Customer Success

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Customer Success (and More)

June 1, 2018

Special thanks for Scott Breece for helping compile this content.

Customer success has, for good reason, become the backbone of many of the most successful and fastest growing SaaS businesses today. These companies recognize that customer success has the power to influence many boardroom metrics including growth rate, payback, retention and others. While customer success should be a company wide mandate, customer success teams quarterback customer adoption, growth and ultimately customer happiness. These teams combat user learning curves, successfully onboard and support customers and assist with full product adoption and growth.

Given the increase of technology to achieve customer success at scale and the continued focus on achieving net negative churn, we’ve compiled this exhaustive customer success resources guide. Whether you call your team customer success, customer value, customer happiness, etc. this guide will provide you with all the information you ever wanted to know on building and running a successful CS practice.

Here goes.

Table of Contents

The Basics

The Essential Guide to Customer Success
Customer success is pivotal to the effective operation of SaaS companies. In this guide, Nick Mehta, CEO of Gainsight, discusses some of the core concepts of every successful CS team.

Understanding Customer Experience in SaaS
To deliver a truly customer-centric experience, customers must understand each part of the user journey. Myk Pono, a Marketing and Product Growth leader, dives into customer success terminology and presents the differences between the user touchpoints, interactions and engagements in this article.

An Introduction to Customer Success
Want a better understanding of the basic building blocks around customer success? Look no further than this exhaustive guide.

The Success Gap: A Huge Opportunity You Haven’t Considered
For all of the thought that goes into building your product, sometimes an overlooked gap remains between the tool’s functional ability and the customer’s desired outcome. Lincoln Murphy of Sixteen Ventures discusses how to find and fix this “success gap” to better your brand and product.

Customer Success: Nearly Everything You Need to Know
This guide by Typeform’s Eric Johnson covers a multitude of customer success topics broken into helpful sections ranging from the customer journey to building out your CS team. If you need easy-to-digest best practices and examples, this post gets the job done.

Building a Customer Success Team

How to Build a Customer Success Organization as Your Startup Grows
The needs of the customer and their expectations change over time. Michael Redbord, VP of Services and Support at Hubspot, dives into a detailed guide on what a company should and shouldn’t focus on throughout this evolution.

Hiring for Customer Success
When hiring a customer success manager, like any position, there are a specific set of qualities needed to be successful. Dave Blake, Founder and CEO of ClientSuccess, offers his top 6 attributes to look for in this article.

Inside Customer Success: Typeform
Want an inside look at how a customer success leader structures their team? Get the inside scoop from Typeform.

Your Customer Success Leader Needs to Be Able to Run Through Walls
Sometimes walls will exist that block recurring value for your customers and by proxy, your business. In this thought provoking article, Ross Fulton offers his suggestions: say “no” to the sales team and building awareness that the customer is not always right.

Metrics to Track

The 3 Customer Success Metrics You Should Be Measuring
Drift provides a detailed breakdown on the CS metrics you should be measuring including expansion MRR, churn, NPS and more.

Churn. What is it? How to calculate it?
The title says it all 🙂 This article provides a great overview of why customers churn, the different types, how to calculate it and what an acceptable level of churn looks like.

The Magic of Negative Churn
No matter what, every SaaS business will experience customer churn. But some companies have mastered the art of customer success so much so that they actually generate negative revenue churn. Find out how they do it in this article.

Net Promoter Score: Vanity or Value Metric?
Has net promoter score become more ego booster than value metric? The key is ensuring it’s just one part of the CX equation. Find out how in this article.

Three Core Areas of Customer Success that Executives Measure
When it comes to Customer Success, what areas do executives care about most? Learn why renewal revenue, expansion revenue and customer sentiment matter most and how to measure each in this article.

What Every SaaS Business Needs to Know About User Adoption
User adoption is the bedrock of any best-in-class customer success strategy because it sets the foundation for users’ understanding of and success with your company and your product. But how do you achieve said adoption? UserIQ’s Rachel Orston lays it out.


