What would happen to our retention number if we didn’t have a customer success team? That question is in the mind of most SaaS executives.

A SaaS solution has an inherent level of stickiness. The stickier your product the less you need customer success to drive retention. 

What are the tells for a sticky product? The DAU/MAU ratio? That’s something but I’d argue retention percentage is a far better gauge. The higher your retention the stickier your product.

This isn’t an argument for less customer success. However sticky your product, good customer success should improve your retention. Maybe it’s 95% instead of 94%, or 57% instead of 52%. Without the controlled experiment no-one wants to do we can’t know.

Why does this matter?

Two reasons. Impact and Focus.

The impact a CSM team can have on retention is indirectly related to stickiness. The less sticky your product the more you need good customer success and the more it will move the needle. It’s likely the retention ROI on your CSM team is lower if your product is sticky.

Then there is focus. If you are in the fortunate position of having a sticky product your CSM team can emphasise expansion and advocacy goals and client interactions. If you don’t your CSM team will drive bigger gains by emphasising retention.

At all levels of stickiness and for both sets of goals set the same laser focus on values, outcomes and ROI.

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