Bryan Harris, Founder of Growth Tools, shares how his company systematized the collection of customer success stories — and how those wins impact marketing, sales, and everything in between.
“How can we simplify customer feedback collection?”
That was the question that set Bryan Harris, Founder of Growth Tools, and his team on the fast track to collecting, synthesizing, and leveraging hundreds of client wins every month.
It started with a goal that was easy to communicate and difficult to track: Growth Tools aims to generate $100M in revenue growth for clients through its Coaching Program and Accelerator classes.
But, like many coaching and consulting agencies, Growth Tools’ team had difficulty specifically tying wins to methodology. They knew their offering was valuable but they needed a concrete way to measure customer success. And measuring success was impossible without customer feedback.
But how do you efficiently collect and synthesize feedback from hundreds of customers? That was the challenge Bryan and the customer success team were bumping up against.
“Our collection mechanism was mostly nonexistent. We were using a time-constrained call to ask a hundred different people, ‘What was your biggest win from last week?’ We could record the wins of five or six people, and that was it,” he says.
There was a treasure trove of untapped customer success stories sitting within reach. Growth Tools just had to figure out how to access them.
“Besides anecdotes, we had no idea how our client’s wins or overall revenue growth reflected the cumulative effect of our coaching,” says Bryan.
Here’s how Growth Tools used a simple solution to systemize client wins, boost client confidence and create powerful social proof.
One simple tweak
When you join Growth Tools’ coaching program, you’re given access to a custom portal that includes a weekly ‘action list,’ curated by your personal project manager.
Many participants were already engaging with this list, which gave Bryan an idea: what if they added a standard action item to the list inviting people to share a weekly win?
Wins didn’t have to be big or elaborate. They could be as simple as “Today, I rolled out of bed” — or as monumental as “This week, I had a $100K launch.”
Whatever the win, users would have to action it in their dashboard to unlock the rest of the list.
This simple tweak to the Growth Tools coaching process kicked off a brand new way to capture and leverage client wins, and fit neatly with the positive mindset Growth Tools’ coaching espouses.
It was a small — but immensely powerful — change.
“It’s easy for entrepreneurs and business owners to spend all their time on the things that aren’t working well, so we wanted to help them get in a positive frame of mind for our coaching. We had no idea the number of wins our clients were generating until we asked them. The real breakthrough has been making sharing wins the first thing you do in a new week.”
Almost overnight, Growth Tools went from collecting around 20 wins a month to gathering over 500 wins a month — simply by asking the question and making it easy to answer.
And while not all of those recorded wins were quantifiable, nearly 30% of them were specific economic wins that Bryan and his team could chalk up as victories achieved in part thanks to their Coaching Program and Accelerator classes.
As wins came flying in, Growth Tools needed to simplify what happened next.
How Growth Tools collects client wins: step-by-step
Client responds to action item in their to-do list with a Client Win from the previous week.
HelpScout automates an internal admin process to systemize cataloging client wins.
Growth Tools’ Head of Support tidies up the client wins (highlighting the economic impact and confirming details if necessary).
Any division of the company — product, sales, marketing, and coaching — can access the database to tell cool stories.
Smart filters make it easy for them to find testimonials from clients in the specific niches and verticals they’re targeting.
Rinse and repeat this process each and every week.
Why track weekly wins?
A lot of companies would consider it a good week’s work to create just one case study. But in one week in June, Growth Tools cataloged 120 wins to the tune of $255,000 revenue growth.
120 wins a week. 500 wins a month. Over 6,000 wins annually. Some organizations might ask why anyone would need or even want that much social proof — but that would be missing the point.
“Selling coaching is selling trust. Timeliness is relevance,” Bryan explains.
“Our competitors are showcasing results from a year ago. We’re sharing results from last week when a customer made $100,000 by following our course creators launch playbook.”
Bryan knows that big wins make for amazing evergreen success stories — but he also understands that celebrating ongoing wins week after week is essential for building trust with leads.
