The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast
The Audible-Ready Sales Podcast

Episode 70 · 7 months ago

Aligning Sales with Customer Success W/ Kathleen Schindler

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Unlock the full potential of your Customer Success teams by building alignment with your sales teams and your buyers. Kathleen Schindler, Force Management Managing Director of Customer Success, takes a deep dive on how sales and company leaders are equipping post-sale teams to execute on critical buyer outcomes.

Tune in to hear real-world examples of how these leaders enable their entire customer-facing organization to have value-based conversations that drive company-wide impacts.

Check out this and other episodes of The Audible-Ready Podcast at Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or our website.

Here are some additional resources on aligning Sales with Customer Success:

- How Sysdig Built Sales & Customer Success Alignment 

- Sysdig Customer Case Study

- Building a Culture of Buyer Alignment 

They're always thinking about the next stepin the evolution and maturity of working with their customers. So I love talkingabout making sure the CS organization is really part of that conversation. When you'retalking about transformation and driving effectiveness of your customer facing organization, you're listening tothe audible ready podcast. The show that helps you and your team's sell morefaster. will feature sales leader sharing their best insights on how to create asales engine that helps you fuel repeatable revenue growth, presented by the team ifforcemanagement, a leader in BTB sales effectiveness. Let's get started. Hello and welcometo the audibilready sales podcast. I'm Rachel Clap Miller and joining me todayis Kathleen Simmer. I'm managing director of customers success. Hi Kathleen, HiRachel, how are you? I'm good and I'm excited for our conversation today. For those of you listening, Kathleen heads up our customers success team atforce management and, Kathleen, I know...

...that you're you're passionate about making ourcustomers successful, but today we're going to talk about sales organizations and their owncustomers success. That pivotal team at that's part of that customer engagement process,as well as some best practices in getting the most out of those teams froma leadership standpoint. It's an important topic for sure. It's actually one ofthe things that I love talking to customers about. It's, you know,unlocking the potential of their customer success organizations as well, because they're typically onan evolution themselves in terms of transforming their cus organizations. You know, inthe past a lot of CS organizations were just about support keeping the customers happy. It's evolved to owning the renewal and then driving some expansion opportunities, whetherthey actually do the expansion deal themselves or at least they handoff to the salesteam. So they're always thinking about, you know, the next step inthe evolution and maturity of their working with...

...their customers. So I love talkingabout making sure the CS organization is really part of that conversation when you're talkingabout transformation and driving effectiveness of your customer facing organization. Yeah, I also, you know, for these companies who are becoming more mature. A lotof the high tech companies we work with their fast growing and things changed quickly, so making sure you're, for lack of a better term, paying attentionto how customer success is engaging. Is really important and we're in these conversationsfrequently with our customers. They know they need to improve sales performance. They'relooking to train their sales teams get that revenue up, but sometimes that powerof that long term growth is really in enabling that full customer engagement process,including the customer success teams. So let's talk a little bit about how youAllie in a sales training with that whole customer engagement process. How do youuse an initiative to build this alignment from...

...that pre cell to post initial sale? Yeah, that's a great, great conversation. I think just, youknow, stepping back and making sure you're framing it, really approaching it fromthe buyer perspective, that outside and approach. So just making sure that that's likethe core of where you're trying to get to with your you know,sales effectiveness and your transformations. And some people hate the term sales when theywhen they're referring to see us. Other people are like, I'm fine withit, it's great, that's what we're doing. Let's be honest about it. So everybody that's touching the customer is having those value based conversations trying toattach the biggest business problem. And so if we're if we're only focused onthese sales transformations with like the land opportunities for the initial sale, we wekind of leave stuff on the table, essentially, because if we're taking amore uncommon approach that aligns more with the customer outcomes, like, you know, typically sales celebrates right when the the...

...deal closes, people banging the gongs, if they used to, you know, used to be in the office.But if we're taking an uncommon approach and we're really aligning with the customeroutcomes, we should be thinking about how do we how are our organization,you know post sale team, like the implementation, implementation team, the CSorganization, if there's a separate nwl team, how are they all aligned to drivethe great outcomes of the customers looking for? That's a more uncommon approach. I would say that we typically are, you know, just trying to expandand have those conversations with the customers and I think they're open to it, which is great, and so that's where we tend to see those companiesthat are taking an uncommon approach, bringing in the entire customer basing organization intothe fold of these transformations. Yeah, you make a good point. Youknow, we're all in an opportunity to talk about buyer value if we aredealing with the customers. I work in marketing at force management, but I'mtalking to customers all the time, right, so I do consider myself in sales, so to speak. And if...

...you're if you're not able to talkabout the value, you certainly can't provide it. Right. We can't providevalue to our customers if we're not having those value based conversations. So lookingat it from that whole spectrum really provides impact. For what did these fastgrowing companies? So if you if we transition to those that buyer value andalignment, if you think about our concept of essential questions, right, whatproblems do you solve? How do you solve them? Where have you doneit before and what's your proof? It's about capturing that value you've delivered andre reposition and to solve additional problems continue to add value. So, Cathleen, go through some best practices you've seen for how customers success teams are ableto use that alignment on value, that value based conversation post sale that wasarticulated before the customer even signed up. Yeah, I think we have afew of those and I'm really happy to say actually one of them all mentionedby name here, SYS dig. They...

