Are you organized for Customer Success?

by | Oct 9, 2018

Why does the journey from new customer acquisition to the renewal and expansion of the relationship involve five or more different departments?  It certainly makes sense to have specialized teams to sell and service customers, but the way they are organized is a problem.  Organizational silos create barriers customer success by inhibiting the levels of coordination and cooperation necessary to retain and grow customer relationships.

The hand off from one department to the next creates gaps between expectations set and how they are met.  Distinct organizations may also be motivated to achieve different and possibly conflicting outcomes.  Most importantly the lack of coordination between departments inhibits the ability to fully understand customer needs and to act on them. Efforts to add success mangers, onboarding teams, or renewal and expansion sales roles are stopgap measures to address some of the inefficiencies of siloed post-sales organizations. These stopgap efforts are not enough.

The bottom line is that post-sales coordination and cooperation is the key to customer retention and relationship revenue growth and provides opportunities to achieve greater staffing efficiencies.  If you cannot achieve the necessary level of inter-department cooperation it’s time to restructure and remove these silos.

Post-Sales Organizations

Clearly delineated Sales and Service organizations play a role in selling, implementing, training and supporting customers.  Separate organizational silos provide the means to specialize skills and attain tangible performance milestones.  Specialization may yield some benefits, but overall can inhibit an organizations ability to retain and grow customer relationships.

ServiceXRG finds that a slight majority (54%) of technology companies maintain siloed service organizations (Support, Education, and Professional Services) with nearly all maintaining separate Sales and Service functions.  Service silos have been giving way to consolidation of services under a single executive yet this reorganization does not necessarily improve the alignment of service resources to common goals or improve intra-service cooperation.  Sales and Service cooperation remains largely informal with 62% of organizations reporting that Sales and Services function independently from one another.

Cooperation and Coordination Between Service and Sales

The Need for Post-Sales Cooperation and Coordination

Support, Education, Professional Services and Sales are all on the same team.  After the initial sale cooperation among these post-sales departments is essential to optimizing customer success and assuring retention and relationship growth.  The most compelling reason for post-sales coordination is the ability to achieve these outcomes at a lower cost. Consider the following benefits:

  • Every post-sales department and role will be focused on and incented to achieve a common set of outcomes such as customer retention and relationship revenue growth.
  • The number of resourced engaged in post-sales activities can be streamlined and redundancies eliminated.
  • Post-sales departmental coordination will enable the ability to draw from a common “bench” of roles and skills.
  • Success planning and customer journey mapping will be facilitated by a wide range of roles and skills including account management, design, implementation, customization, education and support.

The Future of Post-Sales Organizations

Post-sales organizational maturity is evolving and there is increasing evidence of coordination and cooperation among these groups. Yet, there is still a considerable amount of change required before post-sales organizations perform as a single customer success-focused entity.  For many companies increased coordination and cooperation among post-sales teams is a desired future state.  The table below highlights many of the characteristics of the ideal post-sales organization.

Featured : The Transformation of The Service Organization

ServiceXRG examines the current state of service organizations and the forces at work that are driving organizational transformation. This study reveals how the isolated service silos of the past need to evolve into unified entities to drive Customer Success.

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