- Customer Value Led Growth
- How to lead your customers to the promised land
How to lead your customers to the promised land
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CSMs, let’s face it - your customers don’t need more lifeguards and first responders.
They need leaders who pick them up where they start and lead them to the promised land. Fast, easy, and with as little effort as possible.
If you want to be (stay) relevant you need to ramp up your game. You need to build a repeatable Customer Success Process.
That works with high precision repeatedly.
Without customers failing and leaving the success path unnoticed.
Without customers going dark because they feel left alone.
Without customers “surprisingly” churning.
Here are the 7 steps to build a repeatable Customer Success process:
1. Run in-depth discoveries
It’s really simple. If you don’t understand your customers' needs you don’t know what to do and where to go.
If you don’t know the direction you can hardly lead them. All you can do is guess and assume, provide random content and services, and hope for the best.
This “approach” is obviously doomed to failure and is the reason why you spend so much time firefighting, quick-fixing, and band-aiding.
It’s the direct result of wrong assumptions and guesses. The hand-off you get from sales is not a sufficient source of information.
It’s the starting point for your advanced discovery. Your sales colleagues can get a lot of information.
However as there are no CSMs, they can hardly discover customer needs in terms of education and training.
Your customers have not purchased your product for its features and functions. What they are here for are the outcomes. Depending on your product they want
and possibly a mix of it (e.g. more revenue while lowering costs). Whether their goals are realistic needs to be discussed prior to the acquisition.
If your customers don’t know how to measure their ROI it’s up to you to come up with qualified suggestions (e.g. based on peers).
The customer success plan is the result of your discovery. It outlines how to close the gap between where your customers are now and their desired outcomes.
It consists of
problems to solve
tasks to complete
skills and knowledge required
education and training
Your mission is to provide the latter one for enabling customers to move bottom-up. You need to build customer success plans for every segment.
Your segments are defined by your customers’ needs.
The success plan defines what customers need to learn to become successful in the right order.
If required, you must provide them with the right inputs - tutorials, guides, webinars, training, and 1:1 consulting.
All the content and services you provide have to be designed with a specific goal in mind.
There’s no place for generic inputs they can find on a gazillion blog posts. You need to build expertise and then find ways to transfer it to your customers.
The quality of your inputs is not measured by the number of opens, views, or downloads.
It’s measured by how often (%) your customers are able to transform their learnings into the desired outcomes.
5. Follow up regularly
Don’t wait for your customers to reach out if they have a problem. Ever.
You need to ensure that customers are progressing as projected when you are not in the room.
Following up regularly is the key to spotting any issues as early as possible before they have a chance to escalate and put you in a defensive mode.
As a CSM, the offense is the best defense. Following up does not mean to “check in” with your customer. There’s a specific topic and a specific goal for it.
Your customers participated in your webinar? Great, find out whether they have been able to put their learnings into the intended outcomes 2 weeks later.
6. Leverage QBRs
You can create flawless success plans, provide world-class content and services, and follow up regularly. Does that guarantee you are on the right path?
A rhetorical question, of course. A QBR is a powerful asset for customer success control. But not if you treat it like an item to check off a list.
The purpose of a QBR is to do exactly what it says - a review of the past 3 months of the customer working with you and your product.
If you can do the same during your follow-ups you don’t need QBRs at all. But usually, they don’t run deep enough due to time constraints.
7. Adapt continuously
Customer Success plans are not carved in stone. They are living organisms that evolve with the insights from working with clients.
If new information emerges or your customers’ goals change they need to be adapted.
You might provide great content and services but it’s not perfect. There’s still a question that’s left unanswered. There’s still a use case that has not been covered.
Sharpen your senses and use the insights and feedback to better meet your customers’ needs.
How I can be of further help:
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