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Season 2, Episode 10

Building Connections with Your Biggest Advocates

With Scott Salkin, senior vice president, and general manager of Gainsight's Customer Success Platform

In today’s economy, companies are getting scrappy. They’re searching for new ways to do more with less, optimizing their software and leaning into technological advancements for support. 

But prioritizing efficiency and productivity shouldn’t come at the expense of your customers. And, as Scott Salkin explains, it doesn’t have to. Companies like Gainsight are developing new and innovative strategies to leverage their tech stack and better serve their customers. It’s about finding the right tools to invest in and exploring how these investments will ultimately serve you and your customers better. 

And with the advent of AI and other game-changing technologies, companies shouldn’t forgo the opportunity to experiment with and implement new ideas and assess their effect on customer success. 

Still, sometimes organizations overcomplicate the most impactful strategies to foster long-term customer satisfaction and engagement. As Scott puts it, if companies want to reach higher levels of customer success, they need to explore how to connect with their biggest advocates and greatest champions. 

And from there? Where will companies find the perfect balance between high-touch human interactions and the digital world? Only time will tell. 

Jen and Scott chat:

  • Exploring new strategies to serve customers holistically (4:27)
  • Maintaining connections with your biggest advocates and champions (10:35)
  • Leveraging software to better understand your business and your customers (18:22)
  • Finding the balance between high-touch customer success and digitally led customer engagement (19:50)
  • Looking ahead: investing in the right tools to drive customer success (29:09)

Resources

Jen Spencer (00:00):
Hi everyone. Welcome to the Intelligent Inbound Podcast, brought to you by SmartBug Media. I'm your host, Jen Spencer, and today I'm speaking with Scott Salkin, who is Senior Vice President and general manager of Gainsight's Customer Success Platform. Welcome, Scott.

Scott Salkin (00:17):
It's a mouthful, huh? It's a mouthful. A lot to say.

Jen Spencer (00:19):
I know.

Scott Salkin (00:20):
Thank you. No, good to be here. Good to see you. Excited to be here.

Jen Spencer (00:25):
Well, I think we need to... I want to clarify something here because you oversee Gainsight's customer success platform, and I've grown up knowing Gainsight as being a customer success platform.

Scott Salkin (00:42):
Yeah, yeah.

Jen Spencer (00:43):
Can we back up for a minute and can you give us the lay of the land of what Gainsight looks like today and, what different products you have?

Scott Salkin (00:53):
Yeah, no, absolutely. That's a good place to start. Gainsight kind of is like the Kleenex of customer success. We have grown up as synonymous with customer success. Helped move forward the brand or the category, the profession, the community, everything around customer success.

(01:13):
But as customer success and delivering value and outcomes and results to the customers has expanded and becoming more, we've expanded our own outlook on it too, and actually acquired a few other companies along with it. One being a company very much focused on product experience. One thing to maybe we look at things is, that it's very hard to have customer success without user success. One company we acquired, they were called Intrinsic, it's called Gainsight P-X, very much focuses on not only all the analytics and data around how your users and customers are using your products, but also things like in-app engagement, which we'll talk more about as we talk about digital customer success and stuff like that.

(01:51):
Then another one, which is really important and we can talk about more here is we talked about inbound and marketing and everything else is community, and the impact that community has around customer success also.

(02:01):
Another company we acquired that was just this past year is called inSided [inaudible 00:02:05]. It's a community tool and community, I think folks think of it first as from a long time ago... You used to think of your community as your forum, but now community so much more. It's where you get all your product feedback, where your customers engage, where your customers work with support, where they provided advice to each other, where they become advocates. All that can relate back to things like health score, digital customer success, and all these other areas.

(02:30):
We've become a lot more than just a customer success platform. There's a lot of, I think, language out there now. Customer success tools or tools just for CSMs. And customer success is expanded well beyond that now to the realm of the entire business. CMOs, CROs, everybody cares about the health and the value providing to your customers.

Jen Spencer (02:51):
Awesome. Thank you for resetting that and giving us a clear view of what Gainsight is. I think what you're sharing, what you're explaining makes a ton of sense. We've been talking about community on this podcast with so many different individuals and the power of community, and the idea of influencers that are all around you and having enable them from a marketing and sales and success perspective.

(03:22):
I think it makes perfect sense given Gainsight's expertise. That's really cool. Very reminiscent to me.

