CS Knowledge Drop - Customer Success Organizational Structure

  • 23 June 2016
  • 6 replies

As you may know, Gainsight recently announced a new organizational structure to prioritize Customer Success. You can learn more about this exciting change either by reading this blog post by our VP of Customer Success and Business Operations Allison Pickens or by watching this recent webinar on the topic. Our team is thrilled to prioritize customer outcomes above everything else by aligning our teams around a new, customer-centric organization.

[i]How has your company organized around the customer?

[i]What strategies have you used to navigate a customer-focused reogranization?

[i]What questions do you have about Gainsight's recent reorganization?

6 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +6
Thanks Andrew! To your last question: I'd be curious to learn more about Gainsight's foray into "a group of CSMs who share ownership of a group of customers". If I understand correctly, you tried it out, but are now slowly migrating away from it. I'm curious what led you all to try it out, and what you learned that ended up pushing you back the other way.
Seth, thanks for the question. I'm happy to chat more about our pooled CSM model.

We started out with having a group of CSMs share ownership over a group of customers (what we called the 'pooled CSM team'). Upon trying this out for a few months, we started noticing that more broadly, our smaller and more agile customers really sought quick technical help. They were also confused about having multiple points of contact.

The pooled CSM team didn't have the right skillset to answer technical / how-to questions in a queue, and it became clear that the pooled CSM team was serving more as an additional step to getting customers this quick technical help. So, we expanded our the scope and responsibilities of our Technical Success team to take on these kinds of questions -- as well as general best practice questions -- in a more effective way. 

This is explained more in Allison's blog post that Andrew linked to, above. 
Userlevel 7
Badge +6
Thanks so much, Sonam!

I'm also very curious about the Training team. There's an extremely dry way to run that kind of team -- "please repeat this same exact script over and over again" -- and I imagine it's easy to hire folks for that team who would get tired of it easily. What have Gainsight found are the right ways to motivate and hire for an engaged and self-improving Training team that customers enjoy interacting with? (I read the Training Team Charter, but couldn't quite feel out the answer to those questions.)
Userlevel 5
Hi Seth!  I'm currently leading our Onboarding Training team.  

I get what you say about repetition, however, I believe we have that in check by focusing on building "On Demand" material first.  This abstracts an instructor from the day-to-day grind of presentation in order to allow us to scale.  At the same time customers will also want Instructor-Led training, whether virtual or in-person, so we build materials such that they can be leveraged for those kinds of sessions as well.  That way, those high-fidelity sessions become less frequent (repetitious) and typically more fun for everyone involved.

Happy to chat sometime if you're interested in our approach! 
Userlevel 7
Badge +6
Makes perfect sense, thanks Dave! Do you find that you benefit from having some folks on the team who are more product-marketing-y (with expertise in technical writing, video scripting/recording/editing, etc) and others who are great at enthusiastic meeting facilitation? Or do you find that it's not so hard to find contributors who have feet solidly in both of those camps?
Userlevel 5
First answer - yes!  Plus I think the training team must be technically savvy (so you can tease out those more challenging product edges).  May be part and parcel to having technical writing competence.

The most important thing for any training team is (my opinion) to have a supportive culture that allows plenty of time for "elicitation" / capture of knowledge.  Newer companies perhaps have more knowledge locked up in the minds of its Subject Matter Experts than it should ... getting that on paper (or pixels) key.