5Reason #2: Customer Success Is a Growth Engine—If You Move from Defense to Offense

When Mark Roberge started teaching a class on sales at Harvard Business School, he was dumbfounded. “We did not have Customer Success in our syllabus—in a course focused on growth!”

For Roberge, the former chief revenue officer at HubSpot, it was inconceivable to not talk about Customer Success in the context of sales. Roberge helped take HubSpot public as a leading multi-product growth platform. Along that journey, he saw how important CS was for growth.

The first year I was at HubSpot, we were very sales- and marketing-driven. We went from 100 to 1,000 customers and 1 million to 3 million in revenue in seven months. We had amazing growth. But churn went from an already terrible five percent a month to eight percent a month.

So we became obsessed with Customer Success. We hired a leader who built the team. We studied the customer segments that we were retaining and churning. We stopped selling to segments that churned at too high a rate. We started tracking early indicators of success. We knew that if clients used five of the 20 features in the first 60 days, then they'd be a customer for life. If they didn't, they'd churn.

From there, it was extremely easy to operationalize everything from the definition of Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) on the marketing side, to how account executives were compensated on the sales side, to our goals for customers during onboarding, to how we evolve the roadmap ...

Get The Customer Success Economy now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience books, live events, courses curated by job role, and more from O’Reilly and nearly 200 top publishers.