Customer Success just shouldn’t upsell… right?
Many people think that Customer Success is all about managing customers and upselling. It’s almost a religious question. Should Customer Success also take care of upselling or not?
The 2 schools of thought go along these lines:
- Some Customer Success advocates think that upselling (integrating commercial responsibility) damages the relationship
- Sales thinks that Customer Success can’t upsell because they’re just not commercial enough.
The challenge: Both assumptions are – kind of – correct!
Very few Customer Success Managers are actually trained in high-stake Sales conversations. Selling feels like a “dirty deed” to them. And selling complex solutions requires adequate training or experience in Sales.
At the same time, when Sales takes care of upselling, the good relationship can get damaged if the teams aren’t aligned. I’ve had my fair share of customers reach out and ask why they’re talking to Sales…
But I think we’re looking in the wrong places!
We shouldn’t look at the discussion about upselling based on the structure of the company.
What’s more important is the deal. For me, the upselling responsibility is based on a simple equation:
complexity x customer relationship
Let me explain.
A very complex deal, with a very complex pricing structure, should be handled by Sales. That’s what Sales is good at, and what they do every day.
But the better the direct relationship of CS to the customer is, the more Sales develops into an advisory role. If we don’t have a very close relationship to the customer, Sales can fully take over the upselling process.
If we have a very close relationship with the customer, Sales becomes our advisor on pricing and deal structure.
This is not a black and white debate!