What comes to mind when you think of value realization? What actually is value realization? How do we help the customer realize the value of the product or service we’re offering? At what point does the customer realize value?
The questions we can ask are endless.
In short, you can think of value realization as effectively defining and delivering the value of a project, service, or product successfully.
In this article, I’ll share some of my personal strategies around value realization, including:
- Why value realization is important,
- Ways customer success teams can expedite value realization, and
- How to measure value realization.
Why is value realization important?
There are Customer Success Managers (CSMs) who sell a product, sell a service, and have client projects to manage simultaneously. There are often a lot of plates spinning at any one time and not enough hours in the day.
With this in mind, we must help our clients achieve value realization quickly. Value realization can only begin after you’ve clearly defined what the value is. In other words, what are the positive outcomes or benefits of using the service or product you’re offering?
For projects, this would be understanding the benefit of achieving the desired outcome of the project(s) for the customer’s organization. Once we get an idea of what that value is, we can write out the value and use it as a goal, referred to as a value statement.
How customer success can expedite value creation
Helping a customer realize value involves supporting them in the best way possible. You can do this by creating a plan to achieve the value. Once the plan is in place, we can work with the customer to make sure we’re making progress with the plan.
Things like goals, milestones and timelines are all a part of the plan. Be sure to clearly indicate these and celebrate every win with your client along the way.
As you work with the client, be sure to regularly remain in touch and be transparent with their stakeholders. It’s vital you make them aware of the work you’re doing and the progress you are making, as transparent communication is a sure way of signaling you’re to be trusted and have their best interest at heart.
Your client’s internal stakeholders have a vested interest in the successful completion of the project(s) and value realization. Keeping them informed provides an opportunity to see firsthand the great work you’re doing and the result(s) of your hard work.
Set expectations with client’s stakeholders
Including your client’s stakeholders is imperative to meet their desired expectations and needs as progress is made and projects are completed.
Making sure the requests from the key decision makers are heard and considered, and ensuring concerns are addressed helps build trust, all while goals are steadily being met.
A benefit of stakeholder support is it improves the “buy-in” of the decision-making team and allows them to advocate and promote the great work you do. When stakeholders see the time and effort dedicated to completing projects, progress in attaining goals, and the result of your efforts, it solidifies their faith in you and the project, meaning they’re likely to tap your shoulder when they need your support again in the future.
Be sure to continually watch the project closely and ask the following questions:
- Is progress aligning with plans?
- If not, what can you adjust to make sure the client’s needs are met?
- How can you ensure you are delivering the result the client is asking for?
- When issues arise, have you taken the time to determine what they are?
- What are the proposed solutions to the problem(s)?
- Is there anything preventing you from completing the project(s)?
- What are the steps you need to take to make sure you remedy the problems you’re having?
- How long will it take to fix it?
Your work and connecting with your team and stakeholders will help ensure you’re on the right track. It’s easy to feel self-conscious about pointing out an issue with the product or an honest mistake to your client. However, there’s no need to become self-conscious as miscommunication and human error happen – even to the most tenured CS leaders.
In the end, keep in mind that no one is perfect, and you’re doing what’s best to generate a great outcome.
How to measure value realization
Establishing the right metrics to identify the result of the completion of your project(s) will allow you to measure the success of your project or initiative.
This is important because it showcases its value and uncovers opportunities to improve. To improve, we must measure ourselves against something. This is exactly what establishing metrics will do.
Openly share the results with your stakeholders and the rest of the organization (if permitted), as it will show dedication towards a cause, generate more support, express the benefits of the project(s), and will facilitate achieving value realization.
You’ll also notice other colleagues taking an interest in your work and many might want to get involved. It’s easy to successfully complete projects and walk away feeling like our job is done. The reality is we’re just getting started. Make sure to document the key takeaways to improve on making better progress, improving on processes, and attaining value.
A real-life example of value realization
I had a customer who was struggling with resolving issues they were facing in working with the company I was representing.
There was a backlog of items that needed attention and not enough time in the day to find solutions. With my team, I remained determined to get through everything and get them up to speed. We worked diligently and remained consistent in the work we did for the client.
Soon enough, we had caught up and were ready for the customer to release the technology they were leveraging by way through us, to their own customers.
It took time for this client to see the true value of the product and partnership. Once they had released it to their customers, the partnership only became stronger.
This is a wonderful example of how we can not only turn a client's situation around but build value and help the client realize value by working with them diligently and helping them attain their goals.
To wrap up
In the end, value realization is imperative in every aspect of customer conversations. Not only is it important to keep this in mind in your client discussions, but also with regard to contract renewals, expansions, and adoptions.
Adamantly remind the customer of the value of any projects, contracts, products, services, and the benefits of working with your organization. Stay confident and more specifically, highlight the great work you’ve done and the wonderful outcomes of a strong partnership.
No customer will walk away from an organization that deeply cares about their success and goes above and beyond to help them achieve their goals.
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