Future of B2B Customer Experience: Unify sales and post-sales

Shankar Ganapathy
December 28, 2021
customer success featured image

Your team has worked 4 months to win a $150K land. There were about 5-6 internal stakeholders and 12-15 customer stakeholders involved in the evaluation. After the contract is signed, your sales team submits a 2-3 page sales to customer success handoff document along with a handoff call to transfer 4 months of insights in <1 hour of effort. 

Does this sound familiar to you? What is the challenge with this? Your implementation and customer success teams start from scratch, i.e., discovery, solution demo, realign on value, etc., all of which leads to critical time being lost and, more importantly, suboptimal b2b customer experience. To top it off, the salesperson is also forecasting a $300K upsell later in the same fiscal year.

If you are like most revenue leaders, this should sound like a typical set of challenges in the land and expand the playbook. Perhaps the top 2% of customers are getting executive attention, hence an integrated and seamless flow of customer context and information. But what about the other 98%? 

This blog aims to give the revenue leaders like you at SaaS companies a framework and methodology for developing a GTM strategy that puts customer success at the center of everything you do.

What are you doing to help customers realize value from your offerings?

Knowing the answer to this question is fundamental to the growth and success of your business. It is also important to know that there is no single answer to this question. It will involve all your go-to-market teams to work collaboratively. 

A predictable b2b customer experience starts with the sales team clearly understanding the value creation opportunity, your implementation team setting the right foundation for value realization, and your customer success teams continuing to reinforce value delivered and finding new value-creating opportunities for the customer that the customer can realize using your product or service. 

Customer Success centric organization needs a cross-functional strategy designed and executed to drive alignment and transparency between internal teams and the customer. If executed well, it will impact the following areas:

  • Land and expansion acceleration
  • Systematize customer trust-building process
  • Improve operational efficiency and effectiveness

Answering this simple question of how to help customers realize value will need you to develop a strategy around the following areas:

#1 Creating an integrated environment to support customer success

If you are like most organizations, you look at customer success as a separate function from revenue teams. In fact, your customer success team could itself be split into services, support, and customer success. 

The problem with this kind of arrangement (left side) is that the information flow is never smooth, leading to poor operational efficiency and effectiveness. 

The best ‘customer-success centric organizations’(right side) fundamentally redesign their GTM playbook around the customer… All your GTM teams will align themselves around three things your customers’ care about - value discovery, value collaboration, and value enablement; Internal teams and customers work on a shared understanding of each of these items across the entire relationship lifecycle. This enables everyone to have equal access to customer context leading to better experience and operational effectiveness. 

To ensure there is a maniacal focus on customer success, having detailed role definitions to drive clarity on each person’s KPIs and the interaction with customers will be crucial. Each team has its unique role to play:

1 Sales + Pre-sales:
  • First ambassadors of your customer success centricity
  • Continuously document and update customer context, new learnings through the sales process (to be used across their relationship)
2 Implementation Managers:
  • Owners of delivering the first milestone of customer value
  • Onboard and enable the customer team to extract continuous business value from your product and visualize new, relevant ways to leverage your product.
3 Value Consultants:
  • Champions of data-driven customer success
  • Give the entire team a single, consistent, attainable measure of customer success as the north star.
4 Customer Success Managers:
  • Architects of customer success blueprint
  • Close partnership with the customer-owners to build and operationalize the roadmap for customer success goals.
5 Account Managers:
  • Owners of growing customer success-based relationships
  • Unlock new opportunities to deliver customer value and business impact to create a network effect.
6 Revenue Operations:
  • Connectors of customer success and operational efficiency
  • Drive more efficient and effective ways of delivering customer success with an agile, learning operations engine
7 Product:
  • Connectors of customer success with new product development
  • Elevate the product to accelerate customer success and educate the customer teams to deliver a lasting impact
8 Marketing:
  • Connectors of customer success with strategic customer relationships
  • Enable customers to inspire others, drive thought leadership, and create a platform for change leaders.

Most B2B companies have a combination of these eight roles to service their customers. The challenge is that each of these teams has its own independent playbook/touchpoints, and the best version of what is happening with the customer is in several places, some of which may sync to your CRM, internal emails, slack threads, presentations, and excel files. While this is already messy, your customers do not even have this integrated view leading to a disjointed experience and breakdown of trust (unless you got superhuman taking care of the account)

Get Buyer enablement ebook Now!

Establishing true cross-functional alignment. 

To operationalize a customer success strategy, you need to align your internal teams to work in tandem toward the same objectives and vision. Having a framework that revolves around your customer journey and is focused on their goals and objectives will be fundamental to drive this alignment. 

Buyer Value Discovery

Buyer Value Discovery

Enable interactions that help you identify and define potential value for your buyers and create a plan to get there.

