This article is based on a presentation given by Franca Sofia at the Customer Success Festival London, 2023.

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Customer success is being redefined within organizations globally. From what traditionally has been viewed as a mere support function, we're elevating it to become a pivotal driver of revenue growth

While customer success was borne out of the well-known customer support function and does work with this function closely, it’s not just about support – it's all about growth. Customer success is about understanding the needs of your customers and ensuring they achieve their desired outcomes through your products or services. This transformation requires a shift in mindset, from reactive support to proactive success management.

In this article, I’m going to show you how to unlock the full potential of customer success and setting the stage for a future where support functions are not just necessary but are vital drivers of growth. 

The evolution of customer success

When transforming customer success into a revenue-driving engine, it’s crucial to understand the evolving landscape. The business world is continuously transforming, and with it, the role of customer success has shifted from a support function to a core strategic asset. 

But what does this transformation entail, and how does it affect our approach to customer success?

Gone are the days when customer success teams could afford to be merely reactive. Today, being proactive is not just an advantage – it's a necessity. 

Our goal is to be the driving force behind revenue, not just a supporting player. This shift demands a profound change in how Customer Success Managers (CSMs) operate. 

The pressure to actively contribute to revenue generation has never been higher. This reflects a broader trend in which the expectations placed upon customer success teams have expanded dramatically.

Customer expectations are at an all-time high, competition is fiercer than ever, and data and technology have become indispensable tools in our arsenal. These challenges, however, come with a silver lining. The elevated role of customer success within organizations has endowed us with significant influence, power, and the opportunity to make a tangible difference.

Customer success is no longer seen as just another department; it is now recognized as a key strategic asset. This recognition gives customer success teams unprecedented influence over the direction and success of their organizations. 

With this influence comes the responsibility to harness it effectively, ensuring that we contribute meaningfully to our organizations' growth and success.

Understanding the importance of this transformation is crucial for any organization looking to thrive. The shift towards a proactive, revenue-driving approach in customer success is not just beneficial – it's imperative. It's about leveraging every opportunity to enhance customer experiences, meet and exceed expectations, and ultimately drive growth through strategic customer engagement.

Why customer success is a necessity, not a choice

The significance of customer success has transitioned from a mere trend to an absolute necessity. This change in perception isn't optional; it's a fundamental shift that's been accelerated by global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Organizations and leadership now recognize the critical role customer success plays – not just in supporting customers but in actively driving revenue growth.

One of the most crucial learnings from my journey is the importance of aligning the goals of the customer success team with the overarching goals of the organization. This alignment is not a destination but a continuous journey toward realizing our vision for customer success. It’s about understanding that achieving these goals takes time and persistence, and it's about seeing this endeavor as a journey rather than a final destination.