Your Product is a Means to an End

Your product is a means to an end, and that end is “success” for your customer.

And that “end” changes across the lifecycle of a customer.

What “success” looks like during the trial (and even at various parts of the trial) differs from success 30-days after becoming a customer.

Success is then different 6-months in… 12-months in… 3 years in. This is — unfortunately — not the typical understanding of things.

  1. Find out what “success” means for your customer. Success is an outcome, a result, ROI, etc. I guarantee it’s not just “using” your product or going through a set of functional steps. Those steps only matter if they get them to that goal. When it doesn’t, you’ll see “active” – or even “happy” – customers churn… and be shocked by this unexpected turn of events.
  2. Clearly define the path the customer takes to achieve success, and know the milestones along the way to help keep them on a path to success. Simple… not easy, but the idea is simple.
  3. Understand that product use DOES NOT EQUAL success. This means measuring and managing Customer Success requires several qualitative and quantitative inputs beyond product usage.

If you’re going to look at product use as a core input, at least know it’s rarely any one “thing” they do that matters; it’s usually a set of things that they have to do to get them closer to achieving “success.”

Success is rarely the simple functional use of our products, yet that is how we – by not focusing on the customer – tend to define “success.” It’s an egocentric definition of success.

And that’s why we’re constant surprised by churn “but they were actively using…”

I go into a lot more detail on different strategies and tactics around SaaS Marketing, Pricing, Growth Hacking, etc. on my Sixteen Ventures site.

I help grow SaaS companies at Gainsight by focusing on Customer Success. Follow me on Twitter @lincolnmurphy.

This post was originally published on LinkedIn.

About Lincoln Murphy

I am a Customer Success Consultant focused on Customer Success-driven Growth. I wrote the Customer Success book which you can buy at Amazon. If you need help applying Customer Success-driven Growth principles in your company or would like me to speak at your event, please contact me. Also, connect with me on LinkedIn or follow me on Twitter or Facebook.