In April, I spoke and wrote about what I call expansion nirvana.
What is Expansion Nirvana?
“Expansion nirvana is a wildly loyal, constantly maturing, customer base that recognizes the beneficial impact of the product on its business, and continues to buy more.” Kia Puhm, DesiredPath
Let’s unpack this.
Wildly loyal: customers are happy with the product because, by using it, its delivering the outcomes promised and driving their business forward; customers are staying.
Constantly maturing: customers are evolving their businesses; the opportunity to do more with the product exists and it plays a contributing role in enabling that evolution.
A constantly maturing customer sets the stage nicely for expansion, otherwise product usage becomes static in nature.
Recognize beneficial impact: when customers recognize the beneficial impact of the product on its business, they see how their company is succeeding, in part, because of the product.
The product becomes business critical when it’s needed to continue achieving their goals.
Retention is now based on sound economic reason for doing so, not just for emotional reasons to stay, which makes retention very strong.
Continue to buy more: customers generally buy more when they are wildly loyal, constantly maturing and recognizing the beneficial impact of the product on the business. The goal is therefore to focus on having these three elements so solidly in place such that “buying more” (or selling more to the customer) is the by-product result of that focus, not the focus of attention itself.
What does this mean for Customer Success?
It means Customer Success needs to get really good at driving adoption, demonstrating the value the product delivers and laying out a product expansion plan that customers can follow to constantly mature their product usage.
As Customer Success matures, its operational effort needs to transition from labour intensive adoption and retention-saving tactics, to a holistic approach that considers full product expansion within a customer environment, along with the customer’s product usage maturity plan to get there.
That is, Customer Success needs to look at spending more time with the customer figuring out how their business can further leverage the technology to realize increased value than it does educating on the use of the product.
By focusing on driving the customer’s business forward versus on the functional use of the product alone, expansion nirvana happens.