Here’s a simple question for you. Who suffers most when Sales and Customer Success teams are at odds with each other? That’s correct, it’s your business.
The ability to maintain your customers’ happiness throughout their journey and ensuring that they have a positive experience from day one is a surefire way to grow a loyal customer base and reduce churn. Every successful business will testify that actively measuring customer satisfaction, in an attempt to keep existing customers from churning, is much cheaper and easier than acquiring new ones. And, here’s the beautiful thing; all this can be achieved by aligning your Sales and Customer Success teams.
Fostering a culture of open communication and collaboration between the two teams is critical if you want to avoid the ‘cliff-edge’ experience after the sale. As you know very well, the sale doesn’t stop after the money exchanges hands. In fact, the hard work only begins. Here is why, and how, your sales and customer support teams should work closely together to create a superior customer experience and generate more income.
The plain and simple truth is that there’s only one way for any company to grow – that is to acquire new customers. And although the cut-throat sales environment is somewhat a thing of the past now, ambitious targets and growth plans often mean that salespeople need to adopt a more aggressive mindset hitting their goals. They pay a great deal of attention to qualifying and closing deals but have little or no patience for hand-holding and troubleshooting. The moment a lead converts, that conversion becomes the responsibility of the support team.
The pressure to streamline the sales process and close as many deals as possible, in as short a period of time as possible can often result in acquiring customers that are not necessarily the best fit. When these customers realize that the product they have just invested in doesn’t meet their needs entirely, or they come to think that they’ve been misled, customer support agents are the ones faced with handling the complaints and grappling with unpleasant situations. This sort of divide which may arise between the two key teams breeds resentment and resistance; and needless to say, a divided company is a bleeding company.
Customer Success Upsell
Wait, what? Let’s go back to customer success for a moment.
There will be no record-breaking upsells or renewals if your customers aren’t satisfied with the main product. The first and most important mission of the customer success team is to ensure that the customers are achieving success. And then, only when they can effectively accomplish their desired goals, your success team can confidently introduce upsell offers. But even if that seems like a logical sequence of steps, a common issue that SaaS businesses must settle on first is who owns upsells.
Ultimately, the only metric that Customer Success teams care about is churn. If customers are churning faster than a company is acquiring new clients, the business will go under, sooner or later. Replacing churned customers by upselling is not an effective tactic. And although this bleak scenario is not a common one, the big question remains the same: who should handle upsells, customer success or sales?
The main reason why many businesses choose to entrust their Customer Success agents with the responsibility of upselling is that they are close to the customer throughout their entire journey and understand their goals and desires much better than anyone else. The true beauty of upselling is that it feels like a natural progression, an easy and logical conclusion. To make offers that make complete sense to existing customers, and to elevate their experience of your product, you must have a good understanding of their pain points and struggles. And no one knows your customers better than your Customer Success team.
The tight connection between Sales and Customer Success functions
In the ideal world, Sales and Customer Success teams should work hand in hand. Although salespeople get most of the credit for closing a deal, customer success agents play a vital role in onboarding and educating new customers, getting them acquainted with all the features and making the best use of the product. Without that crucial element of the sales process, businesses would sink faster than they could say “ROI”.
Ensuring the customer stays on an upward satisfaction trajectory from the very beginning of their experience is crucial. This begins with the sales team’s thorough and diligent lead qualification and ends with the “I’m just checking in” emails from the customer success agents. A smooth and seamless transition from one team to another is a key requirement for any business that hopes to build a loyal customer base and increase their life-long value to the business. The modern customer is often way more demanding than they are forgiving. Once the deal is done and dusted, the customer should know what follows next and why – even a few days of broken communication can lead to churn.
No clue how to make these two teams collaborate and coordinate more effectively? Here’s how we handle it at Teamgate.
Helping Sales and Customer Success teams to work together
As soon as a company has more than one person actively approaching a single account, it becomes critical to have the right systems and processes in place to keep track of all that communication and critically to ensure that it doesn’t overlap. There’s nothing worse for customer experience than to contact an account with a new offer when they’re in the process of trying to troubleshoot an existing issue which they may have. It makes the customer feel like you don’t care about their goals or product experience – you’re just gunning for their money.
So before you set out to bring your Sales and Customer Success functions closer to each other, ask yourself whether you’re armed with the right tools, systems, and processes to make it a success.
Naturally, at Teamgate, we use our smart CRM system to keep up to speed with every team’s actions, collect accurate information and collaborate on various projects. Each time a customer is contacted, the details and outcome of the interaction must be recorded on the system, so whichever member of the team speaks to the customer next, they will already be aware of exactly what has happened in the past, and why.
The Teamgate collaboration between Sales and Customer Success teams was elevated to a complete new level when we completed a Zendesk CRM integration and Freshdesk CRM integration. These are without doubt the two biggest customer support platforms on the market. This integration offers sales teams a complete 360-degree view of all accounts by enriching customer data within Teamgate CRM by means of relevant customer account information from Zendesk and Freshdesk. This means that sales teams no longer need to juggle different tools and platforms to stay up-to-date with customer requests, issues, and relevant activity. Instead, they can tune in to all that information in one place within our CRM.
All the valuable customer information, including support tickets, areas of interest, support issues, deal status, and general communication can be easily accessed within the CRM, using leads, deals, or people cards, and is designed specifically to help sales teams avoid customer experience disasters. Imagine reaching out to a key customer at a dangerously sensitive moment; for example, when they might be experiencing support issues. This type of damage could be irreversible.
Besides helping you to improve the customer experience, giving your teams access to the right tools will also reduce the tension and blame games. Using a CRM to bring the two key functions closer to each other also allows you to look objectively at their performance, identify the weak links, and work single-mindedly towards better solutions. Instead of blaming each other for poorly done work they can now focus on pursuing and achieving their clearly defined targets in tandem. Everybody wins.
Where will you start?
Ideally, your entire business should be geared towards satisfying your customers’ requirements. But, putting the customer first does not just mean optimising your product to perfection. Customer happiness at any given step in their journey, whether they’ve just come onboard or they’re downgrading to a lower plan, is the ultimate indicator of how customer-focused your operations are being managed.
No matter who interacts with the customer, be it a new salesperson or an experienced support agent, the customer should not experience any difference. Working in harmony means that sales and support always stay in the loop, understand the history and context, and share information to deliver an overall gratifying customer experience. And remember, a prosperous business starts with happy customers.