Customer Success Leadership Community

How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

  • 1.  How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Moderator
    Posted 22 days ago

    Being "Outcome Driven" is the latest buzzword in CS so we wanted to get a bit more tactical and tangible with that topic for the audience.

    ​We'd love to hear a few examples of....

    • outcomes that you drive
    • what matters (and doesn't matter) to your customers
    • how you identify & realize those outcomes
    • ultimately how you quantify the impact


    Any examples you can share of this loop?


    #CustomerSuccess
    #Outcomes

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    Jeff Breunsbach
    Founder, Gain Grow Retain
    Director of CX at Higher Logic
    Top 25 Influencer 2020
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  • 2.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 21 days ago
    Sharing ROI is something that is a bit of a moving target with our product, since we're a B2B2B setup (our customers pass our service to their clients as a value add). However, we have developed a self-service ROI Dashboard where various customer contacts can login and see both quantitative (i.e. how many times their clients interacted with the service, how this usage is impacting branding and retention of our customer's product) and qualitative (i.e. our customer's client feedback about the service) data points. It's a work in progress to really tell the story we want to tell with regard to outcomes, but it's a good way to connect to "role and goal". And, it's a differentiator for us vs. our competition.

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    Brian Hansen
    VP of Business Development
    Enquiron
    Boston MA
    4158171611
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  • 3.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 20 days ago
    The approach that I have taken is around Value driven Outcomes.  You need to understand your customer's business, there organizational/enterprise and personal goals, and be able to synthesize the two into opportunities for value realization.  Ultimately you need to drive outcomes that meet the KPIs of your end customer and the specific stakeholders involved.  Once you identify a list of potential value driven outcomes, you then need to work with your customer to identify the metrics available to report on the success.  If you can't measure it, it doesn't matter...in the end.  Once you understand your product and its direction/future, you then need to be able to translate the features and functionality into a business value proposition to your customer, supported by THEIR objectives, not your own.  Just a few of my 2 pennies.

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    Kyle Kendall
    Senior Director, Support/Success
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  • 4.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 20 days ago

    Jeff,

    I see "outcomes" as another way to say "ROI": if you achieve the desired customer outcome, you deliver ROI. Of your four bullet points, the key ongoing challenge is the fourth one, "ultimately how you quantify the impact".

    There is still work to be done in ensuring that outcomes are tied to a business need e.g. "our solution will accomplish your goal of standardizing frontline training". Not good enough. Second-level questions must be asked to understand the business impact of standardized frontline training. Then, you have something to measure that delivers tangible ROI.

    Quantifying the impact continues to be a big miss. Why? Because a baseline is never established. Whatever ways your solution solves business problems, you need to be very clear on business impact - how does your product help the customer make money, save money, or decrease pain and frustration (ties back to save money)? Once everyone is clear on why the customer bought and how our solution will impact the business, partner with the customer to baseline the current state. Take a snapshot of the business KPIs today so you have something to measure against tomorrow. Your sponsor will do this work because tangible ROI seals the renewal.



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    Marcus Sparks
    Director
    spark2engage LLC
    Birmingham AL
    901.209.0804
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  • 5.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 16 days ago
    Love this question, and as someone who over 2 years ago claimed that Customer Success was moving to the "Outcomes Economy" I am slightly frustrated that the CS community is not placing more importance on this.

    We want to be "strategic", we want to be given more credit, we want a seat at the "big boys/girls table" so guess what - we have to earn the right.

    That "right" comes from us showing the impact we have on our customers, that in turn drive a fundamental improvement in the way your company does business.

    I think @Kyle Kendall is bang on point with his comments as is @Marcus Sparks.

    So.....as the GGR Leadership Office Hours facilitator for the 28th April it is by coincidence that this is the topic I would like us to discuss, debate, argue​ & agree is the way forward.

    @James Fisher - We can discuss Wednesday!​​

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    Matt Myszkowski
    VP, Customer Experience EMEIA
    Cision
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  • 6.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 16 days ago

    Reading my response from last night I was somewhat flippant. While I'm frustrated I will also acknowledge this really isn't easy. 

    It's not easy because firstly we're asking our CSMs to do something different, secondly our own companies may not be set up to do this well (outcomes based approach has to be a company wide approach not just a CS one) and finally, our customers may not be prepared for this.



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    Matt Myszkowski
    VP, Customer Experience EMEIA
    Cision
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  • 7.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 16 days ago
    Can't wait for further discussion on this!

    We have just started to dip our toes in the water. We've identified the most common value drivers for our customer base and our CSMs are responsible for capturing their top 3 value drivers in Salesforce (out of that picklist). As part of that discussion, they then have to work with the customer to align on how they're going to jointly measure the success of those outcomes. This is currently a free text field (don't love, but it's the best we've got so far), so we can at least pull all of the information and report out on it. I did a recent presentation to senior leadership that I think really shed light on some differences in what our customers are deeming most important to their successes, versus what our company typically talks about when thinking about success. 

    Now that we actually have some of this data, we have to figure out how to best influence change - both on my team and across the business - so that's my next mountain to climb :-)

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    Anna Alley
    Director of Customer Success & Advocacy
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  • 8.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 16 days ago
    Have to start somewhere right!?  Great job on identifying and then proposing the steps to get there.  On the influence piece, as always, value for each different group is key to identify.  How we make their lives easier or more profitable by making the necessary adjustments or additions to the current process.

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    Kyle Kendall
    Senior Director, Support/Success
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  • 9.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Moderator
    Posted 16 days ago
    Jeff - great topic.