...just announced, you know, newround Offunday and that, you know, Plus Billion Dollar Valuation Marks. Sothat's awesome for them. Kegan Riley's their C oh but he, you know, recently did a testimonial for us and in that conversation he's explicitly said,Hey, having my CS team, the post sales team as part of thisalignment process. There everybody's aligned on the value for the customer. He says. You know, we don't miss a beat. You know, when we'rebeing introduced, the CS organization is being introduced the customer, we're all talkingabout the same in the same language or a positive business outcomes, required capabilitiesand metrics, and that's such a critical thing to be consistent all the waythrough the customer life cycle. And he even gave an example. To havea customer that expanded several times within the quarter and while the CS team didn'texplicitly own that opportunity, they were so pivotal in driving those expansions with thesales team and making sure again, like...

...that alignment is so key and Ithink, I mean I just want to compliment them and give them some Kudoson us. They've done a great yeah, and another one is, you know, another software company that's a customer of ours. With their CES organization. They were looking to kind of revamp and think through how we make ourcustomer business reviews, use those quarterly business reviews that we're doing, more valuablefor our customers and, you know, at the same time, because they'remore valuable, we're talking about outcomes and where they're taking their business. We'remaking it a differentiated experience for them because typically, when, you know,you're sitting through a Qbr with a partner, it's the same kind of support,issues, tickets, you know, feature function conversations, and if wecan elevate it and bring it to the right altitude around outcomes it got,it just drives a lot more value for our customers and in turn, likejust helps us differentiate the way we engage...

...with our customers. So I thinkthat's another best practice that I might call out here. Yeah, those aresome great examples and I think when people come come to us, or ifthey come to anybody, even if they don't come to force management, sometimestaking on this sales training initiative, you know it's a big bite. Yougot to be ready to do it and it's a big investment time, scopeand resources. It's all involved if you want to do the outcomes. Butin some ways, depending on the structure of your company, if you don'tinclude the customer success in building that by our alignment, you really can doyour initiat what am I trying to say? Your executing it in a halfway right. You're not. You're already starting behind the car because you have stoppedat a critical component point for the buyer in that customer engagement process. Exactly. I know. I it is a bit cringeworthy sometimes when you see thathappen, and you know everybody has the best in ten originally when they're whenthey're going through these transformations, but we...

...typically we do time to see,you know, within a quarter a couple things tend to happen and the customerexperiences it right. The handoff between sales and you know the post sales teamis not as smooth as it's as it should be value starting to leak outof the equation. So it usually does, you know, come up we havethose conversations. Hey, what can we do to bolster the CS teamand equip them so that they can drive, they can be aligned and drive thebest results for for your customer. So I think there is a quickrealization after the back if it's not, if it's not originally part of,you know, the original transformation and engagement that we course correct, which istotally binded and we can do it and the customer you drive it, whichis wonderful. But you'd rather plan for that and advanced. But you know, we have a saying to you can't tell the customer. They have toreach the conclusion on on their own. So this is their way of reachingthat conclusion. But you know, what...

...the whole thing is is that theCS organizations, if you think ab out like previous investment just in sales teams, right, like so much investment goes into the sales teams, the seeteams. Yes, see us organization like in the past has been a littlebit, you know, not marge, maybe marginalized. And after that,yeah, it does. We're all trying to drive that net new revenue right, actually exactly, and they're so they're hungry for this type of engagement and, you know, training at the baseline of it. But they want tothey want to change their career trajectory, they want to be successful as aCS leader, as a CSM, and so having them involved in this Ithink will drive a lot of just employee you know, add on benefits areunemployee attention and engagement to so always have that in the back of your mind. You and you're planning for these things. It's trying to drive that overall companyalignment around the customer and the buyer...

...and their outcomes. Yeah, that'sa great, great bottom line it. As you were talking Pathic, Iwas thinking, you know, this is an investment in your own organization rightto build this alignment, but it really is investing also in the experience foryour buyers. We've all been on the phone with those vendors to do quarterlyreviews or whatever. They've got a new product they want to pitch or whatever, and you get on there and you're like, I've spent hundreds of thousandsof dollars with you over the past five years and you barely know who Iam. And we're still talking. It's so frustrating because because you have beena customer visional long, so it's almost there's more at risk if those don'tgo right. Exactly, your spot on, spot on. Well, heady,Kathleen, thank you so much for this conversation today. I appreciate Ienjoy talking to you about this topic. I know you're really passionate about itfor sure. So yeah, Bill, free to reach out. You guysthat are listening. Happy to have its conversation with sales leader. See USleaders again. Great outcomes to we hid...

...for organizations that think of that.It a holistically all right, and I will stay. Kathleen also mentioned thisdistig interview that we did with Keegan Riley where he talks about how he didthis in his own organization. I've linked that conversation up in the show notesto be sure. Check it out. Thank you all for listening. Atforce management we're focused on transforming sales organizations into elite teams. Are Proven methodologiesdeliver programs that build company alignment and fuel repeatable revenue growth. Give your teamsthe ability to execute the growth strategy at the point of sale. Our strengthis our experience. The proof is in our results. Let's get started.Visit US at force MANAGEMENTCOM. You've been listening to the audible ready podcast.To not miss an episode, subscribe to the show in your favorite podcast player. Until next time,.

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