I recently wrote about the importance of leading indicators in improving customer retention and expansion in a B2B environment. It's too late to wait for financial results; every company should embed a set of simple and repeatable steps to strengthen customer relationships over time. To achieve this, many companies start by "mapping the customer journey" to understand the complete process a customer goes through in order to be able to fully use ("adopt") a product. While this works well for consumer B2C companies (in general, you're only as good as your most recent deal), relying on journey maps is dangerous and far from ideal for B2B companies. Instead, B2B companies must learn to develop and strengthen relationships. Here's why and how. success = result Let's start with the definition of customer success: "Success" is simply "the achievement of a goal or purpose." Focusing on the word "achievement" is key (a word more commonly used in the CS industry is "result" or "result"). In other words, customer success is not a matter of ensuring product adoption by end users. While product adoption can be an achievement and most likely required to drive the right outcomes, stopping doesn't necessarily mean you're achieving business outcomes for your customers and strengthening relationships.
Even with high utilization, your customers are likely unaware of the results they need. Why? Your products and services may be fully operational, but: What is the customer journey after onboarding: Does your company have processes and plans to maintain engagement with your key contacts so your company continues to be their first choice? If yes, are they industry mailing list to meet customer expectations? Or do you just hit them with automated emails? Your key stakeholders (ie, the purchasing committee ) may be far removed from the day-to-day use of the product and never log in to view the beautiful dashboards that display end-user-generated key performance indicators (KPIs). Even if your KPIs are visible, the business value - the ROI your client realizes - may not be very clear (your executive sponsor needs clear results to get promoted!). Maybe your customers are relying on the bad practice of just automating old workflows instead of embedding new processes that take advantage of new features enabled by your product. Key contacts may change due to executive sponsor reorganization or departure, making your future uncertain (followers of David Skok's For Entrepreneurs blog know that executive sponsor churn is a key cause of churn ) . "
Sign in" succeeded To address these issues, you might be inclined to "check how things are going". It's a great idea to be able to throw an email against the wall and be comfortable with everything going well. but, Who are you "checking in" with - are you reaching out to your most important contacts? Did you get in touch with your contacts for assessing and managing business outcomes? Did they respond to your inquiry? That is, does "checking in" really add value, or are you just marking a to-do item? Do they understand where and how to make changes or improvements to their business processes to achieve the necessary results? Do your company's products and services meet their expectations? Crucially, how much can you personally do to achieve the desired outcome? Do you need help from others in your company? Just "checking in" isn't enough - you need to have a clear process for understanding what works and what doesn't - and you're better off relying on customers to drive themselves. The first step is for customers to share their views on success and value. But take note of #5: You're just one person, but you need the entire company to drive value (otherwise why would the company need all the other employees??). Everyone in the company needs to be committed to adding value to the customer, and the job of the customer success organization is to make sure that (if not you, who?).