Today, we’re excited to announce our investment in Magnify, a startup that is transforming enterprise customer experience through post-sales orchestration. Magnify automates and optimizes the many different touch points that enterprise customers experience when they onboard and use software. It simplifies and reduces work for Customer Success and Product teams, integrating with their existing systems.
Magnify’s CEO is Josh Crossman, an experienced software exec who has led large global teams at Chef, BrightEdge and QuinStreet, and advised several tech companies when he was at McKinsey.
We asked Josh to share his vision and mission for Magnify in our founder Q&A:
My father was an officer in the Air Force, so we moved around a bit, but I spent most of my childhood in Ohio and Lubbock, Texas. I had a pretty peak-Americana upbringing, riding bikes, building forts, fishing and catching lightning bugs. One of the towns we lived in didn’t even have a stoplight.
In high school, I wrestled competitively. There was something that appealed to me about the camaraderie of a wrestling team and the individualist nature of the actual wrestling match. You’re out there on your own, competing against someone and finding out how you measure up. The ability to scrutinize how you’re doing individually, and at the same time take stock of how your team is doing collectively, is still incredibly important in my work as a customer success leader today.
I also really enjoyed speech and debate in high school. I was nationally ranked and ended up finishing in the top 15 in the nation my senior year of high school. I met my wife at a tournament my senior year—I like to tell people that’s the first and last debate I ever won with her.
For the longest time I wanted to be an Air Force pilot; my father and both my grandfathers were in the Air Force. There was no middle ground for me, it was pilot or bust. When I realized that wasn’t going to happen because of my eyesight, I was disappointed, but it opened up a new world of possibilities. I got a scholarship to Duke where I graduated with degrees in political science and biology.
I thought about becoming a professor after graduation, but realized I enjoyed building new ventures. I had always been interested in tech—in fact, I took my first computer programming class in first grade and jumped into tech after graduation. I started at Nortel Networks and then later joined a startup that was acquired a year later.
After the startup, I joined McKinsey & Company, and think that really gave me a focus on putting clients first. I was living and working in Seoul with McKinsey, taking language classes at 6 AM and meeting with clients from the morning to the evening. After working with a broad range of companies, I began to focus increasingly on high tech, and later moved back to Seattle.
At the end of 2004, there was a massive earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia. My wife and I had spent time in Indonesia, and like most people, were heartbroken over the devastation and wanted to help. McKinsey was asked to help in the rebuilding efforts, so I volunteered to be part of the first project team. Our team lived there for over four months, in Aceh, near ground zero, and got to see people from all over the world care for those affected. It was such a great vision of people who have opportunity and resources investing back to help others. I stayed in Indonesia as long as I could and then flew back a few weeks before our first son was born.
Back in Seattle, I ended up leaving McKinsey in 2009 and joining QuinStreet’s executive team as GM running their B2B business unit and media properties. From there, I went to BrightEdge to join as Vice President where I built one of the early customer success teams in the industry, outside of SFDC.
Building teams and organizations is incredibly fun. You set the culture for the team and the company, you get to experiment, to innovate, and to try new things. You get to see the impact of your products on customers, and their businesses improve with your technology. Working at BrightEdge’s scale with 1,500+ customers and 50% of the Fortune 100, our work was high stakes and even higher impact.
Now, over 25 folks who I’ve led over the years are helping lead customer success at companies like Gitlab, GitHub, Vista, and Modern Health. That’s incredibly fulfilling to see them thrive and guide the next generation of customer success pros.
I’ve led hundreds of Customer Success professionals in my career and Magnify is the solution I feel that I could’ve used at every one of my prior companies. Customer Success teams are doing heroic efforts to help customers adopt and succeed with their software - they are calling customers, hopping on flights to meet them in person, following up, scheduling webinars, and working around the clock to make them successful. They’re working 50-60 hours a week and yet struggling to keep up with what amounts to even a small slice of their customer base.
But, to get a comprehensive view of how your customers as a whole are doing, you have to talk to all of them, not some of them. That’s just not possible with tools customer success professionals rely on today. Magnify harnesses the power of AI and ML to let customer success teams serve all of their customers at scale, without losing that sense of personal connection.
Right now, customer success teams must connect and piece together solutions across multiple platforms just to get a comprehensive view of their customer’s journey. Magnify connects all those touchpoints together and using automation it can create a unified customer experience that we can derive insights from. And, it’s all in software, so it scales!
To me, this feels analogous to the pre-marketing automation era. Back then we sent emails and ran ads, hoping for the best. Then marketing automation came along, and we created, in software, customer journeys and scoring that allowed us to really improve our marketing investment, and now we use AI/ML to do that. We want to take post-sales on a similar journey to what happened with marketing—let’s use software to create an integrated customer experience, at scale, and use AI/ML to personalize it, creating dramatic improvements in retention and automation.
With Magnify, CSMs can go from talking to a handful of their customers, to helping thousands of customers use their product well. That scalable human connection is priceless. Humans have to be at the center of any experience we build, and when you have more data-driven insight into how that experience is going, you can make more intelligent, empathetic product decisions.
Magnify isn’t for one type of business. It’s for all businesses. So, the net impact Magnify can have across industries and how that can raise the bar for customer experience as a whole really excites me.