Jun 12 / Mary Green

Collaboration and Alignment

Can't get Customer Success to send you potential advocates?

Is the sales team still running their black market reference pool?

Does leadership keep you from successfully implementing the programs they hired you to create?

Your problem is likely change management, and...

It's up to you to fix it.

What is change management?

Change management is the process of implementing change throughout your company, including different departments. You know it as lack of collaboration or aligment/partnership.

What's the solution for lack of collaboration?

1) Help them first

Let's Change Your Approach

You've probably started your relationship with the other teams by approaching them to get them to contribute to your efforts in some way.

Rightfully so, the other teams bristled at your requests. They have their own goals, relationships, and careers to consider before contributing their time to your projects.

From their point of view, they want to help the company, but they have to make sure their job and time are managed best to create their own success.

Revisit The Conversation

If you've already had an unsuccessful attempt at working together, do some research about how your work can benefit them.

Customer Success benefits:

  • New use cases & successes
  • Increased CSAT or NPS
  • Increased adoption or retention

Sales benefits:

  • New content for specific use cases
  • Increased deal value
  • Shorter deal length
  • An easy pool of references to access

Reach out and say you have something new to share and you'd like to have a quick call.

On the call, tell them you want to learn more about how your work can positively impact their goals.

Ask what their goals are for the present or next quarter (you'll do some research later to see how you can partner with them on these goals). If you immediately think of alignment to their goals, bring it up for discussion.

Share the beneficial findings or work you found while preparing for this call.

Ask if there are areas where they could use your support. For instance, sales might want an easier process for identifying references. Customer success might want help with identifying new use cases or sharing success stories (and tutorials).

In the end, tell them about a goal you are working on, then ask if this could align with any of their efforts. You want to understand what obstacles there are preventing a successful partnership between your teams.

2) Work Around Them

When you need to get results without other teams participating, you can work around them.

A) Get customers to participate in new programs that you've created. This way you can build relationships and nurture them into becoming the references and case studies you need.

B) Find other teams that can and WILL help. If Customer Success won't send potential advocates, the social media team might; you can also ask the PR team.

C) Leverage any connection or win. You can align your wins with other teams initiatives even if you don't know all of their goals. Customer Success always cares about NPS and CSAT. Sales always cares about closing deals. Further, you may not get all of the CS or Sales team on board, but you might find one or two people interested in working with you. Leverage that by sharing your results and putting the spotlight on these participants (sales people love competition).

3) Build trust for long-term relationships

It's fairly common that past employees or leaders have jeopardized an employee's relationship with their customer. Because of this, they can be tentative to take that risk again.

You want to show them they can trust you. You can ask what misgivings they have with sending customers to you. If their answer is they are afraid you will overuse the customer, take them through your approach so that they know exactly what to expect.

If they are worried about customers won't like working with you, give them feedback from others.

Chances are, if you are willing to listen, you will find an obstacle you can overcome to make collaboration work.

4) Set Expectations

Let other teams know what to expect from working with you. For instance, here's a doc explaining how the Product team can work with Customer Marketing/ Community/ Advocacy.

Related Resources

We've had multiple calls that have hit on collaboration and alignment.

Two of our Premium Masterclasses have focused on this topic:

Ashley Ward: Reporting to Customer Success & Marketing

Liz Oseguera: An Experiment in Sales Alignment

Free Resources

Ari Hoffman talked about the importance of aligning your goals with the rest of the company. He also covered how to handle mixed priorities and pushing back to say No when new tasks or projects are added. Listen to that call here.

Customer Marketing Charter & Vision by Rachel Ward

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