I’m a paranoid. I did a talk Monday night in San Francisco. When I got home, my wife asked me – “How was it?” I answered – “Why? What did you hear? Did someone say something bad on Twitter?”
I try to channel this paranoia into thinking like a buyer:
- How do my customer feel during the sales process?
- Are they happy after their decision to purchase a product from me?
- What can I do to overwhelm the customer with love and attention?
This is why I developed the 7 x 1 Framework for Customer Success. It’s easy to execute with your customer to structure a clear, transparent plan that identifies unexpected outcomes during implementation, or negative feelings that your new customer may have about their purchase. That’s also why I include Implementation Planning as part of The Sales Model Canvas.
7 x 1 means that for each “first” time period following the conclusion of a sale, you have a specific action that you are taking for the client or with the client. For example, say you’ve been working on an enterprise software sale for nine months, and finally you get the call we all look for from your project sponsor – “Okay, we’re good here. I got the final budget approval and our SVP of Operations is signing the contract today. Let’s get started.”
Woohoo! With 7 x 1, your objective is to execute specific actions for:
- The first minute.
- The first hour.
- The first day.
- The first week.
- The first month.
- The first quarter.
- The first year.
Let’s look at how to use 7 x 1 in this example:
The first minute
- Call the SVP’s admin to introduce yourself (if you don’t know him already)
- Verify the contract is signed and how to get a copy to you.
The first hour
- Notify your Customer Success team.
- Contact the customer’s IT and implementation team by phone and email to set up a conference call to verify the key deliverables and work schedule over the next week.
- This might be setting up data file transfers, opening up firewalls, and contacting Amazon web services to requisition more servers.
- Set up login accounts for individual users of your software
- Send an email summary to your project sponsor and key executives of the actions taken today.
- Book travel to the client site to accomplish critical deliverables with their IT and engineering team
- Verify key performance indicators (KPIs) that your client and you established during the sales process and begin tracking.
- Send written thank you notes to all of the key contributors on the sale
The first week
- Send daily email summaries of actions taken
- Do a first pass of the KPIs. The data might be sparse – that’s okay. The goal is to identify anything anomalous or interesting. Are there any quick wins by the individual users? Maybe a more technical user jumped in and is already using successfully for their daily workflow.
- Review software usage by individual users to see which users are logging in and which aren’t.
- Identify training timelines for user teams.
- Review customer service tickets and logs, if any.
- Review weekly updates and KPIs
- Identify any users that missed training or are using the software less than expected.
- Write up case studies of individual user wins.
- Schedule next onsite meeting for end of the quarter to review if the KPIs are tracking, and whether the KPIs established are the right ones based on 2-3 months of actual implementation.
- Identify three areas of strength and three weaknesses in the software implementation process. Develop work plan to address weaknesses.
The first quarter
- Review customer service logs for feature requests and prioritize.
- Provide insights to the customer about their usage – what’s working? What have they learned and accomplished that would not have been?
- Ask for permission to use customer as a reference for future sales opportunities.
- Identify partnership opportunities such as coauthoring a white paper or submitting a presentation at an industry conference.
- Explore opportunities to expand the relationship through other divisions or business units.
- Discuss business objectives for the rest of this year, and look ahead to prospective business cases in next fiscal/calendar year. Identify opportunities to grow the relationship in alignment with these client objectives.
- Begin implementation with at least one additional business unit.
- Review contractual terms and budget allocation to assure continuation of contract.
- Review KPIs established before and after implementing your software.
- Have KPIs been met or exceeded? Are there any ignored KPIs collecting dust?
That’s it. The 7 x 1 Framework for Customer Success. Give it a try.