MarTech Interview with Nick Mehta, CEO at Gainsight

It’s important to build digital communities to harness the potential power of online customer acquisition; Nick Mehta, CEO at Gainsight delves into a few tips and best practices:

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Welcome to this MarTech Series chat Nick, tell us about yourself and what your journey in the B2B technology market has been like so far? We’d love to hear more about your role as CEO at Gainsight…

A little bit about me—I’m passionate about family, football, philosophy, physics, fashion, feminism, parody music videos, community, product experience, and customer success. I’ve made it my life’s mission to combine all of these things into one epic metaverse (or as I like to call it, “MehtaVerse”) one day!

I started my first business in college with some friends during the dot com boom and we almost went public in 2000. But unfortunately, in the end, the company didn’t make it. No one made any money, but, as they say, it was still an awesome “learning experience!” Now all that exists are the memories and this commercial.

After that, I realized running your own start-up for your first job makes you practically unemployable. To overcome that, I went and worked for a large company called Veritas for five years. Veritas was eventually bought by Symantec and over the years I went from product manager to a GM running a part of the company. I had a great time, but after five years, I decided I wanted to do my own thing again. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew it was time to leave and seek out my next adventure. So I joined a small company, LiveOffice, as CEO. LiveOffice was my first SaaS business and I learned all of the amazing aspects of the cloud operating model there. I also saw a massive gap in cloud customer experience that needed to be filled. That’s what led me to connecting with a few other folks and launching Gainsight almost 9 years ago, to help start the Customer Success Movement.

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Gainsight recently announced the acquisition of InSided, we’d love to dive into this in more detail, what led to this acquisition and how does it change the game for the industry and end-users?

When we launched Gainsight in 2013, there were probably 500 CSMs in the whole world.

We believed it would become an important job, but we couldn’t just hope for it. We had to make it happen. We had to intentionally build a community to make the customer success career attractive and successful.

Over time and much reflection, we’ve realized that the concept of community means a great deal to us internally and the Customer Success industry as a whole. The fact is that even after nine years, we are constantly learning from our community. One thing we’ve heard over and over again is how much our customers wanted and needed the technology to help foster and grow their own communities. In our research, it came up over and over as one of the top strategies to drive Net Retention, along with journey orchestration and in-product guidance.

With this acquisition, we empower our customers to harness the power of their communities to keep and grow their existing customers. By connecting the teams in a company that work with clients (Sales and Customer Success), the company’s digital products, and its clients, we are creating a customer journey that’s more integrated and effective than ever before.

What are some of the top lags you see B2B teams struggle with when it comes to customer success and what kind of features do you feel are going to become more popular in the market as teams open up to more automation to solve their everyday customer success challenges?

In 2021, SaaS CEOs realized that Net Revenue Retention (NRR) is the number one or two driver of shareholder value. Because of this, 100% of SaaS companies are investing in Customer Success. But most of them are struggling to scale Customer Success to all of their clients and with a consistent journey.

The mistake most companies are making is hiring a team of Customer Success Managers and calling it a day. Every sophisticated SaaS company realizes that Customer Success is about the entire customer journey—from Product Development to Marketing to Sales to Onboarding to Support to Customer Success to Renewals and Expansion. To be successful, all these teams need to work together. But at most companies, the proverbial “left hand” and “right hand” don’t talk to each other resulting in a fragmented customer experience which then leads to churn and lower NRR.

One of the ways to solve this is to ensure that all the involved teams share the critical elements of their techstack. In other words, all the teams have the same unified view of the customer journey. This will go a long way in breaking down departmental silos and enable more thoughtful collaboration amongst teams.

Can you share a few top takeaways/thoughts on how you feel a digital-first customer success strategy should be planned out better in today’s marketplace?

I like to refer to a company many of us know that has really revolutionized the way we think about something that wasn’t digital and now is: Peloton. There are so many commonalities between Peloton’s digital-first strategy and the Customer Success strategy.

