February 18, 2024

Is Customer Success Key to B2B SaaS Revenue?

Empra Consultancy's Customer Success 3.0 model drives B2B SaaS growth, enhances retention, and reduces churn for sustainable revenue.


  • Customer Success is a central protagonist in sustainable growth and revenue generation in B2B SaaS companies.
  • It is crucial for customer retention and profitability, with a 5% increase in retention leading to a 25% to 95% profit boost.
  • Collaboration between Customer Success and Sales is essential for enhancing customer satisfaction, driving revenue growth, and refining sales strategies.
  • Lowering churn rates through effective Customer Success initiatives directly impacts revenue growth in B2B SaaS companies.
  • Empra Consultancy's Customer Success 3.0 model redefines Customer Success as a proactive, strategic asset driving revenue growth and reducing churn.


In B2B SaaS companies, the debate over which business functions to prioritise has been ongoing. Customer Success and Sales are crucial areas that shape a company's direction and success. Recently, Harry Stebbings, founder of 20VC, stirred up this debate by suggesting that Customer Success is less important than Sales. While Stebbings' opinions are backed by his experience and success in venture capital and startups, it's important to question the idea that Customer Success is just a secondary role compared to Sales.

The post talks about Customer Success versus Sales
Harry Stebbings - LinkedIn Post

In this article, we'll dig into how Customer Success is more than just a support role—it's a key player in driving sustainable growth, increasing revenue, and reducing churn. Could Customer Success be the missing ingredient that B2B SaaS companies need for success? Let's look at the evidence and uncover the truth behind this unsung hero.

What is Customer Success? What do they do?

Customer success teams (read our guide on how to build a customer success team) help customers achieve desired outcomes with a company's products or services. They provide support, guidance, and resources to enhance customer experiences, build strong relationships, and drive business growth through increased satisfaction and loyalty, leading to higher retention rates and recurring revenue.

The Evolution of Customer Success: Towards a Proactive Model

Customer Success has evolved from an afterthought to a key growth engine in B2B SaaS. This shift moves from reactive service to proactive engagement. Empra Consultancy's Customer Success 3.0 strategy integrates it across departments, making it essential for business growth. This approach enhances customer loyalty and boosts revenue.

Why Customer Success is Crucial for B2B SaaS Companies

Customer Success is vital in the B2B SaaS sector, significantly impacting profitability. Jason Lemkin of EchoSign and SaaStr emphasizes that "Customer Success is where 90% of the revenue is." Bain & Company's research shows a 5% increase in retention can boost profits by 25% to 95%, highlighting the value of investing in Customer Success strategies.

In sum, Customer Success is crucial for sustainable growth and profitability in B2B SaaS companies. A proactive, integrated approach ensures long-term satisfaction and loyalty, driving revenue growth and providing a competitive edge.

With this understanding of Customer Success' role, it's time to challenge a Sales-first perspective and recognise the value of a dedicated Customer Success team.

Sales vs. Customer Success

In the traditional view, Sales has been seen as the main driver of revenue, while Customer Success is often seen as a support function. However, this perspective fails to recognize the full value that a specialized CS department brings, especially in a business environment where keeping customers happy and loyal is just as important as acquiring new ones.

The Unique Value of Customer Success Compared to Sales

The main argument for having a separate CS department lies in the fundamental differences in focus, approach, and impact between CS and Sales:

  • Focus on Lifetime Value vs. Acquisition: Sales teams are great at finding and converting new leads, which is crucial for business growth. On the other hand, CS focuses on maximising the value of each customer over their entire lifecycle—making sure that after the initial sale, customers stay satisfied, engaged, and willing to expand their relationship with the company.
  • Building Relationships vs. Closing Deals: Sales interactions are all about closing deals quickly, while CS takes a more strategic approach by building long-term relationships based on personalized support and proactive issue resolution.
  • Preserving and Growing Revenue vs. Generating New Revenue: While Sales is responsible for bringing in new business, CS plays a critical role in retaining existing customers and identifying opportunities for upselling or cross-selling. This dual focus on preserving and growing revenue highlights the importance of having a strong CS function within an organization.

Does your B2B SaaS need a Customer Success Team?

A dedicated CS team offers strategic benefits that go beyond what Sales can provide:

  • Expertise in Retention and Expansion: CS professionals have deep knowledge about customer needs, product usage patterns, and potential areas for growth. This expertise allows them to identify opportunities to retain and expand existing accounts.
  • Proactively Addressing Issues: Instead of waiting for customers to complain, CS takes a proactive approach by identifying and resolving problems before they become major issues. This helps ensure high levels of customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  • Focus on Long-Term Relationships: CS is skilled at building trust-based, long-lasting relationships with customers. By understanding their unique needs and consistently delivering value, CS can create strong customer loyalty.