Scott Salkin (03:28):
Yeah.

Jen Spencer (03:29):
... spot, right? With inbound. But they do so much more than just the attracting of the lead, right?

Scott Salkin (03:37):
Yeah, I mean, speaking of HubSpot INBOUND, I'm trying to look for it on my screen right now, but there is a post from Darmis this morning that I shared with our entire leadership team around... He posted something around how every software platform as they scale eventually, or every software tool they scale, eventually becomes a platform. And every platform eventually becomes a community. And the platform with the strongest community is eventually the one that wins.

(04:06):
Community and platform and software tools and all these other things, especially in this market where everything is around doing more with less, around efficiency, around leveraging the power of your community and your advocates. It's really, really important, so that's where I think it all fits together. I know it's a big topic even at INBOUND this year, the conference. Yeah, community is a big deal right now.

Jen Spencer (04:27):
Absolutely. Absolutely. One of the things that I've always loved about the inbound methodology is that it embraces, in theory, it embraces this very holistic approach to serving a customer from long before you even know each other. All the way through all the ways they interact with your brand. And then people are doing it really well even after they leave you. What is that relationship like? And that's what I subscribe to, what I believe in theory. But from your perspective, what do you see happening in practice? Once someone becomes a customer of a company, what's going on and what are some recommendations that you have for business leaders, customer success leaders, but also revenue leaders that are [inaudible 00:05:21] kind of role. They're looking big picture. I like hitting revenue targets. What are you seeing in the way that they're operating? Are they changing? Are they subscribing to this idea? You've got your finger pulse of this.

Scott Salkin (05:36):
Yeah. I think it's... You've got to continuously think about it as this flywheel, this infinite loop that you're trying to build and that you're trying to accelerate and expand and expand your customers. If you look at inbound, it's like inbound never ends. I think a lot of folks think about inbound sometimes, and this feels like, okay, they get to a point and they become, if we go back to marketing terminology, they become an A-Q-L or an M-Q-L, whatever, and it's kind of like, OK, then it's over, let's hand it over to sales. But that doesn't happen anymore. Especially around all the different tools and resources and the integrations and things that you have working together, whether you're using Drift or HubSpot or how those then work with Salesforce, which then ties into Gainsight which then ties into Zendesk which then ties into your E-R-P tool which then ties into everything else.

(06:23):
It's all this one big integrated piece that you have as the core of your business. And how do all those things work together to make your company more efficient? Now that brings all these teams together as well. All these silos have to be broken down between sales, marketing, customer success, product, finance, everything else, so companies I think have, one of the things around this and around how things have continued to progress is that all these silos are starting to be broken down more.

(06:49):
Companies are realizing that they have to be working together more, their tools have to be working together more. The whole methodology are originally around inbound, which is very much tied to content and thought leadership, and being more of an advisor/consultant throughout the entire process of working with your prospect, now has to extend throughout the entire life of a customer because that prospect who then goes signs a customer, who signs as a contract with a customer, is now your prospect forever. And again, it goes back to like what Darmis was saying in that quote around platform. Every company that eventually begins to scale has one more product to sell, and you add more product, whether that's by creating more by acquisition, however you do it. Or whether it's by selling more licenses and selling more features or the north star metric for your company these days, especially in today's economy, is all around net retention. B.

(07:43):
And best in class, net retention, let's just say is 120, 130, 150%. Then you've got to continuously be working with those customers to continue to grow them. Inbound and that whole approach around inbound never really stops. And it's a matter of how you apply it then to everything else that you're doing.

(08:02):
It has to apply to the sales you're doing, the customer success platform that you're using, the community tools that you're using. I think that's a really big piece of it, is how you're kind of starting to think about this. It's an infinite loop. I've seen some companies that really do it well and some frameworks of companies that do it well. Even Cisco, for example, with their whole Channel Partner Program, and they have this kind of racetrack thing they've built that talks about this infinite loop around, kind of looks like an infinity symbol, around continuously to get to grow your customers. And there's some great examples of how companies do that out there. But it's customer value right now is the number one thing that you've got to be delivering and it goes to that entire customer journey and lifecycle.

Jen Spencer (08:42):
Yeah. It's so interesting to me right now. Something that's very topical for me, we sell to mainly marketers, other business leaders too, but people who tend to come to us, who require our services, who have a pain, are marketing leaders.

