The Topline Strategy team of Jon Klein, Jack Wiener, Rachel Corn, Jay Chakraborty and Hien Truong recently attended the Gainsight Customer Success Client Conference, Pulse2019, in San Francisco.

Gainsight, “the customer success company”, provides a software solution to manage the customer success process. We attended the conference both as a Gainsight Partner as well as a sponsor and exhibitor at the conference.

The conference was a huge event, spanning three full floors at the Moscone Center West, over four days, last May.

Three Learnings:

  1. Customer Success/Experience is growing in importance both as a corporate objective as well as a career path for employees far faster than we had thought. Though our Customer Experience practice, StrategicCX, has been growing steadily over the past several years, we were literally blown away by the sheer number of attendees at the conference: 5,500 this year, up from 927 just five years ago. That is 5,500 customer success professionals coming together to learn more about the Gainsight platform, as well as industry trends, best practices, and what Gainsight Partners such as Topline Strategy have to offer to help companies achieve their customer success goals. As a sponsor of the event we were able to discuss our Cross-sell & Upsell Accelerator Program directly with Gainsight’s customers. Overall it was quite interesting for us to see how the role, responsibilities, and tools of a Customer Success Manager have evolved over time.
  2. Selling, upselling/cross-selling/renewals, to existing customers requires a different approach than when selling to acquire new customers. One interesting session we attended at Pulse2019 was led by Tim Riesterer, Chief Strategy Officer of Corporate Visions, who presented his firm’s research on this topic. The conference room for this presentation was packed, and we could tell by the number of session attendees taking pictures of Tim’s slides on their smartphones, that this was a topic of great interest. Tim led off his presentation with the following research finding: “Even though the vast majority of company revenue and growth in a given year will come from existing customers, customer success programs typically have to make do with commercial content from the customer acquisition side. Nearly half the companies surveyed by Corporate Visions invest less than 10% of their marketing budgets in messaging and content in key customer success situations like renewals and upsells. Meanwhile, less than half develop customized content for these selling situations. The majority just use the same messages, regardless of the customer relationship.”
    At Topline we know first-hand the value of segmenting markets and client’s customers in order to ensure the proper selling of the right product/service to the right buyer with the right tactics. Our research findings as published in the Topline report, Transforming B2B CX Programs, details the additional need for companies to understand the various ways customers actually use their products to achieve their business goals.
  3. Enhancing customer experience from a product perspective means focusing on product-market fit, not just cool features. Dan Olsen’s session, “How to Achieve Product-Market Fit”, drew us in because Dan highlighted the importance of product-market fit discussions to customer success. This goes hand-in-hand with the work we do at Topline, bringing our experience in Market Strategy to inform our customer experience practice. Dan discussed the common problems product managers face when tasked with ensuring that their products appropriately address the needs of their target market: understanding clearly the problems your target customers are trying to solve and delivering a differentiated product that meets customers’ underserved needs. When considering what aspects of a product are most important in maximizing customer experience, organizations should consider two dimensions: the importance of the function/feature set to the customer and the satisfaction with either the current product or competitive alternatives.

If you are interested to learn more about our customer success and market strategy programs contact us at