Customer Success Doesn’t Matter

Customer success doesn’t matter is everything”

Back in my role running sales and marketing at Trilogy, I learned one of my first lessons about business: “customer success doesn’t matter.”   While the statement sounds ridiculous, in the world of enterprise software circa 1995, it was actually true.  We could sell a customer tens of millions worth of software and get paid entirely up front even though the deployment could take many months or even years.  And if for some reason the deployment was delayed or the software didn’t deliver, the customer would pay us millions more for our consultants to fix the issue.  The entire industry of 1990s enterprise software was built on this bizarre premise.

But as we all know in the technology industry, times have changed and this approach to business ultimately was wrong and unsustainable . The growth of SaaS and the switch to a subscription-billing model has forced vendors to deliver value early and often.  Even outside of the software space, the bar around customer success has been raised dramatically.  Customers across the board are more educated, more vocal, and more willing to switch.  This empowerment of the customer (through the web and social media) combined with the growth of the subscription economy has driven a sea change in global business, elevating customer success to a C-suite initiative.

It is this sea change that led us to invest in Gainsight.

Today we’re pleased to announce our investment behind Nick Mehta and the entire team at Gainsight, the leading provider of SaaS solutions to manage customer success.  With Gainsight’s solution, companies can now see a daily snapshot of the health of their customers.   They can proactively manage their most at-risk customers ahead of the curve leveraging early warning triggers from the Gainsight system.   And they can, for the first time, truly see a 360 degree view of their customers: financial data, billing data, support call data, product adoption data, and activity data all in one place.

And just as companies have systemized their acquisition of new customer logos using software from companies like Salesforce and Marketo, with Gainsight, a company can now systematize the management of the entire customer lifecycle post initial sale.  What this means in financial terms is reduced churn, higher revenue, and increased up-sells.  In other words, every business that has an ongoing relationship with its customers needs Gainsight. 

The team at Gainsight impressed us with their product vision, their leadership, and most importantly with their passion for customer success.  These guys really do walk the walk and we heard in customer call after customer call how committed and focused the Gainsight team has been on their success.

We are proud to welcome them to the Bain Capital Ventures portfolio and we look forward to the journey with them to help every business in the world deliver customer success!

About Ajay Agarwal

Hi - I'm Ajay and this is my personal blog. I am a partner with Bain Capital Ventures where I focus on early stage investing. Previously, I was with Trilogy Software in Austin, TX. I live in Palo Alto, CA with my wife and three kids.
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One Response to Customer Success Doesn’t Matter

  1. Vinay Bhagat says:

    Congrats on the deal Ajay. I concur that customer success management, and a data driven approach to predict retention, and determine where to focus is a huge need. I wish there’d been a tool like Gainsight around when we were scaling Convio.

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