Alignment, alignment, alignment
Another key pattern that emerged from the breakfast session was that each of these companies has a very tight alignment between their Sales and Success teams. This has less to do with reporting lines and org structure and much more to do with using territories and incentive structures to drive the right (long term) behaviours.
For example, these companies align their Sales and Success teams by either a common geographical territory, customer segment or industry vertical so they form an “account team”. The account team is then tasked to meet regularly to prioritise activities on what is now a “shared book of business”.
This structure ensures everyone has the necessary context on deals, customer stakeholders and potential blockers and in most cases eliminates the need for a “hand over” as the Success Manager can be introduced to the purchaser and deployer(s) at the right time in a more “organic” fashion.
If issues do still arise after the deal has closed, then the Success Manager is now much better placed to engage the original purchaser to get things moving because they are both known to one another (which in turn frees up the Sales rep to fully focus on new revenue opportunities).
A key way these companies ensure the effectiveness of the account team structure is by driving the right behaviours with shared incentives.
For example, one of the companies makes part of their Sales reps’ compensation conditional on customers being fully deployed in a certain time frame thus creating a strong incentive for them to engage with their aligned Success Manager to ensure the right customer discovery, education and relationship introductions have taken place.
Similarly, a percentage of their aligned Success Manager’s compensation is based on attachment to opportunities of a certain size and ensuring deployments are completed within the first 30 days.
In a high volume sales environment, the account team can also prioritise which deals get this high level of engagement versus prospects that will be engaged in a more “low touch” fashion with say relevant collateral or introduction to a deployment partner .
Painting a picture during the sales process of what things will look like after the deal has closed can also help create a lot of customer enthusiasm and additional momentum to get the deal done.