Customer success (CS) is a crucial aspect of any business, as it focuses on ensuring that customers are satisfied and successful with the product or service they have purchased. However, many companies struggle with aligning their customer success efforts with their sales and marketing strategies, operating in silos with customer data fragmented across each. In this article, we will explore the importance of bringing these teams together and provide tips on how to do so effectively.
Why is aligning customer success with sales and marketing important?
Increased customer retention and loyalty
One of the main reasons why aligning teams is crucial is because it leads to increased customer retention and loyalty. Currently, SaaS and fintech retention rates fall under 40% - so there’s a massive opportunity for improvement. This poor number is likely due to the fact that less than 20% of companies are actually focusing on retention, while most are spending most of their time and effort on customer acquisition.
We know that the latter strategy costs more; it’s time to be smarter with our resources and also deliver better for those buying our products and services. When customer success, sales and marketing teams work together, they can create a seamless customer experience that focuses on meeting the needs and expectations of the customer. This, in turn, leads to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty, resulting in increased retention rates.
Improved cross-selling and upselling opportunities
Alignment allows the teams to identify opportunities for cross-selling and upselling to existing customers. Existing customers are 50% more likely to try your business’s new product and the probability of selling to them is between 60-70% so there’s easy(er) money on the table if customers are given the love and care they deserve throughout their journey.
According to McKinsey, companies that put experience at the centre of their growth strategies can see up to 15-25% increase in cross-selling, 10% higher wallet share and up to 30% higher satisfaction and engagement.
Better understanding of customer needs and pain points
A unified, cross-functional approach also allows a better understanding of the customer's needs and pain points. This enables them to create more targeted and effective messaging and campaigns that will resonate with the customer and address their specific pain points. This in turn makes your customer feel seen.
74% of buyers say that feeling understood and valued are the key components in customer loyalty - 64% of them would rather buy from companies that made them feel that way and nearly 35% would spend more for the pleasure. These may be consumer stats, but those in B2B must stop viewing their customers any differently: people are people (and they’re likely paying much more for your offering - therefore expectations are higher).
Tips for aligning teams
Foster communication and collaboration between teams
The first step in aligning customer success with sales and marketing is to foster communication and collaboration between teams. This can be achieved through regular team meetings, joint projects and cross-functional training. By working together, teams can gain a better understanding of each other's roles and responsibilities, leading to a more cohesive and aligned approach to customer success.
Create a shared customer journey map
A customer journey map is a visual representation of the customer's experience with a company, from initial contact to post-purchase support. By creating a shared customer journey map, customer success, sales and marketing teams can gain a better understanding of the customer's experience and identify areas where they can work together to improve it. This can lead to a more seamless and consistent customer experience, resulting in increased satisfaction and retention.
Source: Digital BIAS
Utilise customer data and feedback
Customer data and feedback are valuable resources that can help align customer success with sales and marketing efforts. By analysing customer data and feedback, teams can gain insights into customer needs, pain points and preferences. This can come in the form of focus groups, interviews, net promoter scores (NPS), customer satisfaction surveys, etc. This information can then be used to create specific campaigns, messaging, sales enablement resources and/or product updates that will resonate with the customer and lead to increased sales and satisfaction.
Attend customer success events
Attending customer success conferences is an excellent way to stay up-to-date on industry trends and best practices. These events also provide opportunities for networking and learning from other companies that have successfully aligned their customer success efforts with sales and marketing. Consider attending conferences such as the Customer SuccessCon, Pulse, or the Customer Success Summit to gain valuable insights and strategies for wowing your customers and smashing silos.
Hire customer success associates with sales and marketing experience
When hiring for customer success roles, consider candidates with experience in sales and marketing. These individuals will have a better understanding of the sales and marketing process and can help bridge the gap between customer success and these teams. They can also provide valuable insights and ideas for bringing the teams together.
Real-world examples of aligned customer success, sales and marketing
HubSpot is a leading customer relationship management (CRM) platform that has successfully aligned its customer success, sales and marketing efforts. They have a dedicated customer success team that works closely with sales and marketing to ensure a seamless customer experience. They also utilise customer data and feedback to create super targeted campaigns, assets, courses, etc. to build value for their customers.
Salesforce, another leading CRM platform, has also successfully aligned its customer success, sales and marketing efforts. They have a dedicated customer success team that works closely with sales and marketing to identify opportunities for cross-selling and upselling. Is it any wonder they’ve had several years of successive growth and are forecasting more for 2024?
Who is responsible for aligning customer success with sales and marketing?
While it is essential for all teams to work together to align customer success with sales and marketing, the responsibility ultimately falls on the customer success team. They are the ones who have the most direct contact with customers and can provide valuable insights and feedback to sales and marketing teams. However, marketing, sales and CS leadership and those above them need to be on board for this to work. Any sort of cultural and strategic change must be driven from the top.
If you’re looking for help aligning your teams and driving your customer retention (and experiences) strategies forward, get in touch.