Delivering Meaningful Value
Author: Mukhtar Mohamoud
In today’s landscape, success is no longer solely defined by financial metrics; it also encompasses the lasting impact a company has on its clients. What’s the value your clients gained from implementing your product and how can you bring that value proposition to the forefront of your client meetings? Let’s delve into that.
Within this context, the role of a Customer Success Manager (CSM) has evolved to become a linchpin in driving customer satisfaction and loyalty. This holds particularly truthful and potent when dealing with enterprise clients, where the focus isn’t merely on maintaining ‘business as usual’ but on delivering value in ways that resonate on a profoundly meaningful level for the clients. This is the difference between a client not adopting your product and moving away vs them increasing their adoption and championing your product internally and externally.
A beautiful example of a CSM having a profound impact is when a champion leaves the client’s business and begins advocating for use of your product in other relevant businesses. This is how long-term success compounds and creates a ripple effect across your vertical.
In this piece, we delve deep into the strategies and approaches that empower a Customer Success Manager to transcend superficial interactions and forge enduring relationships by delivering value in a truly impactful manner.
A little about me first, I’m Mukhtar, one of the founders of Retentional. We exist purely to facilitate Customer Success Managers to deliver value to their clients through the use and management of customer success plans. Think of Retentional as the ‘weapon of choice’ for CSMs to forge value-based relationships with their clients.
So, I have a particular interest in this topic area!
CUSTOMER SUCCESS is where 90% of the REVENUE is. ~ Jason Lemkin
Becoming an Ally to your Customer Success Clients
Historically, customer satisfaction has often been associated with supporting implementation, onboarding, addressing concerns, and providing quick solutions.
However, this paradigm has shifted dramatically. Particularly in Enterprise CS, clients are now seeking a holistic partnership that not only resolves immediate issues but also aligns with their long-term goals. It is the client that is paying for the CS resource, they don’t want tech support like a relationship, they want more. Vendor relationships are more fickle than they’ve ever been. Clients want deep and long-term relationships, especially when they are paying top dollar.
As a Customer Success Manager for enterprise clients, your mandate extends beyond surface-level satisfaction – it encompasses becoming an integral part of their team, understanding their challenges intimately, and supporting their aspirations as a dedicated ally with the opportunity to have a direct impact on the goals they are trying to achieve as a business.
Understanding the Client's Ecosystem
At the heart of meaningful value delivery lies a profound understanding of your client’s business and strategy. This involves delving into their intricate business model, staying attuned to relevant industry trends, and pinpointing their pain points whether that’s solvable by your solution or a new process you’ve learned about.
Armed with this comprehensive knowledge, you can craft solutions that are not just pertinent but also forward-thinking and that don’t always encompass your product, your goal is to get your clients to their expected outcomes by any means. This strategic orientation elevates you from a mere service provider to a genuine strategic partner, deeply invested in your client’s success.
A Value-Driven Approach to Personalization
In the realm of enterprise clients every client is different, with different needs and goals. Your strategies and interactions must be properly tailored to align seamlessly with each client’s unique needs and specific objectives. This customization is a testament to your unwavering commitment to their success and forms the bedrock of trust upon which meaningful relationships are built. Although this is best practice, it certainly isn’t easy, this is why tools like Retentional come in to support you in developing and deploying custom success plans for your clients.
It takes 20 years to build a reputation and 5 minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things DIFFERENTLY. ~ Warren Buffett
Proactive vs. Reactive Engagement
An unmistakable hallmark of a value-focused CSM lies in their ability to anticipate needs before they come about. Transitioning from a reactive stance to a proactive one necessitates harnessing the power of data availability to you with the help of CS platforms like Hook, Gainsight and Planhat and instituting a regime of regular check-ins. By providing solutions before challenges emerge, you not only demonstrate your expertise but also underscore your relentless dedication to your client’s success. Regular Check-ins must always be based on value, not a chat for the sake of chatting.
Becoming a Trusted Advisor
Elevating yourself as a CSM from that of a ‘vendor representative’ to a trusted advisor who is important in the success of your client, is a pivotal aspect of meaningful value delivery.
As you immerse yourself in the dynamics of your client’s business, you should be prepared to offer insights and recommendations that are beyond the confines of your product or service – it could be about processes or relevant industry news.
This consultative approach fosters an invaluable sense of reliance from your clients, positioning you as an indispensable part of their overarching growth strategy and business success. This is exactly where customer success exceeds.
We’ve tried to encompass this ethos when we built Retentional to become the harness that you use to deliver your value proposition and become a trusted advisor.
Measuring Success Holistically
While quantitative metrics undeniably hold significance, the focus should extend far beyond simplistic numerical measurements. Engaging in conversations that unearth the qualitative impact of your solutions on their business is crucial. Surfacing these insights from your clients and feeding this back to your product and sales teams can create that closed loop effect to ensure the best insights are actioned upon – through the use of tools like Gong and Otter you’ll end up pulling out these details effectively.
Discussing how your partnership has contributed to amplified efficiency, elevated customer experiences, and comprehensive organizational transformation unveils a narrative of value that goes beyond the traditional metrics.
We’d have to also include the role that Health Scores play, health scores in customer success are essential because they provide a concise assessment of a customer’s satisfaction and engagement. These scores serve as vital tools for customer success teams to evaluate their performance, identify at-risk customers early, allocate resources efficiently, and prioritize efforts.
Furthermore, health scores offer insights into product or service shortcomings, aiding in continuous improvement. They also help in segmenting customers based on their needs and behaviors, enabling tailored strategies for each group.
Ultimately, health scores streamline customer success efforts, enhance customer relationships, and contribute to business growth by ensuring that customers receive the attention and support they need to thrive.
Outside of health scores, we also need to highlight the importance of getting direct feedback from our clients, with Retentional we call feedback ‘Updates’ where clients give us periodic updates and a sentiment score on how they feel their implementation of the product in question is going. Directly linking your tool to a satisfactory outcome that the client feels. An amazing indicator of success.
Until you know what it takes to achieve success from your customers’ perspective you will just waste valuable time doing things that will have little long-term impact. ~ Larry Winget
Continuous Learning and Adaptation
The SaaS economy is forever changing, which demands adaptability in your strategies and approach to success. Regularly revisiting your client’s goals and success plans, staying attuned to industry trends, and being poised to leverage emerging technologies are essential. Your ability to seek new ways to deliver success almost guarantees that you can consistently deliver value that resonates profoundly with their evolving needs.
In the realm of customer success management and particularly for high-touch and enterprise clients, the delivery of value isn’t a transactional thing; it’s an odyssey of different methods of engagement with your clients – it’s almost like an art.
The quest for meaningful value exceeds the realm of contractual obligations; it’s about nurturing relationships rooted in mutual growth and prosperity. As you undertake this journey as a Customer Success Manager, always bear in mind that the ultimate measure of success lies in your ability to etch a lasting, affirmative impact on your clients’ business.
Through your commitment to meaningful value delivery, you contribute not only to their success but to your company’s success and ultimately to your own success.
I really enjoyed putting together this article and I hope you enjoyed reading it. If you are interested in implementing this today, please explore using Retentional where we’ll help hone your success plans as the basis of delivering incredible value for your customers today.
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