5 Delightful Ways to Onboard New Users
Get detailed breakdowns of five different onboarding methodologies from the design-minded folks at Invision.

Before you Plan your Product Roadmap
Before you plan your product roadmap, it’s important (and a good use of your time) to find out first which features users are actually using. Intercom explains how here.

Customer Success Tactics That Lead to Hyper Growth
An exhaustive list of topic tactics sure to boost customer success and retention.

How to Overcome Customer Experience Blindspots
More companies are realizing they need to get back to delivering exceptional customer experiences. Here’s where you’re falling short and how to fix it.

Orchestrating Sales and Customer Success Alignment
Aligning sales and customer success can positively impact both teams and your company’s bottom line. Find out how to align the two teams here.

How we Reduced Churn by Over 60% by Only Converting Product Qualified Leads
New revenue is great, but keeping and growing that revenue is even better. Find out how Bonjoro reduced churn by over 60% by converting only product qualified leads.

24 Tips for a Winning Win / Loss Analysis
Running a win loss analysis can greatly impact your bottom line. But how do you do so effectively? Get all the tips here.

Ushering in the New Era of Customer Service with Chatbots
Are chatbots the key delivering better customer service? New products popping up seem to be betting on just that. Find out more in this article.

10 Ways to Stop B2B Churn
Churn can greatly hurt your bottom line. But what are the signs and how do you stop customers from churning? 10 ways to stop churn here.

The Key to Happier Customers? Customer Success and Product Management Alignment
We all know about sales and marketing alignment, but what happens after? Learn about the importance of customer success and product management alignment here.

5 Keys to Unlocking Negative Churn in B2B SaaS
Achieving negative churn is the gold standard for B2B SaaS companies. So how do you actually get there? In this article, five tips to unlock that holy grail.

Customer Success: The Path to Pricing Success
Customer success, when utilized successfully, can have a positive impact on price. Learn how to leverage CS to maximize price and willingness to pay in this article.

16 Ways to Turn Customers into Brand Advocates
Your best customers shouldn’t just use your product, they should advocate for it. In this article, find sixteen different ways to turn customers into brand advocates.

Communities & Additional Resources

OUTCOMES: The Customer Success Community
OUTCOMES is a customer success community where members can learn, share and grow knowledge of customer success. Join the community here.

Customer Happiness Experts Association (CHXA)
This group focuses on connecting customer success pros. Learn from each other, contribute, connect and gain industry insights.

Quora: Customer Success
Quora is a useful resource to ask and search through a variety of questions. Answers may vary but if you look hard enough, you are bound to find small nuggets of wisdom and insight.

Slack Communities (like Customer Retention/Happiness or CS Heros)
If you use Slack already, joining a customer success slack community should be an easy add. Above are two we’ve been recommended for a direct line to CS pros and expert resources. Happy chatting!

Intercom on Customer Support
Intercom on Customer Support shares what the company has learned trying to remain personal while at the same time scaling customer support. Access the eBook here.

The Customer Success Podcast by Gainsight
Customer Success leaders weigh in with tips, tactics, team structure and more. Tune in here.

Looking for even more customer success resources? Be sure to download OpenView’s eBook: Building Your Customer Success Strategy here.

Customer Success Strategy eBook CTA (LinkedIn)


Ashley Minogue

Senior Director of Growth

Ashley is Senior Director of Growth on OpenView's Expansion team. She helps OpenView’s portfolio companies achieve repeatable scale via marketing, sales and pricing strategy optimization. Most frequently, she partners with the portfolio on projects related to improving lead funnel conversion, customer segmentation, sales process, pricing and demand gen. Prior to joining OpenView, Ashley was the Senior Manager of B2B Strategy & Analytics at Her efforts spanned marketing, BDR optimization & funnel analytics to help the B2B business grow by 9x in just a few years. Before, Ashley worked as a consultant for Simon-Kucher & Partners, the global marketing and strategy consulting firm known as the world leader in pricing.