First, I see the blending of digital experience and products. The more that customers are living in the product, the more there will come to be an expectation to receive support within the product itself, whether it’s a device, software, app, or embedded product. It’s all about building the experience into the product, rather than having the customer need

to go somewhere else. And this is something that Peloton has nailed! Everything is built into the product—the teachers, the stats, the plans, the community.

Second, AI is more real than ever before. It’s not just a buzzword. Companies are starting to get a better handle on their AI strategy and starting to use it to understand what’s working and what’s not. AI will be used to help businesses make better decisions. The all new, voice-activated Peloton Guide uses machine learning and user data to reveal patterns, make choices, and enable users to track movements and progress.

Third, there will be great consideration on how to keep the human element in the digital experience. It will be all about finding ways of humanizing interactions and ensuring that customers can connect in ways that might be digital from a scale perspective, but feel very human. While “digital engagement” can feel a bit like an oxymoron, Peloton uses it brilliantly to connect with clients at a personal level to keep riders engaged, informed, and connected with their community.

A few thoughts on how you feel MarTech as a segment will move in 2022?

Going forward, marketing, product, customer success, and sales teams will work more closely than ever before and boundaries are bound to get blurry. The rise of growth models like Product-Led Growth, and new pipeline sources like CSQLs (Customer Success Qualified Leads) is something that Martech needs to keep an eye on and evolve to provide a more comprehensive view of the customer journey. In general, I see a big trend toward CMOs getting more involved in “post-sales” in 2022.

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Gainsight

In the cloud business model, three key factors drive valuation: growth rate, gross margin, and Net Dollar Retention (NDR). Gainsight drives Net Dollar Retention for the SaaS and cloud economy.

In 2013, Gainsight launched with the vision to create a new category of “Customer Success,” to help SaaS/cloud businesses drive success for their clients and, in the process, improve retention, expansion, and advocacy for their businesses. Gainsight pioneered the concept of Customer Success by publishing three books on the topic (one has sold more than 100K and been translated into more than five languages), organizing the biggest conference on the topic: Pulse (22K attendees last year), and launching a certification program for Customer Success (Pulse Academy). Gainsight has helped advance the careers of more than 150K Customer Success Managers and launched the CSYOU program last year to bring underrepresented minorities into the profession. Today, LinkedIn ranks Customer Success Management as the sixth most promising job in the world. Gainsight is used by 60% of the BVP Nasdaq Emerging Cloud Index, including Salesforce, Twilio, Workday, Docusign, Okta, Zendesk, and more. Gainsight also serves the majority of large technology businesses in transition, including Adobe, IBM, and VMware, amongst others. Finally, Gainsight powers digital transformation across financial technology (e.g., Paypal), medical devices (e.g., Medtronic), manufacturing (e.g, Rockwell Automation), and other industries. Gainsight’s technology suite, Customer Cloud, connects Sales, Customer Success, and Product teams around a shared view of the customer journey to optimize Net Dollar Retention, leveraging sophisticated analytics and automation technology.

Gainsight is well-known for being an innovator in company culture through its purpose “to be living proof that you can win in business while being human first” and its values: Golden Rule, Success for All, Child-like Joy, Shoshin, and Stay Thirsty, My Friends

Nick is the CEO of Gainsight, the Customer Success Company. He works with a team of over 1000 human beings who together have helped create the Customer Success category that’s currently taking over the SaaS

business model worldwide. Gainsight is a five time Forbes Cloud 100 recipient and Nick has been named the #2 CEO by the Software Report, has a 99% approval rating on Glassdoor, and was named Entrepreneur Of The Year for Northern California Award. On top of all that, he was recently rated as the #1 CEO in the world (the award committee was just his mom, but the details are irrelevant). He is a member of the Board of Directors at F5 (NASDAQ:FFIV) and has co-authored two books on Customer Success, Customer Success and The Customer Success Economy. He is passionate about family, football, philosophy, physics, fashion, feminism, parody music videos and SaaS Customer Success. People told him it’s impossible to combine all of those interests, but Nick has made it his life’s mission to try.

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