If you obsess over customer success, product success is all but guaranteed. Applying that concept in a B2B environment however, requires a broader definition of “the customer.” The good news: when you redefine “the customer” to encompass the entire customer organization, success comes faster and with fewer speed bumps.
Put your customer success manifesto into practice with one overarching goal and three supporting pillars.
Understand what’s required to make your target customers (the organization) successful, then figure out how to use your portfolio of products and services to grow profitably doing it.
This might seem like common sense or something you’re already doing, but at the execution level, it changes a lot of behaviors because your starting point is customer goals, not company or product goals.
The Three Pillars
1. Your target customers view you as a single organization. Return the favor.
Here’s the deal. Your customer organizations have silos everywhere that inhibit their ability to be better at whatever they do. When they come knocking on your door, they’re looking for business solutions that remove those silos.
If you’re practicing traditional product management, all of your products probably target the same customer organizations. But each product team sees those same exact customers through the lens of a different product. If that’s the case, how can you possibly deliver solutions that eliminate their silos when you see their organization through silos of your own?
B2B Product Management & Marketing start and end with a common view of the customer organization, from top to bottom and left to right. It’s the only way you can possibly understand the impact those silos have on their business, and deliver solutions that eliminate them.
2. It’s impossible to be really good at marketing and selling every product.
More importantly, it’s not even necessary in B2B. If you see your target customers the same way they see themselves, marketing each product as a standalone entity doesn’t even make sense in most cases.
The most important thing your target customers want to know is that your organization understands their most pressing business challenges (beyond the needs of the users) as well as they do. If your marketing and sales messages convince them of that, they’ll automatically assume your solutions hit the mark. The individual products and services that comprise the solutions are great proof points to your superior market knowledge.
3. Your target customers want a strategic vision that mirrors their aspirations.
Think of it this way. Your target customers need your organization to help them get from point A to point B. Here’s the other thing. There’s a perception among those customers that you’re dealing with tens, hundreds, or even thousands of organizations just like them. They expect you to know what everyone else is doing, why, and what they should be thinking about for the future.
Your vision should not be a product conversation, or worse yet, a whole bunch of product conversations. It needs to be a portfolio strategy conversation that communicates the following:
– The business goals of your target customers and the biggest challenges they face.
– Where your portfolio of products and services stands today in relation to those goals
– Your roadmap for the future that eliminates their challenges.
By default, that vision encompasses products and services you have today as well as those you’ll need in the future. But again, in this conversation, products are merely the proof points to your knowledge of the customer’s industry and how it’s shaping their business, from top to bottom.
In other words, your strategic vision answers the WHO, WHAT & WHY questions and your product roadmaps answer the HOW questions.
Want to know what a customer success model would do for your organization? Contact us to learn how our Product Portfolio Management Framework and B2B training programs put customer success at the center of everything so you can deliver, market and sell higher value solutions and accelerate growth.