Expansion is a Team Sport: Strategies for Aligning CS and Sales in 2024

Both CS and Sales leaders agree: Retention is the #1 priority. But there’s a problem. 

Achieving higher retention requires close alignment between CS and Sales teams, yet 87% of CS and Sales leaders told us there’s significant room for improvement in their collaboration. 

If you’d like to see more data around the top priorities and challenges for CS and Sales leaders this year, check out our report

By our math, that means nine out of 10 revenue-accountable leaders need a hand getting on the same page as their fellow go-to-market (GTM) counterparts. We can’t pretend that’s easy, but we can share how you can create greater alignment between the CS and Sales functions at your organization to usher in the next chapter of GTM excellence. 

In this article, we’ll cover: 

  1. How to use a RACI matrix to break down silos
  2. Why you should align around customer outcomes, not individual team metrics 
  3. How to set up your systems for better collaboration


We brought together insights from Totango + Catalyst’s Sales and CS leadership: 

These are their top four strategies for securing greater GTM alignment, increasing NRR, and delighting customers.  

Strategy #1: Use a RACI matrix to assign ownership 

At Totango + Catalyst, we’ve found that using a responsibility assignment matrix (also known as the RACI matrix) has been a great way to get our CS and Sales teams on the same page. It’s a handy tool for articulating the roles and responsibilities in cross-team collaboration. 

RACI stands for: 

  • Responsible: The person who has to do the task 
  • Accountable: The person who is on the line for the correct completion of the task (either the same person as the one who is responsible for doing the task, or the person who delegates the task) 
  • Consulted: Someone with relevant expertise, who should be involved to provide input and advice on the task 
  • Informed: Someone who should be kept up to date about the general progress of the task, usually because it impacts their work in some way

For example, let’s say you’re onboarding a new account. You might set the following responsibilities: 

RACI Example


This model encourages two-way communication between CSMs and AEs and visibility for team leaders. That way, the entire revenue team is able to: 

  • Make sure the handover of the account is seamless, creating a better customer experience
  • Share any key information uncovered during discovery that might provide an opportunity for a future expansion
  • Give the AE a chance to pass on any commercial tips or suggestions to the CSM
  • Let the CSM verify that the AE has correctly sold the software
  • Understand the positive business outcomes the customer is looking for 

We’ve got two additional pointers for getting the most out of the RACI model: 

Set each other up to thrive

Said differently, don’t set unrealistic expectations for each other. If Sales over-promises what the customer can achieve with your product, then CS has been set up to fail when it comes to onboarding. If CS doesn’t have commercial conversations with healthy customers, they’re not setting Sales up to re-enter the conversation and potentially upsell.

Use your words

Talk to each other! Whether on the phone, in person, or via voice notes, verbal communication is far more collaborative than hiding behind Slack DMs, texts, and emails. Plus, it helps you from an operational perspective by reducing the amount of process rigidity; you can figure something out quickly over the phone that would require endless back and forth via email or Slack. 

Strategy #2: Align on customer outcomes 

Both teams should be laser-focused on customer results. Proving measurable value to customers is the single most important factor driving retention and expansion. This means that: 

Sales and CS need to decide together who the ideal customer is

Katie Yagodnik, Director of Customer Success Operations at Totango + Catalyst, points out that one of the biggest barriers to Sales-CS collaboration is that Sales may be bringing in new logos that aren’t the right fit for post-sales growth, which leads to “over-promising and/or under-promising to customers and setting unrealistic expectations.” 

To avoid this, she recommends that you make sure “the post-sales team is a part of the ICP discussion.” That way, both teams are on the same page about who Sales should be targeting and how they need to qualify them, so CS is set up for success. 

“The pre-sale experience is unbelievably crucial to setting the tone for the overall customer experience,” says Katie. 

Sales and CS need a way to capture and communicate customer PBOs 

To get your customers the positive business outcomes (PBOs) they’re after, you need to make sure AEs are consistently capturing that information during discovery—and that they have the means to communicate it easily to CSMs. 

During discovery, Sales need to uncover: 

  • What the customer’s goals are
  • What they’re trying to achieve with the product (that will help them achieve their goal)
  • What value they expect to gain (both in terms of the main goal(s) and any additional expectations)
  • The timeline they’re aiming for
  • How they’re going to measure that result 

Then on the post-sales side, CSMs need easy access to all of this information in their own platform made for nurturing relationships. That way, both teams can use those outcomes as a benchmark of success throughout the customer journey. 

This doesn’t just provide a useful shared goal. It gives CS the information they need to have commercial conversations three months, six months, or even a year post-sale. A CSM can showcase moments of impact related to the customer’s desired outcomes to prove the value of their product. This makes it far easier to talk to existing customers about renewals and expansions. 

