5 ways to speed up value realization for your customers

The Dock Team
March 26, 2024
April 8, 2024

Salesforce is a brand so successful it has become almost synonymous with its category. You think sales, you think Salesforce. 

However, in 2005, Salesforce was hemorrhaging customers at a rate of 8% a month — essentially losing every customer within a year of acquisition. 

Plugging the leak came down to one thing — value realization. Salesforce had to make sure that their customers were getting value from their product much faster than they had been — and that their customers could see the value they were getting. 

Salesforce’s current annual recurring revenue of over $3 billion suggests they figured it out. 

This article will explain how to build value realization into your customer onboarding game.  

What is value realization?

Value realization is when a customer gets the desired value from your product. It's a Customer Success team's job to help customers get to this desired value as quickly as possible.

This desired value means that:

  • a) they achieve the value that your product offers, and 
  • b) they also consciously recognize that value. 

Value realization is sometimes confused with the “aha” moment. The difference is that the “aha” moment is when the possible value of your product clicks for the first time. Value realization is when that value is achieved and the customer notices that it’s happened. 

Value realization is part of a value management framework. It looks something like this: 

Value definition

To realize value, you must first understand what your customers expect to happen when they buy your product. They came to you because they wanted a certain result — more efficient projects, for instance, or higher win rates. Those are the customer outcomes — the business objectives and milestones that your customers have in relation to your product. 

This phase is called value definition, and it starts way back in the sales discovery process. 

Value creation (or value delivery) 

Value creation (also known as value delivery) is when your product does what you promised it would. Usually, this phase starts once the customer has implemented the product and started using it effectively. 

Value realization 

It’s essential to notice that if the product does what you said it would, but the customer hasn’t noticed, it doesn’t count in your favor. Value realization happens when your product delivers what the customer wants and they notice the difference. 

Value validation

Value validation occurs when the customer sees value in one situation and wants to ensure they get that same value in other situations.

For instance, if the Marketing team is getting great benefits from your product, the customer might want to validate those benefits by opening up the product to their Sales team. 

Value optimization 

Value realization isn’t a one-and-done thing — if you want customers to keep returning, you must keep creating additional value for them over time (also known as value optimization). Otherwise, your product’s perceived value will first plateau and then decrease, as it becomes “just another tool.” 

Value optimization could involve introducing new use cases to your customers or improving your product to create a better customer experience. 

Value realization example 

Let’s take ourselves (Dock) as an example of value realization.

Dock is a collaborative workspace software that lets companies work together more efficiently. People use Dock to follow up after sales calls and give their prospects an excellent, user-friendly digital sales room (DSR) with resources, information, a quote, and so on. 

The “aha” moment often comes when a rep sends their first sales room to a prospect and they can see all the actions a prospect is taking during the sales cycle—from watching videos, to looking at pricing, to sharing it with their buying team.

However, full value realization comes when they’ve used Dock as a sales follow-up tool and closed a few sales. For example, Nectar immediately saw a 31% higher win rate

So that means that our main job, once a sales leader buys Dock, is to help them get to the point where they’re using it to close more deals as quickly as we can. 

Here are a few more examples of value realization: 

  • When you’ve implemented a new sales tool, and you notice that your outreach initiatives are delivering 10% more sales-qualified leads than they were before
  • You add new rewards and recognition software, and now your employee engagement scores are up on your latest employee survey 
  • You start using interactive demo software, and your demo conversion rate goes up by 25% 

In other words, the product you bought creates tangible value in a way that you can notice. 

How to measure value realization

There are several customer success metrics that you can use to measure value realization throughout the customer lifecycle: 

Time to value (TTV) 

Time to value measures the time it takes for a customer to get the value they expected from your product. 

For example, if you’re selling a web optimization tool, then the TTV would be the length of time between your customer signing up for a free trial and seeing their bounce rates go down. 

Time to exceeded value 

Time to exceeded value (TTEV) may be an even better snapshot of value realization. This moment is when your customer perceives an additional value from your product beyond their initial expectation. 

For instance, a monday.com customer might sign up because they want more accessible project communication, but then they start using the time-tracking feature and uncover efficiency gains, too. 

Time to conversion 

If you’re a product-led company, then time to conversion (TTC) can also be a useful measure of value realization. TTC is the time it takes for someone to go from downloading a free trial to upgrading to a paid version of the software. The fact that they upgraded presupposes they have perceived enough value from your product to justify paying for it. 

Customer return on investment (ROI) 

This tool is one of the most obvious ways to measure value realization, assuming you’re working closely enough with your customers to know the results they’re getting and that your product can be easily tied into revenue results. 

