Cat Sandcastle - Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images
Cat Sandcastle – Yasuyoshi Chiba/AFP/Getty Images

To follow up Customer Success in Climate Tech 2022 year in review, 2023 is here to keep the momentum up from where it left off a few weeks ago; however, the expected slowdown of $ from VCs will present navigable challenges. What advice do VC’s have for startups in 2023? Know your customer, and have strong fundamental unit economics. Establishing and maturing solid customer success practices is key for climate tech companies to deliver on both of these.

To continue the momentum from customer success in climate tech’s beachhead year in 2022, are we going to balance an umbrella in the sand with a bucket, or fortify a sand castle to stand the test of time? My biased opinion is that we’ll build one that will dwarf heavy machinery like this one Cat built! Here are my predictions for climate technology and specifically the growth of customer success within it to contribute to how the world reverses climate change.

As VC investment slows down and the Series B Cliff looms, climate tech companies will sprout their mullets, business in the front and technology flowing behind. With less capital readily available and following the general growth curve of early-stage technology companies, attention in 2023 will turn from ‘who has the most promising technology’ to ‘who can survive as a business’. The job growth of business-oriented roles from sales to customer success to finance, marketing, etc. may outpace ongoing technical job growth. This will not ameliorate the tech/skills gap to bring in qualified workers from the outside but will change it. While Terra.do, Project Drawdown and many others have done amazing work putting together programs to introduce non-CT geeks into the space, in 2023 many companies may need to embellish this effort in-house to address the gaps more specifically for their area, and/or specialize roles to further separate out the roles where deep technical expertise is needed. In customer success, we may start to see more technical roles like ‘Customer Success Architect’ and ‘Customer Success Engineer’ enter the space to lessen the technical burden on CSMs.

Customer success in climate tech in 2023, your job will be twice as hard as customer success in mainstream tech! This challenge is also an opportunity to have an outsized impact on our companies and carbon reduction goals overall. A cornerstone of the customer success role since its inception has been the ability to define, measure, and track the business value our customers are getting from our products. This is where we’ll shine as climate companies need to deliver on double the goals: business success AND the opportunity to manage and report on the climate impact we’re having. So we’ll be tracking not 1 but 2 sets of metrics, however the myriad ways we can collect, aggregate, celebrate and learn from carbon reduction successes at the field level will be invaluable.

Overall, here’s a 2023 new year’s CHEERS to keeping optimism sky high! There were many inflection points in 2022 to keep building upon. The mainstream tech layoffs while climate tech is aggressively hiring are putting gas on the fire of our growth and trajectory. While VC $ may slow down in 2023 from its highest point ever, it will still be high, predicted to be 2nd best year ever behind 2022, and when Customer success teams show we can translate the promise of technology to business and climate success, we’ll be at the forefront.

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