    To be honest, we have struggled in this area.  Initially I took this to a level I was used to from the past (consulting/prof. service oriented strategic reviews).  That didn't work very well.  We have taken a step back and are currently doing some cursory research to really understand what our customers want from us in terms of outcomes...and to be frank - they want the platform to consistently perform and for us to deliver on feature ideas.  Perhaps that is the stage our org. is at but it is very simple in terms of outcomes at the moment.  Maybe one day we can show more buzzy-worthy metrics but not at this stage.

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    Brian Hartley
    Senior Director, Customer Success
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  • 10.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 15 days ago
    HI @Brian Hartley,

    I do think there is a maturity aspect to this, but I would also say that customers do need to be educated, coerced and consulted through this.

    I would ask, why did they buy your product or service? It wasn't just for a platform to perform or to have feature. What business problem does it solve or help them solve?​ As I said above, none of this is easy but customers "don't know what they don't know" and I believe the CSM has to work with the customer to educate them and take them on a journey of change, hence why change management is such a core competency now for CS professionals.

    Another angle, how does your customer justify the investment in your product or service?

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    Matt Myszkowski
    VP, Customer Experience EMEIA
    Cision
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  • 11.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Moderator
    Posted 15 days ago
    Great points all around.  

    Typically they buy our product to save "time" while they respond/issue RFPs.  While it does save time, it is hard to quantify how much time was spent prior vs. now.   

    The investment is purely based on time savings and centralized content features.

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    Brian Hartley
    Senior Director, Customer Success
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  • 12.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 15 days ago
    @Matt Myszkowski this the perfect line :"What business problem does it solve or help them solve?"  Unfortunately in many organizations, especially smaller ones, this may not have been dealt with appropriately during the pre-sales stages.  I have found many times that the maturity or your Sales organization is a key factor in the overall success.  This is another reason why have the CS team at the same level as every other Sr Exec is key.  We need a champion at the high levels in order to push the necessary changes, enterprise wide, that will result in overall Customer Success.  Another question to pose, internally, is to the Sales organization "What was the value proposition that you sold or that the customer required as part of your process?"​​

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    Kyle Kendall
    VP, Customer Success
    Avaamo
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  • 13.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 15 days ago
    Fully agree the reliance on the sales process to capture that initial "outcomes", but then the CSM must also be prepared to revaluate that outcome (it doesn't always stay the same) and once you achieve one outcome, you must move onto the next one. Your customer's are continuosly searching for that RoI.

    So many points to cover as part of this - but ultimately as my good friend Paul Henderson (Author of The Outcomes Generation) says, outcomes management is a team sport.​

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    Matt Myszkowski
    VP, Customer Experience EMEIA
    Cision
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  • 14.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 15 days ago
    To me, 'outcomes' is a matter of physics: the law of cause and effect. Business is a complex system, and results come from the interaction of many different factors. I believe it's incumbent on CSMs and CS leaders to understand and describe--using data--the following: 

    • How using a technology affects a process
    • How improving a process affects a business result
    • How the technology's value is then quantified

    For example, our marketing app improved your customer targeting by an average of 28%. Because of this, your sales funnel grew by 9%. As a result, your revenue increased by 3%, or about $3.4M this year. Our app costs $340,000, so your return on investment is 10:1. 

    Of course, value is subjective and multi-faceted, data are not always easy to obtain, and ROI is not always the determining factor. However, numbers are frequently used justify decisions that have already been made. That means if we cannot clearly articulate these cause-and-effect relationships and demonstrate them to customers, then we will continually struggle to be 'Outcome Driven,' in my opinion. 


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    Ed Powers
    Consultant
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  • 15.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 14 days ago
    Love this @Ed Powers - think this nails it for me!​

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    Matt Myszkowski
    VP, Customer Experience EMEIA
    Cision
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  • 16.  RE: How are you delivering business outcomes for customers?

    Posted 10 days ago
    I love the focus on outcomes because although it may seem obvious, I still see so many CSMs make the mistake of centering Executive Business Reviews around adoption metrics, which to me is just backwards. Adoption of your platform is driving YOUR business's outcomes. Instead of throwing the number of employees using your product on a slide, you should be providing tangible evidence that showcases to the Executive Sponsor their business outcomes are being positively impacted.

    In my opinion, the best way to identify the business outcomes a customer cares about is to ask... and keep asking until you have mutual agreement AND a tangible method of measurement. Whenever forming a new Executive Sponsor relationship, I'll meet with them 1-1 to walk them through examples of how similar clients attribute the value of our product to their businesses. The goal of the conversation is to leave with a mutual agreement on specifically how we will measure the success of our partnership. Having the ES on board is critical because it's typically impossible to quantify impact without the client providing specific information about the 'before state'.

    Being a self-serve analytics platform, the business outcomes we drive for our customers are oftentimes internal facing, such as increased efficiency or improved agility. Let's say the Executive Sponsor agrees that product team agility is the primary desired outcome.  One tangible way we might agree to measure the success of our partnership is by looking at the # of JIRA tickets tagged with 'analytics'. The goal is to decrease the volume of those JIRA tickets, assuming that means product managers have become more self-sufficient due to the adoption of our platform. 

    Because we have the Executive Sponsor's buy-in on our success metric, instead of saying 'our platform makes your team more efficient', we can quantify it by looking at the decrease in JIRA tickets and assign it a quantifiable % (ex. 80% more efficient). It should also be easy to get this intel from the client since the directive is coming from the ES.

    ​​

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    Carly Agar
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