(09:05):
I'm finding even our own inbound funnel, or flywheel even, there are parts of it that are a little wobbly because we're not seeing people remain in roles for as long as they used to.

(09:24):
Okay, let's put aside the fact that people used to be in a role or with a company, maybe they could promote it, but they're remain with a company for 10 or 15 years. That's been long gone, but then it was three to five years. Okay, that makes sense. Now, it definitely got accelerated by the pandemic and then by a lack of talent and some surges that we saw coming out of the pandemic in 2021. But it's not uncommon for individuals to be at a company a year or even less than a year, like 10 to 12 months before moving onto this next role. And so we'll have people that are coming in and say, Oh, I'm a past customer of yours, but now I'm at this other company and I [inaudible 00:10:14] engage, right?

(10:16):
And I'm looking at our technology stack and I'm looking at the way we work. I'm going, whoa, we got to make sure we're opening ourselves up to this and taking advantage of these opportunities. I'm curious, are you seeing anything similar? Any recommendations?

Scott Salkin (10:35):
Yeah, internally for us, but we see that all the time, especially in a career path, a profession like customer success that has matured as much as it has over the last, let's say six to eight years, where a lot of today's customer success leaders or NextGen of customer success leaders were CSMs several years ago, or they were CS leaders at earlier stage companies who are now graduated to larger, bigger enterprises. So we see a ton of that, especially during, like you said, the pandemic. I don't even position as the pandemic, especially after this series of low interest rates and lots of cash available, 50-X valuations, tons of fundraising. It's just little to do about the pandemic. It's just the economic environment that was created around that, so people started bouncing around and going to different jobs and doing all these different things.

(11:24):
So we created all these programs that would help us, and even tools, within Gainsight actually that help track the champions and track your advocates in terms of where they go and how they move from company to company. We even do things like we have automated programs when someone goes from one company to the other, or takes a new job that will send someone like a welcome gift and congratulatory gift when they go and they get their new role in a new company.

(11:48):
There are things you can do like that. I also think... I'll tell you, I think that's going to slow down a little bit now. I think that's going to slow down now. People are going to have to settle into roles a little bit more, and you're going to see that kind of adjust a little bit with the new way the economy is.

(12:06):
I also think that it goes back to... Even if it does slow down a little bit, there's always going to be that change in tenure. There's always going to be that advancement within organizations, people take on new roles and do different things. You've got to make sure that, again, it goes back to... I'll go back in time to other things, but it's not just the company, it's the people. You've got to build, so much of what Gainsight says it's about winning. Our whole mantra here is about winning in business while being human first.

(12:41):
Well, it's about customer success as much as it's about the data and the value and all the outcomes and everything else. It's about the relationships and it's about the people that you're engaging with on a regular basis and how you're helping them grow their career and their job. When they're held accountable at the next level up, you're making them successful and making them part of a community of other folks where they can be learning from. Again, not to keep beating on the horse of the community, but it's a big piece of it.

Jen Spencer (13:08):
Yeah, I look at it like even if you as a business leader aren't ready to go all in on the idea of a community and make a big investment there, for whatever reason, at the very least, considerate your safety net, right? Because you got to do something, right? Jake Randall from Common Room was on the podcast not long ago, and he said, everyone has a community. Whether or not... Whether you like it or not.

Scott Salkin (13:39):
It's leveraging [inaudible 00:13:40]. Yeah.

Jen Spencer (13:41):
Are you listening? Are you listening to that community? Are you plugging into it?

Scott Salkin (13:48):
Yeah. No. It's so true. It's so important. It's your customers. It's the folks where... The worst thing you're possibly doing is having a community and not nurturing it. And letting... What do you want to call it? A rogue community in a way.

Jen Spencer (14:07):
Yeah, yeah. Harnessing it, taking advantage of that. Oh yeah. It'd be like traffic coming to your website that you're not working to convert.

Scott Salkin (14:17):
Yeah.

Jen Spencer (14:17):
Okay. Another question for you. This is a little painful, but I try to be pretty plugged in, pretty dialed into what's happening, especially in the SAS community, which is where I came from before I came over to SmartBug as you know. We used to work together.

