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Help Me, Help You: Guiding Your Customers to Define their Partnership Goals

It's still early January so I'm going to continue to talk about goals. Specifically customer goals.

Everyone will always talk about how important it is to capture customer goals, and I agree, you can't manage what you can't measure, so helping your customer define their goals is critical.

The #1 challenge I hear from Customer Success professionals is not whether or not they should capture their customer's goals, everyone agrees that this is critical, but we don't talk enough about how to HELP our customers articulate their goals. I would say 99% of the customers I've worked with struggle to articulate clear SMART goals for our partnership. They know their pain, they are clear on their targets but when I ask them how they plan to measure the impact of our software on solving their pain and achieving their goals I'm met with blank stares.

I think this is one of those areas where GREAT CSMs really stand out. Great CSMs understand that this is going to be a challenge and come prepared with the knowledge and understanding of the type of goals their customers should set AND the role their software plays in solving those goals.

Here are a few tips to help you and your customer articulate clear goals for the partnership:

1) Spend time understanding their business metrics and KPIs ➡ How are they being measured? What are the results that matter to their team and have the greatest impact on the business. Don't worry about your software in the beginning, make this solely about their business.

2) Talk about the challenges they are faced with preventing them from achieving these goals today ➡ Again, don't focus on the software, but delve into the why? Talk about what they are trying to accomplish and the roadblocks they are facing.

3) Discuss what a perfect world would look like ➡ What is their utopian state? If there were nothing standing in their way, what would that looks like? How would they operate? What processes exist?

4) Give examples of how your software could help without specifics about your product ➡ If I could do X, Y, Z, how would that change things for your team? If it were possible to streamline A, B, C, would the team feel better about their ability to be successful? Frame it against what you know you can solve, not what you can do.

5) Now back into the product to help them see the correlation between what they desire and what you can do ➡ Talk about the specific things your software can do to achieve that outcome and find the things that seem to resonate the most and have the greatest correlation to their KPIs.

6) Align on the benchmarks to measure what you've agreed on ➡ Spell out the specifics for them and get their confirmation that these are IN FACT the right things.

Follow this formula and I promise you'll find yourself having a different discussion and you'll both be clear on how to achieve success together.

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