4 Sales Leaders Share How They Align Their Teams for Customer Success

How can sales leaders be sure that their teams are focused on more than a number? Putting customers first in the sales process can be incredibly challenging for some organizations and teams. With so many competing priorities, deadlines, and metrics hanging over sales teams, how do companies ensure that the customer is the hero and is always put first?

The customer is the reason sales leaders have a job in the first place. These sales leaders love their customers and do whatever they can throughout the entire sales journey to ensure they are listening, challenging, and helping customers – all with the intention of making the customer the hero at the end of the day. And while some sales leaders have different views, tactics, and manage their teams differently, in this post, you’ll see that all believe that the customer is the lifeblood of their business and should be the center of culture across the entire company.

You see, the mission of sales and the mission of customer success is the same: win customers and keep (and grow) them for life. So, how can sales leaders align their teams for customer success? Let’s dive into 3 practical topics and let the sales leaders explain how they respond to each of these questions in their own organizations:

How can the customer be the hero throughout the sales process?

When it comes to ensuring the customer is always the hero for sales teams, Adam Becker gives this advice: “Having a consistent (and loud) voice of the customer is critical. All areas of the business need to understand what’s working and what is not in order to change and adapt to the ever evolving landscape. At TinderBox, we have small weekly meetings to talk about success and challenges across a number of segments of our business, then larger monthly meetings to dive into details and action items.”

– Adam Becker, Director, Sales & Account Management, TinderBox

Ensuring the customer is always first throughout the sales process is important to Scott Shepherd and his team at Alteryx. So when explaining how he and his team do this, he commented, “We don’t try and boil the ocean when it comes to our sales process. We are very intentional about setting the customer up for success by getting them started with a relatively light commitment to Alteryx. Once onboard, we help our customer’s quickly build to an optimal state of growth through leveraging our engineers, customer service, and user groups to help ensure their success.”

Scott’s advice to other sales leaders when it comes to putting customers first? “Make sure the importance of the customer is immersed in the fabric of your company,” Scott emphasized. “Customer success has to be authentic and felt by the customer in every interaction with your brand. Put systems and processes in place to make sure every customer feels like they’re the only customer you do business with; your interactions with them should be highly personalized.”

– Scott Shepherd, Director, Vice President, Commercial Sales, Alteryx

What metrics should sales leaders measure to determine customer success?

Todd Caponi of PowerReviews monitors a specific set of metrics to determine success or failure when it comes to engagement with customers. PowerReviews has built a platform that has a low total cost of ownership for their clients. And according to Todd, it doesn’t need much ongoing maintenance. “However, the opportunities for our clients to optimize the way they engage with their consumers are practically never ending,” he went on to say. “Our proactive customer success team uses client data on review generation, purchase-to-review ratios, page load times (which really matter for the in-store, mobile consumer of reviews), and a host of other metrics. We also closely monitor net promoter scores, we survey our customers frequently, and have a highly engaged customer advisory board.”

– Todd Caponi, Senior Vice President of Sales, PowerReviews

Adam Becker of TinderBox and his team track the success (or failure) of customer engagement with their products or services in 3 major categories across the customer journey. First, throughout the implementation, they track success by the timeliness of completing the project. Second, once they have a successfully implemented project, they then focus heavily on adoption, and use individual user-by-user data to determine if the tool is being used to its potential. Lastly, they measure success based upon their ability to help the customer meet their original objectives.

– Adam Becker, Director, Sales & Account Management, TinderBox

How often should sales leaders engage directly with customers?

Because customers are so critical to Conner Burt’s sales team at Lesson.ly, he interacts with customers often – even on a daily basis – to hear how Lesson.ly customers describe the value of the product. According to Conner, “Customers drive our product roadmap. They help align marketing and sales by helping us really better understand the challenges we’re solving for them, in their own world. Our sales and marketing teams often use messaging that comes directly from our customers, so meeting with them regularly and having a strong pulse on how our customers are doing is key to our company’s success.”

– Conner Burt, Head of Partnerships & Sales Strategy, Lesson.ly

Because customers are so fundamental to Todd’s role at PowerReviews, a key part is to develop and maintain key strategic relationships with the company’s customer base. Todd went on to explain, “I, along with my team, are part of Initial conversations during the selling cycles, relationship building at events, check-ins during their journey with us, and special eCommerce/digital marketing leadership dinners we host around North America and Europe. I take pride in doing my homework prior to those interactions and holding myself to the same requirement of driving incremental value and teaching something new to the customer in every conversation.”

– Todd Caponi, Senior Vice President of Sales, PowerReviews

To succeed with customer success at your organization, it takes alignment and collaboration with Sales. How does your organization ensure that your Sales + Customer Success teams are working together with the collective mission of making your customers the heroes?

Dave Blake is the Founder/CEO of ClientSuccess, a SaaS platform helping customer success leaders and teams manage, retain, and grow their existing customer base. Dave is an industry veteran with over a decade of experience in the space, including leading global teams for Adobe and Omniture prior to founding ClientSuccess.

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