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17 August 2020

Sales and Customer Success: The Most Dangerous Intersection of Your Customer Journey

Ross Fulton
by Ross Fulton Reading time: 3 mins

The customer journey you have in place is full of intersections, and accidents happen at intersections. Without a doubt, the accidents that result in customer and revenue churn in your B2B software business are most likely to happen at the various intersections that exist in your customer journey. The intersection that exists between your Sales and Customer Success teams poses the greatest danger and will cause the most churn.

Why is the intersection between Sales and Customer Success so dangerous?

The intersection between these two critical functions poses a significant threat to the most critical phase of the customer journey: the first 30 to 90 days post-sale period. For instance, this phase could be after your first sale to a new customer (i.e. customer acquisition), or it could be after an upsell or cross-sell to an existing customer (i.e customer expansion).

What happens or doesn’t happen in the first 90 days of a customer’s journey with your product has a profound impact on the likelihood of:

  1. The customer fully churning or reducing their subscription/consumption spend
  2. The customer progressing to be a successful customer who is likely to expand their investment in your solution

You need to ensure that your customer realizes as much measurable value as possible during this 90-day period. Accordingly, you need to achieve at least one pre-agreed and measurable value-based outcome in this 90-day period.

How do you make the intersection safer?

To ensure the safe passage of new customers from Sales to Customer Success and towards their first value-based outcome, your Sales team must provide your Customer Success team with clear, immediate access to complete data about the new customer.

This data should extend far beyond the typical CRM data captured about a new account/purchase, such as customer contacts, products purchased, vague and high-level ‘why us’ / ‘why now’ statements, etc.

We recommend adopting success plans as a way of capturing the data you need to drive customer success. This plan will help drive an effective transition of a customer from a Sales-led acquisition or expansion cycle into Customer Success. Here’s what we recommend your success plan contain, at a minimum:

Closing the gap between Sales and customer success

Why not go one step further and remove the intersection entirely? Bring your Customer Success team into the sales process to initiate a smoother and safer transition.

First, empower your Customer Success team to partner with your Sales team and your prospect. Together, create your success plan and ensure that all the data and relationships you need to execute the seamless transition of prospect to successful customer are in place before the clock starts ticking.

By doing this, you can create powerful momentum in the later stages of your sales process. This will help you not only achieve and accelerate a win, but also secure your customer’s achievement of the first critical milestone in your customer journey: their first value-based outcome. By integrating your Sales and Customer Success teams, you can streamline your customer journey and deliver a better customer experience, which will ultimately drive greater revenue retention and expansion for your B2B software business.

Valuize has helped dozens of B2B software leaders integrate, balance, and unite their customer-facing teams. If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you structure your Customer Success organization, check out our Services page.

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!