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SenseMaking – The Customer Success Superpower

SenseMaking is not just for those in the Customer Success business. That post links to a report on skills of the future and SenseMaking is very much one of them, for all future workers. In an increasingly complex and noisy world you can see why. For Customer Success it makes even more sense.

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Outside of the usual suspects of what customer success managers should be focusing on, this activity (SenseMaking) will become one of the most important in my view. Usually they are focused on usage, renewals, upsells, retention.

I think Customer Success is changing and the one area they are moving into will be SenseMaking. I didn’t make the point abundantly clear in that post but will in this one, starting with the DanelDoodle above. Below just some few points of elaboration.

Ans in case not clear from the doodle, here is my definition of SenseMaking especially where Customer Success is concerned:

SenseMaking is a crucial Customer Success skill and is about navigating customers on the path to achieving success with their desired outcomes while using your product or service.

And now for the rest and note, these are not sequential activities, they should all operate in conjunction with one another, at all times.

Guiding

This is especially useful when you consider the overwhelming amount of information customers have to deal with and not just from your company. Even more so if you sell a mature and complex product in a market that is similar. And in large organisations with lots of people and processes involved, its also about helping to navigate through that complexity and the bureaucracy that often accompanies it.

The guidance needs to support customers every step of the way as they mature in their use of your product or service which is generally how I advocate it.

Prioritising

Once you’ve help sort the wheat from the chaff, you have to help with decision making. This is best done by presenting the relevant evidence and simplifying it to aid good decision making. Simplifying is easier said than done but there is good research based evidence to say that it is worth pursuing.

Ultimately its about mapping the decisions to impact and outcomes which need consideration in their own right.

Challenging

There is an entire industry around challenger selling, even marketing, see just one example. Why not customer success. I have taken some training at the company I work for on this (disclosure) and it is absolutely spot on. Customers need healthy challenging on the assumptions they are making on the use of your product or service, the outcomes they hope to achieve by doing so and the metrics they are using to judge those.

Of course this needs to be based on an extremely thorough understanding of the customers business. Customers will welcome this approach when they understand you are walking in their shoes and providing insights that your subjectivity and SenseMaking superpowers can provide πŸ¦Έβ€β™‚οΈ

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