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5 Ways Billion-Dollar Businesses Leverage Customer-Centricity To Grow

Learn how billion-dollar businesses grow by bringing Customer Success to the center.
Patrick Icasas
April 28, 2022
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No matter how large a company gets, at the end of the day, it exists to help its customers, which means it needs a reliable way to ensure all teams are aligned around this goal, and working sustainably to create customer-centric growth.

In other words, in order to succeed, companies need to keep the customer at the center of every decision they make. 

In this article, we’re going to share the strategies that Udi Ledergor, CMO of Gong, and Godard Abel, CEO of G2, use to maintain a tight focus on the customer even at such large organizations. 

These tips were originally shared during Catalyst’s Customer Success at the Center Summit, which you can watch on-demand. 

Create raving fans

Raving fans, otherwise known as advocates, are a tremendous boon for organizations of any size. They’re genuine promoters who can be incredibly passionate - and therefore, incredibly convincing - about your company’s value when talking to others.

But raving fans don’t just appear out of nowhere. You have to earn their loyalty, and that takes lots of effort. But is that effort worthwhile? Udi Ledergor believes it is. 

“I can’t think of a better center of focus for an entire company than creating raving fans,” says Udi. “Everything we do, whether it’s the product we build, the amazing CSMs that take care of our customers, the content and thought leadership that we put out in marketing, and the entire sales process, is looked through the lens of how to create raving fans.”

To illustrate this point, Udi used the example of marketing emails. Instead of slick, pre-formatted emails written in corporate language and a clunky form with multiple fields, the Gong marketing team uses natural language that goes straight to the point and doesn't involve filling out a registration form. 

This format achieved tremendous success when they first piloted it–over a thousand registrations on day one, and is indicative of Gong’s attitude in other areas.

Keeping customers at the center is good for business.

Maintain cross-functional alignment

It’s relatively easy for teams to stay aligned when your company is still small and scrappy. It’s simpler for departments to talk to each other and coordinate strategies.

As you start scaling, however, alignment becomes more challenging. Departments turn inward and start prioritizing their own goals, and the concerns of other teams fall to the wayside. 

Godard experienced this at G2. “It’s really easy to be customer-centric at the entrepreneurial stage, because everyone hears the customer call and knows what’s going on. When we hit 400 people, we still had a lot of the same leaders that, while still incredible, were less focused on alignment.”

“Over the last couple of years I brought in more seasoned leaders whose mandate is to re-engage and maintain alignment with other departments. By nature, they are a little bit more patient and more willing to align and spend time with each other.”

You don’t have to take such a drastic measure as replacing leaders for your own organization–what’s important is that your leadership team understands the need for cross-functional alignment and commits to maintaining it. 

Support your team so they can support your customers

Employees work better when they feel safe and supported. This feeling of safety can be brought on by many factors: workplace culture, compensation, or management styles.

Udi and Gong take a multifaceted approach to this. “The first thing we do is overcommunicate. We make sure everyone understands their work rolls up to a bigger purpose and cause, so that everyone knows how to prioritize their work.”

Udi also believes that remote work and flexible hours play a large role in helping employees find balance. “I don’t care when people clock in and clock out. I’ve never cared when we were in the office, and I care even less now that we’re home.”

The last important element for Udi is respecting employee needs. Everyone’s situation is different, and management should be willing to adjust to allow workers to work at a time that is best for them. “My team has people in five geographic regions,” says Udi. “We have to learn to work together. So we learned how to do our work asynchronously. A quick 2-minute video is much better than finding 30 minutes for a meeting. 

You don’t have to do exactly the same things that Gong is doing. But employees will work harder and give it their best if they know that their company cares about them. 

Give your customers an opportunity to shine

Keeping customers at the center sometimes means giving them the spotlight. Publicly celebrating your customers helps make them feel good about themselves, and by extension feel good about using your product. 

Gong has a customer advocacy program that tells stories where the customer is the hero. “Sometimes the customer’s organization doesn’t know all the hard work that they’re doing. So we help the showcase that story and get them internal attention on how the customer did a fantastic job solving a problem.”

G2 does this as well, albeit in a different way. Giving customers the spotlight also helps internally. “We have our fiscal year kickoff soon, and we’re starting with videos of customers sharing their appreciation. They show how we inspire love for them and why they love G2. It really gets the time fired up to hear that they’re being appreciated.”

A multi-faceted approach to Customer Success

Customer Success is far more than just EBRs and onboarding (although they are definitely important). It has to do with your company’s attitude and your employees’ mindset. It’s about looking inward and making sure you’re operating from a strong and secure position, so that you can afford to provide customers with both a top-notch product and top-notch service. 

And while not all companies aree billion-dollar organizations like G2 and Gong, you can still take advantage of their hard-won experience and apply these lessons to your own operations. You can still reap the benefits of a company-wide customer-centric mindset. 

Want to watch the entire conversation with Godard and Abel? Watch the on-demand recording of the Customer Success at the Center Summit.

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