This article originates from a presentation at our virtual Customer Success Festival in October 2022. At the time of the event, all job titles were correct and up to date. Catch up on this presentation, and others, using our OnDemand service. For more exclusive content, visit your membership dashboard.

It’s an all-too-common complaint among customer success leaders that while they’re trying desperately to drive retention, their sales counterparts have a single-minded focus on short-term wins. If that sounds familiar, fear not! Minna Vaisanen and Nieves Canada are here to unpack how you can build alignment between sales and post-sales customer success teams to drive customer lifetime value (LTV).

Nieves has been working in tech companies for over 16 years, and she’s currently the Global VP of Customer Success at iText PDF, a global leader in PDF software, where she’s building and scaling the customer success team.

Minna is Head of Customer Success at Growth Engineering Ltd, a learning tech company that delivers value through learning outcomes for its customers. Like Nieves, she’s a tech company veteran, having spent 10-plus years in customer success and change management.

Between them, they’ve got a wealth of hard-won insights to share. Let’s dive in, shall we?

The three keys to alignment between sales and post-sales teams

Nieves Canada:

Today, we’re going to be talking about driving customer lifetime value – in other words, the entire value generated from the moment a customer signs up for your solution to the moment they leave. That includes their first purchase, renewals, upsells, cross-sells, and, of course, the value of their referrals.

But before we jump in, let's start with a general overview of how customer success teams can drive lifetime value through alignment with their sales counterparts. Minna, what’s your view on this?

Minna Vaisanen:

This is a topic that comes up a lot because it’s very common to have differences of opinion on what drives lifetime value. So how do you achieve alignment on this between sales and customer success? I’d concentrate on these three areas:

  1. Goals and OKRs: Both teams need to have the same aim in their sights.
  2. Customer strategy: Who is your customer? You want both teams to have the same profile in mind.
  3. Tools and processes: These are essential for building a seamless customer experience.