Interview with Gainsight CEO Nick Mehta

Nick Mehta is the CEO of Gainsight,  a Customer Success Management platform that leverages customer intelligence and automation to proactively manage retention, reduce unexpected churn and identify up-sell opportunities. Nick...

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Nick Mehta is the CEO of Gainsight,  a Customer Success Management platform that leverages customer intelligence and automation to proactively manage retention, reduce unexpected churn and identify up-sell opportunities. Nick has helped Gainsight raise $54.1 million over five funding rounds, record 357% revenue growth in 2014 and is one of the foremost thought leaders on Customer Success.

Before Gainsight, Nick was CEO of leading SaaS E-Discovery provider LiveOffice through its $115million acquisition by Symantec.

So it was a no brainer to have Nick as one of our SaaSStars. Here’s what he had to say to SaaScribe’s questions.

HI Nick, you’re a second time CEO. Is it better second time around?

Yes. You appreciate it more and realize you don’t get an infinite number of chances. You also feel more confident in your judgment. But the problems don’t get easier!

Would we have customer success without the SaaS Industry?

Yes. Customer Success taps into a more fundamental theme which is that competition is increasing so customer relationships are more sticky. You never “acquire” a customer – you have to constantly deliver value and rewin their business. This is happening in the consumer world – on-demand car services like Uber and Lyft versus car ownership, individual song download and rental versus album purchases, etc. – and in the business world. In short, business is harder and you have to re-earn your customers every day

How do you automate Customer Success?

Automation isn’t the goal. The goal is to drive success for your clients and revenue for your business. For your biggest clients, this means reducing time to prepare for meetings and making sure everyone that touches your client from your CEO to your CSM knows the full story. For your mid-sized clients, this means prioritizing which clients to reach out to and what to do with them. For small clients, this means providing a virtual CSM through automated, personalized emails. But automation is a means to the goal of scaling Customer Success.

Childlike Joy is one of your core values at Gainsight! Please tell me more?

My wife has always said I’m childish but I turned it into a complement! We believe people spend so much of their lives at work, yet we have this false dichotomy separating work from fun. I have young kids and their pure joy on the playground is inspiring. We hope to mimic that at work. Joy is way more than fun – it’s fun and flow together. It’s not always easy but we aspire to it with karaoke nights, giant stuffed animals in the office and conference rooms named after our favorite childhood books. We’ll never be done but I was pleased recently when my 8 year old daughter got a question wrong on a test. The test asked for the opposite of “work.” The “right” answer was “play” but she got it wrong because “daddy has so much fun at work.”

At what stage should a startup become customer centric? And what stage should a startup introduce Customer Success Automation?

This is easy. Do it at the beginning or it’s nearly impossible. Get great people invested in your customers and culturally celebrate customer success – not just sales. For tools, we recommend you invest when you start scaling the team – that’s where the ROI comes in.

by Alex Theuma @alextheuma

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