The customer value journey is something you’re probably hearing more about than ever before, but it’s more than just a buzzword. Getting the customer value journey right is key to ensuring happy, loyal customers–and building an organic network of advocates for your brand.
The customer value journey, also known as the customer outcome lifecycle, is the journey you take with your customers to help them discover, quantify, and track the value of your solution for their organization. To execute a seamless customer journey, all of your teams must be involved in the process of uncovering value for your customers–from your marketing teams developing content for your website to your sales and your customer success teams.
Here, we’ll dive into each stage of the customer value journey and why you should care.
The customer value journey starts by identifying the customer’s desired outcomes. This phase often starts with a prospect visiting your organization’s website, looking for information that will help them solve their specific challenge. Prospects at this stage are very self-service, so it’s important to provide them with marketing content that helps them start to discover the potential value of your solution on their own–and drives them to learn more.
When potential customers convert on the website, they expect more from that first call with a salesperson. At this stage, sales teams must immediately begin the process of value co-creation with the customer, and it requires first gaining a deep understanding and clear alignment with the customer’s unique needs.
This process is known as value-based selling (you might also hear it referred to as value-added selling or consultative selling). Essentially, value-based selling refers to the process of listening to your customers’ needs and ensuring customer value is central from beginning to end of the sales cycle. For example, a value-added sales cycle often starts with a value assessment tailored to the customer and validates the desired outcomes to ensure alignment on target metrics and milestones. This sets the stage for you to then demonstrate exactly how your offering will solve these specific challenges.
The next phase of the customer value journey is quantifying the potential impact of achieving the customer’s desired outcomes. Based on your conversations with the customer, you already understand their priorities and their needs from a business, job, and even personal standpoint. It’s time to take that information and show themhowyour solution is going to deliver against those goals.
Most importantly, you’re going toquantify the value for them. This step typically includes sharing specific, concrete examples of similar results that your solution has achieved for similar customers. However, you aren’t just sharing canned case studies; instead, your sales pitch will frame the results by highlighting the metrics you know your potential customer values most.
For example, let’s say your customer has highlighted the importance of zero downtime in their operations and the need to deploy the first application within 2 weeks. When quantifying past value delivered, you would highlight how a previous customer used your solution to launch new applications weekly and resulted in zero downtime. Learn more abouthow to craft a customer value proposition that clinches the deal.
Perhaps the most critical step of the customer value journey is what comes after the sale. Landing a major deal is just the beginning: now it’s time to track the value your solution provides in the customer’s business and deliver on the promises made during the sales cycle. This phase is also known as value realization.
Value realization is the process of tracking the quantified business value after the solution has been implemented. With value realization, customer success teams seamlessly pivot from presale conversations about expected value into tracking actual value. At this stage, your customer success teams are tracking and reporting on the KPIs that were defined during the sales cycle, including progress towards goals like top-line revenue growth, cost savings, reduced hassle or risk, and more.
With value realization, both you and your customer are always informed and aligned on how the solution is performing. This significantly cuts down on fire drills that can happen when stakeholders suddenly need metrics to justify the cost of the solution. Instead, value realization gives customers proof of value at their fingertips.
At the same time, value realization also makes it possible for customer success teams to keep an accurate and up-to-date pulse on the customer’s results and satisfaction, making it easier to recognize accounts that are at risk and accounts with opportunities to upsell and cross-sell. Ultimately, tracking value post-sale is key to retaining and expanding your relationship with your customers.
Understanding the customer value journey offers many advantages for your business, helping you close more deals, expand your revenue streams within existing accounts, build a loyal customer base, and create a network of brand promoters.
For more information,join the Customer Value Community, a community of over 900 professionals just like you. This is an open forum where you can expand your network, solve common challenges, and share learnings with top SaaS companies like AWS, Google Cloud, and Salesforce.