By Amin Akbarpour
Most team names make it pretty obvious what they do: Sales sells stuff, Marketing markets stuff, and the list goes on. The same can be said for Customer Success. It is our focus to ensure success for our customer base. In order to do that as account managers, we must be well-aligned internally across multiple departments: Sales, Marketing, Product, and Support.
A customer doesn’t become a customer without Sales. At the same time, to get the customer to sign that long-term deal might require some backup from the customer success side of the house. Help your sales colleagues by getting involved towards the end of the sales cycle to ensure a successful transition and set the scene for the upcoming on-boarding period.
Tip: Build out a formal process plan. That should include the sales to customer success handoff so everyone is on the same page.
It’s huge to be able to provide your marketing team with tangible content. That could mean a case study, customer quotes, partnering up on a webinar, or speaking at an event. Customer testimonials are a great way of validating yourselves as a company. Additionally, your marketing team can build out case studies and other resources for you to share with customers. Demonstrating how other customers have found success can be extremely useful when you’re combatting biases or issues with your offering.
Tip: Make gathering customer stories and references a part of your account plan. After a successful on-boarding and demonstrating the value of your product, know how you'll ask for this information.
Support is often an arm of the customer success team. Needless to say, without strong teamwork and communication it becomes difficult to provide a great experience to your customer base. Customer success can provide feedback to the support team about requested features and customer feedback. In turn, the support team can take on the burden of difficult technical issues and work with product and engineering teams to turn customer requests into action.
Tip: Keep a very open and transparent communication channel with your Support team. Processes should be well defined so both teams know who is doing what, and can provide a smooth customer experience.
Product teams are the pulse of SaaS companies. They balance the need for innovation with customer requests and the need to stay competitive with whatever other solutions are out on the market. The best way that customer success teams can help their product team find the right balance is to ensure that feature requests and product enhancements are documented and prioritized.
Tip: Keep track of customer requests in a centralized place so you can give your Product team hard numbers about what’s being requested the most and the dollar and cents behind those requests.
There should be some commonalities in how customer success communicates across all departments. Remain persistent, patient, and be respectful of your coworker’s other responsibilities. At the end of the day, customer success isn’t something owned by a single individual or team. It’s a company mentality that everyone must embrace. Be the voice for the customer to ensure that’s the case for you and your organization!
Need help defining how and when to engage with other teams in your company? The Success League works with customer success leaders to build customer success playbooks that help optimize communication, teamwork and results. www.TheSuccessLeague.io
Amin Akbarpour - Amin is a customer success coach and architect. With relationship-building at the core of his practice, he molds teams by instilling the necessary principles to transform them into trusted advisors. Understanding what's needed for organizational change, he translates theory and ideology into practice and habit. Amin currently serves as an Account Manager for Persado. Originally from Southern California, Amin is a University of San Francisco alum who is grateful to still call San Francisco his home.