Sales overpromised again. So… how do I get out of this?

Your salesrep sends you an email. “New customer. Good luck.”

Nothing more.

If your org is not really CS-centric, or they have just started with Customer Success, this happens all the time. 

No protocols. No responsibilities for sales to make the customer successful.

Today, let’s talk about what we can do if we end up being stuck between a rock and a hard place – a company that asks us to make our customers successful, and a salesteam that seems to play their own game. Here are my 4 top tips.

1) Handovers are everything.

You NEED to have a handover meeting with the salesrep and the customer, just after the deal is signed. And in that meeting, you need to absolutely measure expectations.

Sure, you don’t want to make a bad impression on the customer. But the frustration after they have not been successful after the contract is over will be much bigger. So manage expectations. Make sure that you are all aligned.

And if the salesrep promised things you can’t deliver, well – they are in the meeting too, so they will have to explain what they meant.

2) You need to own the process.

Better too much than too little information when it comes to handovers. Start with a generic handover template. Fine-tune the hell out of it. You want to make sure it’s adjusted to your business case.

3) Join the sales process

Especially in bigger deals, you need to be at the table as CSM. Sharing customer stories and showing the path a potential customer can expect. I also like to work with an “outcome guide”, in which the salesteam has to work out the expected outcome at every step of the acquisition phase.

4) You are SaaS, not custom software

Especially selling founders like to just communicate potential future features as “already in development”. But that’s not how SaaS works. We build software for a group of companies/people, NOT for one specific account. That needs to be clear for everyone. 

If you don’t get the chance to join the sales conversation, suggest using a tool like gong.io – that will give you the opportunity to listen in on sales conversations and understand how and where the process can improve.

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