If you’ve ever interacted with a customer success team, you know just how crucial they are in ensuring your satisfaction and loyalty. They’re the ones who swoop in when you’re facing a glitch, answer your questions, and ensure you’re getting the most out of your purchase. But what if these friendly problem-solvers could also be your company’s secret weapon for boosting sales? Yes, you heard that right – we’re about to dive into the exciting realm of transforming the selling behavior of your customer success team.
Now, you might be wondering, “Wait, isn’t sales supposed to be the job of the sales team?” Well, you’re not wrong, but picture this: What if your customer success champs could solve issues and identify opportunities to offer additional value to your customers? It’s like adding a sprinkle of sales magic to their already impressive skill set. According to a report by Salesforce, 63% of consumers think that companies should understand what they want and expect, and 76% of businesses that buy from other businesses also feel the same way.
Understanding the Role of the Customer Success Team
The customer success team ensures your customers are happy. Unlike the traditional sales team, whose primary goal is to close deals and bring in new customers, customer success focuses on building lasting relationships with existing customers, driving retention rates, net promoter scores, upsells, and recurring revenue.
While customer success and sales aim to drive growth, their methods and objectives differ. Traditional sales often involve cold calls, pitches, and negotiations to convince prospects to purchase. Customer success revolves around understanding and addressing the existing customer’s unique needs, ensuring they find ongoing value and satisfaction.
Customer success means more than just making sales. It’s about making sure customers reach their desired outcomes or goals. Customer success can include any of the following:
- Onboarding and Adoption: Guiding customers through a smooth onboarding process and effective product adoption.
- Proactive Engagement: Regularly connecting with customers to understand needs and address issues promptly.
- Customer Support: Providing timely solutions to enhance the customer experience and reduce churn.
- Performance Monitoring: Tracking metrics to measure product effectiveness and identify improvements.
- Renewals and Upselling: Collaborating on contract renewals and identifying upselling opportunities.
Sales Methodology Evolution: Navigating Change from Past to Present
Customer success metrics can be dramatically improved by enabling the teams who work with customers with a sales methodology. Sales methodologies have evolved and matured over the decades, and it’s important to enable customer success teams with an approach that meets the needs of your unique business.
Between the 1920s and 1950s, the emphasis was directed towards comprehending the thought processes of buyers during sales interactions. Various methods emerged in later years, each with unique strengths. Barrier selling used affirmative questions, leading to open-ended questioning. This marked the start of diverse sales techniques like SELL (Show, Explain, Lead, Let), ADAPT (Assessment, Discovery, Activation, Projection, Transition), and ARC (Ask, Recommend, Cross-sell, Close), which encouraged showcasing, self-discovery, and complementary sales.
Standardized selling methods, rooted in fixed formulas, emerged from the late 1950s to the 80s. The pioneer was Xerox with Needs Satisfaction Selling, acknowledging people’s desire for informed choices over being sold to. Later, Strategic Selling aided salespeople in managing big accounts. SPIN Selling followed, addressing the Situation, Problem, Implication, Need, and Need-Payoff. Customer Centric Selling, an 8-step solution-oriented approach, emphasized pre-call planning, research, and interest stimulation, enduring today.
In the following years, the world saw significant technological growth and an information explosion, impacting buying and selling. While historical buyers relied on salespeople for guidance due to limited information, the past decade changed this. Customers now drown in data, seeking salespeople not for information but to navigate and pinpoint solutions. This seismic shift rendered traditional selling methods obsolete. Salespeople must now be consultative and relationship-focused, fundamentally changing how they sell to remain relevant.
Using a transactional approach to discover potential customers can take time and effort. Setting up your store or website and hoping people will come isn’t sufficient. It would be best to connect with someone to show them what you offer; otherwise, there’s not much to discuss. That’s why we at Infopro Learning are currently exploring a fresh strategy known as REAL (Research, Engage, Advocate, and Lead) selling. This innovative approach is designed to support salespeople and customer success teams in consistently surpassing their sales targets, enhancing precision in predictions, and boosting revenue.
4 Strategies to Change the Selling Behavior of Your Customer Success Team
The fundamental basis for a high-performing customer success team lies in the three core principles: Impact, Engagement, and Experience. Organizations need to implement effective strategies that encourage a customer-centric approach and align sales teams with customer success objectives to achieve this.
1. Provide Ongoing Product Training
- Importance of Product Knowledge for Effective Customer Success
In the realm of sales, product knowledge isn’t just a mere asset—it’s a critical tool that empowers sales representatives to engage customers with confidence and credibility. Customers are more likely to trust and invest in products when they sense that the salesperson possesses in-depth knowledge about the offering. This knowledge enables sales and customer success teams to address customer inquiries accurately, offer tailored solutions, and effectively communicate the value proposition.
- Incorporating Regular Training Sessions and Resources
To cultivate a deep understanding of products, regular training sessions are indispensable. These sessions should encompass not only the features and benefits of the products but also insights into their application and relevance to customer needs. By providing accessible training resources—such as product manuals, online courses, and interactive workshops—sales teams can continually enhance their understanding and proficiency.
2. Define Clear Customer Success Metrics
- Aligning Performance Metrics with Sales Objectives
Changing selling behavior necessitates a shift from transactional to relationship-driven sales. One effective way to achieve this shift is by aligning performance metrics with customer success objectives. Instead of focusing solely on revenue targets, metrics should encompass parameters that gauge customer satisfaction and loyalty. This adjustment encourages sales teams to prioritize customer needs over immediate sales, fostering long-term partnerships.
- Tracking Retention Rates, Upsell Conversion, and Customer Feedback
Tracking specific metrics is paramount to measuring the impact of changed selling behavior. Retention rates, which reflect the ability to retain customers, and upsell conversion rates, which indicate the success of cross-selling efforts, provide insights into the effectiveness of consultative selling. Additionally, soliciting and analyzing customer feedback enables organizations to refine their strategies further and make informed adjustments.
3. Encourage Consultative Selling
- Shifting Focus from a Transactional to a Consultative Approach
The transition from transactional to consultative selling revolves around shifting the emphasis from simply closing deals to understanding and addressing each customer’s unique needs. By adopting a consultative approach, sales teams can uncover pain points, offer tailored solutions, and establish themselves as trusted advisors. This transformation often leads to enhanced customer satisfaction, higher retention rates, and increased opportunities for upselling.
- Empowering Customer Success Teams to Identify and Solve Customer Needs
Empowering customer success teams with the autonomy to identify and address customer needs fosters a proactive engagement model. Sales representatives actively listen to customer challenges, propose customized solutions, and demonstrate the value of products in resolving those challenges. This personalized interaction builds strong relationships and establishes the foundation for long-term collaborations.
4. Implement Incentive Programs
- Introducing Commission or Bonus Structures for Upselling
Incentives can be powerful catalysts for altering selling behavior. By introducing commission or bonus structures that reward upselling and cross-selling, organizations motivate customer success teams to focus on understanding the broader range of customer needs and tailoring solutions accordingly. These incentives align with revenue objectives and emphasize building value-driven relationships.
- Recognizing and Rewarding Successful Sales within the Customer Success Team
Acknowledging and celebrating successful sales within the customer success team reinforces the significance of collaborative efforts in driving customer-centric outcomes. Public recognition, rewards, and performance accolades highlight the impact of consultative selling and encourage other team members to embrace similar practices.
According to the Zendesk Customer Experience Trends Report 2022, over 60% of consumers have expressed an elevation in their customer service expectations in the aftermath of the previous year. Moreover, an impressive 90% of consumers are inclined to increase their expenditures with enterprises that tailor the customer service experience they provide.
The significance of customer success must be balanced in the context of your organization’s sustained expansion. The primary and pivotal initial stride involves establishing a precise rendition of customer success tailored to your enterprise, concurrently elevating customer satisfaction to a fundamental corporate objective. Armed with an appropriate customer service resolution, you can seamlessly progress toward the subsequent phases of achieving triumph in your business endeavors.