By Ashley Hall
We’ve previously discussed why account plans are helpful to you as a success professional, how to get started, and how to partner with sales to support an impactful account plan infrastructure to initiate the plans in the sales cycle. Not only do these documents empower you in your day to day and support customer health, but they are an invaluable asset to your entire company.
Don’t believe me? Let's walk through the various departments and how they benefit from a library of powerful growth plans.
How frequently do you engage with the sales team and they 1) need a current customer reference, or 2) ask how a former prospect is doing now that they’re a customer?
Training your sales team to know they have a library of customer stories and assets at their fingertips is a huge advantage for them. They are now not limited to water cooler conversations, and forced to interrupt your day to get the context on current customer relationships. They have access to dynamic, up to date customer assets and they can get the real story behind the state of current customers. If you’ve set up your account plans to begin in sales, sales is aware that they wrote the first chapter of the story, and can always come back and keep reading the story as the success team updates it.
Not only do account growth plans serve as internal assets, but can be sold in the sales process. Growth plans can tell the story of the collaboration your success team provides in long term growth planning, where your team is anticipating the needs of the client rather than waiting for their requests.
Account growth plans can serve your product team by providing insight into the reality of customer relationships. The product team may or may not have a direct line of communication with your customers, so they lean on customer-facing teams like sales and success to communicate product feedback and use case information.
With an account growth plan library, they have a quick resource to review how the customer is doing, what parts of the platform they do or don’t use, and that library that can point them in the direction of customers they may want to engage with further.
Marketing teams are always in need of the next amazing customer story. They will be open to writing an intriguing case study, hosting a webinar, or co-marketing with your top clients.
An account growth plan is essentially the outline of a killer case study. When you’ve already done the heavy lifting in collecting the key details of the customer story and their goals to come, you can share the outline with marketing. This empowers them to go to the customer prepared with a background on the relationship so that they can uncover new, intangible details to develop a powerful case study.
Without a doubt, your executive team will always have a keen interest in your top clients. It’s also important to let your exec team know the good, the bad, and the ugly of what's going on in your client base. Most CEOs will not be combing through your account plans on a daily basis. However, they will want to know the common themes, challenges, and wins your team is working through. In addition to the numerous metrics and goals that fuel executive conversations, your account growth plans will be the color and specific stories that help tell the story to execs.
It is important to remember that as the success team, your tools and your stories are at the center of the wheel when thinking about taking care of customers. Your insights and experiences are important. Be sure to showcase them in a way that benefits your day-to-day and serves your company as a whole.
Want to hone in on your existing CSM skills or learn new ones? The Success League is a customer success consulting firm that offers a CSM Certification Training Program. For more information on our other classes or consulting services and engagements please visit our website at TheSuccessLeague.io
Ashley Hall - Ashley loves to lead account management and success teams; from training newbies to building processes out of chaos. Ashley is one of the founding advisors to The Success League, and serves as a regular instructor for the company's CSM Training Program. She is a Director of Customer Success at Stackla, and brings her work experiences to her articles and classes. Ashley holds a BA from the University of Colorado, lives in San Francisco, and enjoys global travel.