The Importance of a Cross-Functional Approach in Customer Success

January 16, 2019 Alexandra Teja

Most of today's SaaS businesses already have a Customer Success department built in order to improve the experience provided to their customers and to help them achieve the desired outcomes.

We all know that an organization is not going to be fully successful until customers are put at the core of the business. One of the factors that will lead to a company's success is to make sure that Customer Success is properly done internally, before manifesting it externally.

 

Enforce Cross-Functionality

A cross-functional approach helps organizations build a customer-centric mentality. It unites departments into working together to find out the clients' needs and to make them achieve their goals. The lack of cross-functionality leads to departments which are working individually, with their own solutions and encourages silos. Silos are harmful to your organization, as it affects communication between departments and it leads to the lack of a common goal - an exceptional experience of a customer throughout all the journeys within your organization.

A customer’s success, or their decision to churn, is not necessarily tied to your CS team’s effort only; it is in the hands of the entire organization and its different departments: marketing, sales, product, operations.

 

Customer Success within:


MARKETING

Marketing and Customer Success have to align their strategies when it comes to customer marketing.  They have to make sure that, for each project, the right customers are being targeted and that the appropriate values are being communicated. Customer Marketing should be perceived as an investment in retention and growth.

  • Customer material, onboarding resources, and knowledge base: Marketing knows best for how to create the content for these resources and has the right tools in place to make sure they are a hit! Keeping the same tone and structure in customer communication as you did before closing them, will definitely provide value to your customers.
  • Webinars, blog posts, and events can help you build your advocates! With the help of the CSMs, you get insights into what makes your customers tick, what is the best channel to deliver the information, and whose story should be highlighted.

 

SALES 

Customer Success and Sales should work together on at least the below aspects:

  • Finding a Success persona: What defines a successful customer, which ones of your clients have reached their goals, which branches, organization sizes work best for your product? Who are our best-fit and worst-fit customers? CS can share all these characteristics with Sales in order to help them qualify their leads better, making sure that not only the customer is a good fit for you, but that you are also the right vendor for them;
  • Handoff: A lot of information is being exchanged in the Sales process, starting from the SDRs to AE: culture, decision-making process, communication, red-flags etc. These insights should always be exchanged with the CSM, not only for a smooth onboarding but also for the expansion of the customer’s account;
  • Long-term successes: Customers that have a positive experience with your organization and also consider it part of their success, will most likely provide you with referrals for your Sales team to leverage!

 

PRODUCT

How else can you improve your customers experience, engagement and satisfaction if not by aligning CS with Product? Some aspects that you would find beneficial:

  • Consistent communication: Making sure that all the feature releases and products updates are being properly communicated to your customers;
  • Share feedback: Not only from CS to Product regarding feature requests and bugs reporting but also from Product to CS: product analytics and customer behavioral data.
  • Including your Product team in customer conversations will sharpen the product’s strategy and vision and will help them manage the product development better so that customers can find consistent value in the product. NPS surveys, for example, can turn out to be a great way to understand where did your product fail and how you can improve it;

 

OPERATIONS

Maybe a department that you wouldn’t find as important in the alignment with CS, but still one that can impact your customers’ success:

  • Making sure that the same technology and tools are used between all departments
  • Enabling the CS team with the necessary organizational support in order to assist customers as smoothly as possible.

 

As you can see, developing a cross-functional approach to Customer Success brings you several improvements over time: the recurring revenue will become higher, churn rates will be lower, you will form more champions among your clients, and the referrals will increase. And last but not least, you will have more harmony among your departments, which will automatically reflect in all your other external processes!

See Amity in Action

About the Author

Alexandra Teja

Alexandra is Director of Customer Success at InfluencerDB, a leading influencer marketing software company. In her career, Alex switched from project management in the corporate space, to the exciting and fast-paced environment of a SaaS start-up. At InfluencerDB, she developed a deep breadth of experience in Customer Success, building the department from the ground up and helping to establish a customer-centric culture

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