We know that sales and customer success (CS) teams must work together to drive revenue growth and expansion. How teams accomplish this challenging dance, however, is an ongoing question.
Totango’s SVP of Customer Success Chris Dishman recently sat down with the Customer Success Collective in an exclusive episode of the CS School Podcast where he offered some keen insights into how to create and foster a harmonious relationship between sales and CS. Check out three highlights from the conversation, and listen to the full podcast to gain more insights and tips on how your teams can create a mutually beneficial relationship between CS and sales.
Focus on customer value to drive alignment between sales and CS
When customer success first came on the enterprise scene, the focus of the function was a mix of driving product adoption and channeling ongoing support or service requests. However, as the focus on retention and expansion to drive growth has become more pertinent, the role of CS has also sharpened to focusing more on driving and ensuring customer value. Dishman noted that determining the value of the product or service to the customer early on in the pre-sales cycle and then recording and communicating that information between teams through the entire customer lifecycle is where he has seen the greatest – and most beneficial – evolution of the relationship between sales and CS. “You’ve got data that identifies the root cause of why someone is purchasing your product, and you have to carry that information through onboarding, adoption, and expansion of that account. Having a process and that information flow through the various teams and the overall implementation of a customer is critical,” Dishman said.
Foster collaboration with clear communication and defined responsibilities
The biggest angst between sales and CS is often a result of miscommunication that arises when there isn’t transparent documentation and sharing of information – especially when it comes to customer goals and objectives. To this point, Dishman emphasizes the importance of having clear communication and alignment top-down from CS and sales leadership regarding the roles and responsibilities for each team and the collaborative business goals that they’re driving to as an organization.
To foster cross-functional collaboration, Dishman recommends having a process for documentation, like customer success plans, that enables teams to track and transparently manage the process and progress toward objectives. This ensures smooth transitions and handoffs between teams as well as a frictionless experience for customers.
Align teams and break down barriers through data
Capturing customer data is important, but how you’re sharing and applying that data is crucial. “At Totango, one of our key mantras is that you’re able to see and action data within the system and then provide alerts and things that will help drive initiatives,” Dishman said. Using a customer success platform like Totango that captures multidimensional health features allows you to explore, weigh, and balance various aspects of an individual customer based on what’s important to your product or service. These real-time health metrics provide exceptional visibility for both sales and CS to identify opportunities for account growth as well as risk factors that can be proactively intercepted to prevent churn or other issues.
Find harmony and drive expansion with a strong partnership
“The best way to ensure a customer isn’t going to churn is getting them to expand. If we do our job well and ensure there’s not just strong adoption, but also strong value, then that expansion happens naturally,” Dishman said. Finding the balance between your sales and customer success teams can be a challenge, but with the right systems in place and a customer-focused mindset, the possibilities for growth are endless.
Listen to the full CS School podcast episode to hear more insights for striking the delicate balance, and learn how Totango can help foster cross-functional alignment to drive ongoing customer value and growth.