The Factors Your Customers Use to Make Decisions

August 22, 2019

Teresa Becker

Customer Success Strategist

When it comes to knowing your customers, nothing is as important as understanding how they make big decisions in the first place. From initial buying choices to upsells and renewals, knowing what prompts customers to take steps forward with a vendor can help your customer success team structure messaging, discussions, and other critical conversations.

Decision Factor #1: Value

First and foremost, customers want to know exactly how a product, service, or feature will show value. This goes for initial buying decisions as well as long-term renewals or even a new feature expansion. Customers are looking to invest in solutions that help move the needle, which means your product must be able to directly impact some part of their business. Whether it’s helping their internal processes run smoother to helping them deliver more value to their customers, decisions to move forward with a product or feature implementation all come down to meeting a need. As a customer success manager, it’s your job to uncover this need, help overcome any concerns that might come up, and showcase how your product can help alleviate this need.

Decision Factor #2: Implementation

Next, customers make decisions based on how difficult the implementation or activation process will be for their internal team and their own customers. Saying yes to a new feature that simply requires a quick code addition on the back-end is much different than saying yes to a new product enhancement that will require extensive training and brand new workflows. When CSMs identify potential areas of growth that fulfill the ‘value’ portion of a customer decision but require substantial implementation, it’s up to them to ensure this value outweighs the onboarding. Customers are more likely to say yes to a long activation if the payoff is there at the end. If customers can’t justify the investment of time and resources, the value probably wasn’t there to begin with.

Decision Factor #3: Price

While this might seem like an objection during the initial sales process, current customers also make vendor decisions based on price. Whether it’s changing a contract to include a new feature or paying more for personalized training, price is always going to be a factor. As customer success teams become more involved in driving revenue and upsells for SaaS products, being able to bridge the gap between price and value will become an increasingly important skill for CSMs. If a customer is doing just fine with the features and functionality they’re currently paying for, why would they say yes to changing things up, especially if it comes with a price? As they work closely with customers, CSMs are exposed to challenges and needs that might not be addressed by a customer’s current product selection. By honing in on these needs and showing customers how easy it could be to solve these problems, CSMs can influence decision-making and help customers overcome the dreaded price roadblock.

Drive customer decision making with ClientSuccess

Customers make decisions for many different reasons, but the bottom line is always the same: customers make decisions that will move their initiatives forward. If your product or service is helping customers reach their goals faster or be more successful, then the decision is easy. Building processes and procedures that influence every step of this decision-making process is a great way to take your team from back-of-mind vendors to top-of-mind partners in success. You can learn more about influencing customer decision-making here.

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