What’s better for your business to focus on: customer success or sales? Customer success is the practice of cultivating deep and lasting relationships with your customers, which can unlock lasting customer lifetime value for your business. And sales is, well, sales: a customer makes a single transaction and your business profits. However, no business can thrive without making sales to new customers. So, how can you know which one to devote more resources to?
Customer success and sales are two primary business objectives you should target with equal emphasis. They offer more benefits—from increased customer retention to greater revenue to higher rates of customer satisfaction— when they work together and are pursued simultaneously, as their closely linked nature augments each other’s progress. And if your firm isn’t fully pursuing both customer success and sales together, you won’t receive the full value of it either. Let’s take a closer look at the tightly-knit relationship between customer success and sales and explore ways to enhance both.
Customer Success and Sales: Two Sides of One Lucrative Coin
It all starts with sales. Your marketing and sales team spends a lot of time and effort finding customers and getting them through the sales funnel and over the finish line. But what happens next? Your sales and marketing teams will go through the process again, while your customer success team works on retaining that customer by cultivating a strong relationship.
When you have a customer success team in place, it’s important to focus on their efforts. You contact the customer after the sale, thanking them for their business and kicking off the onboarding process. It’s important that the hand-off between sales and the customer success team is handled properly and that sales are notified long before renewal rolls around. You monitor their use of your product and periodically send communications teaching them how to fully use and adopt the product. You learn exactly what value the customer wants to gain or what pain points they want to solve. If the customer initiates contact, your customer success team treats it as an important opportunity to better understand the customer journey. This establishes a strong relationship with the customer and puts you on the path to building a lasting bond.
As time goes on and your customer has fully adopted your product, you’ll start to see more benefits. Customers who need additional products or services will be more likely to buy from you. But it doesn’t end there. By demonstrating attentive service and value, you win the customer’s loyalty and trust. They may begin to talk about your brand, recommending you to their contacts and leaving positive reviews. They may share your posts or let people know about your new products or features, providing free marketing. Soon, you will have a loyal following. This raises your brand’s reputation and prestige in the eyes of other potential clients, which generates new leads for you naturally!
You will need to be sure that communication between customer success and sales stays open. For instance, the sales team will want to know about events such as high usage rates, escalations and when renewal will be happening. This way, both teams can continue to work collaboratively.
This is how your sales and customer success team can work together to keep customers happy, which leads to even more sales. The relationship between customer success and sales is that of a positive feedback loop that yields more and more value as time goes on. That’s why you want to work on both goals simultaneously.
How to Boost Customer Success and Sales
To get started, bring your customer success and sales goals into alignment. This means encouraging greater collaboration and communication between your customer success and sales teams. A salesperson is like a hunter who searches for customers and closes sales. A customer success specialist is like a farmer who engages customers after the sale in order to nurture and grow relationships over time. These two roles use different strategies, but they should keep the same overall goal in mind: retention.
Salespeople should not seek to just force a one-time sale; rather, think about helping the customer achieve their long-term goals and present the product as a resource they could use daily. Customer success specialists should also nurture the relationship without hammering home cross-sells or upsells. In fact, you should only encourage an upsell if you know it will truly be valuable for that particular customer. After all, the key to long-term retention is to cultivate mutual trust and an exchange of value, not to pressure customers into spending more money. If you do it right, the relationship will ultimately generate higher profits, as you’ve shown the customer that you value them as a person and don’t simply see them as a source of revenue.
In short, you must humanize the relationship between the customer and your brand. That means interacting with each customer as a valued person with common business goals.
Combine Your Customer Success and Sales Efforts
When it comes to customer success or sales, neither one is “better” than the other. And neither one should be your sole area of focus. Instead, your business should seek to advance them both simultaneously. This will raise customer lifetime value, which increases revenue and attracts even more customers.
If your business is struggling to retain new customers, try using a customer success platform. Such software can help you become more customer-centric and improve your ability to proactively present and respond to roadblocks along the path to customer success. Plus, a high-quality customer success platform is designed around best practices that will help you manage post-sales activities for all your customers, no matter how many you have.
So, make sure your business enhances both its customer success and sales efforts. Together, they form two sides of a highly lucrative coin.