Customers have high expectations from their chosen vendors – they want a great experience that delivers results. Integrating your customer success team with your sales process is an effective way to meet those expectations.
Customer experience is more important than ever. Up to 73% of people point to customer experience as a major factor in their purchasing decisions, while 42% would pay a premium for a great experience. Fail to meet the mark and there are serious consequences too: 17% of customers would leave after just one bad experience.
Integrating your customer success team into your sales process is key to creating a first-class experience. It allows both teams to support each other and share feedback to make your customers’ lives as easy as possible.
This collaboration can also lead to account growth. Whether it’s upselling or identifying “white space” (other divisions in your customer’s company you could work with), it’s hard to build on those opportunities if your two departments aren’t talking.
Three ways to integrate customer success with sales
With the economic uncertainty over the last few years, more companies are focusing on sustainable growth. That means finding ways to grow existing accounts and retain customers in the long term.
Integrating customer success with the sales process goes hand in hand with this. Rather than simply chasing numbers to fill quotas, it can help sales teams to target the best prospects and close the right deals.
Here are three ways to align customer success and sales.
1. Collaborate on your ideal client profile
An ideal client profile (ICP) defines the perfect customer for your organisation. It helps sales reps target the right people, personalise contact and give prospects a meaningful reason to engage.
Without an ICP, your sales team risks wasting time on prospects that aren’t a good fit. Even if it results in a sale, poorly fitting customers rarely pan out in the long term. This is because:
- The customer success team has to invest time and resources into making your product work effectively – time that could be better spent on more profitable accounts
- You face an uphill battle to upsell or grow the account
- The customer is more likely to churn
Integrating customer success into your sales process provides an invaluable view of what happens after the sale. Which customers achieved their goals with your product? Which ones didn’t? Who has gone on to become the strongest advocate?
Sharing this information benefits both teams. Sales reps can refine their ICPs and approach each sale with a stronger proposition; customer success teams work with happier customers that are less likely to churn.
2. Develop a smooth handover process
A signed contract always creates a buzz, especially at the end of a six-month or even year-long sales cycle. The sales team is excited to get it over the line and the customer is excited to start.
A sure-fire way to deflate that buzz? Put your new customer in front of a customer success rep that knows nothing about their business.
The sales rep should have collected plenty of information during the sales process, including challenges, goals and desired outcomes. It’s crucial to have a system in place to pass that information on. Without one, your customer has to go through the frustrating process of facing questions they’ve already answered.
Ask your sales reps to fill in a one-page handover doc or arrange a quick call with customer success at the end of the sales process. The latter is harder to keep track of in big teams, so it’s best to opt for written documents until the habit sticks.
3. Look at the customer’s journey end to end
As Harvard Business Review found, most customers aren’t put off by a single phone call or interaction. What reduces satisfaction is the cumulative experience over time.
During a review of one company’s onboarding, individual interactions went well but average customer satisfaction fell over 40% over the course of the journey. It wasn’t the touchpoints that needed to be improved, but the customer journey as a whole.
With that in mind, it’s vital to take a holistic view over the customer journey. If your sales and customer success teams are siloed, their individual inputs may be flawless but there’s no guarantee the journey will work as a whole.
One way to avoid this is to promote collaboration from the top. Look at your target-setting process and make sure you aren’t setting conflicting goals for the two teams.
For example, if your sales team is focusing solely on scale, recognise that reps will likely chase ill-fitting clients to get their numbers up. This will, inevitably, create challenges if your customer success team is tasked with retention (see our first point on ICPs).
Create a seamless sales process with Flume
At Flume, we deliver a powerful mix of live action coaching and on-demand content to give sales teams the tools, practice and motivation to sell at the highest level in 2023.