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18 July 2020

How to Create a Prescriptive Customer Success Plan Template [4 Steps]

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by Jackie Mullen Reading time: 5 mins

Customer success (CS) leaders understand that a prescriptive approach to CS enables predictability and scalability. However, many leaders struggle to establish the tools and processes to facilitate this approach, and require a framework to get started. Enter the prescriptive customer success plan template

A success plan is a critical piece of a prescriptive customer success organization. A plan enables you to document the outcomes a customer is looking to achieve with your product(s), and the prescriptive actions your teams need to take to help your customers reach their goals. A success plan also empowers customer-facing teams to center conversations around the outcomes a customer is looking to achieve, rather than simply focusing on a product’s features.

In this article, we’ll explore how you can create a prescriptive customer success plan template that will unite your business with your customers through a foundation of measurable value.

The success plan: an organization-wide effort

Creating a customer success plan template will help your entire organization transition to an outcomes-based approach. Therefore, developing your organization’s template should be a collaborative effort.

Why transition to an outcomes-based approach?

  1. Customers find it easier to purchase from a prescriptive vendor, rather than a company that simply asks what a prospect wants to achieve and hopes for the best.
  2. Your team can more easily demonstrate return on investment to a customer when you define the outcomes they’re looking to achieve during the sales process. You can then highlight these achievements as the customer begins using your product(s) and progresses through their journey with your organization.

We recommend that all of your customer-facing teams throughout the entire customer lifecycle leverage your success plan to maximize its potential impact. This should begin during the customer acquisition phase and continue through the onboarding phase, to the adoption phase, to the renewal phase.

For this reason, the design process of your customer success plan template should be a cross-functional effort and include representation from sales, marketing, professional services and other customer-facing teams. This cross-functional collaboration will help you foster company-wide buy-in for the introduction of your success plan.

4 Steps to create your prescriptive customer success plan template

  1. Create a library of standardized outcomes

Kick off the design of your success plan template by defining a list of standardized outcomes that will create measurable value for your customers when they adopt  your software product(s). Establishing a library of predefined outcomes will help your Sales team easily prescribe outcomes to a customer during the sales process. 

Both your Sales and Customer Success teams will be integral to defining your outcome library, because they understand the business goals and outcomes your customers are looking to achieve. These teams also recognize how different factors (e.g. segmentation) affect the types of goals your customers are looking to achieve.

Many customer success leaders conduct interviews with their most successful customers during the outcome design process to solicit feedback and hear what outcomes their products have helped customers achieve. We recommend designing value-based outcomes to facilitate this process.

  1. Define standardized delivery playbooks for your outcomes

Value-based interactions with a customer are most effective when they include pre-planned workflows, or playbooks, according to TSIA. You need to define the steps your teams will take to help your customers achieve each outcome after you have established a library of value-based outcomes.

You should create a pre-planned and standardized workflow for each outcome. Learn more about how to design standardized customer success workflows using efficient and lean processes.

  1. Determine what additional fields you need in your success plan template

In addition to developing outcomes and playbooks, many organizations include critical data points in their customer success plan templates. These fields are helpful when you transition a plan from one team to another (e.g. Sales to Customer Success), or when multiple teams are collaborating to accomplish a particular task (e.g. Professional Services and Customer Success during onboarding). 

Consider adding important data points (e.g. critical contacts, contract links, etc.) to your success plan template to centralize customer information and increase the efficiency of cross-functional collaboration.

  1. Operationalize your success plan

Now you’re ready to operationalize your success plan. To support this initiative, you can choose from an increasing number of software applications to create and manage your plan. When selecting a solution, keep in mind that it needs to support cross-functional collaboration and, just as importantly, collaboration with your customers.

Many companies operationalize their success plan strategy using a customer success platform. Learn more about how to select the right technology if you’re looking to invest in a customer success platform.

Get guidance on your customer success plan template

Are you ready to adopt an outcomes-based approach to customer success? It’s time to get started and develop your success plan template. Contact Valuize to learn how you can build a robust success plan that can be scaled across your entire organization. 

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Jackie Mullen

Jackie is a Customer Success Strategy Solution Lead at Valuize. Prior to joining Valuize, Jackie was the Customer Success Leader for Avaya’s cloud business unit and established a 92% retention rate, increased the number of referenceable accounts by 50% and NPS by 33 points.