The ROI of Customer Success

There are clear financial reasons for having a separate CS department:

  • Cost-Effective Growth: Acquiring a new customer can be up to five times more expensive than retaining an existing one. Therefore, investing in a dedicated CS team that focuses on customer retention can lead to significant cost savings in the long run.
  • Increased Customer Lifetime Value (LTV): By improving customer satisfaction and loyalty, CS directly impacts the amount of revenue a customer generates over their lifetime. This higher LTV translates into greater profitability for the company.
  • Opportunities for Revenue Expansion: Through strategic upselling and cross-selling efforts, CS can uncover additional revenue opportunities within the current customer base. This targeted approach requires a deep understanding of each customer's needs and past interactions.

In conclusion, reevaluating the traditional Sales-centric mindset reveals the crucial role of Customer Success in driving lasting growth, customer satisfaction, and retention. Instead of viewing CS and Sales as competing forces, it's important to recognize how these two departments can work together synergistically. By leveraging their respective strengths and collaborating closely, Customer Success and Sales can establish a solid foundation for providing exceptional customer value and fuelling revenue growth.

Bridging the Gap: How Sales and Customer Success Can Work Together

Enhancing B2B SaaS with Sales and Customer Success Collaboration

For sustainable growth, teamwork between Customer Success (CS) and Sales goes beyond traditional roles, creating a strong partnership that boosts the company's ability to deliver great value to customers and grow revenue. This relationship involves a feedback loop where Sales helps shape CS strategies, and CS helps refine sales approaches, targeting, and customer engagement.

For example, HelpCrunch's approach to mapping the customer journey shows the power of this collaboration. By sharing customer insights between Sales and CS, HelpCrunch tailors its engagement strategies to ensure each customer interaction is meaningful and aligns with their journey. This demonstrates how understanding and teamwork can improve sales strategies and enhance customer satisfaction from the start.

How Customer Success and Sales Improve Each Other

  • Refining the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP): CS provides insights into customer needs, challenges, and successes that help Sales refine the ICP. Knowing which customers benefit most from the product allows Sales to target prospects better, increasing conversion rates and satisfaction.
  • Enhancing Sales Strategies: Feedback from CS on customer experiences informs Sales strategies. This helps the sales team tailor their pitches to highlight key features, address concerns proactively, and align solutions with prospect needs.
HubSpot uses its deep customer insights and educational content to refine sales approaches. This ensures their sales team isn't just selling a product but providing a solution that meets each customer's specific needs, showing how valuable CS insights can improve sales effectiveness.
  • Reducing Sales Friction: By sharing common hurdles in the customer journey, CS helps Sales anticipate and mitigate these obstacles, streamlining the process and improving acquisition experience.
  • Driving Cross-Sell and Upsell Opportunities: With detailed insights from CS on customer usage and satisfaction, Sales can identify opportunities for cross-selling and upselling, offering solutions that meet evolving needs and drive revenue growth.
  • Building Trust Through Consistency: When CS and Sales share insights and align on messaging, it ensures consistent communication with customers. This builds trust as customers receive a unified message from the company.
  • Feedback Loop for Product Development: Collaboration between CS and Sales generates valuable feedback for product development. Insights into customer needs drive product innovation, keeping the company competitive.

Building a Win-Win Culture for Sales and Customer Success

  • Joint Success Metrics: Shared metrics for customer success and sales performance reinforce mutual dependencies, fostering a culture where both teams celebrate each other’s victories. Metrics include customer lifetime value (LTV), retention rates, net promoter scores (NPS), alongside traditional sales targets.
  • Integrated Customer Journey Mapping: Designing the customer journey together ensures smooth transitions from prospect to loyal customer, optimizing each touchpoint for maximum value.
  • Cross-Functional Training and Workshops: Encouraging joint training promotes a deeper understanding of each other’s roles, challenges, enhancing teamwork across departments.

The collaboration between Customer Success and Sales is crucial for sustainable growth in B2B SaaS. It creates a cycle that enhances customer satisfaction, boosts revenue, and strengthens market position. By integrating strategies and sharing insights, CS and Sales prove that working together is more effective than working separately. Now we explore how customer success impacts revenue through data-driven insights that show its significant influence in the B2B SaaS sector.‍

How Customer Success Drives Revenue: By the Numbers

Direct Ways Customer Success Influences B2B SaaS Revenue

Customer success goes beyond renewals and product guidance. It has a significant impact on revenue growth and positive outcomes through building long-term relationships. In this section, we will explore the measurable effects of customer success on a company's financial well-being, debunk misconceptions, and highlight its importance in the B2B SaaS ecosystem.