(14:39):
I'm seeing a lot of concern over potential churn numbers. A lot of doom and gloom. Some of it's a little bit out there. Come on, you guys, scare tactics. But concern over expectations around churn numbers in the tech space in getting into Q1 of 2023. Interesting. I'm seeing that specifically over and over again. And what do you think of that? Also, if someone's listening to this right now in December of 2022, when we're recording it, is it too late for those CS leaders?

Scott Salkin (15:15):
Yeah.

Jen Spencer (15:17):
I'm asking you to tap into your crystal ball here, which is totally unfair, but what do you think is going to happen here in the new year, and what can we do now to set ourselves up for success?

Scott Salkin (15:29):
I don't think... It's not too late. I don't think churn has to be a concern. I think what has to be a concern is the value that you're providing to your customers. And understanding very clearly and having a plan in place to be able to go deliver the value and outcomes that were promised or that your brand sits on in terms of the expectations that you set during the sales process.

(15:55):
I think companies really have to double down on that because if you're anything like our CFO, or any of the other couple hundred CFOs I've talked to this year, or other folks that are out there in SAS or any kind of business, you were looking at all the different tools you have right now. All the different software tools and everything you have out there, and you're stack ranking them and you're looking at all the unutilized licensing that you have.

(16:21):
And maybe it's not just unexpected churn, maybe it's just down sell. And maybe it's just eliminating unused licensing and things like that. Companies are looking to cut the fat out of their business right now. I think it's really important to read a really clear understanding of utilization rates of your tool, of what features are driving the most adoption or driving the most retention and doubling down on doing things like in-app engagements or marketing campaigns or whatever it takes with your CSMs, building plays and playbooks to be able to get your customers to adopt those tools.

(16:54):
I don't ever think it's too late to get ahold on these things, but I think there's the fundamental playbooks that need to be in place for your business to go and be able to execute on customer success. I see more companies right now where they're focusing more is... They see less net new revenue coming in next year and are doubling down on since that's happening, we need to make sure that our existing customers stay in place.

(17:21):
The least, or the least efficient thing you can do as a business, is not only just lose efficiency around sales, but it's actually lose efficiency around customer success because then your upsells and expansions and all those other areas start increasing. And your CAC starts growing as well because who are your least expensive customers to sell to? Well, they're your existing ones. So CAC starts growing up, other expenses start going up, so you really got to be able to focus in and zero in on how do we take care of our existing customers if that new revenue is going to slow down, which everyone's singing across the board.

(17:58):
Salesforce issued their own news report last week. Marc Benioff said, we can't even issue a forecast for next year yet because we have no idea what's happening. That does not happen in today's market, but this is the reality right now. It's hard to forecast, it's hard to understand what's going on. So companies have to understand and be ready to prepare for that. And it's never too late. It's not too late to be able to start thinking about these things.

Jen Spencer (18:22):
The customer success playbook. Not just the onboarding, but the overall, the experience that you have, that a buyer has when they're leveraging certain software platform. We've bought a lot of software for ourselves at SmartBug, and I've bought over the course of my career and very, very few of those purchases, very, very few companies, take time to walk me through how we're actually using the software. Where we're [inaudible 00:18:56] using it. Looking for, hey, understanding your business and looking at things through the lens of your business, madame customer. Here are the two or three things I think you should use, that you're already paying for, and here's some help on getting you to use it. Because often it's only so many hours in the day. Or here's a partner maybe we recommend that we pull in to help you leverage this. And here's the kind of version I think can get mean. Honestly, Scott, over seven or eight-ish years of buying software, where I'm the main decision maker, I think maybe two companies have ever really done well.

Scott Salkin (19:46):
Yeah. Oh God, yeah. It's a struggle.

Jen Spencer (19:49):
Is that normal?

Scott Salkin (19:50):
Yeah. It's hard for me to say whether that's normal. It's disappointing. I think that it's hard for companies these days to... I think a lot of companies are still set in the mindset where throw bodies at sales because net new revenue is what drives the company. But that mindset has started to shift, especially as net retention and all those other types of metrics become more important to enterprise valuation and to the valuation of the company. As that happens, folks start thinking about, all right, we need more CSMs. We have to spend more times with customers.

(20:27):
I also think every single company, no matter what it is, whether it's sales, whether it's marketing, whether it's customer success, is trying to drive more efficiency in the business. So I think it's also, it's not just a matter of putting bodies in front of people, it's also a matter of doing things.

