In this article we are going to distil what makes up the key elements of a great success plan.
A success plan is used by the Customer Success team to provide a plan in which their clients can implement to receive a return on their investment in a given product.
The standard definition of a success plan in customer success is a tailored and structured approach used by businesses to ensure that their customers achieve their desired outcomes and derive maximum value from their products or services.
To meet that definition we’re making the assumption that our success plans are:
1. Capturing our clients key business objectives
2. They’re regularly updated as the Clients product usage matures and milestones are met
3. They’re engaging and collaborative, meaning the client has a say in their success action plan
4. They lead to a client benefiting goal that can be measured against the usage of your product
Do your success plans meet the above criteria?
A well-developed success plan takes into account the unique needs, challenges, and objectives of the customer. It aligns the efforts of the customer success team with the customer's goals, helping to drive adoption, increase customer satisfaction, and foster long-term relationships.
The first step is to engage your clients in the process of creating one. It is counterintuitive to build a success plan for a client without giving them an avenue to voice their opinions and asks.
I’m defining a great success plan under the guise that it is effective in reaching its goal of supporting clients in meeting their objectives with the product they’ve procured.
Here are the characteristics of a great a success plan:
Clear and Measurable Initiatives: A great success plan clearly defines specific, measurable, and achievable initiatives. These milestones should be aligned with the customer's objectives and provide a clear understanding of what success looks like.
Customer-Centric Approach: The success plan should be tailored to the unique needs, challenges, and preferences of the customer. It should demonstrate a deep understanding of their business, industry, and desired outcomes, ensuring that the plan is relevant and resonates with their specific context.
Actionable Steps: A success plan breaks down the customer's journey into actionable steps and milestones. Each step should be clearly defined, outlining the tasks, actions, and deliverables required to progress toward the desired outcomes. Milestones act as markers of progress and help the customer track their advancement.
Collaborative and Transparent: The success plan should foster collaboration and transparency between the customer and the customer success team. It should encourage open communication, allowing both parties to provide feedback, address concerns, and share insights. This collaboration ensures a shared understanding of goals and increases accountability.
Alignment with Resources and Support: A great success plan aligns the necessary resources, support, and expertise to facilitate the customer's progress. It identifies the required training materials, documentation, or personnel needed to assist the customer in achieving their goals. Providing the right resources at the right time enhances the customer's experience and promotes success.
Regular Check-ins and Reviews: Regular check-ins and reviews are essential to monitor progress, evaluate outcomes, and make any necessary adjustments to the plan. These interactions provide an opportunity to address challenges, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate successes. Consistent engagement and feedback help maintain momentum and ensure the plan remains effective.
Continuous Improvement and Iteration: A great success plan embraces a mindset of continuous improvement. It allows for flexibility and iteration as new insights emerge, customer needs evolve, or market conditions change. Regularly assess the plan's effectiveness, gather feedback, and refine strategies to ensure ongoing success.
By incorporating these distinct elements into your success plan, your team can enhance customer satisfaction, drive meaningful outcomes, and foster long-term relationships making renewal conversations that much easier.
The easiest way in creating a success plan that incorporates everything we’ve spoken about there is using an application like Retentional.
Retentional specialises in the creation of success plans for CS teams who services enterprise clients (high touch). The application is incredibly simple and encompasses the following structure:
1. Create a client account
2. Add a success plan for the client with an overarching goal (Increase revenue)
3. Create client focussed initiatives to help meet this goal (Improve conversion rate, Better UX on website,etc)
4. Add Actionable insights to help meet initiatives (implement feature Y, define a fallow group to target, etc)
5. Share the success board with all stakeholders involved and keep them in the loop with updates on progress.
It’s simple and intuitive.