CSM should leverage sales and support

How can the Customer Success Manager leverage Sales and Support to drive Renewals?

One of the most debated topics that are prevailing around the SaaS world is- Who should be owning renewals? Customer Success team or the Sales team. A study shows that the companies that most the SaaS Companies follow one of these three types of Renewal ownership model-

Renewal Template

Model 1: Sales owns new logos, expansion, and renewals

Model 2: Customer Success owns expansion and renewals

Model 3: A separate customer-focused sales team owns expansion and renewals

Whichever ownership model is adopted, all of the three departmental efforts are seen to have a lot of overlap. The main similarity lies in their ability and necessity to build a relationship with their customers. A successful business is led by a healthy collaboration with each and every team committed to providing better service. The more customer-centric your business is, the more likely it is to succeed.

How does sales work with customer success ?

Although both sales and customer success are customer-facing in nature. Typically, sales is more focused on transactions and upsells, while customer success is mainly focused on client growth and adoption. Because of the difference in tasks, the day-to-day for a customer success manager can look completely different than the day-to-day for a salesperson.

How do you align Customer Success and Sales ?

Aligning the Sales and Customer Success departments ensures your entire company is working together towards delivering success.

Although Customer Success is usually thought of as a post-sales role, sometimes it’s vital to get Customer Success involved pre-contract by establishing a perfect sale to Sucess handover.

Sales teams should be working as a team to push a sale forward, they should bring in the Customer Success Manager (CSM) to be their trusted advisor.

The CSM knows the customers’ current state, product, and needs, which can be a handy tool for the Sales team to leverage the sale.

Combining both Sales and CS to offer the best value for the customer might sound trivial, but that’s not always the case. Most companies we’ve spoken to stated that since the two teams have different KPIs, goals, and focal points, they don’t always see eye to eye.

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So why should you do it?

  • Having an established relationship with the customer and knowing their needs can speed up the sales process from months to several weeks.
  • CSMs can help Sales predict and optimize the pricing model, features included, and assist in objection handling processes.

By having more sets of eyes on the process, you can make sure it is executed and nothing falls through the cracks.

How Customer Support and Customer Success work together ?

the Customer support team is mainly involved in resolving product-related issues and educating the customer about how the product works. Whereas, Customer success teams, by contrast, proactively work with customers to understand their business goals and help them find success with the product, thereby increasing the lifetime value of the customer.

Combining Customer Success and Support

The ultimate goal of Customer Success and Support teams is to satisfy customers, reduce churn, and increase retention. To do so, both teams need to work together closely to monitor client behaviors to ensure they’re consistently meeting their business goals. If not, both Customer Support and Success teams need to come together to take action and re-engage the customer.

Suggested Read: Renewal Template

Here are a few best collaborative practices that could help you achieve renewal through better customer retention- 

  • By giving your Customer Support and Success team members access to the same productivity tools, you’re ensuring that they have a complete overview of your client’s activities and  information, resulting in quicker, higher quality service.
    This means that you should  be using a tool that saves you time and effort through automation. It should also be easily accessible by all team members, and allow you to track, store, and view relevant information .
  • It’s essential for Customer Success and Support teams to work together as a united front. Because Customer Support teams are generally dealing with customer issues, it’s their job to relay the feedback they receive to Customer Success teams. If they don’t, this valuable feedback will be lost, which can impact your business negatively.

A great way to collect feedback and improve retention is by creating surveys (NPS, CSAT, CES), customer interviews (long-form, face to face), or by monitoring online review portals. After feedback is collected, customer success and support teams should come together to analyze the findings and create actionable insights to improve customer satisfaction. The goal is to bridge the gap between customer expectations and reality in terms of your support, and product.


Additional Resources: The Net Promoter Score Industry Trends 2021

  • There’s nothing worse than contacting Customer Support and being ‘passed around’ from one agent to another. Even though Customer Success and Support teams have different roles , the customers don’t necessarily know that. So, if a customer contacts Support, but the issue is clearly in the Success team’s ‘jurisdiction’, they need to be handed off to the other team smoothly.
    If no explanation is provided for the handoff, customers can become frustrated and churn. Make sure you always let your customers know why you can’t help them. Why the other team will be more equipped to help them.OR who they can expect to hear from, and when.

Final thought

The first way to ensure increased renewal is to encourage the other functional groups to partner with Customer Success. Make them understand their role in making customers successful with your product or service. Make a part of the annual performance review have a section for how they’ve helped customers. Getting everyone in that frame of mind will promote understanding. Both Sales, CS and Support only have this role because there are customers who pay for the end product. 

P.S. – The main image has been taken from pexels.com

Payal is working in the Marketing Department at CustomerSuccessBox. She is majoring in Biotechnology and is casually curious about the SaaS economy and designing prosthetics. And in life, she readily preaches the idea of Carpe diem.