December 2023 Question of the Month

Bernadette Risley
Bernadette Risley Member, CS Leader Posts: 1 Navigator
edited January 26 in CS Org Conversations

Bridging the gap between Sales and Customer Success: How can you align efforts and drive Customer Success as an ongoing sales motion?



  • llitton
    llitton Member, CS Leader Posts: 10 Navigator
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    To strengthen the synergy between Sales and Customer Success, we're evolving our approach. Here's a breakdown:

    1. Targeted Research Calls: Our joint Sales & Marketing team is focusing on districts where we already have partnerships. They engage district-level leads to understand their classroom management needs. Simultaneously, our Success team connects with existing partners to learn about their successful implementations. These insights turn into webinars and podcasts hosted by the Growth team, forming content for newsletters and prospects.
    2. Ownership of Largest Deals: The head of Success now handles larger inbound deals that demand a deeper engagement, typically districts with more than six schools. This process ensures a smooth journey from discovery to closure, building on the needed pre-sales support.
    3. CSQL Ownership: Customer Success Managers (CSMs) are now in charge of Customer Sales Qualified Leads (CSQLs) from discovery to closure. Whenever there's a referral or inbound interest, our team takes ownership of nurturing and closing the deal.

    This year promises a closer collaboration between Success and more traditional sales functions. We aim to leverage testimonials, address objections, and drive both renewals and expansion opportunities. It's an exciting period for us to showcase our combined strengths and elevate our customer satisfaction and growth efforts.

  • Brian O'Keeffe
    Brian O'Keeffe Member Posts: 209 Expert
    First Anniversary Photogenic 5 Insightfuls First Comment

    I see the teams as one. CS protects and grows the revenue and is a steward of the customer experience. We always seek leads to feed the sales team but never sell.

  • John Baumgarten
    John Baumgarten Member Posts: 1 Navigator
    First Comment Photogenic

    How can we bridge the gap between sales and customer success ? Really the question is how can customer success add value to the customer's pre sales experience. Our approach is to hold brief 15 minute stand up calls with sales twice a week. I operate in a smaller growth company with two US reps and one sales engineer. If you're in a bigger org. you could do this by territory. These calls are opportunities to build trust with sales , talk about and get visibility into pipeline opportunities and collaborate on tactics to drive deals forward and build revenue. As someone already stated we are one team and we take a partnership approach to CX.

  • Brian Aherne
    Brian Aherne Member, CS Leader Posts: 12 Navigator
    First Comment 5 Likes Name Dropper Photogenic


    Customer Success should be part of the Sales Cycle. When Sales are at the discovery stage with a customer and there is a strong buying signal they engage with CS. This ensures that the CS team can deliver on the sales promise. Also the original business case becomes the backbone for the QBR meetings. It helps set the strategy for the relationship and the QBR documents the tactics. The recurring impact that the team helps the customer achieve is fed then to Marketing.

    The Marketing team then have authentic content to help source better leads for Sales, who will then be easier customers for CS to manage. Including testimonials etc.

    As Brian mentioned above CS doesn't sell, but we deliver a lot of CSQL these are closed by sales.

    CS focuses on adoption and quality of the usage, they focus on recurring impact reported through the QBRs.

    CS and Marketing are key components in the sales cycle but it's important to differentiate these roles or it can get messy.