From flexibility to cross-functional alignment: Four trends impacting the customer success space in 2024

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Forget business as usual. In 2024, businesses face shifting customer expectations, evolving technology, and global economic uncertainties. In this challenging environment, prioritizing customer success (CS) isn’t an option; it’s a lifeline. Customer-focused companies grow 2.5 times faster than companies not prioritizing CS.

To stay competitive, enterprises must empower CS teams to ditch the status quo and embrace the role of strategic growth driver. That mission involves keeping up with the latest industry trends. Here are four that I believe will take center stage for CS teams this year.

Embracing role flexibility

Flexibility will be the key to executing a CS motion that drives outstanding customer results. CS can’t be a one-size-fits-all endeavor — it’s a balance between the organization’s customer goals, maturity, and product complexity. Role definitions within a CS team will be increasingly important to ensure its efficiency and effectiveness.

For example, a customer success manager (CSM) in a larger enterprise might route technical questions to technical support or renewals to an account manager. At the same time, a smaller organization’s CSM might handle all renewals, expansion, and onboarding. Balanced, flexible CS teams ensure short- and long-term customer success.

Quantifying business impact

Demonstrating a clear return on investment (ROI) is critical for CS teams striving to quantify their tangible impact. Though specific metrics will vary across verticals, industries, and product lines, CS teams that can demonstrate the direct relationship between world-class customer outcomes and financial performance will thrive. Data-fluent CS teams will elevate their function as a revenue center rather than a cost center.

As a part of quantifying their impact, CS teams will play an even more critical role in driving customer-led growth by supporting customers and their outcomes. CS teams must embrace responsibility for protecting revenue and supporting revenue growth across the existing customer base.

Aligning cross-functionally

Cross-functional alignment across go-to-market (GTM) teams will become paramount for driving CS and achieving sustainable growth. While a partnership with sales has always been crucial to customer experience, CS teams will expand their focus to encompass marketing and product teams to help drive customer retention, expansion, and overall business achievement.

As tech buyers become more discerning, the collaboration and alignment between marketing and CS will intensify, ensuring that every touchpoint with customers is consistent, valuable, and aligned with their evolving needs. This synergistic approach will empower organizations to maximize the impact of their GTM efforts and cultivate long-lasting customer relationships that drive revenue and business growth.

Harnessing data for meaningful results

We’ll see more organizations ditch the “more data is better” mindset and instead hone in on customer data that tells a story and impacts the overall business. Organizations will use software integration to eliminate data silos between best-in-class solutions, empowering cross-functional teams to work seamlessly to uncover data that deepens an understanding of core customer needs.

These four CS trends reflect a crucial shift from product- to customer-focused. By embracing flexibility, customer data, quantifiable metrics, and cross-functional alignment, companies will transform from mere vendors into trusted partners, actively engaged in their customers’ success stories. This customer-focused approach isn’t just a feel-good strategy; it’s a proven path to sustainable growth and competitive advantage.

Chris Dishman
Chris Dishman is Vice President of Customer Success at Totango. After spending nearly 20 years of progressive customer success leadership at ON24, including playing a central role in the company’s IPO, Dishman is focused on elevating how Totango customers maximize the value of their CS programs and technology purchases. He also leads the post-sales support and customer training and enablement department to help ensure a seamless customer experience after purchase.

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