Customer Success | 6 MIN READ

Joint Success Plan: An Essential Tool for Driving Outcome-Based Customer Success

A joint business plan is a guide that balances company expectations and customer expectations around the value proposition. Read on to tap this growth.

Niyathi Rao
May 27, 2021


Every business has realized the importance of an outcome-based selling for customer success. A joint success plan is but a means to do it. Let me break this down for you. A joint success plan is a means to the end of customer success based on value. A joint success plan is a powerful and simple tool for outcome-based customer success management. The main aim of a joint success plan is to help solution providers align their processes with their customers’ goals and objectives. Customer success is a practice that helps companies achieve recurring revenue. The range of responsibilities of a CSM is huge. This is why they need simple tools and plans that will help them achieve their goals internally of using company’s products and services. 

This will help start outcome-based customer success that creates customer advocates who will refer customers who may have higher rates. You can engage customers in an outcome-oriented manner. The tool is called Joint Success Plan and it helps CSMs improve, capture, communicate, measure, and execute against customer goals.

What is a Joint Success Plan? 

A joint success plan is one that is a collaborative one that is based on working hand in hand with your customer to build a plan. This will help drive success, improve alignment, establish ownership, and regulate activities required to achieve goals. The joint success plan is a strategic communication driver that blends information from customer executives and various stakeholders.  

Joint success plan is a collaboration between stakeholders and customer success facing teams. These customer success executives are concerned with outcomes over anything else. This is why they work backward from outcomes to build plans that will work.  

This customer facing tool is one that is used for growing customer accounts in an engaging manner. Joint success plans have information captured for various exercises that will increase alignment with customers.  

The three limbs of joint success plan are-  

  • Outcomes are the business benefits that customers look for in our products or services which should be in line with the value proposition.  
  • Operational execution is a term for meeting various milestones and completing activities.  
  • Objectives are the goals that need to be achieved. It also includes the KPIs in mind to measure progress.

Structure of a Joint Success Plan for Outcome-based Customer Success 

A joint success plan has a structure and includes the following sections-  

The Relationship Brief  

What are the key objectives- reduce inventory costs, increase buyer efficiency, and achieve revenue growth? This also needs to keep in mind the ultimate decision maker who is responsible for money. This can include champions who are responsible for company and product promotion.  

Expected Outcomes  

Anticipated value is the ongoing business outcomes that is offered. This means the value proposition of the company. What are the problems they are solving? What are the benefits of it?  

Objectives and key results  

OKRs or objectives are the business outcome drivers for any goal. Objectives are not adoption goals. They are like a personal goal sheet of the company. CSMs need to align these business objectives with the customer. The key results are the SMART goals which is known to the business world.  

KPIs and Milestones  

Key activities in this section include actions that will meet objectives and realize outcomes. Joint success plans are an executive level summary document that helps meet tasks. These are milestones or targets that you want to meet. For example: Stay in touch with the customer X number of times.  

Risks  

A joint success plan is one that involves risks that prevent a customer from meeting their objectives. It needs to outline risks that are constructive and elevate concerns of customers to eradicate the problems and improve business outcomes.  

Joint Success Plan for Customer Success  

OnboardingIn this stage, you need to confirm the success criteria with the customer. What constitutes customer success from that perspective? This is the initial joint success plan.
Enablement This stage of customer enablement is where the initial success is achieved. You can update the customer success criteria, onboarding criteria, NPS, and customer training information.  
AdoptionUpdate the joint success plan, schedule health calls to action, look to increase adoption 
Optimization Here, you need to update the joint success plan and establish advocacy.
RenewalIn this stage, you need to confirm the value. What is the account EBR? Renew joint success plans and expand accordingly.  

How to Execute a Joint Success Plan? 

Joint success planning is a simple concept. You can start inducing joint success plans with strategic customers- those with good ARR, MRR, referral sources, cross sells, upsells, and license expansion rates. Choose certain key retention accounts. Collaborate with your team and craft a plan that can help your customer. Show the plan to the executive members and get their approval. The joint success plan is an action plan that your account management staff and customers can use. Real-time reports can help understand progress or the level of value delivered. The joint success plan is a key indicator of customer account health. A scalable solution is necessary for success planning, customer engagement, and more. So to get the best results from joint success plan, you need to-  

  • Identify common objectives  
  • Find what is considered value by customers  
  • Offer in-app and emailed surveys to customers  
  • Allow customers to select the outcomes they want to achieve  
  • Create digital campaigns that prompt better outcomes  
  • Have an online community platform that connects customer to each other so they can learn, brainstorm, and grow mutually  

Bottom Line  

A joint success plan is a guide to customer relationships. It helps drive better executive-stakeholder engagement. It helps customers get the value they signed up for. It helps customer success managers drive the business outcomes. This is when customers succeed, grow, expand, and renew naturally. A joint success plan is a valuable asset that helps manage company expectations/goals and customer expectations/goals to achieve mutual success and growth.

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Originally Published May 27th, 2021, Updated May 28th, 2021

Niyathi Rao

Niyathi is an experienced content marketer with a love for SaaS tech products. She reads a lot (mostly fiction) and is a huge news junkie. Niyathi loves exploring different forms of inbound marketing and taking on challenges.

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