How Customer Success Generates Revenue
Should customer success share a role in your company’s revenue goals? According to our podcast guest Leah Chaney, customer success plays a pivotal role in your outbound sales strategy and deserves to be given a seat at the revenue table.
Leah is a Founder at BetterGrowth, a consulting agency focused on helping companies scale their teams to exceed revenue goals and turn customers into lifelong fans. She joined the Predictable Revenue podcast to discuss how maximizing your customer success team can generate more revenue.
What role does customer success have in your outbound sales strategy?
Customer relationships keep money coming in the door so your sales development reps can focus on selling. The problem with most traditional customer success models is that, although they keep customers happy, they have no way to bring in new revenue.
When it comes to customer relationships, most companies get stuck in a reactive scenario; they don’t pay much attention to their existing customers until they develop a retention problem. But by that point, the damage has been done.
A better method is to build your customer success team alongside outbound sales. Hire for customer success as quickly as you hire sales development reps, and give them revenue-focused KPIs.
To encourage growth from your customer success reps, they should be paid as well as your outbound sales team. Bonuses can be a great way to reinforce this focus, especially if you base the bonus amount on values like net revenue retention.
How to build your customer success team alongside outbound sales
The ideal time to begin hiring sales development reps is when founders or executives no longer have enough time for outbound sales work. Similarly, customer success support should be brought on as soon as executives begin losing time to customer questions.
Start with a few support members who can handle customer service issues and work behind the scenes. As your outbound sales team grows and you bring in sales development leaders, consider also hiring a customer success leader. This should be a senior role tied directly to revenue growth.
If you’re having trouble justifying hiring for customer success alongside outbound sales, think of it this way: without that additional support, someone will still need to answer customer questions and that will likely fall on your sales development reps–drastically reducing the amount of time they can spend on outreach.
How outbound sales volume relates to customer success
Customer success teams should be data-driven and built around your organization’s specific metrics. Consider creating different “tiers” of customers.
Lower tiers (ie. high-volume, low-value) can be more self-sufficient. Use communities to help customers to answer their questions, reuse the content as needed, and automate the process as much as possible.
The money and resources saved on that lower tier can then be redistributed to your higher tiers, where you can provide a white-glove experience for higher-value customers.
Tech enablement tools for customer success
Rather than tying your team to certain tools, build a tech stack that reflects your organization’s unique needs. If you have a high volume of customer interactions, for example, you might want to try a chatbox tool like Intercom. If you need something more specialized, consider a more robust software like Zendesk.
Some of these tools are plug-n-play and some are more engineering-heavy, which means you’ll also have to consider what internal resources you have available. Dedicate time to view demos of each before making the final decision.
Hiring and training your customer success team
Lack of diversity is a common problem in both customer success and outbound sales. Many new hires in these areas come from a similar background and graduate from the same schools. While there’s nothing wrong with that on the surface, looking outside a traditional background can be a great way to find new talent.
Instead of hiring reps with experience in outbound sales, look for people with the right skillset for customer success. Navigating the relationship between company and customer requires a strong sense of empathy. These individuals are friendly, kind, and helpful.
Those with a background in the retail or hospitality industry do well in this role. With a customized customer success training program, these people will often outperform those from a more traditional background.
Building your customer success playbook
Building a strong customer success training program starts by understanding that everyone across the organization, from HR to executive assistants, should have some level of accountability to the customer.
Revisit your customer journey map each year to clearly define who owns which part of the process, and what your team needs from other departments to be successful. If any part of the customer journey is unclear, that’s an issue that should be addressed in future training.
Mending the relationship between customer success and outbound sales
Good leadership is essential for establishing the partnership between outbound sales and customer success. A common problem is lack of communication, which is why Leah recommends the teams meet once a month to complete a project together.
The first project should be to map out your ideal customer profile (ICP) and customer journey. Working on this together will allow you to layout who owns which part of the process, and where the responsibilities of each team begin and end.
If your sales development team is divided into pods, consider breaking up your customer success team in a similar way. This smaller, regionally-centered focus will help both teams to work together in tandem.
Navigating the handoff from outbound sales
For smaller revenue sales, this process can be automated to collect the necessary data. For larger deal sizes, your outbound sales team should work with customer success to avoid any potential communication breakdowns.
Try bringing your customer success team onboard for any deals that are 90% likely to close. This will help you set appropriate expectations for the customer, and provide a more white-glove experience as they transition from prospect to paying customer.
Final thoughts on customer success and outbound sales
Customer success is a crucial part of your outbound sales strategy and deserves to be given a seat at the table. If you want to maximize revenue, these teams should work together rather than apart.
If you want to connect with Leah to learn more about customer success in outbound sales, reach out via LinkedIn or visit bettergrowth.com. You can also join her community of customer success leaders at BreakoutCS.com.
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