By Kristen Hayer
Your customers bought your solution for a reason. As a Customer Success Manager, your job is to ensure that each customer achieves the outcomes they want. Customers who are hitting their goals are more likely to renew and expand the business they are doing with your organization. It is critical to work with your customers to set goals that demonstrate how your solution is driving the return on investment they wanted. However, setting goals isn’t always easy. Where should you start?
Learn from the sales process
Part of being a great consultative salesperson is asking questions to uncover the value each prospect will receive from your company’s solution. In strong sales organizations, sales reps will record the information they gather throughout the sales cycle. When you’re assigned a new customer, do your homework by reviewing the customer’s record in your CRM system. If you can’t find what you need, or if you’d like additional details on why the customer decided to buy your solution, set up a short call with the salesperson. A good account executive will be more than happy to talk to you if it will help set the customer up for success.
Ask questions from the start
Aside from kicking off the relationship, your goal during the first meeting or call with a new client should be to uncover the reasons they purchased your solution, and the outcomes they hope to achieve by implementing it. Even though you collected details from the salesperson who sold it to them, be sure to ask the customer what they want as well. You will probably get a slightly different take on their desired outcomes, as well as new details that they are willing share now that they have made a commitment to your company.
Agree on goals and metrics
Once you know what the customer hopes to achieve with your solution, you need to work together to determine how you’ll measure success. Take each of their objectives and break it down into a metrics-based goal that is achievable over a specified time period – a SMART goal. Then figure out where you can find the statistics you’ll need to measure progress. It may be information you can easily get from your own systems and tools, or your customer may need to gather pieces of data for you. If you worked together to define the customer’s goals, it makes asking them for any information you need a little easier.
Measure and report regularly
When you’ve determined how you’ll be measuring the progress your customer is making, you’ll need to gather and report on those metrics on a regular schedule. For most organizations, a quarterly business review is a great time to take a look at how things are progressing and provides enough time in between to achieve notable results. Having a standard format you use each time you report back to your customer on goals makes it easier for them to understand what they are looking at and makes it clear that outcomes are being achieved.
Reset expectations as needed
Over time both the features your solution offers and the outcomes the customer hopes to achieve from your offering will change. The goals and metrics you’ve been measuring may need to shift in order to stay aligned with these changes. Again, the quarterly business review is a good time to check and see if expectations have changed. If they have, go through the process of defining goals and metrics again. In addition, whenever you introduce new features ask your customer if these changes alter the goals they have for your solution. If they do, spend a few minutes talking about how they would like to measure results.
Following these guidelines will help you shift your customer’s focus from general outcomes to concrete goals and metrics that will help them achieve their desired results. Staying aligned with your client’s goals and expectations over time will help to ensure a long and healthy relationship.
Does your CSM team need help uncovering and measuring the outcomes your customers hope to achieve? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm the helps executives build and develop top performing teams that drive retention and revenue. www.TheSuccessLeague.io