For example, if you sell a customer revenue optimization software, a measure of value realization would be when the customer increases their revenue by more than they spent on your product. 

Customer satisfaction (CSAT) and Net Promoter Score (NPS) 

Product value isn’t just about dollars and cents, of course. The perceived value the customer realizes could be about their workday getting easier or their quality of life improving. 

To measure these more intangible forms of value, you can look at metrics like customer satisfaction scores and net promoter scores. These are just numerical ratings that customers give to polls and surveys that ask either “How satisfied are you with our product?” (CSAT) or “How likely are you to recommend our product?” (NPS) 

5 tips to help customers get to value realization faster

Customer retention, customer loyalty, and customer renewals all come down to the same thing: value realization. If your customers don’t see a value from your product, they won’t keep using it. 

Or, to put it another way, your success depends on theirs. 

That means building a customer onboarding strategy or implementation process that makes it as easy as possible for your customers to use your product in ways that will generate value for their business. 

You also need to ensure they notice that value when it happens. 

Here are five ways that you can help your customers realize value quickly, build loyalty and nip churn in the bud: 

1. Define mutual success

Value realization starts during the sales process. During the discovery process, you need to learn - and document: 

  • Precisely why the customer is considering your product
  • What success would look like for them when it comes to your product
  • What key performance indicators (KPIs) they will be looking at to evaluate the business value they’re getting
  • The different stakeholders involved and what’s important to each of them
  • What their current situation looks like so you can use it as a benchmark to refer back to  

You should refer back to these mutual success metrics throughout the customer journey

2. Make a clean Sales-to-Customer-Success handoff

Customer Success needs to know exactly what the customer’s expectations are so that they can help make those hopes a reality. That means they need to understand exactly what Sales learned about each customer during discovery. 

With Dock, Sales and Success can collaborate to create a personalized workspace for each customer. In this workspace, Sales, CS, and the customer share documentation and meeting recordings on the customer’s desired outcomes, needs, and expectations. 

This process creates a seamless handover from Sales to Success for every account. 

Dock’s digital sales room is a shared information hub for Sales, CS, and the customer.

Even better, because you share the salesroom with the customer, it can also help them remember why they bought in the first place and notice when they start seeing the desired results. 

2. Overinvest in onboarding

Rapid value realization comes down to effective onboarding, especially if your product is complex. Personalized, CSM-led onboarding focusing on the customer’s priorities will help them realize value more quickly than generic training sessions. 

For instance, say you’re selling HR software, and your customer tells you their top priority is reducing employee churn. You’d want to customize the onboarding experience to focus on going deep on the features that will directly impact employee retention rather than aiming to introduce as many product features as possible.

3. Phase value delivery

In the same vein, it’s a mistake to try and introduce your entire product to your customers as quickly as possible. While that might feel like the fast track to getting them to value (“Look at all the things you can do with our product!”), the reverse is true. You risk overwhelming your customers with too much information and delaying the moment of impact. 

Instead, break the onboarding process into small, manageable chunks (one product, one feature or one use case) with a quick win at the end of each phase. 

Phased value delivery means quicker value realization. (Source: Nello Franco)

4. Enable your buyer champions with personalized onboarding content 

Your buyer champions need your help to encourage the adoption of your product in their organization. In particular, they need easy access to persuasive onboarding content that helps show other potential users the benefits of learning to use your product.

Dock can make this easier. You can create a customer onboarding template to share with each customer, which includes: 

  • Relevant educational content, like a product help center, training decks and video courses and the business case for your product 
  • Mutual action plans for more efficient implementation 
  • Checklists for onboarding flows for different user groups, such as tasks for end-user onboarding, manager training and so on 
  • Easy access to your Success team
Dock’s onboarding template lets you create frictionless, repeatable onboarding processes. 

You can segment your onboarding template for each use case or customer vertical and then personalize it quickly for every account. 

By making it easier to find helpful onboarding content, you reduce the heavy lifting your buyer champion has to do to encourage adoption, increasing the rate at which the organization will get to value realization. 

5. Use customer success plans

Customer success plans are an easy way to ensure your customers take the proper steps to reach value quickly. Instead of trying to manage this process with a clunky spreadsheet, use Dock to make it easy for the customer to know what to do next. 

When you add a success plan to your onboarding workspace, your customer always knows where they are in their journey towards seeing real value from your products and can reach it more quickly. 

Accelerate value realization with Dock

If you want to keep your customers, you need to get them to value realization quickly. With Dock, you can create a personalized onboarding experience for every customer at scale. 

Our templated digital sales rooms and onboarding workspaces make it easy to steer each customer toward the value they want as quickly as possible. 

Schedule a demo or start for free to speed up value realization for your customers today.

The Dock Team