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As a customer success manager (CSM), you have a clear set of goals in place for your customers. Whether you’re measured on customer churn, upsells, or account expansion, there is always a metric in the back of your mind pushing your day to day efforts forward.
But what about your customers' goals?
Every time a company enters into a relationship with you (their vendor), it’s for a specific business outcome, such as progressing deals, streamlining internal workflows, or increasing collaboration. Sometimes, however, our own goals as CSMs don’t quite coincide with customer goals, such as when we are pushing a renewal when a customer just isn’t seeing the value.
This is where the intersection of CSM and customer goals becomes apparent. When you work with your customers to achieve their goals, you’re simultaneously working towards your own goals. If you’re helping an account streamline their processes, for example, they’ll be more likely to expand their user base.
Here are 5 ways to help customers achieve their goals while working towards your own goals in the process:
Before you get too deep on operational workflows, make sure you know clearly the business goals of your customers. After all, how can you know what they want to achieve if you never ask them and don’t define it very clear? Don’t rely on the SOW (statement of work) or report from sales to tell you what you need to know. The only way to truly understand what your customers’ goals are is to have a focused, one-on-one discussion. This way, you can begin to map out a process to help achieve these goals in a timely fashion. The goals should drive business impact and if defined correctly drive towards ROI. So you can say clearly, “For every dollar you spend on (enter your product or service) you get 4 dollars back,” or whatever the ROI you define from helping them achieve their goals.
Once you know your customers’ business goals and revenue impact, you can begin defining and assigning success metrics, which we have also covered in this toolkit. It’s important to have measurable milestones attributed to every single business goal so you and your customer both know where you stand. This can help in the long-run by eliminating confusion or miscommunication since everyone knows exactly where they need to be and when. This will help when you follow up during your customer lifecycle or journey strategy.
What is the goals or milestones are not realistic. You can help. This is one of the hardest things to do when it comes to customer goals, but it’s a necessary part of the process. If a customer has a goal that is too far-fetched or clearly unattainable (at least with the time or metrics in place), then you need to be transparent and tell them. It’s unfair to both your customer and your internal team to try to work towards an impractical endpoint. If you’re upfront and honest with your customers, they will appreciate your efforts and understand that you have their best interests at heart. Better yet, discuss a possible solution with them instead of just shooting their goal down outright, such as a longer timeline or more targeted milestones.
Check on and know the progress of the business goals you have set with your customers. Many times you can forget the business goals as you work to get the customer set up, adopted, and using your product or service. Make a point to check in with customers on these specific goals outside of your other projects. Instead of trying to give 5 minutes at the end of your weekly calls to go over metrics, schedule a focused call once a month to really dive in deep on customer business goals and make sure your current customer projects are all in alignment to their goals. Goals and priorities can shift, so discussing progress of goals will help you stay relevant to your customer. You will be seen as a key member or trusted resource.
At the end of the day, a customer is paying your team to help them achieve their goals, but that doesn’t mean you should just put your head down and push through the finish line. Share educational content with your customers that is directly relevant to their goals and needs. Talk to them about industry best practices or examples you’re seeing with your other accounts. Offer up some new, out-of-the-box solutions that they might not have thought of before. Acting as a consultative thought leader instead of just a CSM can help strengthen your customer relationships and drive your own goals, such as retention and expansion.
As we meet with customer success leaders and teams around the world, we see a common challenge: Everyone is using a different method or system to track and measure customer goals. With this challenge comes the inherent pain point of lack of goal visibility and slow processes for customer success leaders, CSMs or other key members of internal teams that could help benefit from knowing the goals and progress.
We saw this challenge as a great opportunity to help customer success leaders and teams track these goals or success criteria in one place. We built and launched a solution called the Success Criteria Tracker. It allows customer success leaders to build and follow a methodology to tracking customer goals and progress in one place. Now customer success teams can use one system to manage and track goals, plus the Success Criteria Tracker is built in ClientSuccess giving you all the tools you need at your finger tips to grow and expand customer accounts.
Here is a high-level screenshot of the Success Criteria Tracker:
The Success Criteria Tracker is configurable to support your customer goal and tracking approach. Below you see that success criteria has been defined by each quarter for this client. By clicking on any quarter's success criteria you will see the detailed customer criteria and goals. Everyone is one is now on the same with goal tracking in one place.
You can learn more about how ClientSuccess is making it easier for CSMs to track, monitor, and manage customer goals in one place by requesting a 30-minute demo or checking out some of our other educational resources:
Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong Customer Success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.