Gainsight CPO on Product Management (Part 3)
The introduction of the Saas model has completely changed the priorities for product management teams. Having a great product is not enough anymore. Instead, you have to cultivate strong relationships and form a business that customers trust. Given the ease with which new companies can launch new products, competition has never been higher. As a result, it’s critical to stand out from the crowd when it comes to bonding with your customers.
In order to do so, customer success teams are able to manage your client base and provide invaluable feedback for product improvement. For example, customer success teams are the driving force behind guiding customers through the service lifecycle. Along the way, they are responsible for driving adoption and service renewals to reduce churn. Ultimately, these activities reduce risk and ensure that your business can retain more customers.
When it comes to day-to-day focus, I like to think about the data models that our jobs are based on. In other words, it’s helpful to understand the inputs/outputs that drive your decisions. Customer success teams are directly in contact with customers every day. As a result, they are most capable of truly understanding customers rather than just viewing them as prospects.
In a recent survey, 62 percent of customer respondents said that this team manages the entire product lifecycle. Conversely, 70 percent of product management respondents said that they spend zero to little time with customers. These outcomes illustrate two points. First, product managers clearly need to spend more time with customers. However, customer success teams can also play a vital role in providing feedback. As a result, product management teams can optimize products to meet customer demands.
For example, we use our customer success team to monitor product risks that are highlighted by customers. In other words, our team is constantly looking for factors that are preventing value. As a result, our team is able to prioritize new features based on the input that is delivered by the customer success team. Furthermore, the customer success team represents the best group to drive advocacy for your product and retain customers.
Simply put, customer success teams are on the front lines of your business. They make a big difference to ensure that your customers receive maximum value.
About the speaker
Karl Rumelhart is the Chief Product Officer at Gainsight. Karl is responsible for the product roadmap for Gainsight’s customer success platform. Karl has held senior product and marketing roles at VMware, leading product management for VirtualCenter and driving the acquisition of SpringSource. Karl has also run product teams at Jive and predictive analytics at Infer. Prior to his software career, Karl was an academic mathematician, lecturing at Stanford University after receiving a Ph.D. from Harvard University.