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Role of purpose and intent in customer success

How do you begin to assess how successful you are likely to be with your customers ahead of the customer success journey?

Taking this approach, perhaps you can even determine if you should embark on the journey or not.

A good place to start is probably the end point. Stephen R Covey, author of the The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, nails it in his second habit:

Begin with the end in mind.

How difficult or easy customer success is likely to be and therefore how your strategy and plan needs to reflect this has a lot to do with these two factors: intent and purpose.

I often use them as a prioritisation criteria. Once you determine a customers intent and purpose with your technology, you could decide on what level of support to provide them, or if they even get it.

They’re not the only two factors by any means but I often start with them. Here is the matrix I use.

purpose intent matrix

I do this in the context of key stakeholders or stakeholder groups.

For instance you’d expect that the person or team that made the main decision on your product will have a clear intent and purpose.

But what about other key stakeholders, sometimes more important ones? They may not view it at all in the same way.

What is purpose?

You have a clearly defined vision and definition of outcomes you mean to achieve with the product.

What is intent?

You actually mean to put the technology to use in a specific way. You’d be surprised but sometimes, especially with technology suites or bundled functionality, the intent is not there in totality. Sometimes where a person/s had no involvement in the decision, they have no intent to use it. Or at least the intent has not been given the chance to form.

Absence of any one of these will require different tactics but thats for another post.

Other factors

As mentioned there are other factors to consider before embarking on or in prioritising your success journey with customers. For example, I had a brief conversation with Shawn Riedel who replied to a post on LinkedIn when I shared the matrix. I’ve captured the relevant bit below:

Shawn Riedel
Stephen I think these make a lot of sense to add to other decision matrices [emphasis added]:
People: X – Desire Y – Skills
Process: X – Impact to Revenue Y – Modularity of Process
Modularity of Process actually tells us how ingrained the process is and if it can be lifted or changed with minimal impact.
Technology: X – Effort Y – Complexity Optimal Outcome actually ends up in the lower left corner for this one. Least complex, least effort will result in a better outcome.
Totally think these could work. Next step would possibly be to create a multi-dimensional matrix. Point being to aid prioritisation and decision making

What do you think? Does the approach make sense and what factors would you use?

One thought on “Role of purpose and intent in customer success

  1. Modularity of Process comes from really KNOWING my customers. Going deep on their entire application topography and their mission critical business processes. When the process supports a more modular approach (multiple apps and services stitched together), you have a higher probability of being able to insert what you do into their process – but the converse is true as well – you have a higher probability of being replaced by something newer if your CS efforts are not world class.

    Companies with large legacy deployments of Oracle, SAP, and to even some extent SFDC have business processes that are tightly coupled to those technologies and not very easy to change. If your customer has a heavy legacy technology, if you can weave your solution into the business process supported by that technology, you create stickiness on several sides.

    I use a basic 1-10 to measure. 1 = Heavy Legacy Technology footprint with mission critical business processes. 10 = Agile, Micro-Services driven culture.

    Then, factor in the Y Axis of the impact that process has on your customer’s revenue. If you can attach yourself to high-revenue business processes you create more sticky….low-revenue business processes, and you become a nice-to-have vs. a must-have.

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