Along the customer journey, too, there are many smaller wins worthy of celebration — for instance, a short-term goal (like improvement in efficiency) that a customer achieved with your product. Anand Sanwal, CEO and co-founder of CB Insights, points out when that happens, everyone in the organization should be “ringing the gong.”
In a now-famous list of 54 screwups at his company, Sanwal talks about missing out on these important moments: “Organizations don't go from being unsuccessful to magically successful overnight. Celebrating these [minor successes] doesn't mean we're less hungry or less focused on the end game. It's just a nice way to recognize that we have momentum and ensure the team knows it.”
The key to celebrating wins to help customers see value is to tie wins back to pre-established customer goals and share them with the right people at the right time. Documented wins also serve as a record of the value you delivered — a key driver of SaaS growth. Collaborate on identifying and celebrating the wins, and you’re already several steps closer when it’s time for renewals and expansions.
Streamline implementation processes to steer customers toward wins
To get to a stage where you celebrate a win, you need to set up your customer for success with smooth implementations from day one. This means clearly documenting customer interactions to ensure smooth transitions between teams, communicating with customers about their expectations, and setting up specific tasks and milestones to arrive at wins.
A collaborative account management tool like Coordinate can be adapted and personalized across customers. The tool’s reusable templates allow you to create and share onboarding task checklists, track progress through a collaborative view, and remind customers of deadlines with a single click. A large part of customer success is project management; you manage the collaborative project of achieving your customer's goals. That's why the best account management tools have a client-first focus and allow you to:
Quickly view which customers are progressing in their plans and have reached their goals.
Track customers through your unique customer journey with customizable statuses.
Instantly identify customers who are not engaging with the product and need your help.
Celebrate customer wins in a timely manner, but confirm them first
The timeliness of celebrating a win matters as much as the win itself. The impact of a win is felt most when it's fresh in the customers' minds. By extension, it becomes the best time to record the win because goals and priorities can change quickly, and it's easy to forget about progress when the next meeting is a few months down the line.
Imagine a customer in the early stages of onboarding. They’ve hit a couple of early goals, and you both agree they’ve achieved some value from your solution and are on the road to success. Now is the opportune moment to check off those goals and highlight them. The simple act of checking a box and seeing celebratory images can lead to satisfaction and give the customer reasons to come back and use your product more often. We love building this imagery into our tool. For example, when a customer logs in to Coordinate’s shared portal to checkmark a win, they see a trophy and confetti, which sets the mood for a celebration and signals ongoing progress.
The advantage of having wins recorded is when you pull up reports at a QBR, there’s a verified history in front of all parties involved. It becomes much easier to continue the relationship with an upsell or renewal. That’s because recognizing an accomplishment leads to further engagement from the user and opens the door to uncover even more value from your product.
It's not enough to simply keep an internal record of your customers' successes. It's critically important to celebrate wins with your customers because it makes your customers happier and helps you avoid a common pitfall — celebrating too early. Get direct confirmation from the customer about the win before you raise a toast.
We frequently dealt with this issue of celebrating prematurely prior to founding Coordinate. At previous companies, we would encounter moments where we thought we'd succeeded in helping the customer achieve one of their goals, but the customer didn't necessarily see it that way. We would see the customer in green in our internal dashboard and wrongly assume all was well. Our own illusion of success led us to celebrate internally and ignore the customer for another year until it was time to renew, at which point the customer would likely churn.
Customers aren’t always going to hit all the goals. When that happens, it’s better to acknowledge and fix it rather than deluding yourself with a fake green status that will eventually turn red.
Make sure all stakeholders are part of the celebration
It isn’t enough to celebrate with your champion or point of contact at the customer’s end and call it a day. To truly highlight the value you’ve delivered, you need to notify all the stakeholders, including the project managers and the executive sponsor. When you involve them in the celebration, they understand the product and see the value for themselves. This lays the foundation for the future, so executive buy-in doesn’t become an issue when the time for renewal comes around.
With Coordinate, a checked goal is visible to all parties. Through the portal, everyone involved would get an email branded with your company logo and colors with the ability to log in and provide additional feedback.
Commemorate old-time relationships with a track record of success
It's easy to over-celebrate with new customers as you try to gain their loyalty. When you're busy with them, you could be overlooking solid, long-standing relationships. But your most loyal customers deserve a celebration too to remind them of your value and prevent them from falling into a rhythm of complacency. Unfortunately, when that happens, even loyal customers may forget the value you're adding to their business.
Let's say you have a high-value customer you've been working with for four years. In that time, they've achieved eight major goals with your product. You need a high-level overview of everything that has transpired during your relationship to be able to refer to in any review or meeting to honor the time-tested partnership.
Coordinate enhances this experience with a continuous stream of feedback about each goal. On a single page, you can see everything you've accomplished with that customer, all the value they've received, and a list of acknowledgments or feedback from anyone on their team. This documentation enables you to acknowledge and celebrate milestones and leads to higher customer satisfaction and continued success.
When you commemorate milestones, you also have opportunities to chart out a roadmap for the future and deepen your relationship. Your loyal customers have stayed with you for so long you want to make sure they continue to see the value in your product and stick around.
Wins are the link between your business and the customer’s ROI
Wins are a process, not a point in time. A regular stream of wins creates a culture of success in which the customer regularly gets validated, with specifics, about how your product is helping them move steadily toward their goals. This laser-like focus on achieving their goals demonstrates their success is your north star, giving them confidence that they're bound to continue seeing positive ROI by sticking with you.
Coordinate helps you make sure your high-value customers are successful.