How to Enable Sales Through Customer Success Alignment

How to Enable Sales Through Customer Success Alignment

by | Customer Success

So far, we have explored the unique advantages of Customer Success. But what if you’re part of the Sales team? 

(Don’t have a Sales team? These lessons also apply to your eCommerce storefronts and Product Feature pages!)

A quick of Customer Success’s unique advantages:

With all that in mind, let’s explore the most potent benefit of a Sales team partnering with Customer Success: sales enablement.

How a Customer Success Partnership Helps Sales

The feedback loop from the customer to Customer Success to Sales enables your sales team.


Learn What Actual Customers Value

Sales teams spend too much time talking with potential customers. Warm leads. Prospects.

Potential customers are interested for many reasons: need, curiosity, frustration, an order from their manager, or learning from you so they can renegotiate with their current partner.

This means most of your customer interactions are with people who may want something other than your product. With average closing rates ranging from 20 to 40%, it’s easy to see that many leads aren’t qualified.

Meanwhile, your Customer Success team talks with current, paying customers daily. 

Supplement your sales training by asking current customers what they value about your product and why. You may be surprised by what they share. 

They Learn What Frustrates Customers

Like learning what customers value, it is equally important to understand what frustrates them and why. 

This feedback equips you to address concerns with prospective customers, focus on customers who won’t be frustrated by those same issues, and encourage other teams in your company to address customer complaints. 

Supplement your sales training by asking current customers what they value about your product and why. You may be surprised by what they share. 

They Learn How Customers Talk

The final benefit is that you learn how customers talk. This may seem simple, but it’s a powerful tool. 

If your ideal customer uses precise technical language, your team should be trained to use precise technical language.

If your ideal customers talk more about how they feel than about features or use cases, then your team should be trained to speak like this. 

It’s important to note that this doesn’t just mean you will get customers to hear your message better. It equally means that you will learn from your customers better.  

How to Enable Sales

Let’s talk about tools for using customer feedback to enable sales. 

Partner with Customer Success

The first step is to create an active partnership with Customer Success. Too often, that team is left out of the conversation as a cost center that doesn’t contribute to revenue. But you know better by now. 

Reach out to that team. Learn what they care about, and share what you care about. Create clarity about how your partnership can help the company achieve its mission. Then, create a few ways for your teams to work together immediately.

The first way?

Seek To Be Challenged

Have your Customer Success team connect you with a handful of your happiest and most frustrated current customers. 

What you will learn in a few hours will surprise you. Unfortunately, many sales teams are being trained based on outdated experience, assumptions, or ideas about “what should work.” Keep in mind that for rapidly growing companies, who your ideal customer is can change quickly. 

With your happy customer interviews, spend time exploring why they love what they love about your product. They can show you this by showing you how they use the product. Expect to learn new use cases or that a feature you were taught to consider as secondary is vitally important. 

With your frustrated customer interviews, spend time exploring why they are staying with your product. These will be valuable insights into the “have to have” features. It may sound odd not to ask them about their frustrations – and you can, if you want – but be assured that your Customer Success team knows precisely what frustrates this group.

No matter what, seek to be challenged in your assumptions. If customers are giving you nothing but tremendous or genetic feedback, dig deeper or find other customers to interview. 

Practice, Update, Retrain

So you’ve learned exciting things from your customers and know exactly what to do, right?

Now it’s time to practice. Why? Because customers aren’t responsible for understanding your company. Their job is to speak honestly. Your job is to interpret their feedback into reality. 

Practicing is a great way to test customer feedback. Whether by mock interviews with team members, hypothetical situations mapped on a whiteboard, or by working with the Customer Success team to explore new ideas in customer interviews, lessons learned can be tested quickly.

Only once you have tested the practice should you work with your team to update your processes and retrain your team. 

That said, it is essential not to forget that learning the lesson isn’t enough – Close the loop by updating and retraining. 

The Costs of Enabling Sales with Customer Feedback

There are only a few disadvantages to enabling sales by partnering with Customer Success. Here are the main challenges:


Spending time with Customer Success and customers means your team has less time for prospecting, sales, and account management.

The cost is worth it but should be acknowledged by everyone involved in the project. 

Manage this by creating clarity about the partnership up front, periodically checking on progress toward your goals, and setting the expectation that your team reports on how the new techniques they are trying are working. 


Somewhat riskier than lost time is lost focus. People tend to remember the most recent or most intense experience more than the actual average of experiences. It’s not uncommon for an entire week of customer interviews to spontaneously focus on 1 or 2 intense topics, while the 4 weeks on either side of that week were about a more representative range of topics. 

Balancing openness to feedback with focus is a matter of continuous discovery. Each discussion is important, but with change being expensive, you should take the time to investigate trends in behavior.

The Loud Few

Another way intensity sways our perspective is by giving a powerful voice to a few people. A passionate, exciting, concerning, or charismatic customer can distract a sales team from its mission.

These “Loud Few” can be powerful allies specifically because they are happy to share their honest opinion.

But they can also skew your perspective by arguing something that only matters to them much more loudly than 20 or 30 customers who don’t feel the need to express themselves. 

Balance this by using the strong opinions of the Loud Few as questions for your other customers. It may unlock a common request or uncover that it is just 1 or 2 customers who care about that issue. 


A partnership with Customer Success will enable your sales team quickly and inexpensively. 

These tools apply to companies without sales teams, such as by improving your product listings for eCommerce and B2C companies using feedback from current customers.

The partnership helps Sales know what customers value, what frustrates them, and how they talk. 

Sales can learn by partnering with Customer Success, seeking challenges from happy and frustrated current customers, and then practicing, updating, and retraining their teams. 

Costs are low – time, focus, and the Loud Few – and can be managed by creating clarity and seeking patterns.

In short, the next evolution of your Sales function begins with a Customer Success partnership. 

Today we’ve explored how to teach a cross-functional team to hear the Voice of the Customer. 

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Extelli lives in the world we’re discussing here… and we would love for you to join the conversation. Check out our post about this topic on LinkedIn.