Customer Success Managers have a lot on their plates, and when we get caught up in the day-to-day of our jobs it's easy to confuse short-term wins with success. Unblocking a customer or diffusing an escalation feels great in the moment, but is that enough to renew your customers at the end of their contract?
We do everything we can to stay aligned with our customers, including setting up Quarterly Business Reviews so there are fewer surprises when it's time to renew, but what happens between those business reviews? How do you stay on track with the objectives you set out to achieve with your customers? And how do you manage this with a large portfolio of customers?
That's where mutual success plans come into play. Throughout my career in Customer Success, I've seen every iteration of mutual success plans, from spreadsheets to slides to pdfs—but all of these formats feel a bit stale. Even software designed for Customer Success Managers has its drawbacks when it comes time to collaborate on a shared set of goals. That's why I've built this collaborative doc which can be used to capture value with your customers in real-time.
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Step 1: Start by Understanding your Customer’s Business
As Customer Success Managers, we aspire to be strategic partners to our customers. We often introduce ourselves as
during kick-off calls, and with good reason! We have a breadth of knowledge about our products and solutions that provides value to any customer looking to get the most out of their investment. But earning the title of
goes beyond knowing your product, but how well you can tie your solution back to your customer's needs.
Why did your customer purchase your product in the first place? What are your customer's top business priorities this year? Have your stakeholders shared their OKRs with you? If not, now is a good time to ask! You can even go the extra mile and do a bit of research ahead of time, like reading quarterly earnings reports and 10-Ks. Don't forget to capture this information in your success plan so you can refer back to these objectives and make changes over time.
Step 2: Define Success Metrics as a Team
Once you have an understanding of your customers' business objectives, define the milestones you want to achieve and how you will measure success for each of these items. Customers will often ask for benchmarks and you should have a perspective on what will make them successful, but make sure this is a collaborative process and you get their input as well. Not every customer is going to care about daily active users or the adoption of specific features, so make sure this is not a one-size-fits-all approach.
alongside my customers so we're aligned on long-term goals.
Step 3: Get Buy-in from your Customers
Now that you've made the effort to build a mutual success plan, make sure this is something you reference with customers frequently. My success plans have become and all-in-one doc where I capture everything from meeting notes to product guides so this data never feels stale.
Check out the elements of this success plan in the next tab, including the following: