Why Customer Success is your Sales BFF!

This was originally posted on Sales Hacker HERE

Sales Pros: Quit complaining about “sales enablement” — Why Customer Success is your Sales BFF!

[I’ve built (or materially helped build) b2b enterprise Sales & Customer Success teams starting from $0 revenue several times (LinkedIn) and this is one of my most valuable wounds when trying to accelerate revenue at any scale of company]

Every time I hear a sales team complain about there not being sufficient “Sales Enablement” (case studies, blog posts, Gartner reports, etc.), I want to kick them very hard because they are just being lazy. You as the sales person have a keen understanding of what you specifically need in the sales trenches to compete + win. You also have 100% of the power to solve this.

Sales Rep says, “I keep coming up against objection A, so i really need an example where we solved that specifically.”

Or “Prospects don’t understand our messaging so i need something that speaks to how we’ve helped a customer succeed and make an X ROI impact.”

Etc etc etc. The point is that you (as the Sales pro) should have an idea of EXACTLY the spec of the sales enablement that you need. It’s not marketing’s job to magically understand what you need in the sales trenches. They aren’t mind readers.

The solution is literally right in front of you

There is a very simple and highly effective way to arm your sales team with this invaluable context to further develop:

  1. Social Proof: CUSTOMER STORIES are by far the most effective method of communication to a prospect because they need to see themselves having success with your solution. If they are in the Travel Vertical, they believe their issues are not only unique to their company, but further unique to their Industry. The faster you can help them envision they themselves having success, the faster you will close. A very small % (known as the early adopters) want to be on the bleeding edge and be the first ones. “Social Proof” is a critical component to scaling fast past 50 customers. Up to that point you are working with Early Adopters of which there are very few in the world.
  2. Domain Expertise: Also critically important to enable Sales with more domain expertise because you are in a very unique position. You get the advantage of seeing how many teams operate and genuinely can develop a “Best Practice” which is massively valuable to the prospect and customer. They are siloed to their specific company and can benefit greatly from broader learnings, best practices + benchmarks by working closely with your Sales + Customer Success teams. F1000 enterprises especially value this access to domain expertise which is one key reason they pay you Enterprise $.

When you’re looking for customer success stories, where should you go? (hopefully now a rhetorical question)

SOLUTION: Enter your new BFFs:CUSTOMER SUCCESS!

It’s not the Customer Success Manager’s (CSM) job to remember the important stories that can help sales. It’s the Sales team’s responsibility to engage and listen for the stories that help them learn and sell more effectively. Also by constantly staying in touch and top of mind with CSMs they are reminded of the type of stories Sales might be specifically looking for.

Simple ways to achieve this:

1. Sit with CSMs during their weekly sync

Have a representative from Sales attend every Customer Success team sync. This is where you will hear the success stories raw. The representative should be taking notes re: the customer, problem solved, and customer success pt person, just to gather the high level. That way when you bring it back to the sales team, if there is a specific story that is critical, you know who to go have a deeper debrief with. The objective here is to be listening for stories the Sales team can use.

2. Sales <> CSM sync

Specifically have a Sales + CSM sync every wk to discuss customer stories. This should be only a few people so having the team leads or a mgr level peer sync so the stories can be transferred to Sales.

3. Identify the Stories

As you find stories that are great examples then have one person be responsible for formally documenting the Story. This isn’t an extensive doc (ie 1 pg) which can then be shared with the team. If it’s a high value story, then you hand that to Marketing and say, “here’s an amazing story that would really help in the sales trenches. Can you help us get this production ready for prospects?” Now your marketing team will love you because you’ve done the leg work and now they can apply the marketing sizzle they are renowned for. Win Win

4. Act!

LAST and most important, USE THEM in your prospect conversations. The ideal pitch is that you just tell customer stories. When objection A comes up, you introduce a customer story. “Well, here’s how we solved a similar problem with a customer in the same vertical….”

You may be thinking, “But isn’t this sensitive info and we can’t use customer’s names without their consent?” Yes. For important customers you can ask for approval but even if you don’t get it you can refer to them by proxy. Ie. simply by giving context like “a customer of ours that is similar in size and also in the Travel industry had a similar problem and we solved it with them by doing …….” You don’t have to name drop explicitly to be able to tell a genuine story and get a prospect comfortable. It’s the authenticity of the story that comes out in your voice.

Be proactive, start syncing and gleaning these stories from your Customer Success Team because it’s not their job to enable sales. It’s your job to put in the effort and go learn the stories in the CSM trenches that are truly helping customers which is ultimately why your company is in business.

Here at Whalr (b2b enterprise sales intelligence), we have a daily standup sync between Sales + Customer Success at the end of each day. This way you catch stories while they are fresh from the day. Then we have a weekly 30 min sync as the catch-all to review and dive deeper into any specific stories for more context.

Whatever you do (even if you are an individual sales rep), go spend regular, consistent time with Customer Success. This will help you become a genuine domain expert which customers love to buy from. You’ll instantly differentiate yourself from everyone else, as well as the competition.

Spending Time with Customer Success = more deals closed

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