Customer success isn’t an add-on – Start early to win later

What comes first: Sales or Customer Success? Many growing startups pressure themselves to start selling as soon as there’s a viable product to sell. “Set up Customer Success functions” goes on the to-do list. After all, we don’t have to worry for another year, right?

Using the proprietary Scale Studio dataset of hundreds of SaaS startups, we’ll look at the metrics that venture investors use to link your company’s valuation to success in Customer Success — then dive into the tactics for adapting your CS program to your company’s high-touch or low-touch sales model

A year passes, and the company’s first renewals come due. Everyone from the CEO on down scrambles to do whatever it takes to make those charter customers happy and win contract extensions. After all, those customers aren’t just any customers — they’re the company’s first references, critical to landing new business and raising funds from investors. Every effort goes into making them happy.

The problem is, of course, that bringing in the CEO and CTO and VP of Sales on every renewal isn’t exactly a scalable process. Nor the basis for a long-term Customer Success strategy. 

Customer Success — a formal, process-driven, value-creating operational activity — needs to be structured to scale. And it needs to be top-of-mind from day one. Here is a look at the data and strategic rationale for launching CS early in a startup’s growth to avoid inefficiency and mistakes down the line. 

The case for customer success: Valuation

To venture investors, a well-run CS operation at an early-in-revenue startup communicates that your company has a sophisticated go-to-market strategy with a customer-centric foundation. This can translate into a valuation boost along two paths: accelerated revenue growth and increased predictability. And growth is a key driver for valuation with venture investors