What is a customer success plan?
A SaaS customer success plan is a work frame or roadmap that the CSM builds together with the customer. Within the customer success plan, the CSM and the customer should clearly define:
- Main Objectives
- Timeframes (short/medium/long)
- Measurements of Success (what is considered successful)
- Challenges to Address
The SaaS customer success plan can be implemented anywhere from the customer onboarding process all the way throughout the customer journey and is an essential part of the customer success strategy, moreover, the customer success plan should constantly be updated and in sync with the customer’s main objectives and goals.
It is also worth mentioning that the items listed above should always be approved by or come from the key stakeholders from the customer’s side in order to validate the success plan.
Why is a customer success plan essential?
The SaaS customer success plan is one of the most important tools of the customer success strategy and customer engagement methodology, it enables the CSM to customize its work according to what the customer is looking for, moreover, it provides the CSM with full clarity on what the customer’s main objectives and challenges are, thus, the CSM can ensure that every touchpoint during the customer-facing process is of added value to the customer.
In order to stay relevant, the SaaS customer success plan should constantly be updated according to the customer stage the customer is in and as the customer grows and evolves within the customer lifecycle, this way, the CSM has full knowledge of what needs to be prioritized in order to deliver the customer’s desired outcome, thus ensuring that the product stays relevant and that the customer’s business objectives are constantly being achieved.
A well-defined customer success plan will always guide the CSM toward achieving the customer’s desired outcome.
What are the risks of not having a proper customer success plan?
Just as a well-defined customer success plan can go a long way in assisting CSMs to achieve their customers’ objectives and Desired Outcomes, not having a proper customer success plan or no customer success plan in place leaves the CSM without a clear customer success strategy in place thus creating a lack of clarity on what the customer’s main objectives are.
This can create a situation where the customer doesn’t feel/believe that the CSM is capable of leading them to reach their objectives, thus hindering the relationship with the customer and creating uncertainty on whether the customer is actually getting value out of the product or not.
How do you create a great customer success plan?
Since you cannot build a SaaS customer success plan without the guidance and approval of the customer, it’s essential that the CSM takes full advantage of any touchpoints he/she has with the customer throughout the customer-facing process. Below is a list of the most important items every SaaS customer success plan should have:
- What are the main objectives that the customer wants to achieve
- What are the main challenges the customer would like to address
- Both of these items should have clear measurements of success, in a few words, what is considered a success by the customer
- Any great success plan should have clear timeframes on when these key items are expected/should be completed/achieved
- The CSM should make sure that these items are validated/confirmed by the key stakeholders on the customer’s side
- As the customer progresses through the different stages in the customer journey, the CSM should ensure that everything in the success plan is being updated accordingly
Any CSM can have their SaaS customer success plan on a Google Docs/Sheets or in any other format that allows sharing the success plan with the customer, however, it can become difficult to apply it at scale. In order to solve scalability and automatization issues, there are customer success management platforms that allow CSMs to easily create and define customer success plans at scale while improving automatization, accessibility, and visibility for both CSMs and their customers.