Strategy #3: Share revenue responsibility and success metrics 

There’s been a major shift in the B2B space over the past few years. Investors are seeking growth, of course, but also sustainability and profitability. So, you need a revenue model that fosters long-term customer retention and high expansion rates. 

Both Sales and CS need to have ownership for revenue outcomes. That will require revenue leaders to clarify goals and objectives for renewals and expansions, as well as new business. It may mean that you need to offer incentives for renewal numbers to both CS and Sales teams. 

It also means that both Sales and CS need to share responsibility for key revenue metrics, including: 

Net Revenue Retention

Sales and CS should both own NRR. That way, both are incentivized to drive revenue through upgrades and expansions and optimize cross-sell and upsell motions. 

If Sales co-owns NRR, they are disincentivized to oversell to customers who will be more likely to churn, thus making CS’s job far easier.

If CS co-owns NRR, they are more likely to prioritize and master commercial conversations rather than reactive customer support. 

With this level of collaboration, the customer wins; both Sales and CS are aligned around keeping them happy for the long term. 

Expansion Revenue

Both teams need to be closely focused on finding and maximizing expansion opportunities. For instance, Totango + Catalyst’s Buyer Signals feature can automatically surface expansion opportunities, so your team can go after them. 

Bringing Sales and CS together to drive expansion revenue means that you’re doubling the headcount working on expansion—which, in the new era of customer-led growth, is exactly where your attention and time should be going. 

Customer Health Score

If both teams are evaluated on health scores, it encourages Sales to prioritize discovery and make sure they’re only closing accounts that are likely to be very happy with your products. 

With Totango + Catalyst, you can create weighted health scores that are both trustworthy (95% accurate for our customer, Heap) and easy to understand, so that both Sales and CS can use them to spot at-risk accounts and expansion opportunities. 

Customer Lifetime Value

Sharing Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) across Sales and CS will focus both teams on retention—again, incentivizing Sales to only bring in accounts that CS can retain year after year. 

Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score (NPS) measures customer satisfaction and is typically thought of as purely a CS metric. However, if SDRs, AEs, CSMs, and everyone else who interacts with customers all are responsible for post-sales revenue, then they all need to track NPS throughout the buyer journey. 

This KPI reveals a lot about the pre-sale impressions your customers are coming into their post-sale experience with. High NPS? Then it could be a good moment for a quick upsell, cross-sell, or expansion campaign. Low NPS? Then you’ll need to work on re-engagement, and potentially refine which customers you’re converting in the first place.  

“Bonus” metrics

We recommend that you identify custom metrics that reflect the value your specific business provides your customers. It could be the most popular business outcome your customers are chasing, a specific feature’s adoption, or a particular conversation that you have with your most successful customers. These can be a great way to focus both teams toward key customer results, which in turn will drive higher retention and expansion numbers. 

Next steps: Create two–way data flows to maximize productivity 

Siloed Sales and CS teams are often a product of siloed platforms and data. Each team likely needs different tools and features, but those platforms must work together if you want your teams to work together. 

That’s why we’ve made sure Totango + Catalyst sync seamlessly with Salesforce, for example, so that all the information on your customer accounts flows both ways between the CRM and your CS platform of choice. For instance, information about customer PBOs and possible expansion opportunities that Sales capture during discovery can then be handed over to CS and stored in Totango + Catalyst. 

Or, on the other hand, information on health scores or product usage stored in Totango + Catalyst and managed by CS can be synced up with Salesforce. This makes sure AEs are alerted if there’s a need to re-engage with an account or an opportunity for an expansion. 

We recommend that you couple this data sharing with standardized playbooks to reduce manual workload and maximize productivity. Totango + Catalyst offers a number of pre-built program templates to improve the efficiency of your team, including automating renewals, navigating business reviews, and managing onboarding projects.

To grow your NRR, focus on aligning your revenue teams 

B2B organizations have to master customer-led growth; it’s the only way to retain and sustain revenue growth. Selling more effectively to your existing customers simply comes down to effective collaboration between Sales and CS. To create that alignment, try these tactics: 

  • Combine your customer-centric strategies and your revenue-centric strategies into a single, unified post-sales strategy 
  • Explicitly define responsibilities for post-sales tasks between the two teams, and create channels for ongoing communication
  • Share ownership of post-sales revenue metrics from SDRs to CSMs 
  • Invest in tools that allow for a seamless data exchange between Sales and CS teams
  • Ruthlessly focus on customer outcomes, to keep both teams facing in the same direction 

In case you haven’t heard, Totango and Catalyst recently joined forces to create the most powerful customer growth platform on the market. If you’re ready to drive measurable growth from your customer base, we’d love to talk to you

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