success trends? We’ve compiled this list of experts that are constantly sharing their best new ideas on customer success concepts, strategies, and tactics.

1. Lincoln Murphy, founder of Sixteen Ventures and co-author of Customer Success: How Innovative Companies Are Reducing Churn and Growing Recurring Revenue, is a Customer Success thought leader in every sense of the word. He defines customer success as “when customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company.” In Murphy’s Definitive Guide to Customer Success, customer development rings in at number one on the must-have elements of customer success. Not only is Murphy one to follow because of his guides and strategies, but he is a huge proponent of customer success-driven growth, something he holds workshops and speaks about across the globe.

Read more from Lincoln Murphy:

2. Jason Lemkin, Adobe’s former VP of Web Services turned VC Investor and SaaStr Advisor, has a wealth of knowledge built around how to incorporate customer success into your organization. Lemkin emphasizes that a Customer Success leader should be on every growing company’s “single digit hire list.” Without a Customer Success Manager in the picture very early on, either someone is splitting their time to handle customer success or there isn’t anyone to do it at all. Trying to “hack” the work with your current employees is no match for a dedicated CSM that is passionate about the customers. Lemkin also co-wrote From Impossible to Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue with Aaron Ross, the next thought leader on our must-follow list. A chapter of this book actually sparked the idea for UserIQ’s own hourglass, a concept we use to describe the buyer to customer journey and a vital part of customer growth.

Read more from Jason Lemkin:

3. Aaron Ross, author of Predictable Revenue: Turn Your Business Into A Sales Machine With The $100 Million Best Practices Of Salesforce.com and former Sr. Manager of Corporate Developments and Acquisitions at Salesforce, focuses his thoughts around the revenue and growth potential customer success provides. Ross thinks of customer success as an investment that will later help your company make more money. To do so, Ross advises that customer success be considered your “core growth driver” and that as a function, Customer Success should have goals and metrics to measure financial results.

Read more from Aaron Ross:

4. If you already consider yourself an avid customer success follower, you may know Mikael Blaisdell. He leads a highly-active group on LinkedIn called The Customer Success Forum and serves as the Executive Director of the Customer Success Association. He emphasizes the value of having a relationship with your customers, and writes about what it takes to run a “Consumer Centric Company.” To Blaisdell, this involves segmenting your customer base, or “Customerium,” to recognize each group of individuals working for customer companies. Most importantly, this identifies mavens (power-users) which can help your Customer Success team ensure long term loyalty.

Read more from Mikael Blaisdell:

5. David Skok, best known as a five-time entrepreneur turned VC, has many ideas regarding customer success but largely focuses on churn and how to reduce it. He explains how the effects of churn increase as your company grows, when the losses are larger and harder to offset. Aside from simply reducing churn, these losses can be made up with “negative churn,” the increased revenue coming from current customers through account expansion.

Read more from David Skok:

6. Co-founder of SuccessHacker, Todd Eby has boiled his customer success philosophy down to this: “Understand what Success looks like to your customers. Make it your mission to deliver the direction, guidance and experience necessary for your customers to achieve their definition of success and you’ll be successful. It’s as simple as that.” He emphasizes the importance of actualizing HOW to implement this philosophy to make sure your customers are getting what they expect rather than just declaring your plans to take action.

Read more from Todd Eby:

7. Catherine Blackmore, GVP of Customer Success at Oracle Marketing Cloud, is an avid writer and speaker on the topic of customer success. Not only does she discuss what customer success is all about and its importance, but she often expands on how to actually implement it as a function in your organization. As someone with a lot of experience leading Customer Success teams, she knows it is an operational need to have a CS team when your company is growing. Blackmore has also spoken about the evolution of customer success, including its current phase, “Age of the CS Technologist,” which is all about leveraging data to drive business.

Read more from Catherine Blackmore:

8. Digital Disruption Group’s Tim Schukar, a Customer Success Consultant, believes implementing a Customer Success team begins with defining the team’s value proposition, including identifying its impact on revenue, and cost and risk reduction. Additionally, he writes about how to use financial metrics to monitor customer success. Schukar’s analysis and helpful step-by-step computations of these metrics include the addition of CRC (Customer Retention Costs) to the list of values you should be using, a list that traditionally only took into account Marketing and Sales costs. Schukar will also be joining UserIQ for our upcoming webinar to discuss the current state of customer success and 2017 trends. 

Read more from Tim Schukar:

These influencers will keep you updated, excited and well informed about the growing world of customer success. Make sure to follow them to read more about their tips and tricks to help you continue leading in a way that helps your customers achieve their idea of success.

Want to learn more about customer success? Tune in to our upcoming webinar or read more on our blog.