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Your Dev Team is full of Gems

How close are you with your developers?

I’m asking because in most companies, Customer Success is really close with Sales, Marketing, and Product. But rarely with the dev team.

It clearly depends on the culture, but the dev team – despite being (obviously) one of the most important functions in SaaS – is often a bit isolated from the rest of the company.

Worst case, product management stands like a wall between developers and the rest of the organization.

Most developers are different personalities than the commercial team. That doesn’t mean that they’re not great colleagues (some of the best work relationships I had were with developers). But there’s a difference between working in a customer facing role day in, day out – and writing code and solving complex problems.

Sadly, this has led to a gap in many organizations (especially in Europe).

Developers are treated as a handyman, a resource you can easily outsource – when nothing could be further from the truth.

The $54 billion CEO who sees things differently

Jeff Lawson, CEO of API-behemoth Twilio, was a developer himself. In his recent book Ask your developer, he addressed that exact issue. The short version: involve your developers. You will benefit from it.

But there are 3 key takeaways from Jeff’s book, specifically for Customer Success teams.

1. Understanding complexity

In most organizations, product management is responsible for communicating the product development back to the rest of the organization. Even the best PM’s need to filter and prioritize the information they share.

But have you ever asked yourself why that *seemingly* small new feature really takes that long to build?

Don’t talk to your PM. Just have a coffee with a developer. Software development can be extremely complex. There are dependencies that we in commercial roles would never ever think of. But developers can break this down for you. 

Believe me: Once you’ve had a backend developer explain to you why that feature takes longer than a week, it’ll be easier for you to tell your demanding client the same thing.

2. Solving problems

You think you’re good at solving complex problems? Wait until you’ve talked to your backend engineers. They are killers when it comes to ripping down complex issues and algorithms.

Your developers are the BY FAR the best problem solvers in your organization. So use that!

Instead of going to your dev team (or PM) and requesting a certain feature, go to them with a problem. I know this sounds counterintuitive.

But because of the way your devs are wired, they will approach the problem completely differently. And often, they will find a more elegant and faster solution than you. 

3. Prioritizing solutions

It’s frustrating when the features that our customers are asking for don’t get prioritized. And yes, that’s the job of product management.

But developers often have a say in what features are prioritized. And more often than not, they won’t choose yours – because they are disconnected from our actual customers. Most devs have never talked to a real customer.

How to Maximize Your Dev Team as a Customer Success Manager

It’s our job to show the dev team the value for the customer. Believe me: even the most technical backend engineer will light up when you show them how the new feature they built benefited a customer. When they see customer feedback.

It’s our job to provide that feeling. And it will help the dev team prioritize solutions that otherwise might take longer to be built.

Tell me: What have you recently learned from your developers?

Have a great week and stay safe