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12 Tips To Align Sales and Customer Success


November 6th, 2014

Aligning Sales and Customer Success

An alternative title for my presentation would be Sales + CSM = Happiness & $$$ (CSM = customer success management).

Why should we all care? Everything has changed.

  • Subscription Economy: customers only pay for what they need, they stop paying once there is not good value.
  • Customers are more knowledgeable: 80% of the buying process will happen before any human to human communication.
  • Power of Advocacy: prospects, customers, and former customers are all connected and they like to tweet.

When it comes to revenue, it’s not just about getting new bookings anymore. In the subscription economy, you need to focus on renewals, upsells, and cross-sells in order to be successful.

This means that most of your revenue is going to come after your initial booking. According to most models, only 5% to 30% comes from the initial sale. 70% to 95% of the lifetime value comes after the point of the sale.

For customer success managers, we know that happy customers are more likely to buy than unhappy customers. There is a lot of value and revenue available from happy customers.

12 Tips for How Sales and Customer Success Can Work Together

Before Closing a Deal

1 – Go after the right customers – talk to customer success managers and ask them to identify the most successful customers.

2 – Learn and use customer success stories – drag CSM’s into your sales meetings, have CSM present at your weekly sales meetings

3 – Teach customers best practices – document and teach the three things your best customers do with your product.

4 – Connect prospects with existing customers – always find ways to introduce them to your existing customers. This type of social selling is extremely powerful.

Post Close

5 – Quick internal hand-off to CSM – have a checklist of items that need to be completed and move quickly. As a salesperson, have a transfer of knowledge so that you’re not the bottleneck as a salesperson.

6 – Kickoff call with customers – within 48 hours, have clear expectations of next steps and clear points of contact and responsibility.

7 – Initial value check-in – quick email/call to confirm value. Schedule it in advance.

8 – Social advocacy – ask for a recommendation on AppExchange, Twitter, and G2Crowd. You want to ask for a recommendation during the honeymoon period.

Ongoing and Expansion

9 – Health checks – review usage, benchmarks, and best practices.

10 – Get customers together – happy hour, dinners, LinkedIn, etc.

11 – Social Sharing – consistently share content on LinkedIn/Twitter.

12 – Bottoms-up feedback – send surveys to get end user feedback to review with leadership.

5 things to start tomorrow

1 – Buy CSM a coffee/beer and get them to tell you about their favorite customers.

2 – Buy CSM a coffee/beer and brainstorm with them the customers where you think there is the most opportunity for you to grow.

3 – Introduce three prospects to three customers via LinkedIn

4 – Have a CSM present one customer success story at your weekly sales meeting.

5 – Send a survey to the end users of your customers and then review the results with your sponsor. Ask them to rate your service (1 to 5) and list the top three benefits.

About the author


PipelineDeals is simple and useful CRM software in the cloud. Follow us @pipelinedeals

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