In today’s business landscape of driving revenue efficiently , companies are always looking for ways to generate revenue and stay profitable. However, in a challenging economic climate, sales representatives feel the pressure to close deals more than ever before. With the increasing difficulty in closing new deals, sales reps have an opportunity to expand existing relationships with upsell/cross-sell. But there is a misalignment in incentives and priorities between sales and customer success teams, which can lead to a breakdown in collaboration and negatively impact the customer experience.
Revenue is the number one priority for Sales, whereas, for a Customer Success Manager (CSM), revenue is just one of the many things they have to worry about. Upsell/cross-sell initiatives may not have the same velocity depending on who owns them. While everyone should prioritize revenue ultimately, that is not the day-to-day reality of a CSM who is a catch-all for everything “customer.”
The pressure to allow sales into the customer base is increasing. Sales may already be calling in without coordination with CS, which can cause frustration among customers. It is imperative to establish Growth Playbooks and Rules of Engagement to ensure that the customer experience is not sacrificed for the sake of revenue.
Align Teams with right playbacks and clear rules of engagement
Growth Playbooks are a set of best practices, strategies, and tactics that businesses follow to drive customer growth. It is a roadmap for achieving customer success by outlining the steps necessary to get there. One of the most significant challenges with implementing these strategies is getting buy-in from both teams. Sales reps are often focused on closing new deals, while customer success teams are focused on retaining and growing existing customers. To overcome these challenges, a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility must be created.
Rules of Engagement, on the other hand, are guidelines for how the sales and customer success teams should work together to achieve their goals. They should outline the process for how to manage customer interactions, how to handle escalations, how to communicate internally, and how to collaborate on initiatives like upsell/cross-sell. They should also include a RACI matrix to ensure clear accountability.
Here are some of the key rules of engagement between sales and customer success managers:
Clear communication: Effective communication is critical to ensure that both teams are on the same page. The sales and customer success teams should have open and transparent communication channels to share feedback, ideas, and updates on customer accounts.
Defined roles and responsibilities: It is essential to have clear roles and responsibilities for both teams to ensure accountability. Sales teams should focus on closing new deals, while customer success managers should focus on retaining and growing existing customers.
Joint account planning: Joint account planning is a collaborative process where sales and customer success teams work together to identify growth opportunities within existing customer accounts. By working together, they can create a more comprehensive approach to growth that benefits both the customer and the company.
RACI matrix: A RACI matrix helps to define who is responsible, accountable, consulted, and informed for each task or initiative. This matrix ensures that all team members know their roles and responsibilities for specific tasks.
Handling escalations: There should be a defined process for handling customer escalations. Both sales and customer success teams should work together to address the issue promptly and ensure that the customer’s needs are met.
Performance tracking: It’s essential to track the performance of both teams to identify areas for improvement. The sales and customer success teams should establish metrics that measure their performance and work together to achieve their goals.
Customer-centric approach: Sales and customer success teams should focus on the customer’s needs and work together to create a positive customer experience. They should collaborate to identify ways to improve customer satisfaction and retention.
OKR Alignment : As leaders, KPI & goals alignment is required so that collaboration & corporation is all every level.
Collaboration between sales and customer success can be achieved through joint account planning. Joint account planning is a collaborative process in which sales and customer success teams work together to identify the best opportunities for growth within their existing customer base. It involves identifying key stakeholders in the customer’s organization and creating a plan that will help them achieve their business objectives. By working together, sales and customer success can create a more comprehensive approach to growth that benefits both the customer and the company.
The key to managing the pace of growth is to find a balance that allows for sustainable growth without sacrificing the customer experience. Sales reps must understand the value of customer success in retaining customers and creating upsell/cross-sell opportunities. Customer success teams need to understand the importance of revenue growth in sustaining the business and retaining their own jobs.
Collaboration between sales and customer success teams is essential to unlocking growth potential. Growth Playbooks and Rules of Engagement can help achieve customer success and revenue growth. Implementing these strategies may pose challenges, but by creating a culture of collaboration and shared responsibility and through joint account planning, sales and customer success teams can create a more comprehensive approach to growth that benefits both the customer and the company.
Co-Founder, AppEQ.ai ; 2X Founder, Passionate about Customer Led Growth | Technology Enthusiast | Customer Success Leader