The Significance of Customer Success in Today's Market

In today's market, where customer service expectations have soared after the pandemic, customer success plays a crucial role. Here are some key statistics:

  • 58% of customers have higher expectations for customer service compared to last year.
  • 53% of support teams are handling more inquiries.

These numbers emphasize the need for a proactive approach to customer success that not only meets current needs but also anticipates future ones, fostering loyalty and gaining a competitive edge.

The Financial Benefits of Prioritizing Customer Success

Investing in customer success makes economic sense when we compare the costs of acquiring new customers versus retaining existing ones:

  • Acquiring a new customer can be up to five times more expensive than keeping an existing one.
  • 67% of customer churn (cancellation or non-renewal) happens due to preventable issues during the onboarding process.

By focusing on preventing problems, ensuring satisfaction, and fostering loyalty, companies can achieve sustainable revenue growth and establish a strong market position.

How Reducing Churn Drives Revenue Growth

Churn refers to the rate at which customers cancel their subscriptions or stop using a product/service. It has a direct impact on revenue, especially in the B2B SaaS industry where recurring revenue is common. Let's take a closer look at how lowering churn rates (explore this blog for a deep dive into how you can concentrate your efforts into reducing churn) can significantly boost financial performance over time:

  1. Understanding the Numbers: Imagine a SaaS company that starts with $100,000 in sales revenue and experiences a yearly growth rate of 50%.
  2. Calculating the Effects: Implementing effective customer success strategies that decrease churn from 30% to 10% not only retains more revenue but also amplifies overall financial performance through compounding effects.
  • With a 30% churn rate, the company's revenue growth is hindered by the loss of customers.
  • In contrast, reducing churn to 10% substantially improves revenue retention, showcasing a direct and positive impact on financial performance.

The Key Takeaway

The conclusive evidence reaffirms the critical role of customer success in a company's financial health and long-term viability. It is not just a support function but a vital driver for sustainable growth and competitive advantage in the B2B SaaS space.

Remember: Investing in a customer success team is not optional; it's foundational for any B2B SaaS business aiming for sustainable growth and competitive advantage.


Introducing Empra's Innovative Customer Success Model

Empra Consultancy redefines Customer Success from a reactive support function to a proactive, strategic asset. Our Customer Success 3.0 model integrates with Product, Marketing, and Sales teams to enhance customer experience, drive revenue growth, and reduce churn.

What Makes Empra's Customer Success Strategy Different

Empra's Customer Success 3.0 anticipates needs before they arise, fostering loyalty and increasing upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Partnering with Empra sets your business at the forefront of customer engagement.

Moving Towards Growth with a Strong Customer Success Plan

Ready to lead your industry with a groundbreaking Customer Success strategy? Book a consultation with Empra today and set the foundation for sustainable growth.

Key Takeaways: The Unquestionable Importance of Customer Success in B2B SaaS

The argument made by Harry Stebbings that Customer Success is not important for the growth and sustainability of B2B SaaS companies does not match the facts of today's market. It is clear that it is much more expensive to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one, sometimes up to five times more expensive. Additionally, reducing churn (the rate at which customers stop using a product or service) can have a significant impact on profits, with even a small decrease leading to substantial increases in earnings.

These numbers highlight two key points:

  1. Customer Success is crucial: The value of keeping existing customers happy and satisfied cannot be underestimated. It is essential for driving revenue growth and ensuring long-term success.
  2. Customer Success works hand in hand with Sales: While Sales teams are responsible for bringing in new customers, it is the role of Customer Success to ensure that these customers continue to find value in the product or service, leading to their retention and ultimately, increased profits.

The narrative that downplays the importance of Customer Success fails to recognize the fundamental principle that satisfied customers are vital for any business to thrive. It is not just about acquiring new customers but also about keeping them happy and engaged.

"Satisfied, engaged customers are the cornerstone of sustainable business success."

The Role of Customer Success in B2B SaaS

Customer Success plays a critical role in driving growth and ensuring customer satisfaction in the world of B2B SaaS:

  1. Onboarding and Adoption: Customer Success teams work closely with new customers during the onboarding process, helping them understand how to use the product effectively and addressing any challenges they may face. This proactive approach sets the foundation for long-term success.
  2. Proactive Support: Instead of waiting for customers to reach out with issues or concerns, Customer Success teams take a proactive approach by identifying potential problems early on and offering solutions. This helps prevent churn and strengthens the relationship between the customer and the company.
  3. Renewals and Upsells: Customer Success managers are responsible for managing renewals (ensuring that customers continue their subscription or contract) and identifying opportunities for upselling or cross-selling additional products or features. This not only drives revenue but also deepens the customer's investment in the product.
  4. Customer Advocacy: Happy customers can become brand advocates, promoting the product to others and providing valuable testimonials or case studies. Customer Success teams play a role in nurturing these relationships and leveraging them for business growth.

