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The Marathon of Customer Success: Lessons Learned from Training Runs

Completing a marathon isn't just about the race itself—it's about the countless hours of training leading up to it. As I wrapped up my final 12-mile training run before a series of upcoming half marathons in May, I couldn't help but draw parallels between my running journey and the world of Customer Success.

Here is my breakdown of Customer Success and Running.

Signing Up for the Race ➡ New Customer Signed Contract

Just as signing up for a race marks the beginning of a runner's journey, signing a new customer contract initiates the journey in Customer Success. It's the starting point, filled with anticipation and excitement for what's to come.

Building a Training Plan ➡ Customer Kickoff

Crafting a training plan tailored to one's abilities and goals is akin to conducting a thorough customer kickoff. It's about setting the right expectations, establishing goals, and outlining the path forward.

Early Race Training and Nutrition ➡ Onboarding

Early race training and nutrition lay the foundation for success on race day, much like the onboarding process sets the stage for a customer's journey. It's about equipping them with the knowledge and resources they need to thrive.

Sprint Training, Medium and Long Runs Each Week ➡ Adoption and Change Management

Just as different types of training runs cater to different aspects of fitness, Customer Success involves a variety of strategies to drive adoption and manage change. From quick wins to long-term initiatives, it's about finding the right balance.

Pain, Injuries, and Bad Weather ➡ Exec Turnover, Product Gaps, and Escalations

Just as runners encounter obstacles like pain, injuries, and adverse weather conditions, Customer Success professionals face challenges such as executive turnover, product gaps, and escalations. It's about navigating through adversity with resilience and adaptability.


Finally, race day arrives—the culmination of weeks or months of preparation. Similarly, renewal represents the culmination of the customer journey in Customer Success. It's the moment of truth, where the value delivered is evaluated and decisions are made for the future.

While this analogy may seem simplistic, it underscores an important truth: success is not just about the final outcome but the journey leading up to it. It's about putting in the hard work day in and day out, long before the finish line is in sight.

So let's shift our focus away from the end result and instead emphasize the process—the training runs, the onboarding experiences, the challenges overcome. Because it's in those moments that true success is forged.

As I lace up my running shoes and prepare for my races, I'm reminded that the outcome I achieve is a direct reflection of the effort I've invested. And to all my fellow Customer Success professionals, I wish you the same: the confidence to tackle any challenge and the satisfaction of knowing you've given it your all.

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