Buyer Success Collaboration

Buyer Success Collaboration

Partner with your buying teams across personalized milestones and a jointly developed roadmap to buyer success.

Buyer Enablement

Buyer Enablement

Empower your buyers with one-place-to-go for accessing contextually relevant information at any time.

Buyer Data Platform

Buyer Data Platform

Unify all the buyer behavior data across their lifetime engagement to make business decisions.


#2 Putting Value, Collaboration, and Buyer Enablement at the center of your GTM playbook

In the world of SaaS, there are no forever customers. No matter how good your product is, the moment you stop delivering value, you are at risk of churn. The positive side to this is when you deliver value, there are more cross-sell and upsell opportunities. 

Before starting BuyerAssist, I was a global account executive at a Unicorn startup and grew one of our strategic customers from low five-figure value to mid-seven-figure in <18 months. As I look back at the customer journey, one of the things we did really well was to align the broader organization and the customer on the shared understanding of the customer context. We had nailed down the understanding of the broader enterprise-level transformation, how our solution solves the customers’ pain point and the material value we can deliver at each stage of the value realization journey. As the global account executive, I was tasked with doing Account Plans, Mutual Success plans, internal ownership of enabling the cross-functional team to work in a certain cadence, and ultimately working strategically with the customer from land, expansion, and renewals.

But as I look back it, there were three problems:

  • Lack of strategic collaboration limited to the top 5% of customers: Given that the top 5% of customers in most organizations generate 50-60% revenue, it is imperative that the sales and GTM playbook was fully adopted for these customers. Does this really happen even for this 5% of customers? Also, does it make the other customers less strategic? There are so many expansion and churn prevention opportunities that are not being discovered because there is no way to drive wider adoption of the GTM playbook across all the customers. 
  • Information alignment is super difficult: Given that the land and expansion happened over an 18-24 month period, we saw several people change on both internal and external teams. I personally saw 3 CSMs changes, 2 sponsor changes, and 1 project manager change. The challenge was that a lot of context on the history of the relationship is buried in multiple PPTs, emails and it was not easy to bring everyone onboard quickly. This led to several days/weeks of lost operational efficiency and, more importantly, the need to resell value almost every quarter to a new set of stakeholders. Scale this up to your 100s or 1000s of customers by 100s or 1000s of your employees. This problem is so crazy
  • No shared system of truth: Even though this was a healthy account, a lot of he said she said led to a longer path to value realization. Many new feature timeline commitments, roll-out dates, value measurement frameworks, new use-case deployments, etc., were managed on ppts, excels, and emails. Over time, critical information gets lost, leading to a breakdown in trust. 

If my guess is correct, you are thinking, what does customer value, collaboration, and enablement have to do with all of this. One of my learnings in this customer engagement was that ultimately all of the things that salespeople do around account plans, mutual success plans, org charts, etc., are at the service of two things.

(i) do we understand the value opportunity clearly? Does the customer agree with it? Does the customer also define it in the same way? How can our solution/service help customers realize the desired value in a reasonable timeframe?

(ii) are all of us (internal and external) having the same shared understanding? Do we all know what we need to do for the customer to realize value, i.e., the steps in the process? Does the customer know their actions in the pre-buying, post-buying process? Are you collaborating actively? 

A lot of the genesis of the BuyerAssist is to answer the simple question - how do we systematize trust and transparency in every B2B relationship?

My belief is that digital will be the primary medium to sustain trust through radical transparency. Having a systematic and digital-first approach to connecting the customer's dots across the relationship life cycle will increasingly become a must-have. Value communication, collaboration, and buyer enablement will be core tentacles of such a system. 

Customer-success centric organization - the only path to a sustainable high-growth company

If you are like any high-growth company, you will have several teams responsible for customer success. Having an integrated approach where all these teams are working in tandem with the customer at the center is a potential game-changer. In fact, 70-80% of revenue in any growth stage company comes from existing customers (renewals + expansions). Having a strategic approach to customer value, collaboration and buyer enablement drive high impact with customers. Despite the clear correlation, many growth-stage companies do not do enough to align all internal teams and the customer on a shared definition of the engagement.

Having an integrated GTM playbook is definitely a starting point as you evaluate where to start this integration. Look at commonalities between your sales and customer success playbook but also professional services. Look for areas where you can tie them together. The most mature organizations have a GTM playbook that guides the respective teams on the why, how, and what. 

Get started with your personalized demo


Join the community

Get the latest updates straight to your inbox.

More Blogs

Relationship Maps for Enterprise Deals
February 23, 2023
Why Use Relationship Maps in Your Enterprise Deals

Relationship Maps
February 1, 2023
How relationship maps help you close more deals? 

January 23, 2023
Five Things to Do to Win Deals in the Current Market Conditions

Components of a Successful Sale
January 11, 2023
7 Key Components of a Successful Sale

December 27, 2022
Everything you need to know about the Challenger Sales Methodology 

December 5, 2022
5 steps to Implementing a Sales Playbook

November 28, 2022
Know your Buyers: How Relationship Maps set your Sellers up for Enterprise Sales Success? 

