Customer Success and Sales Collaboration

by Greg Skloot
Communication   |   2 Min Read

Getting your sales and customer success team to collaborate and communicate effectively during the new customer handoff process is always a challenge. I’ve found the following guidelines work as a good start:

1. Build structure for communication

The only way to truly stay aligned is to communicate constantly. Customer Success should be aware of what the sales pipeline looks like and the expected volume and types of new customers coming in each month.

To communicate this well, consider a combination of weekly meetings, shared Slack channels and weekly written updates where at a minimum the team leads have visibility into each other’s worlds.

2. Document the process

There is a multi-step process, from gathering the right details during the sale to documenting it properly in the CRM. These steps should be spelled out and baked into the responsibilities of the sales team. The head of sales needs to enforce the process because sales reps are often wary of adding more steps (rightfully so).

3. Build workflows into your CRM and automation

Some requirements are easy to build into your business operations systems (e.g. your CRM or marketing automation system). For example, if you are required to get a logo from each new customer to use for deploying them, sales reps can be required to upload that into the CRM before being able to mark a deal as closed.

4. Align compensation around successful deployment

Everyone follows the money and aligning compensation is a great way of driving behavior change. If sales reps aren’t paid until a customer is deployed, that incentivizes them to get customer success all of the material needed during the sales process.

5. Share data

There must be transparency on status of each customer and issues encountered. This should be done through a CRM, and major concerns should be highlighted in your written weekly updates. Ideally, both Sales and Customer Success are collaborating in the same CRM where data can be passed between fields.

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6. Create an SLA

To help sales and customer success collaboration, a good practice is to define specific rules for what each department is responsible for, including appropriate time each has to deliver. Using the same example, the SLA might include that every deal closed must have a logo uploaded and that logo must be high resolution. Once this rule is clearly spelled out in writing, it is easier to enforce.

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