Is Your Customer Ready To Be Successful?

For customers, buying your product is the easy part. The hard part is actually being successful and realizing value from it, which requires commitments of time and resources beyond the initial purchase.

At the end of the day, your customer decides if your product is successful based on whether or not they’ve achieved their business goals. Even though you don’t directly control this, having a better understanding of where they are in their journey can help you guide them towards success.

Is your customer ready to be successful with your product?

There are many variables that determine if your customer will be successful, but the two most critical questions are:

  1. How well-defined are their goals?
  2. How high is this initiative in their priority list?

If your customer doesn’t know their goals, the likelihood of them realizing value is slim. Similarly, when the initiative is low priority, it usually slips for one reason or another. But, if they know their goals and they’re high priority, there’s a good chance they’ll be achieved.

These two questions identify the largest potential risks to your customer’s success, and the answers can help inform you on how to best help the customer.

Identifying the success-readiness of your customer

As we’ve thought about this problem, we started to see patterns that identify four distinct customer categories. We’ve broken customers into four quadrants based on these two key dimensions:

The quadrants are:

  • The "Wanderer" in the bottom-left quadrant is in a hard spot. They’re both not sure exactly what they’re trying to accomplish and not super motivated to get there. Often Wanderers have received assignments from higher ups that weren’t well-explained and don’t make sense to them. Or, they’re so busy treading water that they don’t have time to stop and think strategically.

  • The "Dreamer" in the bottom-right quadrant knows where they need to be, but they’re having trouble getting there. They may be over-extended and unable to focus on what they need to do. They may think your team will just make it happen. They may just be dreaming of a better world that for some reason seems unreachable. Or, maybe they’re using you, the vendor, as a stalking horse while they work on their own pet project to replace you.

  • The "Soldier" in the top-left quadrant has been given an assignment that will be completed, but without fully understanding why. It will be done well and on time, but the risk is that it’ll miss the mark and never actually deliver value.

  • The "Achiever" in the top-right quadrant knows exactly what will get their business to the next level, and they’re going to make it happen. Achievers who won’t let anything stand in the way of obtaining their business goals, and will achieve them. Arm them with the right tools, give them the right support, and let them run.

Think back to some of the more challenging customers that you’ve dealt with in the past, where would they fit in? Were you able to steer them to success? What would you do differently next time?

All types of customers

Customers in a given quadrant have similar challenges to each other. They also have similar solutions. Each customer type has different needs and requires different help from your team. Understanding where your customer is will help you figure out where you need to focus your Customer Success efforts.

This is something we spend a lot of time thinking about at Coordinate. In future blog posts, we will explore each quadrant in more detail, along with our experiences, workflows, and processes to convert each quadrant into customers for life.

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