Early Arrival: 4 Reasons to Introduce Customer Success in the Sales Cycle
As a former Customer Success Professional, there were several times where I wished I was invited to participate in the sales process to help assess fit, to set proper expectations or to simply hear directly from the customer, what they are looking for from the partnership.
There are many benefits to including CSP into the sales process:
1. Adds another point of engagement with the customer: If you are an AE advancing the sales process with your customer, you are probably looking to keep the conversation going and introducing Customer Success can be another value based engagement. If orchestrated well, this discussion could help advance the process and could even be a differentiator for your company.
2. Allows the Customer Success Professional to set expectations about the engagement: It's one thing for the customer to hear about the customer journey from the AE at a high-level, but having the CSP walk the customer through the details of the kickoff, onboarding process and ongoing engagement. The CSP will be prepared to ask and answer questions that the AE might not which will help start building credibility.
3. Hear directly from the customer: During the Sales to CS handoff, the CSP will often ask questions requiring the AE to repeat what the customer said, just think how much more effective it would be if the CSP heard this directly from the customer and was able to ask them clarifying questions; I bet kickoff would be that much better for both parties.
4. Assess Customer Fit: It's important to make sure the customer is a good fit for your company or product, and sometimes it's easy to skip over these flags with the excitement of potentially bringing them onboard. The CSP will have the skills to assess if the customer has the right resources to be successful, if the product actually does what they need it to, and if they are truly prepared to execute the change needed to be successful.
There is always be fear and uncertainty that introducing another step or person into the sales cycle will slow things down or derail the process, but the reality of it is, setting proper expectations and addressing risk head on will likely establish a better and stronger partnership with your customer.
If more companies embraced the value of introducing Customer Success into the sales cycle it could hopefully improve retention, customer experience and satisfaction.