The problem with organizational silos

Organizational silos create barriers to 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.

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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If you don’t have an account, create a free* membership.

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*Membership level determines your access to ServiceXRG research and other member services. Paid memberships include access to research and playbooks. Free memberships include access to some reports and discounts to others. Please visit our membership page for a list of available membership programs.

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Three Organizational Models to Describe How Sales and Support Can Cooperate

Sales and support staff often work with the same customer accounts, but not always in coordinated and cooperative ways.

How Sales and Support Cooperate

ServiceXRG has identified three organizational models to describe how sales and support can cooperate.

Sales and Support Independent Operation

Technical resources exist within both Sales and Service organizations. Technical resources operate independently from one another with objectives that are not typically coordinated and may conflict (e.g. Sales provides services otherwise entitled through a service contract).

Sales and Support Cooperation

Technical resources from Sales and Service are organized within a single customer facing organization or are aligned by similar or common engagement polices and performance metrics.  Coordinated customer engagement for larger accounts is common.

Sales and Support Coordination

Customer facing technical resources exist within a single department with coordinated responsibilities for both pre-sales and post sales technical engagement. Skills specialization may exist, but account engagement is coordinated, and all touchpoints are aligned to meet common performance objectives.

Recommendations

  • Select an organizational structure that can deliver an efficient and effective customer experience across the entire product ownership lifecycle.
  • Create a bench of technical resources that can be deployed to both pre and post-sales activities. This may include a “team” of Sales Engineers and Support Experts.
  • Coordinate account management across Support and Sales functions.
  • Established shared goals and objectives that transcend Support and Sales teams.
  • Make certain that everyone is incented to retain and expand customer relationship value.
  • Create training and career advancement opportunities that span Sales and Service functions.

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.

Log-in to get your copy.

Login to Access the Full Report

If you don’t have an account, create a free* membership.

Login

*Membership level determines your access to ServiceXRG research and other member services. Paid memberships include access to research and playbooks. Free memberships include access to some reports and discounts to others. Please visit our membership page for a list of available membership programs.

Related Articles

The problem with organizational silos

Organizational silos create barriers to 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. This study reveals how the isolated sales and service silos of the past can evolve to drive Customer Success.

read more

Are you organized for Customer Success?

Coordination and cooperation across customer facing departments makes good business sense. So why aren’t more companies creating unified post-sales organizations? ServiceXRG examines the current state of Service and Sales cooperation and the forces at work that are driving organizational transformation. This study reveals how the isolated sales and service silos of the past can evolve to drive Customer Success.

read more

Are you organized for Customer Success?

Are you organized for Customer Success?

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.

The Problem with Organizational Silos

Organizational silos create barriers to 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.

The Future of Post-Sales Organizations

Steps to a Better Future

The creation of a single unified post-sales organization will take time.  For some companies this process is already underway, while for other companies it will be a slow transformation.  Interim steps to increase coordination and cooperation are a great start.  The table below outlines some of the steps to consider.

Focus Areas

Required Changes

Impact

Unified Strategy

Define a single unifying post-sales customer engagement and retention strategy.

Aligns resources to achieve shared business objectives.

Shared Goals

Establish common goals and performance indicators for all post-sales organizations.

Indicates desired outcomes and progress towards target performance levels.

Cooperative  Engagement

Eliminate structural barriers to cross-departmental coordination and cooperation.

Expands pool of resources available to work with customers.

Alignment of Resources

Develop skills inventory and cross-functional teams to engage and manage customer relationships.

Improves staff utilization efficiency and reduces redundancy.

Success Offers

Develop a unified portfolio to deliver Training, Support, Consulting and account management.

Help customers adopt and use products to achieve outcomes resulting in retention and growth opportunities.

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.

Login to Access the Full Report

If you don’t have an account, create a free* membership.

Login

*Membership level determines your access to ServiceXRG research and other member services. Paid memberships include access to research and playbooks. Free memberships include access to some reports and discounts to others. Please visit our membership page for a list of available membership programs.

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read more

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read more

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Are You Ready for the End of Organizational Silos?

Are You Ready for the End of Organizational Silos?

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.

Are Your Ready for the End of Organizational Silos

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.

