How do you track the impact of your platform on a client’s business over time? What about comparing one client against another?
For many organizations, this is a particularly challenging endeavor that ultimately falls by the wayside: it’s daunting and everyone is busy.
This is a huge missed opportunity: successful client outcomes not only are essential to maximizing Net Dollar Retention (NDR – or what is the ACV change for a fixed pool of clients when considering all churn + growth), they are also the lifeblood of winning new deals. Nothing is more powerful than telling a prospect “for companies just like you, this is exactly how we were able to impact their business.”
Now if it were easy everyone would do it so this begs the question . . .
Why is Benchmarking Such a Challenge?
First, for the vast majority of software providers, value is not inherently quantifiable: if I sell a conveyor belt that moves products 50% faster than what you currently have, value is just math – how much it costs vs. how much it will save.
Second, for many organizations all eyes are on new business. New Business Growth is central to any new VC investment and culturally we see this play out every day – the confetti cannons go off when a new client signs on and the heroic sales reps are surrounded to tell their tales of glory. Meanwhile, an at-risk client is saved and no one has a clue . . .
Now new sales are great – you can’t have a business without clients – but this dynamic means that once a deal is closed and handed off to implementation, many organizations don’t think much about them until renewal time comes around. These tides are certainly changing but we are still in the wild west days of having:
- Organizational belief in the value of Account Management / Client Success
- Embracing systematic processes to drive successful outcomes
- Technology solutions to make this easier
What we have is a perfect storm: Benchmarking each client is not as simple as a math equation and with all eyes on the new sales engine, resources rarely get devoted to taking this on.
What You Can Do
Luckily there are immediate and actionable steps to take to shift these tides and make your client experience always focused on delivering value: how did things work previously, how well do things work now, and what can we do to make things work better.
As with many things, all it takes is a bit of preparation and planning and, in this case, that begins the moment a new client signs on:
1. Create a Framework
You cannot understand the impact you made in a clients business without a framework to look at all the different areas of their business you can support. It’s critical to first map out all of the different business areas that your solution should impact.
2. Assess Your New Client
Once a framework is in place and a new client has signed on, there is a perfect moment of aligned incentives to establish the benchmark of where a client is before utilizing your offering.
At Foresight, our process looks something like this:
Hi Client, we are thrilled to be working with you and excited to see the impact we can drive in your New Sales and Account Management / Client Success efforts.
Delivering successful outcomes is critical for us and, in order to do so, we pay special attention to how things work before implementation. Please can you take 5min to fill out this Value Assessment? By capturing insights behind where pain points exist today, we can then refer back to this during our first Account Review in a few months time to ensure you are getting the expected value out of our solution.
This simple exercise is not only a welcome relief to clients – they have just paid for technology and want to ensure they get what was promised – but also tees up a natural check-in process.
*Feel free to poke around the Value Assessment link above – it’s live!!
3. Leverage Benchmark in Future QBR / Account Reviews
With the initial benchmark data, it’s incredibly easy to capture a new set of data after the client has been live for a few months, compare the results, and use your clients own words from the start of the project to tell the story of how much things have improved.
It’s amazing how short memory can be and sometimes the only thing a client needs to feel better about a minor pain in their current experience is to remember what life was like before they signed up.
There is so much to do with these benchmarks – not only within an account but for new sales teams, product teams, and marketing teams – but we will save that for another post!
Thanks and don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions!