The following is a guest post by Allison Banks, Customer Success Manger at vPlaybook.
When salespeople and customer success specialists view themselves as part of the same team and process, it creates a healthy company. They have to have the same training to achieve this mindset, but it makes sense based on the similarity in their skill sets and the role they play within a company – driving growth. Customer Success is a newer field in the business industry and a lot of the time it’s the last department added in a company. This isn’t due to lack of importance, but rather the broad range of abilities that a customer success specialist covers, which is initially scattered among many salespeople until it’s too much. When it’s time to implement a CSM in a company, it begs the question; what does a customer success team need to get started? Well, they need that same training that the salespeople have gotten. Why?
Their skill requirements are the same:
When you think of someone in a customer success position, they probably are charismatic, good at communicating, and organized. They can own their projects and sort themselves in a way to meet milestones consistently, which is great because these roles in a company are client facing and require an intense amount of interaction. Now, when you think of a stellar salesperson, they typically have those same traits. They have to be comfortable and adept at approaching clients, all the while being pleasant and engaging. Knowing this, it makes sense to approach training salespeople and customer success specialists with the same materials, because they possess similar qualities.
They both sell:
Sales equals selling. That’s something a child can define, but maybe more challenging for a kid to grasp is customer success. However, customer success managers do the exact same thing. Think about it; sales is a field that focuses on finding the solution to a client or potential client’s issue at hand. Sales people work hard to uncover the needs of clients and customize their products and services to win a deal. In customer success roles, it’s not all that different. Customer success specialists find a solution, but instead of just focusing on the client’s initial pain point it’s for the client’s growth goals. The focus is shifted, but the behavior between the roles is the same. Both roles uncover a need, customize a solution, and make it happen. Whether they are presenting a physical product, a renewal of a contract, or an expansion opportunity, they both are trying to get a client to buy into something.
Plans are a necessity:
Project management is huge to making the business world go ‘round. Having a plan is what makes both fields work efficiently and meshes the internal teams of a company together. When the sales team and the success team are aligned, and customer focused, they have to be in sync and there is no better way to make that happen than ensuring they all know what the other is doing. Each group has to have a journey map, an account plan, and day-to-day agendas that are clearly communicated. When you train a new salesperson, you walk them through the usual tasks they will be logging and working with them to implement quarterly goals. This same approach has to occur with customer success specialists as well. They have to know how to make and reach their goals. Being customer focused is at the heart of these two positions, they just focus on different parts of the cycle and in order to approach the client at the right time, they have to have their plans in sync.
If you equip your CSMs with the tenets of proper sales training, they will learn how to build trust with the customer through listening and understanding their needs and by providing a consultative role in helping them achieve their desired results all while creating additional interest in products and services. This type of conversational selling will help drive revenue growth in a whole new way. You will see increases in not only renewals but up-sells and cross-sells, which only comes from truly understanding the customer’s business and finding opportunities for expansion.
Allison Banks is the Customer Success Manager for vPlaybook; a sales enablement software by DSG Consulting. Working hard to ensure that all clients can meet their goals, she strives everyday with the vPlaybook team to better their company and industry.
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