Best Practices for Working Cross-functionally with Customer Success

Best Practices for Working Cross-functionally with Customer Success

Understand the correct time to bring Customer Success into a partnership and best practices for cross-functional collaboration.

Partnerships is a function that has to collaborate with nearly every department in an organization, from Sales to Marketing and even Customer Success. It’s important to understand that the relationship isn’t done once a partner signs a deal. 

Some of the most interesting partner work happens after the sale to nurture customers through onboarding, protect retention & drive expansion in existing accounts, and co-create solutions for unique customer needs. This article will dig into the correct time to bring Customer Success into a partnership and best practices for cross-functional collaboration.

The Value of Collaborating with Customer Success

Customer Success teams can support your partnerships efforts in many ways, including:

  • Increasing retention through improved customer engagement
  • Expanding existing accounts
  • Developing targeted solutions for customer needs

Bringing Customer Success Into Partnerships

When you involve Customer Success in a partnership depends on your organization’s approach. Typically, it makes sense to involve your team after a partnership is secured. At that point, you should discuss targets and strategies for customer satisfaction and retention. Meanwhile, the Customer Success team may also recommend certain partnerships, such as strategic integrations, based on feedback from existing customers.

A thorough onboarding process is one of the most important elements of strong partnerships — and happy partners. Work with Customer Success to ensure that you provide partners with all the information and resources they need to succeed.

Setting Cross-department Goals with Customer Success

Both revenue targets and retention goals can be strong indicators of program health. Before you can set these goals, collaborate with Customer Success to benchmark where you’re at today. From there, you can begin to set targets for revenue and retention on partner accounts.

Sometimes a partner’s impact on an existing account can be really challenging to measure so the key is to have those metrics in place before anyone is holding your feet to the fire about where you’ve been spending your time.

A critical metric Isaac Smith of Allocadia recommends tracking is partner involvement relative to retention. With that in mind, he measures risk on opportunities. Then, at the end of the quarter, he’ll take a look to see how risk was mitigated and which accounts had partners tied to them. Typically, he’ll put together SWAT teams as soon customers have a risk, then try to see if there’s a partner angle to reduce risk and increase the likelihood of retention.

Start by Building Momentum

When initiating a partner program or working with Customer Success for the first time, don’t try to boil the ocean. You can get started a lot faster by focusing on a subset of partners to build momentum first rather than trying to enable everyone all at once. 

Insights from Our Community of Experts

We recently hosted a panel of partnerships experts to share their stories on working closely with customer success teams to serve customers better. Thanks to host Isaac Smith, Manager of Strategic Partnerships at Allocadia for taking a deep dive into his insights for working cross-functionally with Customer Success and the takeaways that surprised him from the panel.

Today, Isaac runs partnerships for Allocadia. He explained, “We were recently acquired so the nature of what we do is dynamic at the moment. I’ve been running partnerships here for about four years. I’ve done a few teardowns and rebuilds during that time to match what our partners were doing.”

Before running partnerships at Allocadia, Isaac was a Senior Alliance Manager at ADP. “I spent about three years doing partnerships at my previous company. Partnerships at ADP was a very different model — I sat under sales operations and supported dozens of partners. Today at Allocadia, I work on high-value enterprise deals. It’s really a different stage of partnerships.”

Partnership Leaders regularly hosts expert panels, roundtables, and fireside chats with experts like Isaac to dig into different elements of partnerships and alliances.

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