Success Plans - best practices

DavidSparrefors Member Posts: 2 Navigator
First Comment Photogenic

Hi everyone!

First-time-post over here!

I am debating with myself on how to structure upcoming success plan sessions with customers.

We have a bunch of new customers that have joined during the summer (yay!) and the coming months will be full of onboarding and success making. I have two choices in mind on how to structure the meetings:

First option: Back-Casting

Going through a workshop setting of below questions - digging deep down to the bone.

1. Awareness & Vision: Where do we want to be and why?

2. Baseline analysis: Where are we now?

3. Creative solutions: How do we get there?

4. Decide on priorities: What do we do next?

Second option: Success Plan Canvas

Developed a combination of SuccessCoaching's and CS-Snack's Success Plan Canvas (see below).

This one is new to me, do you think it is enough to just use a one-pager?

Does it make it more clear and actionable or does it make it too shallow?

If anyone have feedback on how to develop the Canvas further, let me know.

Lastly, the third option is to use both - go over the ABCD and then recapping/summarizing with the Success Plan Canvas.

What do you think?


  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 180 Expert
    Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Anniversary 5 Likes
    edited June 2023
    Hi @DavidSparrefors, a few thoughts. 

    Focus on the outcomes you must have from the meeting. Make it a conversation, not a presentation. The more the customer talks, the better. 

    Start by verifying and clarifying the conversations your salesperson has already had with them. Your salespeople should be selling the outcome, not the product, but that's not always the case. They probably have vaguely discussed end results, e.g. "greater productivity," or "reduced costs" but haven't talked about metrics. Sharing what you already know and clarifying what you don't shows you're prepared and you care about getting it right. 

    Narrow the discussion to defining 1-3 metrics to reflect a successful outcome in the manner your customer (not you) measures them. As @Adam Pierce describes, customers often struggle with this, so you will need to lead the conversation and suggest what other customers are doing. It may take some offline work and effort, but getting objective measures nailed is extremely important. You'll use this to prove your value ("Moments of Proof") throughout the journey. 

    Show the distribution of results based on what others have experienced. This is extremely important for setting expectations. The human brain measures value compared with expectations, so anchoring on real numbers is the first step to achieving satisfaction. 

    Keep in mind that value is subjective, relative, and personal. How it's perceived varies by the roles individuals play in a social environment. What's important and relevant to a user (e.g. "ease of use") differs from how an executive views it (e.g. "faster time to market"). Ideally include metrics that speak to all members of the decision-making unit. 

    Seeing a distribution will prompt the customer to ask why some companies get better results than others. This is your cue to talk about "key success factors," what MUST go right on your end and the customer's end to maximize the value. It could include, for example, effective top-down change management. 

    Close by obtaining commitments from your customers to work with you on the key success factors--they won't say no! Finally, discuss the major milestones and key next steps, but don't overwhelm them with the details. You should use no more than a few slides. 

    How you memorialize the conversation is up to you--substance over form.