By cataloging and sharing weekly wins, Growth Tools proves over and over again that its customer success stories aren’t outliers — they’re the norm.
“We’re regularly reminding our clients and our leads that our coaching works,” says Bryan.
“Not for one client here or there, but for hundreds of real people every week.”
The top three ways Growth Tools is leveraging client wins
Growth Tools has a long list of ways it plans to use client wins in the near future, but for now, it’s doubling down on using these snapshot success stories as assets in product, sales and marketing.
Marketing creates a Client of the Week case study. Every week. No mean feat! The case study is hero content for the week, amplified across email marketing, and organic and paid platforms.
“Right now, we’re just focusing on the basics. We’ve had so many wins that we just want to get them all processed and focus on one client of the week. It’s aspirational and gives clients a jolt of enthusiasm to make something happen for themselves in the week ahead,” says Bryan.
Product curates wins into a Wednesday Wins email. The email of wins arrives like clockwork in inboxes to keep what’s possible front of mind for all customers.
“Not every win needs to be calculated in dollars. Sometimes wins are more personal, and this is the space to share good news,” says Bryan.
“Customers celebrate their achievements, which inspires others for a solid win-win.”
Sales use the client wins database to look for timely hooks and specific stories to inspire, encourage and close deals with prospects who are in the same boat as other people currently enrolled in Growth Tools’ courses.
“If Sales are pitching to a course creator client, there’s nothing like having client wins on tap that they can relate to,” says Bryan.
“Within seconds we can pull out a result from last week about someone just like them who did $40,000 in pre-sales for their new course last week.”
How does Growth Tools plan to use these mini case studies?
Currently, Growth Tools publishes all of their wins on their $100M Growth Counter Page. But Bryan and his team have big plans for their customer wins in the near future.
The next step in systemizing the client wins is developing a dynamic Last Week’s Wins page. The content is auto-populated with public versions of stories from the client wins database.
The weekly case studies created by the marketing team will live on this page, along with a live feed that updates the wins and auto-calculates the economic value Growth Tools has helped clients achieve. Growth Tools is also experimenting with short-form video testimonials that can live alongside written social proof, adding more weight to already impressive results.
With wins not slowing down, the three key divisions are eager to amplify client wins even further. The next steps:
- Product — amplifying client wins that mirror the user journey. If you’re working on the Partnership Playbook, you’ll see wins from people doing the same activity.
- Marketing — segmenting lists by audience types, like course creators, to share wins from the last week from other course creators, or SAAS companies to get wins from other SAAS companies.
- Sales — auto-generated follow up sequences to encourage prospects to take 30 seconds and look at a curated list of wins.
Can any company systemize their use of social proof?
Spoiler alert: yep.
And you don’t need to engineer a dedicated customer portal to get started. It doesn’t matter if you’re a coaching company or a SaaS company — if you know the problem you solve, collecting client wins is as easy.
Starting tools? An email address and a spreadsheet.
“Our customer portal? That’s just mechanics. You can do the same thing by sending one email a week to your client base,” says Bryan.
Once you have the wins, the only thing limiting how you use them is your imagination. Bryan notes that there are a number of practical use cases that are all easy to measure, making it easy to calculate the ROI of your weekly social proof outreach emails.
“Have a mechanism to share client wins in marketing — whether that’s through a Facebook ad, or an email, or a webinar where you focus on them — that’s directly measurable. Anyone can use social proof like this. Know your client wins and do what you’ve got to do to tell those stories.”
With mechanisms in place to collect and leverage client wins, the only thing left is to use the return to continue hiring the talent you need to process those wins and turn them into powerful sales assets.
“Use the ROI to build a team to process those wins. Whether it’s hiring Case Study Buddy or doing something else, tell those stories. It’s as simple as that — anyone can do it.”
The hard part is taking that first step: generating wins, capturing results, and figuring out how you’re going to use them in marketing.
Bryan says he’s never seen a company who did the hard part of generating and capturing wins, without being rewarded with substantial ROI for their efforts.