In this session of Preflight UK’s Office Hours, James Stuart, CSM at hackajob spoke to Oliver Plane from Confluent and Markus Rentsch from Remark-able about product value, how customers can achieve value realization with your product, and how value realization can help find better solutions for customers.
Oliver, a top 100 CS Strategist 2021, currently works as an Enterprise Customer Success Executive at Confluent, a foundational platform for data-in-motion. Before Confluent, Oliver worked with Growth Molecules, a customer success consultancy, after working in the telecommunications, finance, and transport business sectors with companies such as Oracle, Logica, and others.
Markus is a customer success consultant and keynote speaker who helps SaaS companies use a Customer-Value-Led-Growth business model to eliminate churn, drive expansions, up-and cross-sells, and build better customer relationships.
The discussion focused on finding the answers to:
Here are our top takeaways from the session.
Different personas on the customer side perceive value differently. Knowing and understanding the ‘human’ outcome that these personas want and value the most is essential.
For example, the C-suite could value ROI while department heads could find value in freed up resources and fewer processes for innovation or other important projects; an individual contributor may see value in improving their day-to-day performance or productivity.
So while different personas may have aligned or similar goals, they view them differently, and it’s important to understand each of these perceptions.
A mistake that companies often make is assuming they know what customers want.
Conduct a thorough discovery discussion with the customer to get answers to these two questions:
This creates a sense of accountability at the customer end and provides clarity and responsibility to the CS team.
And in cases where customers don’t have a concrete answer to these questions, it’s the CS team’s job to guide them to find this answer – drawing from their product expertise and experience with other/similar customers.
Here are four steps the CS team must take to understand the customer’s needs, nail down their perception of value, and validate the value thus identified:
Though not always feasible, involving the CS team during the sales journey can be extremely helpful.
This way, customer value can be defined pre-sale – as a joint effort by Sales and Customer Success – so the CS team can:
a) Have the proper context and understanding of the customer’s needs
b) Set the right expectations for the customer
This can help minimize the risk of customers dropping off during onboarding – for no fault of the onboarding process.
Value is continuously changing throughout that customer journey, and identifying the key phases in this journey can help identify what to deliver and when.
Remember that the customer’s goals and visions will change over time. Validate the definition of value to the customer at every opportunity, especially critical ones like executive business reviews (EBRs).
The metrics that CS teams track and measure often have little to do with customer value.
The key is to demonstrate success in terms of the value customers receive. Simply put, always look at success as how the customer measures it, not necessarily how you measure it internally.
The customer champion has a crucial role to play here. In addition to helping you understand what value means to their organization, they need to:
While it can be challenging to manage and match up to different personas’ value perceptions, there is always a connection. The key is to explain and articulate how the different kinds of value add up.
A combination of solid leadership and deliberate communication can make this happen.
For instance, the internal leadership team can set up systems to:
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