(20:41):
Again, going back to the inbound way of doing things, is doing things better from a digital perspective and trying to do more with less. It's a matter of, again, leveraging and being able to build the right tools and resources to be able to point folks like you towards connecting with other community members. It may not be the other CSM's job to be able to do that. It may be the CSM's job to be the consultant or the connector for you who's pointing you to towards all the right tools and resources to be able to learn the things that they need to.

(21:15):
Now, when it comes to really understanding your business, that should be happening across the board from the sales cycle to how that's transitioned over to the CSM. There's also a lot of product led growth companies right now who having a CSM in place or an account executive in place isn't part of the business model.

(21:34):
If a buyer never even talks to a person. And so even in those types of scenarios, the first line of customer success for those types of companies is not a person. It's the product. That's where it gets back to even leveraging tools like in-app engagements and doing things. I remember back in our day, our old days at Allbound, where we worked together, and one of the first things that we did to extend the value of our CSMs was we bought a tool to add a whole user guide and user guide experience into our software platform. And add all these in-app engagements and guide folks through how to use the tool without having to engage the CSM. And sometimes we would add custom pieces in for customers because we knew they had specific needs or specific scenarios. We would build out custom videos for them or certain little things that we did to be able to help them better leverage the tool, understanding that we had to control our own costs too.

(22:32):
There's a really fine balance. That balance is going to get even more scrutinized over the next couple years as more companies are pushed towards profitability. But that's why I think it's up to companies to be able to build the right balance of in-person, high-touch type of customer success activities with the customers who need it. With the type of digital led motions, pooled models, sometimes with pooled customer success, in-app engagements and other types of resources to make sure companies and customers like yourselves, like me for some tools, have the resources that they need.

(23:14):
I also think it's up to companies to be able to clearly articulate those throughout the sales cycle of what that's going to actually look like and set the right type of expectation. Oftentimes, poor customer success, I hate to say it, is the result of raw expectation setting throughout the sales cycle.

Jen Spencer (23:30):
Yes. I want to talk about... There's a couple things I want to make sure we talk about here that you just brought up.

(23:39):
One is the idea of doing more with less. Everyone I speak to lately is trying to do more with less. And I understand, but also this idea of friction between sales and customer success is stronger than ever before. Being where I get to set, being a partner of many different types of technology companies, we have two kind of tier one partners, HubSpot and Klaviyo, and then we've got about 40 other tier twos that we work with. What I'm seeing in this economy, in this market and the stress that these technology companies are under, I'm seeing some pretty bad behavior on sales. Where I'm seeing sales reps be really forcing technology down customer's throats that they don't necessarily need. Or too much.

Scott Salkin (24:38):
Yeah.

Jen Spencer (24:38):
Why not? Interestingly, I was watching an old episode of Arrested Development the other day, and it's the upselling of like, okay, you don't... Do you really need this? Oh, maybe you want this just so you have it and I'm going to give you this great discount for the first year. Then, if they churn, it's next year person's problems.

(25:01):
This friction between sales and customer success, is it a thing we're all going to live through right now, or are you seeing anyone who's handling it really well? Because I get it from a salesperson's perspective. I get it. You got to hit a number.

Scott Salkin (25:18):
Yeah. It's hard for me to say that it's friction. I think it's moreso there's no start and end to companies having one piece, one part of the journey just has a hard line stop and the next part starts.

(25:45):
Again, goes back to like we were talking about a little bit at the beginning, it's like there's this one continuous cycle of customers and companies working together. Some companies have more of an account management model, or sales owns the relationship throughout, and they're compensated based on what a renewal is like and whether or not the customer renews and do they renew at a flat rate? Do they down sell or do they grow? A lot of that depends on the value and the alignment between that account manager and that rep. Also, a customer success team, let's just say for example. I also think it's a matter of where your customer success organization aligns.

(26:22):
Some of them have the CCO aligning alongside the CRO to the CEO, which can be a really good model for some companies. Other ones have a VP of customer success or sometimes even a CCO rolling into a chief growth officer, chief sales officer, chief revenue officer, whatever it is. That could be an okay model depending on what your business looks like.

(26:40):
Ultimately, I think it has to be aligned on metrics. There's things that you need to align on around comp plans and everything else. I think, again, it goes back to... You've got to make sure that... Listen, everyone's under pressure to go and drive revenue right now. Every rep is under pressure to go and deliver on their number to hit their goals. It's how they earn their money. It's how they put food on their table. So they're going to do the things that they need to do oftentimes to close a deal.