This Report Includes:

Pages:

30 Pages

Topics Covered:

The Current State of Post-Sales Organizations

  • What Works – What Doesn’t
  • What Needs to Change

Characteristics of Post-Sales Organizational Structures

  • Organizational Characteristics Defined
  • Service Organizational Structures
    • Services
    • Services vs. Sales
  • Structural Observations and Trends
  • Organizational Maturity
  • Technical Resource Alignment
  • Maturity Observations and Trends

How to Drive Organizational Transformation

  • What Needs to Change and Why
  • Catalysts for Change
  • Organizational Transformation Types
  • Inhibitors to Change
  • Future State of Post-Sales Organizations

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.  

Log-in to get your copy.

Login to Access the Full Report

If you don’t have an account, create a free* membership.

Login

*Membership level determines your access to ServiceXRG research and other member services. Paid memberships include access to research and playbooks. Free memberships include access to some reports and discounts to others. Please visit our membership page for a list of available membership programs.

Related Articles

The problem with organizational silos

Organizational silos create barriers to 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. This study reveals how the isolated sales and service silos of the past can evolve to drive Customer Success.

read more

Are you organized for Customer Success?

Coordination and cooperation across customer facing departments makes good business sense. So why aren’t more companies creating unified post-sales organizations? ServiceXRG examines the current state of Service and Sales cooperation and the forces at work that are driving organizational transformation. This study reveals how the isolated sales and service silos of the past can evolve to drive Customer Success.

read more

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Coordination and cooperation across customer facing departments makes good business sense. So why aren’t more companies creating unified post-sales organizations? ServiceXRG examines the current state of Service and Sales cooperation and the forces at work that are driving organizational transformation. This study reveals how the isolated sales and service silos of the past can evolve to drive Customer Success.

read more

Post-Sales Organizations are Broken

Organizational silos create barriers to customer success by inhibiting the levels of coordination and cooperation necessary to retain and grow customer relationships. If you cannot achieve the necessary level of inter-department cooperation within your current post-sales organizational structure it’s time to tear down your silos.

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Among those recognized is Jennifer MacIntosh, Vice President of Customer Experience at Coveo Software.  Many of you may know Jen, for those that do not she is a technology services icon and thought leader.  Congratulations to Jen and all who are recognized.

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Post-Sales Organizations are Broken

Why does the journey from new customer acquisition to the renewal and expansion of the relationship involve five or more different departments?

Organizational Specialization or Isolation?

While it makes sense to have specialized teams to sell and service customers, the way these teams are organized is broken.  Organizational silos create barriers to customer success by inhibiting the levels of coordination and cooperation necessary to retain and grow customer relationships.

Do you remember the game telephone?

One person whispers a message to the next person and he/she whispers it to the next person and so on.  By the time the message is passed to the last person the message has changed from the original.  This same phenomenon occurs when multiple departments engage and serve customers.

The hand off from one department to the next creates gaps between expectations set and how they are met.

Are post-sales teams working towards the same goals?

Good communication is key, common goals and objectives are imperative. Distinct organizations may be motivated to achieve different and possibly conflicting outcomes.

If Sales is motivated to book new license revenue but not incented to think about retaining the customer relationship could this lead to potential issues?  The short answer is, yes.

The key is to align all customer interactions to the attainment of common goals – both short-term and long-term.  Each step in the customer lifecycle must contribute to a common outcome such as the retention of a customer relationship (or protection of revenue) and no individual or department should be rewarded simply for the achievement of interim milestones (e.g. closing a new deal).

New Customer Success roles are not enough

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

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 within your current post-sales organizational structure it’s time to tear down your silos.

 

Check out Are You Organized for Customer Success – it reviews our findings about current post-sales organizational structures and offers some insights about what you can do to address these issues.

Related Articles

The problem with organizational silos

Organizational silos create barriers to 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. This study reveals how the isolated sales and service silos of the past can evolve to drive Customer Success.

read more

Are you organized for Customer Success?

Coordination and cooperation across customer facing departments makes good business sense. So why aren’t more companies creating unified post-sales organizations? ServiceXRG examines the current state of Service and Sales cooperation and the forces at work that are driving organizational transformation. This study reveals how the isolated sales and service silos of the past can evolve to drive Customer Success.

read more

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