In the cloud world it is critical that you think about how you can become the “one hand to shake” with customers. It’s vital that you constantly add continual value to your customers and increase your cloud revenue (especially contractually recurring revenue) over time to stay competitive.
So, how do you do it?
Best practices for delivering customer lifetime value
Over the last several months we have rolled out the Microsoft Modern Partner eBook series in partnership with IDC, and I am pleased to announce that Part 5: Deliver Customer Lifetime Value is now available! There are a ton of great best practices in the eBook but I’d like to highlight my top 5 to start delivering customer lifetime value today:
1. Make customer success a core part of your culture
The top performing Microsoft partners have made customer success a part of everyone’s job. Start with defining your company’s mission statement and work to land this with your team. Define a set of commitments around customer success and hold your employees accountable to hitting metrics each year as a part of their individual review process. Another important best practice is to align compensation to driving customer success. Remember, compensation drives behavior, especially for your sales team.
2. Start measuring customer satisfaction
A great way to get an understanding of your customer needs and their perception of your business is to measure customer satisfaction on an ongoing basis. This could be at the completion of each project, on a quarterly or twice yearly basis, or even after each touch point with your managed service practice. Once you collect the data be sure to review it carefully with your team and look for key trends and opportunities to improve your service. Then identify a team or individual to develop an action plan to respond to what you have heard. Don’t forget to use this as an opportunity to also ask for customer references! Satisfied customers can be leveraged for customer stories, and case studies are often the best sources of content to win new business.
3. Create a customer success manager function
A best practice I’m hearing more and more about is the development of a new function specifically dedicated to customer success, which is often called Customer Success Manager, or CSM. This role is typically responsible for building adoption plans with customers, delivering training once a solution is deployed and looking for opportunities for cross-sell and upsell. Plus, the CSMs usually keep track of customer usage, so you can stay in touch with customers to ensure they are satisfied and are accomplishing the key outcomes outlined in the customer adoption plans.
4. Invest time and energy into building customer adoption plans
A great way to get a customer on the path to success is to paint a vision for how you can digitally transform their business, painting a long term vision for what is possible. This starts with a deep understanding of customer needs, so be sure to do your research! Once that vision is created, it is critical that a customer adoption plan is created which will outline the key phases of deployment and what solutions will help support the transformation. Be sure you include expected outcomes and how you will measure success along with each phase. Then check in with your customers periodically on the status of meeting these outcomes. Build “get well” plans with your customers if you determine you are not meeting their needs to help minimize churn and increase satisfaction.
5. Encourage usage
Once you have deployed a solution with a customer, it is important that you have a strong plan in place to drive usage. Best practices include:
- Creating an adoption portal with how-to content and best practices for leveraging the new technology.
- Providing a relationship marketing or nurture campaign post deployment to help excite the customer with best practices on how they can leverage the solution you have put in place. Check out MPN’s Smart Partner Marketing and ModernBiz sites for best practices and tools for getting started right away.
- Identifying a champion within the customer to help drive adoption internally and drive training sessions.
I hope these ideas have been useful. Download the new “Deliver Customer Lifetime Value” eBook for a wealth of additional ideas! And, in case you missed WPC, be sure to watch the Modern Partner General Sessions Part 1 and Part 2 on demand today for more great info.