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?

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.

Sales Engineers and Technical Support Staff Cooperation

Sales and Support staff often work with the same customer accounts, but not always in coordinated and cooperative ways.  ServiceXRG has identified three resource alignment methods used today to describe how technical resources from Service and Sales work.

Independent

 

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).

 

Cooperative

Technical resource 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.

 

Coordinated

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.

 

ServiceXRG has examined the current state of service organizations and the forces at work that are driving organizational transformation. ServiceXRG examines how the isolated service silos of the past are evolving in to unified service entities focused on Customer Success. For more information about the full study see the following:

The Transformation of the Service Organization

Three Service Organizational Structures

ServiceXRG has defined the following types service organizational structures. Which one best describes your current state?

Siloed

Individual service functions that operate independently from one another.  Distinct service silos may report into different parts of the business (e.g. Sales, Engineering, etc.).  Will likely measure department success using different metrics.

Unified

Organization of distinct service functions within a common service organization.  Increased cooperation and coordination between service functions.  Emergence of resource pooling and unified service offerings.

Integrated

Fully integrated service capability.  Organizational structures are replaced with resource pools from which skills may be drawn to deliver services.  Service offerings transcend traditional service disciplines and offer customer-focused enablement.

 

ServiceXRG has examined the current state of service organizations and the forces at work that are driving organizational transformation. ServiceXRG examines how the isolated service silos of the past are evolving in to unified service entities focused on Customer Success. For more information about the full study see the following:

The Transformation of the Service Organization