Where does customer success live in your organization chart?
Is it part of customer support? Marketing? Sales? Does it stand on its own?
No matter where your customer support team is housed, it spans several different departments in what it does.
But its primary goal is simple: to improve the customer experience.
And when customer experience is becoming the prime differentiating factor between companies, that’s important. Your customer success team needs the resources and flexibility to get your customers what they need. Fast.
That’s where sales enablement comes in.
Isn’t Sales Enablement a Marketing Thing?
Sales enablement has traditionally been the idea that marketing and sales teams should be aligned in their goals, tactics, and resources.
But when done well, it can mean more than that. What sales enablement really does is help you share information more effectively between teams at your company.
That often means having a central platform where marketing, sales, and other materials are stored and organized. And that’s a big help to your customer success team. We’ll go through some reasons why it’s so helpful in a moment.
But first, let’s make sure we’re in the right mindset. No matter where your CS department lives in your organization, it’s beneficial to think of it as part of your account-based marketing strategy.
Like your marketing department, your CS team seeks to get the right information to the right people at the right time.
And that’s a central tenet of marketing.
Keep that in mind as we go through some of the benefits of sales enablement for customer success.
It Improves the Sales–Customer Success Handoff
Handoffs are a linchpin of the customer experience.
As Rawson, Duncan, and Jones wrote in the Harvard Business Review, handoffs are a place where things can—and do—go wrong.
If you make handoffs easy, customers take note. If information is lost and the handoff is inefficient, they take note of that, too.
Sales enablement makes the handoff between marketing and sales much smoother. Including your customer success team in the process will make the handoff from sales to CS better as well.
Think about some of the common questions that a CSM might ask a new client:
- How do you define success?
- What are your short- and long-term goals?
- What do you need to succeed in your job?
- How can you help the people you work with succeed?
- What measurements do you use to measure success?
Salespeople already have the answers to some of these questions. And by sharing that information quickly with your CS team, they’ll make the handoff more efficient.
CSMs no longer need to irritate customers by asking them questions that they’ve already answered. They can have resources prepared ahead of time that are well-suited to the customer’s needs.
These little touches go a long way toward making your customers feel appreciated. And that makes a big difference in the handoff process.
Your CS team might also be involved in other handoffs throughout the customer lifecycle. They may pass a customer to your development, customer service, or account management teams.
And having as much information available as possible during these handoffs creates a significantly better customer experience.
It Makes Up- and Cross-Selling Easier
Depending on the size and makeup of your company, your CS team might be involved in up- and cross-selling. Even if you have account managers that usually take care of that, your customer success agents should be ready to promote your other products.
Because your customer success team isn’t selling all the time, they may not be familiar with the information that customers need to make the decision.
Sales enablement solves that problem.
All of the resources that your salespeople have access to are now open to your customer success team. Sales sheets, infographics, scripts, sales workflows, case studies, and every other piece of content that helps close sales is now in the hands of the people who probably have the most contact with your customers.
Even if your customer success team isn’t primarily tasked with selling, this can be a big help. They’ll be better prepared if a customer asks them about another product or upgrading.
It Helps Customer Success Offer More Value
One of the central tenets of customer success is proactive outreach. And one of the best ways to do that is by offering something of value.
Think about it like this: would you be more likely to engage with an email that says “Hey, just checking in,” or one that says “We just published this report about your industry. Thought you’d like to see it”?
The difficulty here is that those valuable resources that your CS team should be distributing are usually created by your marketing team. And getting them to tell your CSMs every time they publish something is a hassle.
If your CSMs have access to all of the assets that your marketing team creates, they’ll always have something interesting to send to customers. And that helps them build a valuable relationship.
It Creates a Faster Pipeline for Customer Success Content
Almost every part of your business needs content in one form or another. Marketing, of course, requires tons of content. So does sales. The same is true of customer success.
But as I mentioned, most content creation is handled by the marketing department. Without sales enablement, that means a CSM who needs a white paper or a graphic has to go to the marketing department, find someone to create that content, and follow up to make sure it happens.
A sales enablement platform or process makes this a lot simpler.
Now, a CSM can simply log their request with the marketing team and the request can go into the standard content workflow.
This gives you better content, faster, and more reliably.
Your customer success team will be better equipped to answer questions and provide value. Your marketing team doesn’t get pestered about the blog posts they agreed to write a month ago. And your sales team gets the benefit of even more great content to share.
It’s a win for everyone.
How to Get Customer Success Involved With Sales Enablement
Sales enablement isn’t something you can start doing overnight (unless you’re still a very small team). It requires developing a strategy and figuring out how multiple teams can work together to put that strategy into action.
For a quick overview of how to get started with sales enablement, check out Highspot’s 7 Steps to Getting Started With Sales Enablement. It’s an ebook that shows you the steps you’ll need to take to get started.
As you’ll see, it’s a complicated process.
But it’s worth doing, especially if you’re looking to improve the customer experience through your customer success team.
Whether you’ve started aligning your marketing and sales teams or not, there are a few important things to keep in mind when getting customer success involved:
Make Customer Success Part of Every Sales Enablement Conversation
When you’re setting up, optimizing, or changing your sales enablement workflow, make your customer success team part of the conversation.
This might feel weird at first. But it will help you build a better customer experience across the board. Your CS team has valuable insights that your marketing and sales team can use to do their jobs better.
When your CSMs have the information they need, they’ll be able to do their jobs better, too.
And remember that customer success is part of—or at least related to—account-based marketing. So involving them in a conversation about sales and marketing makes a lot of sense.
Prioritize Content Requests
When your customer success managers need content, there needs to be a workflow for getting that content created.
You might create a workflow in your sales enablement platform that allows for this. Let’s say you have a ticketing system for content requests. Make sure that a member of your content team is alerted and that a completion date is assigned.
As long as your CSMs don’t take undue advantage of this system, it will result in better quality content delivered faster.
This will save your CSMs tons of time in getting the resources they need to do their jobs.
Integrate Everything With Your CRM
A sales enablement system can run with little infrastructure—you could conceivably make it happen with a shared drive and some good process management.
But your CSMs do most of their work from a CRM. Maybe even a customer-success-focused app like Custify. So it’s important that your sales enablement process runs through your CRM where it can.
Make it easy for customer success agents to get from a customer view to the resources that would be valuable for that customer. Link resources that they’ve previously shared. Offer social interactions with other reps for recommendations.
The more integrated the entire process is with your customer success tools, the better.
Making Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success More Effective
Sales enablement sounds like a system for making salespeople’s jobs easier. And it is. But it’s a lot more than that.
If you do it right, it can give your customer success a big boost, too.
The important thing to keep in mind is that your customer success team needs to be ingrained into the process. Make them part of the conversation around sales enablement. Make it easy for them to communicate with your sales and marketing teams.
It might take a while to get it all up and running. But you’ll see great results when everyone has access to more resources.