By Kristen Hayer
If you manage a customer success team with direct revenue responsibility, building your annual plan might be challenging, but setting goals for your team is easy. You just split the team revenue plan between your team members and you’re good to go. It’s a little tougher when you need to build goals for a team that doesn’t have revenue responsibility. You need to keep your team focused on the things that are important, manage the performance of individual team members, and show your leadership team that customer success is adding value to your company.
As you develop your plan, keep in mind that there 3 different types of goals:
These are goals related to things like building new processes, developing systems, working through projects with clients. Project goals are often used by early-stage companies that are still building customer success. While effective for getting new programs and initiatives set up, project goals don’t necessarily tie to KPIs, so in the long term you should shift to activity or results goals.
These are goals based on the things your team does that you suspect will drive positive results. Some examples are calling customers regularly, conducting business reviews, and talking customers into completing surveys. You might choose an activity goal if you have a newer CS program or are measuring a new metric. However, activities don’t always map to positive results, so ideally you want to focus on results goals.
These are the gold standard of goals. They tie to the KPIs of the company, and are easily understood by your executive and finance teams. They include metrics like your customer retention rate, revenue your team helped to secure or close, or your average customer satisfaction rating. Even if you start out with project or activity goals, you should move toward a plan that is largely results-focused over time.
Let’s say you have a customer success team that isn’t doing any selling, and doesn’t have a revenue number they are responsible for. What are some goals you could adopt that will focus your team on the things that drive company results? Here are some ideas that map to the three, primary metrics of customer success: retention, expansion, and satisfaction.
Project Goal: Develop an account plan template
Have your team members design a template that you can use across your team to set and measure goals with your customers.
Activity Goal: Build account plans with a specific number of customers
Set a goal for your team members to complete account plans, with some content and quality requirements.
Results Goal: Achieve a percentage of the customer’s goals on individual account plans
If customers are achieving their business goals, they are much more likely to renew.
Project Goal: Develop a playbook for uncovering opportunities
Define the kinds of opportunities the team should be looking for, and how to qualify those customers.
Activity Goal: Pass a specific number of qualified leads to the sales team
Qualification criteria should be agreed to with the sales team, and these leads should be tracked through your CRM.
Results Goal: Open up a number of new divisions and departments
This can be a team goal with the CSM generating new connections and the Sales team closing the expansion deals.
Project Goal: Develop a customer survey program
Look for key touch points where you can measure satisfaction, and have your team design surveys that map to these points.
Activity Goal: Get a specific number of surveys completed
Have your team mention surveys, send them out, and ask for participation to drive data you can use to refine your program.
Results Goal: Improve your satisfaction score
Use your survey data to look for areas you can improve, and push for better scores every quarter.
Without clear revenue targets, you have to get a little more creative about goal-setting. Consider where you want your team to drive change, determine whether project, activity, or results goals make the most sense, and build out your 2019 plan. Starting now gives you the chance to establish baselines for metrics you aren’t currently measuring, so that you can demonstrate results and the value of your customer success efforts next year.
Need help building metrics and goals for your CS team? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that offers deep dive intensives on topics like metrics and goals, segmentation, journey mapping, and planning your team. These short, but highly effective, engagements are a great way to kick start your 2019 planning. For more information visit TheSuccessLeague.io.
Kristen Hayer - Kristen believes that customer success is the key to driving revenue, client retention and exceptional customer experiences. Her areas of expertise include developing success goals and metrics, designing the optimal customer journey, selecting technology, training teams, and building playbooks. Prior to founding The Success League, Kristen built and led several award-winning customer success teams. Over the past 20 years she has been a success, sales, and marketing executive, primarily working with growth-stage tech companies. Kristen has her BA from Seattle Pacific University and her MBA from the University of Washington.