Showcasing Customer Value: Data-Driven Strategies for Customer Success
In today’s data-driven landscape, success with customers relies on swiftly demonstrating the value we provide. In my role at Productboard as a Customer Success Manager for the enterprise segment, I’ve discovered that effectively connecting with product leaders and other executive personas involves a thoughtful integration of both quantitative and qualitative insights. After all, beyond just delivering a product, these leaders anticipate tangible results and actionable insights to inform their decisions.
In a recent customer call, our customer success strategy was described as ‘aggressive, but in a positive way.’ In this post, I’ll break down what this looks like by talking through how we effectively demonstrate value through a combination of quantitative data (like usage, ROI calculations, benchmarking calculations) and qualitative insights (like user stories and proof points). This powerful duo creates a holistic understanding of how Productboard aligns with our customer’s needs and goals.
Comprehensive Quantitative Data
One key aspect of how we’re data-driven with our customers is by sharing a holistic dashboard. This dashboard provides a comprehensive view of Productboard’s performance and its impact on our customers.
- Usage Metrics: These metrics allow us to monitor how our customers are utilizing Productboard. We try to answer: is the team exploring all the features and functionalities? Are they encountering any roadblocks? How does this differ by user groups? Usage data gives us insights into our customer’s engagement with Productboard, and who to focus on next.
- Value Drivers: These metrics provide a direct link between Productboard and the value it delivers to our customers. At Productboard, our value dashboard includes metrics for the following themes: Customer centricity, Visibility and Alignment, and Efficiency.
The impact of this on our customers? I typically send this dashboard as a PDF and CSV as it allows customers to easily share it with their executive teams, and embed the data into their BI tools, allowing them further flexibility in their analysis. The impact of this on our team? A quick way to prepare for upcoming calls and QBR and an easy way to build trust.
Creating a Progress Assessment by Quantifying ROI and Time Savings
The next step in demonstrating value is to quantifiably measure the return on investment (ROI) and time savings our product offers. To achieve this, I banded together with my colleagues, Carolyn and Jasmine, to create a Progress Assessment task force and we created an assessment that customers complete before we kick off and again 6-8 months later.
A Progress Assessment is a crucial tool for tracking Productboard’s impact on our customers. In our assessment, we asked questions that allowed us to estimate time savings of each product activity (like collecting and triaging customer feedback, updating powerpoint slides and excel sheets, responding to slack messages, etc) and how that has changed since we started working together. We also included qualitative questions about how painful certain activities were (like roadmapping processes).
To roll this out, I worked with a champion to encourage at least 10 people to take it each time, and then averaged the results. As a result, we were able to estimate for one customer that across activities each individual is saving on average 8 hours per week (20% savings). We applied this 20% time saving across the team, and it allows us to prove to one CPO that we saved them a significant $1.1 million in their first year with us.
After running the assessment findings, the aforementioned CPO commended our data driven approach and made an immediate request for a copy of the deck showing us that such quantifiable results can be powerful in demonstrating your value.
Comprehensive Qualitative Data
Being quantitative is important, but I’d argue that using qualitative data can be even more useful when used correctly. Here’s how I collect and leverage qualitative data:
Roundtable Discussions: Fostering Collaboration by Acting as a Partner
Many large enterprise customers operate in silos, making it challenging to ensure that all stakeholders are aligned and informed about your product’s value. To address this, I’ve implemented a champion roundtable discussion. The champion roundtable invites different stakeholders from my customer’s organization to join a discussion every 3-4 months. These discussions provide an opportunity to share product updates, best practices, and create a forum where they can learn from one another. By fostering collaboration and facilitating knowledge sharing, I’m positioning myself as a valuable partner in my customer’s quest for ongoing success. More importantly, it allows customers to hear from their counterparts about the value and success they are having.
Internal case-studies: Documenting Success and Feedback
My golden rule: Whenever I hear praise (or feedback for that matter) for Productboard, I write it down. At our first Champions roundtable we asked each group to share their use case, and were able to gather some powerful proof points for success and document product feedback. We turned the latter into an internal case study that led to us working with new groups, helped with conversations with procurement, and was even used by one of our champions as a submission to speak at an internal tech conference.
We consolidated customer feedback via our Gong integration directly into Productboard so that our Product team can see the criticality and volume of each request and make informed product decisions.
Maximizing Opportunities: When Customers Become Advocates
I will be the first to say that it takes effort to gather some quantitative insights, but I’ve found it’s always worth it if I maximize each opportunity. With the help of our marketing team, I was able to eventually turn our internal case study into an external one that we launched on our customer stories website and an opportunity to speak at a Productboard event.
Through the systematic collection of both quantitative and qualitative data, which we regularly present to our customers, Productboard ensures the consistent delivery of exceptional value. Our proactive approach is driven by our commitment to fostering trust-based partnerships, reiterating the fundamental principle that sustained change demands focused diligence and unwavering consistency, all geared towards securing the long-term success of our valued partners.
Interested in learning more about any of the strategies mentioned above? Reach out to your CSM or Account Manager at Productboard.