Last week Tyler Cooper, our Customer Success Manager, wrote about Versature’s cross-functional approach to customer success and why it’s such an integral part of the business. As a fellow member of the Versature Customer Advocates Team and our Sales Team Manager, I thought I’d offer my perspective on customer success from the point of view of a sales team.
Sales serves as a new customer’s first hands-on touchpoint with the company. It is here that both the prospect and the sales representative decide where that relationship will go. So how do we ensure customer success from the top of the funnel, down?
Identifying that Perfect Fit Customer
In a customer success organization, sales is all about identifying that “perfect fit” customer. A perfect fit customer is a customer who is not only interested in purchasing your services, but who is properly aligned with your offering for the long term. Identifying if a prospect is the right fit can be tough… it involves setting expectations, identifying red flags or deal breakers, and looking at all aspects of the deal.
One of the biggest red flags we come across when identifying perfect fit customers for Versature’s business VoIP services is super cost-conscious buyers. I mean those prospects whose only concern is the price of the service and are not interested in looking at the full value of the solution we offer with things like integrations, business insight tools, and Canadian technical support. Affording a customer cost savings on a new phone solution is definitely a plus, but this is not what we define as customer success. Helping their company improve business processes, drive efficiency, and grow is the ultimate goal.
Educating for the Long Haul
Through emails, phone calls, in person meetings, or any other mechanisms your team may have for communicating with and qualifying leads, it is the sales team’s job to a) find the right customers who have the potential to be successful, and then b) set them up for success through resource alignment and education.
What should you educate them on?
- What exactly you offer, and what you don’t
- What the experience will be working with your company and using your service
- What type of after-sales support is available, and how to access it
- Resources for getting the most out of their new service
It’s also an education opportunity for the sales representative. By asking the right questions, Account Managers gain a thorough understanding of the prospect’s business, pain points, and immediate needs in order to determine if they are a fit. Our team is trained to know what a successful customer will look like.
Transparency is crucial in every conversation you have with a prospect. There should never be any surprises, like “Oh, I actually need to buy all these additional things now?” or “Oh, you don’t actually have that functionality available for another 13 months?”. Sales needs to be crystal clear on what you can offer the customer right this day and which specific problems you can address, as well as helping them address any you may not be able to do yourselves. The entire process involves open, two-way communication.
“Communication is key in everything we do, in sales and customer success. When we talk about communication and alignment it’s not only internal, but it’s also external with customers, having transparency with customers, having a united voice of customers, and really understanding your customers’ needs.” Dave Blake, founder and CEO of ClientSuccess
Ability to Say No
Saying “no” is not something frequently taught to sales professionals, but when you start thinking less like a sales organization and more like a customer success organization, then this becomes an integral part of the sales process. We talked about all the work that goes into identifying those perfect fit customers, and when a prospect does not meet 100% of your perfect fit criteria, sales staff need to know that they can say no. Saying no to those who don’t align with your services and business offering leads to less headaches for both parties down the road and can help avoid costly back-tracking on agreements or broken service terms. Getting every sale shouldn’t be the focus, instead it should be all about getting the best sale which leads to a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.
Interested in seeing first hand how we ensure customer success? Work with one of our Sales Account Managers today!