The Need for a Shift in Perspective

The value of Customer Success may seem obvious, but many companies still struggle to prioritize it. There are several reasons for this:

  1. Short-Term Focus: Some companies are overly focused on immediate results and fail to see the long-term benefits of investing in Customer Success. They prioritize acquiring new customers over retaining existing ones, even though the numbers clearly show that this is not cost-effective.
  2. Lack of Understanding: There may be a lack of awareness or understanding about what Customer Success entails and how it differs from traditional customer support or account management. This can lead to undervaluing its importance.
  3. Organizational Silos: In some cases, there may be disconnects or silos between different departments within the company, such as Sales, Marketing, and Customer Success. This can hinder collaboration and prevent a holistic approach to customer satisfaction.

To truly unlock the power of Customer Success, there needs to be a shift in perspective:

  1. From Reactive to Proactive: Instead of waiting for customers to encounter problems, companies should take a proactive approach by anticipating their needs and addressing potential issues before they arise.
  2. From Transactional to Relationship-Oriented: Customer Success is not just about completing a sale; it is about building long-term relationships with customers based on trust, understanding, and mutual success.
  3. From Individual to Company-Wide Responsibility: Every employee, regardless of their role, should understand the importance of customer satisfaction and their role in delivering it. This requires cross-functional collaboration and a shared commitment to putting the customer first.

Taking Action: Embracing Customer Success

Recognising the value of Customer Success is only the beginning. The next step is taking action. As we come to this realisation, we must ask ourselves:

"How will your company respond? Will it continue to undervalue Customer Success, or will it rise to redefine its strategic approach, placing Customer Success at the heart of its growth strategy?"

The time for action is now. Empra Consultancy offers you an opportunity to lead your industry with a revolutionary Customer Success strategy. Book a consultation with Empra today and discover how they can help you unlock the full potential of your B2B SaaS business.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

What is Customer Success? What do they do?

Customer success teams are responsible for helping customers achieve their desired outcomes by using the company's product or service. They work to ensure that customers are satisfied, engaged, and receiving value from their investment.

The Evolution of Customer Success: Towards a Proactive Model

Customer Success has transformed from a mere afterthought to a proactive model focused on anticipating and addressing customer needs before they arise. This proactive approach aims to prevent issues and drive long-term customer satisfaction and retention.

Why Customer Success is Crucial for B2B SaaS Companies

The significance of Customer Success cannot be overstated, as it directly impacts customer retention, expansion, and overall business growth. A strong Customer Success function is essential for ensuring customer satisfaction and maximizing the lifetime value of customers.

Sales v. Customer Success. Why Customer Success Matters Just as Much as Sales

In the traditional view, Sales has been perceived as the linchpin of revenue generation. However, Customer Success is equally crucial, as it focuses on maximizing the value customers receive from the product or service, leading to long-term revenue growth through customer retention and expansion.

Does your B2B SaaS need a Customer Success Team?

A dedicated CS team brings strategic advantages that transcend basic support functions. It helps in driving customer satisfaction, reducing churn, increasing upsell opportunities, and ultimately contributing to the overall success of the business in the B2B SaaS industry.

The ROI of Customer Success

The economic rationale for a separate CS department is compelling, as it directly impacts revenue through increased customer lifetime value, reduced churn, and enhanced opportunities for upselling and cross-selling. A well-executed Customer Success strategy can yield significant returns on investment.

What are the strategic advantages of having a dedicated Customer Success team in a B2B SaaS company?

A dedicated Customer Success team brings strategic advantages that transcend traditional sales approaches, such as proactive customer engagement, long-term relationship building, and customer retention strategies.

How can Sales and Customer Success collaborate to enhance B2B SaaS growth?

Sales and Customer Success can collaborate to enhance B2B SaaS growth by aligning on joint success metrics, refining the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) based on CS insights, and establishing a win-win culture that focuses on shared goals and outcomes.

What is the unique value that Customer Success provides compared to Sales in a B2B SaaS company?

The core argument for a distinct Customer Success department lies in its ability to focus on long-term customer satisfaction, retention, and expansion, as opposed to the traditional short-term sales-driven approach.

How does lowering churn impact revenue in a B2B SaaS company?

Lowering churn has a direct positive impact on revenue in a B2B SaaS company by reducing customer acquisition costs, increasing customer lifetime value, and fostering a more predictable and sustainable revenue stream.

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