The Assessment Every Business Needs to Do ASAP

I’m not going to sugarcoat it: Unless you’re Amazon, Instacart or Zoom, you should be worried about your business right now. Outside of making some quick moves to ensure you have enough cash runway, you should also be checking in with your customers and assessing your relationship with them.

This might be simple enough if you’re selling to an enterprise audience and you have a customer success manager, an account manager and an account executive assigned to each of your accounts.

But what about the smaller accounts that help you keep the lights on? What if you have thousands of customers but none of them pay enough to build a case for an assigned employee to monitor them? What then? How can you understand how to take the pulse of your existing customer base, and the revenue you can count on in the event of a downturn?

I just finished up a project working closely with an OpenView portfolio company. During the course of the work, I consulted with experts and shaped some findings I’d like to share with the community as a whole. But first, some quick key takeaways:

1. You can’t save them all: I’ve encountered founders who believe that if only they had some sort of account scorecard in place, they’d be able to prevent 100% of churn. Well, even IF a scorecard could give you a 360-degree view of every single customer and their propensity to churn or expand, having insight into what a customer is thinking or how they’re using your product is really just the first step.

Some churn—like the kind caused by changes to organizational structure, companies going out of business, or cutting costs—is unavoidable. Keep that in mind when you’re going through this exercise, or else you’ll be disappointed.

With that out of the way, note that you can understand from day one whether a customer is getting the value out of your product that they “hired” it for—and it’s important to monitor that closely. That’s what I want to show you how to do.

2. Don’t overcomplicate it. You can make building a health score really fancy and challenging, and there will be some stakeholders at your organization who will advocate for that, believe me. There’s a time and a place for highlighting your data science skills, and while this exercise is very analytical, it doesn’t need to be rocket science.

You can’t overcomplicate the health scoring because you need your team on the front lines of customer communication to understand the score, what drives it, and how they can change things. Customer success, and their opinion on the health of accounts and what drives it, needs to be an integral part of how you shape your understanding of customer health.

Without further ado, I invite you to check out my findings, best practices and suggestions to implement a customer health assessment at your own organization. After scouring the SaaS community, I couldn’t believe how few resources are available on the tactical creation of a health score by and for practitioners.

I hope this helps provide some guidance, and I invite you to let me know how your organization does this (or which companies you think do this well) on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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