Sales vs Customer Success: What’s the Difference and Why Does it Matter?
Sales and customer success are important functions in the software industry, but they focus on different customer lifecycle stages.
Sales teams are responsible for acquiring new customers and generating revenue for the company. They typically identify potential customers, educate them about the company’s products or services, and convince them to purchase.
Once a sale is made, the customer is handed over to the customer success team.
Customer Success Function
Customer success teams ensure that customers are successful with the company’s products or services.
They focus on providing excellent customer service and support, and they work to understand the customer’s needs and goals.
Customer success teams help customers with onboarding, training, and ongoing support, and they are often responsible for renewing and expanding the customer’s relationship with the company.
Sales vs. Customer Success: Key Differences
While sales and customer success roles involve working with customers and generating revenue for the company, their focus and approach differ.
Sales typically involve reaching out to potential customers, identifying their needs, and selling the company’s products or services. The primary goal of a salesperson is to close deals and generate revenue.
On the other hand, customer success roles focus on building strong relationships with existing customers and ensuring their ongoing success with the company’s products or services.
Customer success teams understand the customer’s needs and goals and help them get the most value from their investment in the company’s products or services.
The primary goal of a customer success team is to help customers succeed, which can lead to increased retention, loyalty, and revenue over time.
While sales and customer success roles may generate revenue, each role’s primary focus and approach differ.
Combining Sales and Customer Success Roles in Smaller Companies
In smaller startups and companies, it is common for employees to wear multiple hats and take on different responsibilities, including sales and customer success.
In many cases, sales and customer success functions may be combined into a single role, especially in early-stage startups with limited resources.
In these situations, the person in the role would be responsible for acquiring new customers and ensuring the ongoing success and satisfaction of existing customers.
This can be challenging because it requires strong sales skills and a deep understanding of the customer’s needs and goals.
However, it can also be rewarding because it allows the person to build strong relationships with customers and see the impact of their work firsthand.
In summary, while sales and customer success are typically distinct functions in larger companies, in smaller companies, these roles may be combined into a single cross-functional role.