setting up Customer Success

Customer Success is important for early-stage startups! Know why and how to implement it

According to the popular definition, about half of startups survive the first 5 years and only 1 in 200 become actual scaleups. Many startups in their early stages believe that customer success isn’t for them. Well, that’s something where they get it wrong! Let me tell you why-

While the startup is still exploring its potential and discovering in what way it can best present its product, the scaleup has already found that sweet spot. Scale-ups are companies growing at 20% per year over a three-year period.
This means you can be a startup with a seemingly scalable business model and still never become a scaleup for lack of (customer) growth. Thus, to scale up your startup you need to ensure customer success in relation to your business.

Many early-stage startups tend to focus more on acquiring and increasing their client base and that’s quite justified but not at the cost of losing your existing customers. So, they should also focus on discovering how to ensure their existing client base is continuously successful and satisfied. Once the questions to these answers become clear, startups are encouraged to hire specialized teams that focus on retention.

How Customer success can help expand your startup?

A Customer Success program should not be an afterthought. It should be an integral part of your business vision, goal, and mission.


Establishing a Customer Success program can help achieve significant objectives of the company as well as serve your customer’s needs. The lubricants to retaining customers lie in your company’s capacity to manage them. The way to manage customers is to engage them with a specialized team that is trained to do the right thing at the right time. Done right, establishing a customer success team will help your clients gain maximum value out of their relationship with your company.

Suggested Read: How to start Customer Success

Customer Success for B2B SaaS is a function of all departments with the obvious contributors being- Customer support, Onboarding specialist, and Customer Success team.

How to execute customer success practice into your SaaS?

Having a clear picture of a customer journey roadmap will help you define your execution process for your SaaS startup.

In any given scenario, a customer goes through the following steps in a customer journey- 

  1. Onboarding
  2. Adoption
  3. Escalation
  4. Renewal
  5. Upsells
  6. Referrals

Check out this blog to get a detailed overview of what a customer journey looks like- What are customer journeys in SaaS?

1. Deliver Value when onboarding

The effectiveness of customer onboarding decides how successful the customer will be in the future. Hence you should aim at providing the promised value to the customer in the shortest time possible.

More Resources: 5 Steps that defines a perfect Customer Onboarding process for a SaaS Customer

A complete onboarding guide

Although Customer Success is usually thought of as a post-sales role, sometimes it’s vital to get Customer Success involved pre-contract. This way, they can start to develop a trusted relationship with the customer. After all, Customer Success isn’t just a department in a company.  It’s the functioning mindset of your company. 

Additional Read : Knowledge transfer from sales to Customer Success

2. Expansion- Upsell and Renewal

For a SaaS business, it is the recurring revenue that is going to make or break your SaaS business. And expansion is one such window to get the desired growth.

Upselling in B2B SaaS is a strategy designed to sell a more feature-rich product edition to an existing customer. Prioritizing customer acquisition should not be your only priority for upselling growth. You have to look ahead towards long-term growth and retention to design strategic upsell paths.
Here are a few strategies that should be adopted by an early-stage startup to increase upsell and get better on renewals- 

  • Segment your customers
    Just like you should not onboard all your customers in the same way, you should not have the same upsell plan for all customers. The number of upsell plans will depend on the use cases and also the different product plans that you have. Segmenting your customers in a proper way and building custom upsell plans for each of them will increase your conversion rates drastically.
  • Use Customer Feedback & Ratings
    The feedback and ratings of the customers can help you improve your product and make sure you grow in the ever-changing market.

3. Referral 

Referrals are the holy grail of SaaS, growing your user base (and revenue) without the need for added investment. And referrals are driven almost entirely by customer success: Only happy, successful customers will want to recommend your SaaS product to their personal network.

Define Your Metrics

It’s difficult to know how you’re doing if you don’t have any measures in place. Knowing what metrics you’re focused on not only helps give your team direction, it will also help you progress as you move forward. 

There are a few that are pretty common for customer success teams to use:

  • LTVLifetime value refers to the amount of money a customer spends over the entire time they do business with your company. Having this as a metric helps determine what a good acquisition cost target is. You can also dive in and see what items contribute to higher-value customers to have an area of focus for feature adoption or a specific vertical.
  • Customer Effort Score – A Customer effort score is pretty straightforward. It’s referring to how difficult it is for a customer to complete a specific task. You can use this data to reduce friction the customer is experiencing when using your product .
  • Customer satisfaction refers to how satisfied the customer is in general. Usually, this isn’t meant to measure anything specific but is more a broad measure of general sentiment.
  • NPS – Like Customer Satisfaction and Customer effort score, NPS measures customer sentiment. It’s interested in finding out how likely a customer is to refer your company to others .

Additional Read: NPS industry trends 2021

Now you’re on the path to Customer Success

Remember, the majority of the revenue from your relationship with a customer happens post-sale, and that you’ll inevitably face new challenges as your customer base grows and your team scales. But, with the right foundations and a thoughtful approach to team-building, you will be starting your Customer Success journey on the right foot.


Payal is working in the Marketing Department at CustomerSuccessBox. She is majoring in Biotechnology and is casually curious about the SaaS economy and designing prosthetics. And in life, she readily preaches the idea of Carpe diem.