One of the best parts of my job as CEO of Gainsight is seeing individuals with responsibility aligned to customer needs moving up in their own personal careers.
And one of the hottest trends in enterprise businesses is to appoint one person with end-to-end operational responsibility for Customer Success and Customer Experience. While the title may vary from company to company, the concept of a “Chief Customer Officer (CCO)” is becoming very popular.
Whether you are an experienced CCO, sought out the big job, or got it handed to you, you probably don’t want to reinvent the wheel as you attempt to help your company become more customer-centric and grow faster in the process.
As I talk to new or experienced CCOs, I often get the same list of questions. So I tried to document a set of resources that can help you get started or sharpen your team:
Follow on LinkedIn
- Nick Mehta That’s yours truly. I share a lot of big picture stuff about the direction of the industry, along with occasional ramblings about football, physics, and philosophy. You can also follow my writings at mehtaphysical.com or me on Twitter @nrmehta.
- Allison Pickens Allison is Gainsight’s CCO. She’s a prototypical CCO in many ways, and definitely an innovator in the field. And she’s the best—though I may be biased!
- Lincoln Murphy Lincoln is almost synonymous with Customer Success. He’s a leading consultant and a pioneer of many of the best practices that define the Movement.
- Customer Success Forum The CS Forum on LinkedIn has incredibly valuable discussions regularly. Join the conversation or just lurk…
Books for your shelf
- Customer Success Dan Steinman, Lincoln Murphy, and I wrote this book with input from CCOs and VPs including Karen Pisha, Bernie Kassar, Kathleen Lord, Jon Herstein, and others. It’s the most widely read book on the topic by far. Apparently it’s even been seen in the Singapore Airport!
- The Challenger Sale Another foundational book for almost any C-level exec’s shelf, The Challenger Sale challenged me to think about human behavior in terms of inertia, and the energy it takes to overcome it. Think about the inertia in your customers’ behavior while you read.
- B4B J.B. Wood co-wrote this book, and he’s established himself as a leader in transforming legacy corporations into customer-centric companies. This is your handbook if you’re trying to move your company to a next-generation business model.
Thought leadership to share with your team
- TSIA (gated) The Technology Services Industry Association produced probably the most deeply researched report on CS last year.
- McKinsey If you only think about CS as a retention stop-gap, you’re missing the effect it has on growth.
- Geoffrey Moore Geoffrey is one of the most visionary people in the business world (as the author of the canonical Crossing the Chasm)—his insight on the difference between data and signals is crucial to elevating your Services org.
- Forrester (gated) We both know how important Customer Experience (CX) is; this report shows the linkage to Customer Success.
- Gartner (gated) Another dataset on the importance of Customer Success in relation to Customer Experience. This one includes actionable steps and a valuable case study.
- Guide for CEOs Definitely share this post with your CEO. CS should be top of mind for every CEO on a daily basis and has to be supported top-down.
- Guide for CROs The relationship between CRO and CCO is the growth engine of the business. Your revenue model must factor in renewal/upsell/new logo leads. Period.
- Guide for Services Leaders Customer Success is transforming Professional Services too. Send this guide by our ProServ VP to your Services leader.
- Guide for TAM Leaders Not every company has a Technical Account Management org, but if you do, this is an invaluable resource from David Chia with RedHat.
- CS = CO + CX I wrote a post on my new favorite equation. If you have a CX team at your company, this is a great post to share.
- Customer Success University We provide classes and training on Customer Success as well as Gainsight. I highly recommend sending your whole team through these courses.
How to guides for mission-critical tasks
- Health Scoring
- High Touch Customer Success
- Journey Orchestration
- Customer Marketing/Advocacy
- Partner/Channel-oriented Customer Success
- Voice of the Customer
Events to add to your calendar
- CCO Summit This event in February is a small, exclusive event for CCOs and VPs in customer-centric roles.
- Pulse It’s the center of gravity of the Customer Success universe. Think Dreamforce, but for CS. It’s taking place in April in San Mateo.
- Pulse Europe This event is Pulse for companies and leaders in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. It’s in November in London.
- Technology Services World TSW is one of the most valuable events for me—I always learn something new or paradigm-shifting.
- Talk about CS at your sales kickoff or invite GS execs to speak I made this offer last year, and it stands again in 2018. More companies are including CS at their SKOs and reaping the rewards. We’ll come to your SKO. Just ask!
And last but not least, Allison and I and the rest of my team want to be a resource for you. When you succeed, customers succeed, and Customer Success… well… succeeds!