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16 April 2018

Aligning Sales and Customer Success Outcomes

Ross Fulton
by Ross Fulton Reading time: 3 mins

Is your Sales team selling the outcomes that your Customer Success team is set up to deliver and measure?

If your Sales team in your SaaS business is selling something different to what your Customer Success team can consistently deliver on, your subscription unit economics will fail.  To prevent this from occurring, your organization must align Sales and Customer Success outcomes in order for your customers to realize recurring value from your software product(s).

Think about your Customer Success strategy for a minute. What is that strategy designed to deliver to customers?

Value. Recurring measurable value. Outcomes that enable our customers to achieve their strategic goals. Right?

After all, that’s how we drive customer and revenue retention and expansion.

Now, think of your Sales strategy.

What is currently being sold to your future customers by your Sales team?

Value. Outcomes? That’s far better than just selling feature/functions of your software product(s).

The question is, is your Sales team selling the same outcomes that your Customer Success team is able to quickly, effectively and measurably deliver?

Your organization needs to align sales and customer success outcomes.

The outcomes your Sales team is selling (i.e. what your customer is investing in and that will drive their future decisions on renewing and expanding) must directly correlate to what your Customer Success team can consistently deliver and measure.

If this doesn’t happen, you won’t be able to integrate your Customer Success strategy with your Sales strategy. As a result, risk of churn goes up, your customer retention cost goes up and your ability to expand your customers goes down.

So, how can you achieve harmony between what outcomes your Sales team is selling and the outcomes your Customer Success team can quickly, effectively and measurably deliver?

Build a set of outcomes that your Sales team can prescribe to their prospects and for which your Customer Success team have the activities, roles, data, and systems mapped for delivery.

I call these outcomes ‘Value-based Outcomes‘ and they serve as prescriptive measurable outcomes that serve as key adoption milestones for Customer Success and powerful differentiators for Sales to acquire customers with.

Think of Value-based Outcomes (VBOs) as carefully designed products. Not loosley defined value statements.

To get started, here are 5 questions you need to answer:

  1. Why will this outcome enable your target customer to measurably realize value and progress towards to the achievement of their strategic goal?
  2. How will your CS team and the customer combine to achieve the outcome?
  3. What functionality in your product will be used to help achieve the outcome?
  4. When in the customer journey does it make most sense for this Value-based Outcome to be achieved?
  5. Who in the customer journey is needed to help achieve the outcome?

This detailed level of definition enables VBOs to be repeatedly prescribed with confidence by Sales and delivered with assurance by Customer Success.

Ultimately, this initiative will provide a common foundation that will help align Sales and Customer Success outcomes as it relates to selling and delivering measurable value to your customers.

Looking for more guidance on how to align Sales and Customer Success? At Valuize, we specialize in unifying pre- and post- sales teams. Check out our detailed list of organizational services.

Ross Fulton
Ross Fulton

Prior to founding Valuize, Ross spent over 16 years growing software companies and their partners in go-to-market strategy, sales engineering and customer success leadership roles on both sides of the Atlantic. An Englishman by birth but not by nature…he’ll take an espresso over tea every time!