Customer success is vital yet customers are more resourceful and less brand loyal than ever. With many similar sources, customer loyalty is harder to acquire and retain. It is time to up the ante. If you have not integrated customer success early in your sales onboarding process, it is time to do so. Here are three reasons why you should bring customer success into the sales process.
1. Sales Professionals are Short Sighted
It is no secret that sales professionals are rewarded for their efforts. While some compensation plans include incentives for customer loyalty and longevity, many do not. The reason being is that after the sale much of what determines turn over, loyalty and longevity is out of the sales professional’s hands. Most companies quickly leave their new customer to the other departments move to the next potential customer after a sale.
The side effects of this approach are that sales professionals are not incentivized to think long-term, and are, metaphorically, near-sighted. They want to solve customers’ here and now problems and seldom look at long term implications. When you are thinking customer success it is important to have that long term perspective. Bringing a customer success representative into the later parts of the sales process gives you the long term perspective.
Your sales will be a better fit long term. Your customers will be happier. Many of the potential sales you might be losing are going to be customers that actually are not a fit for your business. That is a good thing. This way the customers you have will be brand advocates and lead to more customers that fit the need your business fills. Having a happier customer base is going to help your bottom line and make things easier for all your departments.
2. Transition Overlap Establishes Trust
Having a customer success advocate in the late stages of the sales process gives some overlap allowing for the trust established by the sales professional to be transferred over to the advocate. This advocate will give your new customer a sense of security. They will have this trusted advocate as they move through the entire lifecycle of your service or product. When this trust is established early it moves the expectation from a customer-business relationship to a consulting relationship.
This puts your customer in the position of being an equal player. No one wants to be sold to anymore; they want to be informed and make decisions themselves. Having the advocate there in a non-sales role during the sales process gives the customer that power and security to make decisions confidently.
3. Department Communication is Key to Customer Success
In many businesses you can hear the chatter of department bashing if you listen closely enough. Customer service is blaming sales for every problem, sales blames marketing, marketing blames R&D, R&D blames finance, and on it goes. In many ways these departments can be right about blaming someone else. Customer service would not have problem ‘X’ if sales would just do ‘Y’. Yet being right does not mean it is effective or good for the customer.
Imagine if we talked to the customer in the same way. “I’m sorry ma’am, I would love to help you fix this problem quickly but R&D hasn’t put out the update to get us over this obstacle so it’s going to take at least four hours.” The customer is going to feel like your business unprofessional. Involving the customer success advocate early gives you and the customer a holistic view into the customer experience: from sales, to onboarding, to customer support, IT, and on. This is key for understanding where the departments need improve transitions and message consistency. Improving the lifecycle throughout will maximize the potential of each department and improve customer experience.
You may be a ‘software as a service’ company but it is time to start thinking like a ‘software as a relationship’ company. Building relationships early on prevents problems in the customer lifecycle, inevitably decreasing turn over and turning your customers from businesses that use your product or service to brand advocates. When your customer succeeds, your business succeeds.
Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong Customer Success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.