You’re Always Selling

Customer Success strategies can vary from organization to organization and cover a wide range of roles and responsibilities. Certain organizations rely on their CSM’s to keep customers happy and retain their existing client-base while others may have goals primarily on growth and expansion.

Regardless of our job titles, we are all in some way, shape or form – salespeople. In Customer Success we sell ourselves as a resource, sell the business as a trusted partner, and many times we’re selling additional products to expand business and grow our book. In my career, I’ve participated in many different strategic sales trainings but the one commonality amongst all of them is the is the understanding and delivery of value.

Value can be realized in a number of different ways, personal or professional, and it’s on you as a Customer Success Professional to deliver it. In CS, we have a leg up on our traditional sales team in that we already have a foundational relationship built around the value of a solution that compliments an existing business case. This can be a foot in the door to expansion, new stakeholders, cross-departmental resources, or new lines of business. Sales, on it’s surface, may feel unnatural to some of us but it’s important to recognize that we are constantly selling through the added value we provide.

First and foremost, we need to sell ourselves. We want to sell ourselves as trusted partners and advocates by building credibility around our product and the marketplace in which it thrives. Though the value of a trusted resource is often hard to quantify, it’s tangible and impactful. Customers look to us to solve problems, make recommendations, help work through tough decisions, and drive their business forward. Like traditional sales, success doesn’t happen overnight. It takes persistence and patience to build a strong partnership with a client but if you can establish that relationship, you open the door to effortless upsells, cross-sells, product enhancements and ultimately – growth.

Next, we need to deliver additional value in the form of our product or service. Working under the assumption that there is an existing business case in place, we often need to look beyond our primary objectives to find ancillary problems we can solve. If we approach this with established rapport as a trusted advisor, our stakeholders will listen closely when we tell them we can make their – and their colleagues – lives easier with our recommendations. Present a solution that delivers immediate value and the “sales” part will take care of itself.

Finally, we need to quantify the value we provide. Many times, you may not realize a ROI until months of data have been collected and actioned upon. By staying involved and actively benchmarking the data with your client, you have tangible use cases you can use to build credibility and ultimately, set up your next sales cycle with a backbone built fundamentally on objective data.

Value can manifest in multiple ways, many of which we have covered and some of which we cannot realize until we are in the trenches. However one client defines value may not directly translate to the next, but I will force you through the repeatable motions of becoming a better salesperson and put you in a position to – Keep. Delivering. Value.


Ryan Moline is one of the co-founders of the Chicago Customer Success Podcast. He is currently a Solutions Consultant with DialogTech.

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