(27:07):
But if you are going through that sales process, and again, being able to clearly articulate the value and understand the outcome that you're going to try to achieve for that customer, then you can articulate that to your customer success team and it's their job to then help them deliver on that. If that is not happening during the sales cycle, but a customer is going and buying anyways, it's hard to do that when you don't have really clear values or outcomes that are articulated and developed for the customer.

(27:41):
You've got to think how that then applies to churn and to GRR and to the stock option that you're sitting there hoping is going to invest and help make you money one day. Because it's going to be harder for your organization. I think every company has to learn sometimes when it's right to say no, because if you don't, then you're going to have those numbers go up.

(28:04):
For some companies, it's too small of a customer. For some companies, it's a customer who's in the wrong vertical market. But it's really hard for them to deliver value. You've got to be able to focus on the right ones and then really be able to go master that and then go be able to sell more into that right customer.

(28:24):
When you don't do that, it's going to impact your business the wrong way. It's not just that sales and customer success relationship, it's that if we don't provide the right value for this specific type of customer, how does that impact the rest of our business? Because it's going to, again, go impact the narrative out in the market around us, which is going to make our CAT go up, which is going to impact how much we have to spend on marketing to be able to go land a customer, which is going to impact everything else in the entire company.

(28:53):
I think you just have to look at it as that entirety of that whole, of how the business aligns. Who's the right customer and what can we do for them.

Jen Spencer (29:00):
It can become a vicious cycle if you're not thinking about that holistic approach.

Scott Salkin (29:08):
Yeah.

Jen Spencer (29:09):
We touched on it a little bit. Let's return to it because I love tactics. So doing more with less, digital solutions allow us to do that for sure. Everything from... I got marketing people, our in internal marketing team, playing with AI to draft social media posts right now.

Scott Salkin (29:33):
Oh, I know.

Jen Spencer (29:33):
Because they're like, wow, look, we just pumped out like three things.

Scott Salkin (29:37):
It writes it for me. Yeah.

Jen Spencer (29:38):
I know. It's amazing. What's going on? We're all looking to do that. What do you think? What are some of the tactics or tips or tools that you think business leaders should be looking at in the CS space?

Scott Salkin (29:52):
I absolutely think everything right now is about efficiency. Doing more with less. Durability for your company. Driving efficient growth. There's all kinds of charts out there now from analysts and consulting firms, McKinsey, BAE, you name it, that shows the name of the game anything more is an all out growth. It's efficient growth and how you're able to grow your company while actually having a real path to profitability. Imagine that.

(30:18):
So companies are needing to invest in tools to be able to help them be more efficient in their business. That applies really heavily to customer success. In the marketing side of things, in the sales side of things, there's market automation that's stretched really heavily into the customer success side of things. We do things that... We have tool called Journey Orchestrator that a lot of companies used, similar to our market automation tool, but leverages things like health scores, customer usage, product adoption, all kinds of other analytics that people pump into Gainsight table to then push AI and then deliver automation out to the customer base to be able to drive them to, again, the right features that drive stickiness, that drive attention, things like that.

(30:58):
So really being able to drive these journeys automatically for your existing customers using tools like Gainsight or others that are out there. Then tying in things like in-app engagements. So being able to make that journey tied into how you're engaging your customers in the app. That doesn't just mean a little question mark help button that they can pop up and actually be able to access a couple of videos of how to do things. That means in-app guides, things that pop up to be able to explain to a customer, here's what you should be doing here when this happens. You see them in a lot of tools, but you also see a lot of folks who don't leverage those types of things. So in-app engagement is really important. Leveraging, again, those types of tools and tying them back into customer success. I'll just go back into community.

(31:45):
Community is so critically important. Being able to leverage your customer base, be able to leverage your advocates, being able to get product feedback, being able to tie all of those different things back into a community type of environment. That then goes back to let you leverage advocacy and emotion and different things, sentiment analysis, things like that back into your customer health score, back into how you deliver automated communication to your customers. Those are the things that companies start really being able to be able to see results in terms of efficiency.

