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Customer Success Orienteering 101: Map Your Customer Journey

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As Customer Success Management emerges as it’s own field, the leaders and members of those organizations are charting new paths to success in their organization. According to the consensus definition from Wikipedia, they are orienteers – “navigating from point to point, in a diverse, unfamiliar terrain, normally moving at speed.”*

In this uncharted territory, one of the first questions a Customer Success Orienteer asks of themselves, as they establish a team and a practice, is “How do I/we deliver continuous value?”  This is the key ingredient of any successful Customer Journey, and while some companies may call it “value creation or value delivery” in their marketing, it’s important that value is understood in the context of the customer journey. Without realizing tangible value, a customer journey simply becomes a series of checkboxes.

The customer journey starts with the first engagement with a customer i.e., while they are still a prospect, and tracks the customer through each touch point with you and your product all the way through renewal and, possibly, upsell. This process is incredibly important to codify in order to track, measure, and monitor customers throughout their journey, which is impossible without codification. Through this codification, our product measures your customers health, and allows you to intercept them before they stray too far from success, providing a course-correct and ensuring the delivery of business value.

As you look to chart your customer’s journey consider that an ideal journey starts with these four milestones:

Milestone #1: Kickoff

With the formality of contract signing out of the way, the first key milestone is to have a formal kickoff. A kickoff, usually understated in its purpose, serves the key function of transferring the customer and commitments from the sales process to the customer success team. Both teams get on the same page, setting the schedule, milestones, expectations, stakeholders, and protocols. This is the opportunity for the vendor to demonstrate their thought leadership around best practices.

Milestone #2: Successful On-boarding

It is often said, that the first 90 days decide the fate of most implementations. If the customer feels let down during this process, then the journey ahead could be precarious. So, invest in the elements needed to ensure a smooth start of your customers  journey. Those elements include: investing in a Customer Success team that understands the business nuances nuances and engages with the customers, structuring engagement models that are more high-touch during on-boarding so customers adapt quickly to the product and offering training to ensure successful onboarding.

Milestone #3: First Value

It’s critical that customers realize their first value within a reasonable time (a product specific period usually from 2- 30 days). While the customer success journey is a marathon, realizing and demonstrating value quickly should be the goal. To that end, it’s important to identify quick wins, low-hanging fruit, while working on the long term strategic objectives.

Milestone #4: Ongoing Value

This is the point where the customer gets close-to-full value, on an ongoing basis. Ideally, at this stage, your product and the value it delivers would be integral to the customer’s success.

Ongoing Milestones should be based on establishing goals around churn, growth and then creating nurture campaigns to hit those goals.

While those milestones are critical to the customer journey, there are additional actions you should take along the way to make sure their journey is successful (and scalable on your end):

  • Create cohorts and apply best practices
  • Create automated and semi-automated engagement plays
  • Maintain a manageable CSM-to-Customer ratio
  • Create heat maps of customer engagement with your product
  • Provide 360 visibility to sales, marketing, support and other customer-facing functions.

Manually tracking each customer journey is like drawing a map by hand and expecting it to be accurate and to scale. Implementing technology to help you codify,  map, and track your customer’s journey allows you to drill-down into each milestone and verify, through data, that you are delivering value. Find out more about how a Customer Success Platform can help you map your customer journey, and drive success for you and your customers with a personalized demo.

*Definition taken from wikipedia definition of orienteering:


Omer Gotlieb

Omer Gotlieb, Co-Founder and VP of Business Development of Totango, has been recognized as a top influencer and mentor in the customer success space. As the SVP of Business Development, he is taking Totango to the next level. He speaks frequently at Customer Success events, both locally and internationally, sharing valuable insights and experiences. Prior to Totango, he was the VP of Product at MTS, Director of Client Services at AtHoc, and other customer-facing roles at Addwise and Netvision. His specialities include churn management, business intelligence, and performance management.

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