There’s a lot of discussion about aligning sales and marketing, but have you ever wondered about the benefits of aligning your sales and customer success teams?
After all, both teams are vital to your customer journey, so the handoff between sales and customer success (CS) may make all the difference when it comes to customer satisfaction or churn.
To streamline this handover process and delight your customers, RevOps teams need to align their sales and customer success teams.
In this article, we discuss:
- Where sales and customer success meet
- Benefits of aligned sales and customer success teams
- How to align sales and customer success
Where do sales and customer success meet?
After your prospects have signed on the dotted line and officially become customers, the sales rep who handled that process will pass the customer over to a customer success rep for onboarding.
This step is vital for gaining customer loyalty and reducing your churn rate. The last thing a new customer wants is to repeat everything they just discussed with a sales rep to your customer success rep.
It’s a bad look.
By aligning sales and customer success both teams can communicate with each other, saving time and creating a better relationship with your new customer.
Benefits of aligned sales and customer success teams
So what exactly are the benefits of aligning your sales and customer success teams?
These benefits range from streamlining the customer journey to increasing customer advocacy and reducing churn rates to increasing your revenue growth.
Let’s dive in! 👀
Streamline the customer journey
When done correctly your customer journey should be smooth and allow your new customer to feel valued and excited to use your product or service. A misaligned handover can lead to your customer carrying the communication burden.
When sales and CS teams don’t communicate, the customers are inconvenienced as their support from your company fades away. This can lead customers to be unsatisfied and churn after some time.
By streamlining this journey, your customers will find the transition easy, and have access to the support they need to complete the onboarding process for your product - leading to increased customer satisfaction overall.
Increase customer advocacy
Providing your customers with a great experience allows them to gain brand loyalty. Customers who are especially satisfied with your services may become advocates and refer their peers to your company.
This is valuable word-of-mouth marketing which will allow you to break into more markets - but it all starts with your customer experience.
Aligning sales and customer success transforms an aimless transition into a strategic onboarding procedure, allowing your customers to gain the most value from your offering.
The best part? Internal alignment allows this onboarding process to be personalized to the needs of your new customers.
Often sales teams want to close as many deals as possible to hit their revenue targets, but this can be damaging to long-term revenue as these customers may churn quickly if they’re not actually good fits for your product. This leads to a continuous cycle of closing new accounts to maintain recurring revenue.
By sharing data across sales and customer success functions, your teams can identify customer personas who are more likely to renew their account, meaning you can reduce your churn rate and increase recurring revenue.
This approach allows you to grow more easily, as new accounts turn into loyal recurring customers (and revenue).
Increase revenue streams
Reduced churn = increased recurring revenue
By creating a better customer experience for your customers and targeting prospects that match your customer personas best, you can easily increase your company’s revenue growth.
Keep reading to find out how to align these functions… 👀
How to align sales and customer success
Now that you’re sold on the benefits of cross-functional alignment between sales and customer success here are our four strategies to align your teams and create a streamlined customer journey.
Just remember - change can take time, and new processes will need to be refined as time goes on. Utilizing a change management strategy can improve your chances of your new strategy sticking long-term.
Sharing information is at the heart of aligning cross-functional teams. Creating a culture of transparency and information sharing can save your sales and customer success teams time and lead to better decision-making.
Sales reps have key insights into why customers have purchased your product and what they hope to achieve by purchasing it. This is crucial information for a customer success rep who is taking over that account.
To ensure your customers get the best experience your CS team needs to understand:
- Your customer’s expectations
- What pain point your solution solves
- Why they’ve chosen your solution
- What other solutions they’ve tried
During sales calls and negotiations, your reps should have the answers to these questions, so they can save their CS colleagues time by passing this over when the deal closes.
On the flip side of this, CS teams understand why customers are likely to churn, and if this is due to over-promising from sales, or poor product fit for their pain point, this information can be passed to sales to update the sales strategy or qualification criteria.
This will lead to a higher quality of customers and increased recurring revenue.
By defining your target customer precisely, your sales and customer success teams will have a better understanding of which customers will bring in the most revenue for your business.
Defining customer segments should be done using sales, customer success, and marketing data. Your sales team can provide data on which personas are most likely to buy your product, which product they tend to buy, and how much they typically spend.
Your customer success reps can provide insights into which personas will most likely retain and renew as customers and which segments tend to churn after a period. They can also provide insights into customers who become advocates for your offering.
By defining these customer segments, your sales and customer success team can work together to identify the right accounts to go after, so that sales meet their quota and your churn rate still trends down.
Create a handover process
To ensure your customers smoothly transition from prospect to customer - the handover process is key.
Creating a process for handing accounts from sales to customer success can allow key information to be passed over seamlessly, removing that hurdle from your customer’s experience.
There are several ways to structure your handover process, such as using a one-page document, a short meeting between sales and CS reps, or a simple form. Each of the methods has its pros and cons, so it’s important to identify what will work best for your teams.
Most importantly, this process shouldn’t take long for a sales rep to complete - they want to get back to selling as quickly as possible. However, your customer success team should still receive all the info they need to provide customers with an excellent experience.
To ensure that feedback is going both ways between sales and CS reps, you can implement cross-functional check-in meetings to refine strategy and customer persona definitions.
This may also be a good time to analyze performance on shared KPIs such as revenue retention, and account expansions. Revenue retention trends can allow your teams to understand how well your customers are aligned with your ideal customer profiles.
Account expansions such as up-selling and cross-selling paint a picture of how satisfied your customers are with your offerings - unhappy customers don’t tend to buy more. So high account expansion rates indicate a satisfied customer base.
Overall, RevOps teams strive to align the revenue functions. This is especially important when considering how impactful sales and customer success alignment is for creating an enjoyable customer experience.
By aligning sales and CS reps, you can attract more suitable customers, who will remain customers long-term. Your improved customer service may also encourage satisfied customers to become advocates for your brand.