Customer Success Plan- integrating into existing customer base

Hello! I am privileged to be one of the founding members of the CS organization and am in the process of building out our organization's operational plan. Part of this plan is introducing the idea of Success Plans to the organization.

Introducing Success Plans to new customers is a pretty straightforward concept and I think we are on the right path to success.

My CS team will also be taking on a large portion of existing customers that have had some form of account management but have not ever leveraged any type of Success Planning. My question to the group is how do your success plans change from a new customer to an existing customer that may have never had one? Are you using the same documents or do you have different plans based on the lifecycle? Does anyone have any experience introducing Success Plans to long-time existing customers and have any best practices you would be willing to share? How did they receive it?

Richard Brereton

Comments

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 181 Expert
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    I advise using the same success plan for all customers. Obviously onboarding won't apply to existing customers but the metrics for adoption and renewals will.

    Keeping it simple is the key to success and I suggests introducing it in iterations. For example all new customers first, then existing customers, possibly in order of ARR. Largest first. Or even pilot it with a few who agree. You will learn a lot and can iterate and improve it before you roll it out to all customers.

    I also advise creating a customer panel to review the entire process and have customers provide feedback for each step. For example onboarding. Find a few customers who are willing to sit with you and walk through it after they complete the process. You will learn so much and often what you assume is wrong! They will tell you.

    Best of luck!

    dperenchio
  • Richard Brereton
    Richard Brereton Member Posts: 8 Seeker
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    We have been through the same process and have had varying levels of success with existing clients. We are using the same success plan framework and process for existing clients but adapt the context of the conversation relative to the historic engagement with each client.

    We have had varying levels of success. Some existing clients are very keep to have a success planning calls but others, who have been clients for years, are happy with the status quo and don't feel the need to change it. However, we have found that when there are changes to their business, new stakeholders or market changes it makes them more keen to engage with the process. I have asked my CSMs to try to get success plans developed for existing clients but not to push too hard if they aren't receptive. However, I have an expectation that we develop success plans for all existing clients that have a change in key stakeholder. happy to chat about this further if you want to email me ([email protected])

  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 174 Expert
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    Agree with @Brian O'Keeffe that keeping the process consistent is important.

    As you note, expected value changes over time. Often CS teams I've consulted with use maturity frameworks and relevant customer benchmarks to guide the path from average to excellent results over time. Showing what's possible and providing normative messaging about what other customers are doing motivates action and assists goal-setting and re-planning the CSP. Perhaps this applies to your operation @dperenchio, and if not, I've found customers tend to welcome any form of forward-thinking exercise if they've had a positive experience and achieved value from you in the past. I suggest you start small scale, give it a go, and see what happens.

    Good luck!

    dperenchio
  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 181 Expert
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    I like your flexibility. One size does not fit all and not all customers want or need a success plan. Being forced into it is an unpleasant experience for the customer and the CSM and does the opposite of the goal: less likely to renew and expand.

    Richard Brereton
  • Jeff Breunsbach
    Jeff Breunsbach Member Posts: 266 Gain Grow Retain Staff
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    I like what Brian mentions here - the other thing to consider is how you could use the same success plan but change your delivery method to right-size for the customer.

    Maybe more complex customers, it is a formal meeting and review.

    Maybe your less complex customers, it is a survey that auto-populates a Google Sheet and sends it to them afterwards.

    Same Success Plan but requires different touchpoint with the customer.


    Brian O'Keeffedperenchio