Top 7 Sales Practices for 2023 and Beyond
November 21, 2022
Top 7 Sales Practices for 2023 and Beyond

November 11, 2022
How to Drive an Effective Sales Process to win Buyer Trust?

3 Reasons Why Your Sales Enablement Strategy Needs A Facelift
July 18, 2022
Uplift your Sales Enablement with Close Plans

Mutual success plans
July 5, 2022
Mutual Success Plans are not for Customer Success, but for the Success of the Customers

June 13, 2022
Market dynamics today and Mutual Success Plans

Mutual Action Plan
June 6, 2022
Modern Buyer Preferences: Using  Mutual Action Plans to drive customer-centricity

May 30, 2022
Mastering Value-based Selling

BuyerAssist Integration
May 25, 2022
BuyerAssist Gets Enterprise Ready

Customer Success Tech Stack feature image
May 9, 2022
How to build a Customer-Centric CS tech stack in 2022?

sales playbook
April 4, 2022
How to Adapt Your Sales Playbook to Cater to Modern Buyer Preferences?

March 21, 2022
Brandintellé Success Story 

digital sales room
March 10, 2022
Your customers hate digital sales rooms

customer success featured image
March 9, 2022
Use Mutual Success Plans to maximize Up-Sells, Cross-Sells, and Renewals

Company wide success
March 2, 2022
Get company-wide customer success by using Mutual Success Plans

February 24, 2022
BuyerAssist is now SOC 2 certified

January 24, 2022
Your new world with digitized buyer journey engagement platform

buyer engagement platform image
January 24, 2022
Sales Leader's Guide to Buyer Engagement Platform

internal collaboration in b2b selling featured image
January 5, 2022
Internal collaboration in B2B Selling

December 9, 2021
Transform MEDDIC with Mutual Success Plans

December 7, 2021
Building your sales team identity

Meddic sales methodology blog creative
December 1, 2021
Meddic: A sales methodology that wins more deals

mutual action plan challenges featured image
November 11, 2021
Can tech solve all the Mutual Action Plans challenges?

October 11, 2021
Being obsessively buyer-centric: 3 ways to use buyer enablement to win buyer's trust

introduce mutual succes plan
September 27, 2021
How to introduce Mutual Success Plans to get buyer engagement?

September 20, 2021
Know your Buyers: Buyer Role Mapping

buying experience in b2b buying
August 16, 2021
Elevating buying experience for the modern B2B Buyer

mutual success plans win buyer trust image
August 2, 2021
How to use Mutual Success Plans to win buyer trust

buyer enablement cocreation
July 27, 2021
Buyers Sellers

June 8, 2021
Announcing our seed funding and launching beta product

b2b buying in digital buying experience
June 8, 2021
6 trends in B2B buying that you should care about

mutual success plan blog featured image
May 31, 2021
Why Mutual Success Plans are core to winning customers

b2b buying blog creative
May 24, 2021
Why every sales leader needs to care about what's changing in the world of B2B buying

b2b sales blog creative
May 24, 2021
The value imperative in B2B sales

Deal Reviews
February 21, 2023
Losing Enterprise Deals?
Three Reasons Why

February 10, 2023
Are You Doing Value Selling Right?

Sales Methodology Adoption
October 28, 2022
6 Steps to Sales Methodology Adoption

September 30, 2022
Sales Symbiosis: Implementing Mutual Success Plans

Adopt or Die
August 30, 2022
Adapt or Die- How to Adapt to the 2024 Buyer?

Everything you need to know about Mutual Action Plans
June 22, 2022
Everything that you need to know about Mutual Action Plans

Customer Lifetime Value
March 23, 2022
Top 3 Initiatives to increase Customer Lifetime Value

October 19, 2022
Strategic Sales Execution: The Flywheel of Creating and Implementing a Winning Sales Process 

mutual success plans
March 10, 2022
How to use Mutual Success Plans in the post-go-live phase?

mutual success plan for customer success
February 9, 2022
Why do you need Mutual Success Plans for Customer Success?

slack and buyerassist integrated featured image
January 24, 2022
Introducing BuyerAssist Bot for Slack

sales and customer success hero image
January 17, 2022
Are your Sales and Customer Success on the same page?

B2b customer engagement blog featured image
January 11, 2022
B2B Customer Engagement strategy to win customer loyalty in 2022

Sales to customer success handoff featured image
December 20, 2021
4 ways to make sales to customer success handoff more effective

Deal reviews
October 14, 2021
Deal Reviews: Set your teams for success

#1 blog on the internet to understand modern trends in B2B buying
Subscribe now to receive monthly newsletters
manage cookies