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About the Survey
There seems to be some lingering confusion in the market about the differences between customer success and the narrower function of customer onboarding. Our survey is a first step in helping us explain the differences, and also to measure how organizations across many different industries are handling each function with tools, budgets, teams, and a lot more.
is one of the most talked about areas in business in the last few years. That’s as it should be, mainly because it passes the common sense test – if enough of your customers aren’t happy with you and successful with what you’ve sold them, then your long-term prospects could be in question.
When we talk about the broader category of ‘customer success’ it usually entails the entire scope of the customer success journey, which includes customer onboarding but is also more expansive.
is the first and perhaps most important part of the customer success journey. As the first interaction after the sales process, customer onboarding actually defines what customer success looks like.
It starts with a smooth handoff from sales, includes a second customer discovery phase for setting goals and expectations, strives for a positive implementation experience, and then provides for ongoing measurement of customer satisfaction, such as reporting on established KPIs.
Section 1: Company & Role Information
We recently surveyed more than 130 organizations in the U.S. from over 25 industry categories.1
A large portion were in high-tech, which seems to have embraced the customer success / customer onboarding model faster than other industries—though the best practices used for customer success transcend category limitations.
A breakdown of the top 10 categories is shown here. For a complete list, you can check the footnote for the accompanying graphic.
NOTE: TaskRay is a native Salesforce app. That provides many huge advantages, like having all your data in one place but extending the power and functionality of the system to manage programs, automate tasks and templatize projects. We work with organizations that use Salesforce, the #1 CRM product in the world. The data from this survey is representative of companies across the various industries that use (or are considering) Salesforce.
1 Categories surveyed included Agriculture, Automotive, Biotechnology, Communications, Compliance / Data Security, Computer Software, Construction, Consulting, Distribution and Engineering, Education, Energy, Engineering, Entertainment, Finance, Food & Beverage, Healthcare, Insurance, Internet Services & Software, Legal Services, Manufacturing, Marketing, Not For Profit, Oil and Gas, Pharmaceutical, Shipping, Technology, and Telecommunications.
We wanted to make sure we had feedback from organizations of all sizes, in both the number of employees and in overall revenue.
The great thing about a technology solution is that it breaks down many of the barriers to entry (like cost or needed expertise) while providing a huge opportunity to scale.
Here’s a breakdown of company size (shown by percentage of responses).
We wanted to make sure we had a mix of decision-makers, influences, and acutal users.
We spend a lot of time talking with customers and others interested in what we do, and we’ve found that there are valuable insights that come from everyone we speak within an organization.
We asked each respondent their title, their level in their organization, and how long they had been in their present role.
Survey respondents identified themselves this way:
- 4% of responses were from the C-suite (decision-maker)
- 23% were VP / Director level (decision-maker)
- 39% were Manager level (decision-maker/influencer)
- 34% were Admin / Associate (user/influencer)
Though the business categories of Customer Success and Customer Onboarding have been around for a few years, they’re still relatively new. When we look at the respondents who actually had the words ‘success’ or ‘onboarding’ in their title, 7% had been in their position for less than a year, 79% had been in their position only 1-3 years, and the other 14% had been in their position for 4-7 years. No one had been their position for more than 7 years.