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Creating Board Slides: A Guide for Customer Success Leaders

By Willow Moellering

Building content for board meetings becomes a grind month over month, quarter over quarter. We take a dive into key themes that customer success leaders should consider when presenting to the board of directors.

The board meeting is fast approaching: everyone is pulling spreadsheets, searching for and through the last 4 board decks, scrambling for content and wondering “what does our board really want to see about Customer Success?”  As someone that has participated in this quarterly dance many times, I have a few suggestions on how Customer Success and CS Operations leaders can prepare for board meetings and recommendations on what the board would like to see.

The importance of financials 

Simply put, the board’s number one priority is to understand recurring revenue growth and retention.  They want to know trends, initiatives in progress affecting revenue and how they can help. Recurring revenue and customer retention is so much more than numbers and graphs.  When creating your content, make sure it is clear how you achieved success and removed barriers during the quarter, and what initiatives you have planned for the next quarter.

Preparation is key

In the introduction, I joked about the scramble that is finalizing a board deck, but I have found preparation really helps to make board slides more of a tool than an extra step.  Here are ideas to reducing stress and making board prep valuable for you and your team:

  1. Use this as an opportunity to take a pulse on the CS team.  The Director of CS should be able to prepare key information and talk you through the finer points.  This is a great way to ensure the ownership of recurring revenue at every level. Begin to set expectations around the framework so that the team can begin to create standardized processes to increase efficiency. 
  2. Create a template. If you leverage a CS Platform, begin to create dynamic reports that can depict ARR, MRR, upsell attainment and team performance to goal.  Get feedback from the board the first time you use the template, and then tweak based on that feedback. The goal is to get to standard reporting that the board, you and your team are proficient in speaking to.  This will enable you to speed up the presentation creation, and will give your board a familiarity enabling them to jump in quickly and participate meaningfully.  
  3. Create a consistent experience.  Make sure you are creating something you can use month/month and quarter/quarter.  The key to this is making sure your exec team and board find the content helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback, as the only way to generate meaningful discussion is to ensure the content is hitting the right chord.
  4. Always include an exec summary.  Everyone has seen a Board Meeting agenda go awry, so there is a chance that your slides will not be reviewed in detail.  With an exec summary, the board can review outside of the meeting and/or you can go over progress in 2-3 minutes.

Suggested Content 

Beyond preparation, there is standard content I see across the board.   

  • Tables & Charts
    • Retention Performance: While we don’t want to spend too much time on the past, we need to acknowledge the YTD or Quarter retention (both account and revenue) to show how the business is approaching customer success. 
    • Renewal forecast: Include a revenue forecast & number of accounts renewing by month in either table or chart form. This will give the board an update on the revenue cycles of our customers
    • Account health by segment: Display a chart with the account health breakdown in each segment (also look to list revenue and number of accounts by segment). Showing the segmentation allows the board to understand internal nomenclature and an indication of where our customer-base sits within the market
    • Upsell forecast (if owned by CS): Driving discussion around the opportunities and our confidence level in closing these forecasted increases. Not only will the board want to see an increase of TCV within the customer base, but the other executives will be keen on how they can help positively impact these opportunities. 
    • Adoption Metrics (if owned by CS): Simply, this can be how many users created accounts, logged in, and used your platform.  In more detail, you can demonstrate user feature penetration on your top 5-10 stickiest features. This is specific to your software, but an important metric to prove that the CS team can drive adoption within the platform. 
  • Descriptive slides
    • Key account risk items: Depict the risks that currently exist in the customer base and potential solutions to reduce the risk
    • How can the board help: If the board has specific expertise or relationships that you can leverage as a leader, be clear about how they can help to impact your area of customer success
    • Team structure & overview: Depending on the size of your team, this can be a high-level breakdown with goals and org chart, or a review of the named individuals on your team
    • Customer Segmentation: If your team leverages segmentation to drive the customer journey and account coverage model, this is great appendix material to give the board

Finally, keep in mind that your board wants to help and this is your opportunity to get advice on how you can improve or new point of view on an initiative that you have in mind but haven’t started.  Use this time to share your successes and talk through challenges to make sure you are on the right track. There is no formula - you know your board, your product and your team! Use that knowledge to create a clear picture of your area of thee business.

If you’d like any examples, feel free to drop us a message and we’d be happy to share. 

Published July 1, 2019
About the Author

Willow is the Customer Success Director, responsible for engaging with Customer Imperative’s clients to lead enablement and operations within their organizations, ensuring that Customer Success teams align to retention and growth goals to show the benefit of a well-rounded organization. See full bio ›

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