Success plans

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Sindhujaa Ravi
Sindhujaa Ravi Member Posts: 1 Navigator
Hey there! 

We've just started creating success plans for customers. However, these documents are not shared with the customer.
Should success plans be shared with the customer or not?
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  • Andrew Marks
    Andrew Marks Member Posts: 54 Expert
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    edited March 2022
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    YES! The whole point of a Success Plan is to create a scorecard and collaboration point for your ongoing journey together. The Success Plan clearly defines and quantifies the destination, how you're going to get there, who is responsible for what (on both sides) and the challenges you may face along the way. The Success Plan is a living document that will evolve over time as the journey continues. I'd direct you to our website to find out more but this message will be deleted if I do.
  • Athul Kumar R
    Athul Kumar R Member Posts: 1 Navigator
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    edited March 2022
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    I am keen on understanding the format/template you have used in creating success plans. Would you mind sharing that with me? athulkr11@gmail.com
    Thanks in Advance.
  • Brian Hansen
    Brian Hansen Member Posts: 75 Expert
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    edited March 2022
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    Is there a reason you have not shared these with customers? There could be components of the plan that you do want to keep internal (i.e. notes about contacts), but overall, I think we do want to get these in front of customers. This sharing will encourage collaboration on their development, which increases engagement. This way, everyone can be aligned on desired outcomes, how those outcomes will be measured, how to identify milestones to celebrate and it will also create continuity through any turnover.
  • Julia Weinstock
    Julia Weinstock Member Posts: 4 Seeker
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    edited March 2022
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    Chiming in here! I see value in sharing success plans with the client, but keeping some things (like internal goals you have for the account, org chart, etc) hidden. However, I wanted to ask if anyone had success plan templates / frameworks that they could share that have worked well in the past?
  • TJ Adams
    TJ Adams Member Posts: 4 Seeker
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    edited March 2022
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    A success plan should always be a joint success plan, created, updated and shared with your customers as your work together toward outcomes. There are many reasons to do this but my favorite is when things do get off track with a customer, it is very easy to point at a joint success plan with your business sponsor and say 'why aren't we doing what we both said we would'. This will fix a ton of misunderstanding.

    In my experience a significant amount of churn is simply caused by not being aligned and a joint success plan is exactly the tool to keep in alignment.

    With that said, there should also be an internal account plan that includes things like org chart, how the customer make money, notes on contacts etc.
  • Andrew Marks
    Andrew Marks Member Posts: 54 Expert
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    edited March 2022
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    Dont confuse a Success Plan from an Account Plan. An Account Plan is an internal document. That's where your notes and plans for an account are kept. A Success Plan, once again, is meant to be something shared with the customer, a collaboration point, a tool that drives mutual accountability and defines a map to success.
  • Jeff Heckler
    Jeff Heckler Member, CS Leader Posts: 80 Expert
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    edited March 2022
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    Absolutely, not only should the Success Plan be shared,
    it should be maintained as a dynamic file on a system that is transparent, accessible, and maintained.

  • Iris Knuvers
    Iris Knuvers Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    edited March 2022
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    I agree that the succcesplan needs to be shared with the customer, as this will result in more committed customers! 

    I would like to learn from other success plans, so if anyone has one to share that would be great!
  • Irwin Hunter
    Irwin Hunter Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    edited March 2022
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    Hi Julia,

    To mee it would be strange if your internal goals are different than the customer goals.

    The success plan, in our opinion, is a plan from the customer (which we do help create and maintain).
    We ask them what success looks like and how do we get there.


  • Brian Hansen
    Brian Hansen Member Posts: 75 Expert
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    edited March 2022
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    I'm not sure the rules of posting things specifically (i.e. downloaded sample plans), but in general, below is an outline from the samples I've seen:
    • Relationship Summary
      • Decision Maker
      • Main Users
      • Status (i.e. is it their intention to renew?)
    • Identified Outcomes
      • Measurements
      • How to discuss progress (i.e. cadence of communication and with whom)
    • Short-Term Plans
      • SMART Goals
    • Key Milestones
      • How to celebrate
    • Key Risks
      • Proactive plans to get ahead of risks
  • Mary Rosberg
    Mary Rosberg Member Posts: 14 Contributor
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    edited March 2022
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    Great question. I see both sides. I'd like an internal strategic success plan where the CSM is able to lay out strategy for expansion (and collaboration internally at our own company to drive that). That'd be an internal-only success plan for the year. But I'd want a separate "here's what success looks like" measurable plan shared with the customer. 
     


  • Shankar Ganapathy
    Shankar Ganapathy Member Posts: 2 Navigator
    edited March 2022
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    Great point. Ease of use of success plans is important and CSMs need a seamless transition between internal and external facing success plans to make sure there is one system of truth. We have written extensively about this topic:

    1. https://buyerassist.io/blog/how-to-use-mutual-success-plans-in-the-post-go-live-phase
    2. https://buyerassist.io/blog/customer-success-a-collaborative-approach-using-mutual-success-plans
  • Daryl Colborne
    Daryl Colborne Member Posts: 50 Expert
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    As noted in this thread, I often see vendors and CS departments confusing Success Plans and Account Plans. @Andrew Marks statement was spot on in this thread! They are very different. I'm happy with the Joint Success Plan template we have produced for our CSMs and customer, but I am having some challenge creating a template for an Account Plan. This is an important next step for us as I seek to bring our CSM org and Sales org closer together. Does anyone have a good template for an internal Account Plan?
  • Sukrah Mebude
    Sukrah Mebude Member Posts: 2 Navigator
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    A success plan I believe should be shared with customers so they can tell if indeed thru are getting value, not every aspect of the plan which measures the internal goals or assessment should be made known to them. But I believe sharing plans and having a mutual goal would help build more value realization 
  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 205 Expert
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    It strikes me as an odd question. The only example I can think of is not sharing it when you are defining it and testing it out.

    A problem can be trying to apply one format to all customers. This can be tricky and I see a lot of CSM leaders decree that everyone gets the same one that results in the CSMs wasting time ticking off a box, VS actually adding value.

    Each customer's plan can and will be unique. Start with a template, but be prepared for unique elements, or pieces that will not apply to everyone.

    Let customers drive the success plan. Do they want one? Do not force them. I have had incidents where we created one but they had no interest and we were forced to present it. Guess what? It had NO VALUE. This is where having flexibility in your CSM assignments comes in handy. This customer may no longer fit the traditional Enterprise model. 

    Good luck!
  • Ed Powers
    Ed Powers Member Posts: 180 Expert
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    Here's a company whose product does exactly this: https://metacx.com/
  • EvaS
    EvaS Member Posts: 18 Navigator
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    Hi All, I'm picking up on this old post because I assume by now you would have some interesting insights? What's the outcome of this @Sindhujaa Ravi ? What has improved since you started using success pans?

    I'm reluctant in adding additional files/content in the communication with the customers.

    Any insight will be greatly appreciated.