Does Your Sales Team Hurt Customer Success?

Last Updated April 23rd, 2019

sales, incentive, customer success, customer experience, Nick Hart, Outreach, Outreach.io, The Customer Experience Podcast

 

Sometimes it’s a bad thing when the sales team closes the deal.

A customer experience may involve a salesperson promising something that the customer success team can’t deliver.

This causes problems for everyone and can lead to churn. Because sales isn’t typically incentivized on renewals, a hyper-efficient sales team can create a bad customer experience if they are crushing quota with the wrong people or in the wrong way.

How do you stop this?

For insightful and valuable answers, I asked Nick Hart, Strategic Customer Success Manager at Outreach, the market-leading sales engagement platform, how to ensure that the sales team and customer success team are on the same page.

Nick gives us a useful framework for developing and using customer success metrics, some tips on connecting CS with sales, marketing, and leadership teams, and much more. Enjoy!

 

Does Your Sales Team Hurt Customer Success?

You can listen to The Customer Experience Podcast in iTunes / Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Play, Libsyn, Stitcher, and Sound Cloud.

We’ll also embed each conversation into episode-by-episode blog posts like this one.

Hear the entire conversation with Nick Hart right here …

 

Customer Success Metrics

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Sales metrics are easy. Customer success metrics are evolving and very dependent on what the client’s goals are.

Customer success can help the client define what success means to them, which KPIs they want to hit.

Whichever success metrics you choose, review them often, at least quarterly.

customer experience, customer success, success metrics, KPI, metrics

 

In this short video clip from our conversation, Nick explains why success metrics are so important and three ways to source them …

 

 

When Closing The Deal Can Be Problematic

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A salesperson may just want to get deals across the finish line.

In many businesses, customer acquisition costs are amortized over a year or more. This means that a customer who doesn’t renew may actually cost your company money.

From a financial point of view, sales may need to be incentivized to prioritize prospects who are most likely to renew.

In this video clip, Nick explains why this is so important for the business …

 

In order to do that, sales needs to be kept in the customer success loop so that they see who is or is not renewing and why. This can be a meeting or just a monthly spreadsheet that is distributed to the sales team.

The best way to prevent churn is to have customer success join sales on calls.

“I will hop on calls with our salespeople,” said Hart. “Sometimes I have to say, ‘we should not be selling that. It is really difficult, if not impossible to set up.’ You need to make sure that there’s good communication throughout your organization.”

Here, Nick explains why it’s so important to keep salespeople in the feedback loop …

 

 

Who Should Send Marketing Materials?

The messenger matters more than the message. If the customer success team sends an email, it usually gets above a 45% open rate. When marketing sends the same email, open rates can be in the teens or twenties.

The difference is that the email comes from a person the recipient likely knows instead of a marketing automation channel.

Customer success needs more produced materials from the marketing team. The focus needs to be on “news users can use.” For example, when a new feature comes out, it would be great to have produced material that highlights how to use it.

Marketing can create a draft of a whole email sequence that customer success can customize for each recipient.

Let’s say your new feature is only available to customers who upgrade to a higher level. Having a customer success person explain how the feature would help that specific customer will help increase your company’s sales.

 

Bring Your Executive to Work Day

One of the best ways to ensure customer success is during the onboarding process. Bring a member of your company’s executive suite to the onboarding meetings.

First, it will impress the customer. It will also elevate the discussion to the executive level on the customer side.

More importantly, it will help inform the executive about who your company’s customers really are.

This hands-on experience is better than any buyer persona data set.

 

Sales Sequences for More Productivity

Outreach makes sales teams more efficient and effective.

The software helps salespeople know which touchpoints to hit at which times. It builds a structure for engaging prospects that you can repeat across everyone on your sales team. It looks at your sales process to define the sequence of touches that leads to a sale. Does it take seven touchpoints? Does it take three emails, three phone calls, or does it need some LinkedIn statuses and social touches?

All of that can be measured automatically through Outreach so that you can refine your process and become more effective over time. Take your best salesperson and give her or his process to your other team members.

The only peril of all this productivity is to make sure that the sales team is landing the prospects that have the highest probability to renew.

Bonus: Click here to send video email from Outreach.

 

A Lesson from One of the Best in the Business

In reading up on Nick prior to the episode, I noticed that he worked for Nordstrom about ten years earlier. Knowing that the company is legendary from a customer experience standpoint, I asked him for a lesson he learned in his onboarding and training with them.

His response echoes powerful “do the right thing” lessons from previous guests of the podcast, including Rachel Ostrander, Director of Runner Experience at Brooks Running, and CX and marketing keynote speaker David Avrin.

Here’s what Nick shared about his time at Nordstrom …

 

 

This post is based on an interview with Nick Hart, Strategic Customer Success Manager at Outreach.

You can connect with Nick Hart via LinkedIn and check out Outreach at Outreach.io.

Learn more about the BombBomb-Outreach integration by clicking here.

Learn how to send videos in your Outreach emails by clicking here.

 

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Ethan Beute | About The Author

Marketing, branding, content. Writer, producer, editor. Photos and videos. Building campaigns. Tracking results. Background in local television station marketing and promotion. VP, Content and Communication, BombBomb. BA, University of Michigan. MBA, University of Colorado-Colorado Springs. Fresh air & clean water.