Value realization is essential to fostering long-term partnerships with your customers. However, while many B2B organizations understand the importance of value realization, when it comes to execution, the path forward isn’t always clear. They’re not sure where to begin and how to keep the momentum throughout the customer value cycle. Fortunately, creating a value realization roadmap doesn’t have to be difficult. Here, we’ve outlined 10 practical steps to help you create a value realization roadmap that’s easy to tailor to each customer’s unique needs.
Before you jump headfirst into value realization, it is important to first recognize the need for value to be co-created between you as the solution provider and your customer. Co-creation of value leads to better outcomes for both parties.
One way to think of co-creation is to look at it like building with Legos. The analogy is simple: both you and you
When you collaborate with your customers in this way, you truly learn how they think about their business and open a window into their biases and beliefs. And you can tailor value realization to the things the customer values most.
To learn more, see How to Build Value Together with Your Customers
Each customer is unique, so each one will have their own set of challenges, priorities, and visions for success. When building out your value realization roadmap, be sure to consider and incorporate the key milestones and success metrics that are most important to your customer. In addition, there are three KPIs that are essential to keep a pulse on the impact for all customers: net dollar retention (NDR) and net revenue retention (NRR), time to solution go-live, and time to solution value.
To learn more, see 5 Ways to Improve Your Value Realization Metrics Right Now
A key element of value co-creation is understanding your customer’s value expectations. To meet these expectations, you need to not only understand what the customer hopes to achieve with your solution (i.e. the metrics are most important to them), but also how these achievements should be communicated to key stakeholders.
In some cases, this means learning and utilizing the customer’s existing value realization framework. However, in most cases, you’ll find that the customer does not have their own value realization frameworks in place. In fact, in a poll conducted during a recent webinar, just 6% of customers indicated that they had a framework they expected their vendors to work within. Meanwhile, 48% of poll participants indicated that customers expect their vendors to be strategic partners that can educate them on value realization and provide a value realization framework for them.
As a vendor, you should come to the table prepared with a proven value realization framework that can be adapted to the specific needs of each client.
To learn more, see Value Realization Expectations vs. Reality
You’ll also need to set expectations with your customer on the frequency of touchpoints and reporting cadences. Customers should have both direct access to measurement dashboards via a customer value platform (which we’ll touch on in a later section), as well as regularly scheduled check-ins and value reviews with key stakeholders. Recently, these types of meetings have evolved from operational results to quarterly business reviews (QBRs) to now value reviews. The following chart outlines the differences among these touchpoints.
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When level-setting expectations and planning for a strong, successful partnership with your customers, you’ll need a value realization framework in your arsenal. What is a value realization framework? It is essentially a roadmap for how you will measure, monitor, and communicate success metrics. This is actually one of the biggest gaps we see in value realization programs: not having a value realization framework at all. Sales may be closing more and better deals faster than ever by quantifying value and immersing customers in value dialogue, but then the conversation falls flat in the handoff between sales and customer success.
To prevent this from happening, customer success teams must be armed with a framework that clearly demonstrates how the solution’s actual performance is delivering on the expected value promised during the sales cycle. At Ecosystems, our value realization framework is based on what we call The Value Trinity™ based on three interlocking gears: Corporate Value, Job Value, and Personal Value.
Adapted from the Aristotelian model for building an effective argument, the Value Trinity framework communicates value in a way that directly speaks to the way humans make decisions: we make choices and gauge new ideas through an emotional lens backed up with logic and credibility.
Learn more about the Value Trinity framework
The next step is to identify, select, or build a platform to support customer success teams throughout the value realization cycle. This is another initial challenge businesses often face when they try to execute value realization for the first time: they start off completely manually. This quickly becomes cumbersome and difficult to scale across all of your accounts. Ultimately, manual tracking, reporting, and communicating value metrics simply isn’t feasible.
A value realization platform automates tasks, digitizes reports, and allows you to give customers direct access to analytics, value assessments, ROI reports, and benchmarking data. This not only builds trust with your customers, but it also enables you to run your value realization program at scale while freeing up your team to focus on the relationship aspects of customer success.
For more information, see:
Now that you’ve planned for success, it’s time to execute! This is your solution’s time to shine: hit the ground running, knock off quick wins, and begin establishing yourself as a trusted and valuable partner. And of course: measure the results!
Through your value realization platform and already defined touchpoints, you’ll share findings from the first phases of your solution deployment and start demonstrating the real-world value of your solutions right away–speaking your customer’s language and addressing their highest priorities. Through this process, you’ll also be able to quickly identify opportunities to improve and further optimize, based on the results.
While you’re measuring and communicating the value to your customers, you’ll also be gathering valuable intel for your own business. By clearly demonstrating the value early, you’ll open up new opportunities to upsell based on the value you’ve already created, potentially expanding business with your current customers while building your customer’s trust and loyalty for years to come. On the flip side, you’ll also quickly be able to determine whether an account is at risk, enabling you to pivot your approach as needed–and hopefully win that customer’s trust as well.
With value realization, the job is never done. Customer value creation and realization is a cycle that is continuously refined and optimized over time. As you partner with customers over time, you will continue to discover what’s most important to them and refine your approach as priorities evolve. In this way, you’ll be able to build trusted, long-lasting, and profitable partnerships with your customers.
For more information, see 5 Reasons Customer Value Realization is More Important Than You Think.
For more information on customer value realization, we invite you to schedule a demo or contact our team of experts.