Discover 5 trusted methods for increasing NRR in 2021. Register for our January webinar.

Back to all customer success articles
16 December 2020

How To Build A Best-In-Class Customer Success Strategy Roadmap

Ross Fulton
by Ross Fulton Reading time: 5 mins

The Role Of A Customer Success Strategy Roadmap

The transformation of your enterprise B2B software company into a recurring revenue, customer centric machine is an exciting mountain to conquer. A best-in-class customer success strategy roadmap is the key to a successful conquest.

A customer success strategy roadmap defines the strategic initiatives required to transform your current state into a future state that achieves the strategic customer success goals important for your business. 

Here’s how your organization can build a forward-looking customer success strategy roadmap that will drive a company-wide customer success transformation.

Set Your Strategic Customer Success Goals

Clearly define the strategic customer success goals that your organization wants to achieve in order to drive its transformation. These goals should be actionable, specific, and measurable, and sorted into clearly-defined categories. We recommend that you organize your goals into three key buckets: impact, scale and efficiency. 

Impact goals relate to the bottom-line economics of your organization. For example, revenue retention, revenue expansion, and customer advocacy would be categorized as impact goals. 

Scale goals are based on the coverage of your customer success strategy; for instance, # of customers engaged, # of touches per customer, or # of products covered might be part of your organization’s scale goals. 

Lastly, we refer to efficiency goals as cost-savings initiatives that contain a customer-centric lens. Some examples of efficiency goals include customer retention cost, customer time-to-value, or CSM productivity.

With these strategic customer success goals identified, you’re ready to move into the next step of the roadmapping process.

Assess Your Existing Customer Success Strategy

Before you can build a future-state customer success strategy roadmap, you need to understand where your organization is in the present day. To do so, you should start by evaluating your existing strategy to identify potential gaps, opportunities, strengths, and weaknesses. 

You should be able to answer the following questions:

  1. What measurable value/outcomes (Value-based Outcomes) can our target customers achieve by adopting our software product(s)? 
  1. What exactly do our customers need to buy from our company in order to achieve each outcome?
  1. What activities must be completed by our teams and the customer to achieve each outcome?
  1. What roles in our teams and the customer need to perform which activities?
  1. How do we know if these activities are being completed by our team and the customer?
  1. How do we know if the customer is/isn’t achieving the target outcomes? 

Once you’ve answered the above, you’re in a good position to start creating your roadmap. 

Build Your Customer Success Strategy Roadmap

We recommend structuring your roadmap across two dimensions: (1) phases and (2) strategic initiatives. 

Following this format, your roadmap will be structured into phases (i.e. Phase 1, 2, and 3), each with their own defined outcomes. For example, Phase 1 of your roadmap might focus on your highest risk customer segment, followed by scale phase to cover all other customer segments as Phase 2 and an international rollout as Phase 3. These phases will combine to drive the execution of your roadmap. As a general rule of thumb, the timeline of your roadmap should be between 12-24 months. 

The second dimension of your roadmap are the strategic initiatives. Each phase will contain one or more strategic initiatives. These initiatives should be centered around the design, build, and operationalization of the following strategy components:

  1. Value-based Outcomes
  2. Processes/playbooks
  3. Data
  4. Technology
  5. People

At Valuize, we’ve developed a layered customer success strategy framework that serves as a guide for planning strategic customer success initiatives. 

At the foundation of this framework, the definition of outcomes will enable your customers to realize recurring and measurable value via their adoption of your products. With this foundation established, we can design customer success playbooks and processes that will drive the achievement of these customer outcomes. Next, we establish a customer data foundation that links all the data sources related to customer adoption, retention, and expansion to trigger the right action with the right customer. Once these fundamental building blocks are in place, we’re ready to operationalize and scale this model across the entire customer lifecycle through technology like Gainsight and MetaCX.

Leverage A Customer Success Strategy Framework

Whether you plan to use Valuize’s customer success strategy framework or your company’s own internal framework, the key is to design your customer success strategy roadmap so that it provides an achievable and manageable phased approach to executing the strategic customer success initiatives required for your business to transform.

For example, in Phase 1 above (tackling your highest risk customer segment) there could be a strategic initiative focused on optimizing the customer onboarding stage of the customer journey for that segment. Within this strategic initiative, there could be design work on defining the value-based outcome(s) that will form the key milestone (first value) to be achieved in onboarding.

This initiative can also support the design work for engineering the processes and roles required to enable consistent delivery and measurement of that outcome; data work to ensure that the right actions are being triggered through the onboarding stage and that customer’s progress in adopting the product such that they progress towards achieving the outcome can be measured; and configuration work in your customer success technology platform to put these data-driven processes and insights in the hands of your new team of onboarding specialists.

Achieve A Company-Wide Customer Success Transformation

You need to design your customer success strategy roadmap as a top-down, company-wide exercise that involves your pre- and post- sales teams. By taking a proactive and forward-looking approach to customer success, your organization will be empowered to achieve a desired-state transformation. 

Ready To Implement Your Roadmap?

Valuize specializes in building and integrating customer success strategy roadmaps into an organization’s broader go-to-market customer + revenue strategies. Get in touch with our team to learn how we can help support your customer success transformation.

Ross Fulton
Ross Fulton

Prior to founding Valuize, Ross spent over 16 years growing software companies and their partners in go-to-market strategy, sales engineering and customer success leadership roles on both sides of the Atlantic. An Englishman by birth but not by nature…he’ll take an espresso over tea every time!