(32:18):
Ultimately tools like Gainsight and other ones should be about, I hate to say it, but helping you offset those five CSMs you may need to hire next year and maybe hire two or three who can be doing more high value things like getting on the phone with Jen and talking her through specific things she wants to do for her company while the low-hanging fruit is automated away. Those are some of the things that we need to really be able to help companies really do more of these days. That's where you hear a lot about digital customer success and helping companies even manage their long tail customers and things like that.

Jen Spencer (32:54):
I love that. I love that. I think about headcount planning, and you talked about five to two, what have you, but so much more tremendous value that I get as a customer to be able to talk to someone who has the time and headspace who probably can't take on as many customers as many accounts, but to really understand my business and how whatever the solution is that I'm using of theirs, how it's helping me drive my business forward. Then, rely on a knowledge base or an AI and other online tools to help me solve my problems. Because guess what, we all know how to use Google and ask how do I do X, Y, Z.

Scott Salkin (33:45):
I'll add one other piece onto there that we haven't really talked about a lot. That's ops. I think folks have gotten really familiar and comfortable with things like mark ops and sales ops and rev ops to be able to manage the tools and resources and why they need them.

(34:02):
The next big thing shift in momentum or shift in that we're seeing in CS is also CS ops. You also have to think about that of what one CS ops person or even half a CS ops person that maybe also be doing rev ops or mark ops or whatever it is. What that can do in terms of adding efficiency for your customer success team by making those digital tools more effective.

(34:27):
Again, is one mark ops headcount going to help save you three or four, I'm sorry, one CS ops headcount going to help you save three or four CSMs? Just like a mark ops headcount is going to help you save in terms of folks who are creating all the different content, tools, resources you need for marketing. I think that's also really, really important to keep in mind. That you've got to make that part of your DNA. That you have to understand what operations is and that you've got to look at it not as an expense, but as something that's adding more efficiency to your business.

Jen Spencer (35:00):
Absolutely. It would take us way off on a tangent of all of the things that we're doing right now for our own business around customer operations. I've got to tied into revenue operations. I've got two revenue officers who oversees all sales and customer success. And our account services. We consider that part and parcel. I'm just learning that others are not thinking about it that way, and they're thinking marketing and sales ops into rev ops and forgetting about the customer portion.

Scott Salkin (35:37):
Yeah. No, absolutely.

Jen Spencer (35:40):
Well, Scott. Wow, we just blasted through a whole bunch of [inaudible 00:35:47].

Scott Salkin (35:47):
Blasted through 40 minutes.

Jen Spencer (35:51):
Thanks so much for joining me today.

Scott Salkin (35:53):
Yeah. Thanks for having me.

Jen Spencer (35:54):
So good to catch up with you. If anyone listening wants to connect with you, follow the work you're doing at Gainsight, where are the places and spaces they should go do that?

Scott Salkin (36:06):
Follow me on or connect with me on LinkedIn. Love that. And then just Gainsight.com. We have all kinds of tons of great content tools and resources. We have a great event every year that we do in the US and EMEA. Then we're bringing a on tour to different places called Pulse. We're doing cool things, different cities called Pulse Pizza Club, where we kind of bringing on the road and going and having pizza and beer, talking about customer success. All kinds of fun stuff we're doing. And then there's LinkedIn, which is also just a great way to catch up.

Jen Spencer (36:35):
Perfect. Now, as people are craving those in-person experiences like I know Pulse can provide, what type of person should go to Pulse? Who are the people who should have that on their agenda?

Scott Salkin (36:48):
Well, just Gainsight has kind of evolved, so has Pulse. Pulse used to be the place for customer success leaders to go. Now, Pulse is the place for customer success, product, community. We have marketers come, but really those first three are really the core areas. A lot of revenue leaders. You went back and mentioned it yourself, like your CRO oversees these areas. CROs get a ton of value out of Pulse and some of these other VPs of sales. W also have... There's those leadership types of topics, but we also have tracks and events and all other things for CSMs, for CS ops folks, for product management leaders, for community leaders. I'm sorry, for community like leaders and practitioners. It's across the board of those three key areas. Then I would definitely add sales to that mix also.

Jen Spencer (37:36):
Awesome. All right. Well, great. Everyone, make sure you have Pulse on your list of potential events for 2023.

Scott Salkin (37:43):
That's right.

Jen Spencer (37:44):
Wonderful. Well, thanks everyone for listening. If you learned something today, please pay it forward by reading and reviewing us on whatever podcast listening platform of choice you have. Make it a great day, everyone.

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