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My 3 takeaways from Pulse Europe 2018

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Written by Freddy Cleveley

16 Nov, 2018  –  5 min read

I was lucky enough to get a last-minute ticket to Pulse Europe 2018. I’ve been once before back in 2016 and boy has it changed!

This time at Kensington Olympia, with heaps more “excited” Customer Success peeps and what felt like a lot more momentum about the entire industry. What I was most taken back by is how open everyone was to sharing their experiences and how much people were willing to listen and learn from each other’s challenges and be open about their own.

I’m from a tiny team of 5 and as part of the deal, I was asked to present the ‘golden nuggets’ back to my team. There was a LOT of content so nailing down 3 key takeaways was a challenge. Below is what I felt was most useful and whether you went to Pulse or not hopefully these are helpful and please please please comment, feedback and add to this - PULSE STYLE!

Organisations that are new to Customer Success go on a journey…

  • The trajectory of Customer Success is as follows: A business decides “we need to do Customer Success, a lonely Customer Success Manager is employed, the Customer Success Manager has too much to do and to much to change so leaves, the CEO decides Customer Success is not a department but everyone’s responsibility at the company, the company realises they also need a specific department, another Customer Success Manager joins.
  • Nick Mehta and Dan Steinman have talked about CS > CSM for a while. For those that aren’t mathematically inclined (wtf is “>”?!), Customer Success is a top-down commitment. If Customer Success remains as a department - YOU WILL FAIL! Nowhere is this statement more applicable than in churn. There are a multitude of reasons why a customer will decide they no longer want to use your products and services, and these reasons and the blame are not only consigned to the Customer Success department but your entire business.
pulse europe cs

Come renewal, the mindset needs to be “why stay” not “why change”

  • If you get a chance to go see Tim Riesterer talk - do it! This was a really awesome talk around the differing psychologies behind Sales and Customer Success. The crux of it was that there’s a natural propensity in any human towards continuing with the Status Quo. It’s less risky so that’s what you naturally end up doing.
  • Sales are generally looking to disrupt this and explain why a prospect should change the way they’re currently doing something answering the question “why change?”. And there’s a tendency come renewal time for Customer Success teams to do the same - especially in tricky conversations around roadmap and value.
  • Tim argues that instead of talking about new things and any change, Customer Success teams should be taking advantage of the natural leniency towards the Status Quo and promote the reasons why the customer should keep doing things the way they are - “why stay?”. Pretty unsexy right?
pulse europe status quo
  • Here’s a free ebook if you want to read more on Tim’s ideas:

People are doing “it” well - but only bits of “it”

  • This is really the key thing I took away from Pulse this year. That is, everyone is muddling through this together. “It” is going to be slightly different for everyone with different products, services and customer verticals but tiny changes to bits of your current process and a little bit of creativity can go a huge way to put your Customer Success team above everyone else.
  • I had the chance to chat to Barry Cochrane from ResponseTap after his talk on Success Planning. When I asked him to tell me the secret behind his Customer Success plan he very simply said “there is no secret, it’s just a simple Word document that works for our product and our customers”. Barry spent most of his day on Thursday fielding the same question from other Pulse attendees. This was a real eye opener for me - try something out, fail, refine it - right now in the Customer Success world there are no silver bullets
pulse europe success planning

And finally, here’s a little video I roped a few other Pulse attendees in to helping me with. Thanks to everyone who took part, bring on Pulse 2019!

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