A really cool thing happened a couple weeks back…
I got accredited as a Gainsight Associate Administrator! Here’s the proof (no Photoshop, I swear).
Now if you’re like most people, you probably saw the word “admin” and the blinders went up. I don’t blame you. You might be thinking: how’s becoming an administrator cool?
It depends on which side of the admin you stand. If you’re doing the customer success admin, e.g.:
- creating reports,
- recording contacts,
- responding to tasks,
Then yeah, it’s work that just has to be done to keep the machine running.
But if you’re on the other side… the side that runs the systems… that’s a whole different story.
And it’s this (short) story that I want to tell you today…
Ch 1 – Systems, systems, systems
If there’s one thing CSMs are good at doing, it’s putting out fires. I haven’t come across one start-up where CSMs don’t run around like headless hens, reacting to one thing then the next. The founder tries to set some benchmarks, spreadsheets are introduced, but there will be one thing after another that’s usually blown out of proportion that’s a huge time and resource suck.
Gainsight is a customer success CRM (customer relationship management) system. That means that it’s purpose-built for helping CSMs manage their book of accounts, including all the important metrics they are responsible for, like:
While it might be a bit complex for budding start-ups, IMO it’s better to start earlier than later with setting good (industry) standards. And besides, once your growth starts accelerating, you’ll keep falling back on these good standards to make sure you’re focusing on the right metrics to keep the momentum up.
Ch 2 – The One Metric To Rule Them All
I was tempted to call this chapter, “metrics, metrics, metrics” but thought that was a bit too lazy. “The One Metric To Rule Them All” is a better way to hint at what it’s about.
I’ve previously written about metrics and how it’s important to focus on the right ones.
I gotta burst your bubble here before you get too excited. The One Metric To Rule Them All isn’t a specific Holy Grail. More so, it’s about focusing on the right metric(s) that are driving impact in your start-up.
It’s lazy to simply say the CSM is responsible for churn and blame them if customers leave. There is so much data coming into your platform that leaves customer health footprints, which can be leading indicators for worse things to come – if you catch them early.
A Gainsight administrator is able to allow more channels of data to funnel into Gainsight from external sources (via API and/or CSV), work with CSMs and identify what this Holy Grail metric might be.
The CSM is often too busy stuck in the weeds actually helping customers to know which metrics to look at. That’s why having a separate CS ops admin could be a good hire for your SaaS business.
Ch 3 – Helping People, Help More People = Scale
You know that thing that all founders love to talk about? Scaling their business with as little resource output as possible? That’s what a good customer success team can do for you.
While hiring CSM can be expensive, it can only continue to be expensive if you don’t find a way to help them help more people.
It would be easy to simply hire more CSMs as your business grows, but you might find that this actually leads to increasing costs that eat into your margin, such that the more the business grows, the more your profit drops.
That’s why hiring an administrator to build and look after systems to help your existing CSMs look after more customers (without burning them out) is key.
People are only as good as their systems and if the system isn’t designed to scale in the first place then there is going to be a ceiling for as high as the business can grow.
If you want to know more about how Gainsight might work for your business, feel free to reach out, I’m happy to chat about my experience using it!