Totango, the leader in customer success for the enterprise, released preliminary findings from the 2019 State of the Customer Success Industry and Salary Report.
The report revealed that the customer success profession has grown exponentially year-over-year, expanding beyond traditional job titles and taking on a larger strategic and financial role in an enterprise’s business success.
Over the past six years, thousands of customer success professionals have participated in Totango’s State of the Customer Success Industry and Salary Survey. The survey was conducted to provide valuable insights into trends in the customer success profession, including the unique challenges and goals of the industry to establish industry benchmarks for customer success compensation trends, growth and maturity of the role. The report found that compensation for customer success professionals has increased since 2018, reinforcing the importance of customer success and an organisational focus on customer-centricity to business growth. However, although great strides have been made in the recognition and importance of customer success, more clarity, education and awareness about the function is needed within enterprises.
“The Customer Success industry is growing at an incredibly rapid pace. As organisations, particularly enterprises, realise the importance of Customer Success in business success, they are expanding their engagement beyond their top customers to include their entire customer base. As a result, teams are growing in size alongside coverage models that scale to cover a broad base of customers. However, to successfully operationalise customer success, digital transformation is critical—organisations must invest in modern Customer Success platforms to equip their teams with practical means to gather customer data and effectively connect the dots across the enterprise,” said Guy Nirpaz, Totango CEO and founder.
The Deloitte 2019 Enterprise Customer Success Study and Outlook underscores Totango’s findings that indicate the importance of strong Customer Success programs. According to Deloitte, Customer Success results in happier customers overall with noticeable improvements experienced in the level of customer satisfaction and brand advocacy. According to Deloitte’s study, half of the companies with customer success teams saw a rise in Customer Satisfaction Scores (CSAT) by more than 20 per cent.
Customer Success Matures as a Function
Since Totango started surveying the customer success industry six years ago, the responsibility for the function has expanded beyond the core Customer Success organisation. Customer Success within an enterprise is no longer built as an operational silo as customer-centricity becomes a top priority across the business. 99 per cent of Customer Success teams surveyed collaborate with teams across the company. Teams are also more established within organisations and growing in size alongside coverage models that scale to cover a broad base of customers. Sixty-five per cent of this year’s respondents reports that their Customer Success team has been in operation for over three years, and nearly a third have been in operation for over five years.
Compensation Structures Evolve as Revenue Responsibility Grows
While opinions on revenue responsibility are divided, Customer Success departments continue to be tasked with generating revenue and impacting the bottom line. Half of the respondents say their Customer Success team is responsible for revenue targets (50 per cent), which has remained flat compared to 2018 (52 per cent). As a result, compensation structures have evolved towards a commission or bonus structure directly tied to revenue generation. According to 64 per cent of Customer Success professionals surveyed, their compensation structure included a type of bonus structure on top of their base salary. Over the years, a larger percentage of respondents reported receiving a commission on renewals and upsells. 33 per cent of respondents reported the commission on renewals and upsells in 2013, growing to 39 per cent in 2019. Customer Success salaries have also trended up as organisations continue to place a high value on the Customer Success professional’s responsibilities and career, reinforcing the importance of Customer Success across companies. Nearly 62 per cent of respondents report that their compensation has increased since the previous year.
Digital Transformation of Customer Success is Imminent
Almost all respondents (93 per cent) think Customer Success should be the next function that goes through a digital transformation due in part to the lack of technologies available to automate and simplify Customer Success tasks. While there has been steady growth since 2018 in the use of Customer Success platforms, a majority of Customer Success teams are still using legacy tools such as CRM, Microsoft Excel/Google Sheets and Help Desk/Support tools. Customer Success teams also continue to prioritise reduction of churn, customer renewals and product adoption. Professionals surveyed consider operational issues, including a reactive approach to customers, visibility into customer adoption and health, time management, and focus as top challenges. This sentiment has remained consistent since 2015.
This year close to 500 professionals and more than 10,000 data points were analysed in order to provide valuable insights into trends in the Customer Success profession, including the unique challenges and goals of the industry.
Totango will host a webinar on Tuesday, August 27, to deliver complete survey report details and analysis.