While it is common sense that everyone in an organization wants happy customers and great customer experiences, sometimes conflicts arise between the Sales and Customer Success (CS) teams that can result in the opposite. Without even knowing, organizations internally set up a territorial view of the customer or a “me versus them” mentality that causes tensions, and the customer relationship suffers.
To alleviate this tension between the Sales and CS team, the ‘4 Cs’ need to be considered and aligned.
Clear Rules & Responsibilities: One of the main disconnects between Sales and CS is that they don’t understand how the other team interacts with the customer. For example, there may be confusion around who owns the renewal process or who should be responsible for upsell opportunities. When situations like these arise, it causes tension, and customers can feel the disconnect. The key is to make sure the line is not fuzzy. Within your organization’s Customer Lifecycle, clearly indicate and document who owns what part of the relationship and how customers should be engaged every step of the way.
Common Goals: If Sales and Customer Success teams have different goals and incentives, then conflicts will arise. For example, maybe each team's Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are different, with sales driving toward total sales volume and with CS pushing for high customer satisfaction ratings. Each team needs to be incentivized on the same common goals.
Communication: Many times, the Sales and CS teams work in silos. Different team meetings, Slack threads, and reporting structures means that productive communications across departments just don’t happen. Sales doesn’t know what information the CS team has communicated with a customer and vice versa. If this is happening, it’s time to formalize the sharing of information across teams. A common communication stream with information on each customer is needed in a central location. It is important that all use, update and review this information before each customer contact. Also, it is important to have joint sales/CS team meetings, so everyone understands the bigger picture. This also provides an opportunity to get to know the players on each team, allowing relationships to form and individuals to gain an understanding of each other’s goals and incentives.
Celebrate Together: Big, new closed deals are often recognized and celebrated. But there are other things that should be celebrated that can have a significant impact on company growth. Make a big deal about those situations where working as a team benefited the customer. This can be done in joint team meetings, through company-wide communications or in a Kudos channel. Also, make sure each team is celebrated at the same level. A good example of this is to ensure that if your Sales team members can qualify for a President’s Club incentive trip or reward, that your CS team members receive this same opportunity.
Sales and CS alignment leads to happier customers - as well as happier employees.
Who is responsible for the 4 Cs? Executive management needs to set clear roles, responsibilities and goals, while communications and celebrations should happen at every level to start building relationships and bridging gaps.