Sales Enablement leaders are enabling Customer Success Managers to increase cross-sell and up-sell motions. By demonstrating cross-functional leadership, they are raising their own profile while both growing their number, and de-risking churn.

Download The 90 Day Sales Enablement Plan for Customer Success. In this tool, we review the core functional accountabilities for sales enablement leaders, which of these accountabilities need to be leveraged to enable customer success managers, and a 90 workplan to get up and running.


Raise Your Profile by Helping Others


If you have a customer success department within your organization, you might want to ask yourself when was the last time you helped enable them? What was it that you did? Was it effective? Did your efforts help the customer success managers become more effective? Maybe you met with them just this past week, or two quarters ago, or…  maybe not ever. In any case, Sales Enablement leaders have taken to a newer practice of differentiating themselves by assisting non-sales reps within their organization to help their customer success team members with retention, cross-selling and up-selling.


To some sales enablement leaders, this was a practice forced by the competitive landscape where revenue retention, cross-selling and up-selling became a priority over new customer acquisition. They realized that it was an uncommon practice that benefitted their organizations for one, and two, it raised their own value and profile by interfacing with two revenue driving teams in lieu of one. While some may consider that to be a little self-serving, it’s only fair that your profile grows with your contributions, after all, the sales enablement role can go unrecognized at times.


So why take on a second job when you already have a first. After all, weren’t you brought in to support sales, and not customer success? Well, you might want to ask your customer success leader, are your customer success managers, effective sellers? If so, then mazel tov. If not, there’s your window to raise your profile by helping others. 


Enabling Customer Success Managers to Cross-Sell and Up-Sell


The customer success role is often seen as a service role. Full stop. Period. While that may be the case, that perspective leads the customer success function to become a cost center, instead of a revenue driving center. While that may be okay for some organization, growth-oriented leaders do not see it that way. They view the customer success as key retention-oriented department, with the upside of a revenue generating department. Why?


Your customer success managers own key relationships, establishing working dynamics with your customers. They are the easiest way past the gate-keeper, and the service they provide is something that your customers rely upon and come back to. In other words, there is a direct line to open new opportunities in the form of cross-selling and up-selling.


But as we all know, that’s not easy, and cross-selling, and up-selling requires both additional product knowledge, into addition to sales skills. That’s where you make your impact. You’re already training sales reps, both new and experienced on the products you sell. You’re already training them on sales skills. You don’t have additional material to learn, but you have additional team members to teach…. And the impact is transformational.


Getting a Tiger to Change Their Stripes


The biggest challenge to overcome is going to be the behavioral process of the customer success manager. It’s not that you must alter what they do, but rather add to it. Let’s walk through an example. Customer A calls a customer success manager and highlights a new business challenge that they are facing, but the current solution that they bought is not adequate to resolve the issue. In a traditional customer success set-up (the one where it’s strictly a service role), the issue is logged. The conversation stops, and the hand-off process to other service agents or specialists is begun. There’s not a hint of a revenue generating opportunity there, and there’s a risk of potential churn as Customer A’s experience is still in a negative state.


So how can enablement help?


By training the customer success manager on four elements on an extended process:


  1. To extend the current process to continue the dialog past the issue log.
  2. Logging their needs into your CRM.
  3. Conducting an on the spot needs analysis.
  4. Presenting a solution oriented up-sell/cross-sell product information


All thanks to the additional product knowledge, sales skills, and process that you trained them on. Now does this sound too different than your current efforts training sales reps? Maybe you are dealing with service-oriented team members, instead of sales-oriented team members. Maybe it’s easier because the customer success managers are more receptive, or maybe it’s more difficult because you are teaching sales skills from the ground up, all that will depend on the composition of your organization. But once you get a tiger to change their stripes, there’s no going back, and in the process, you will have made yourself indispensable.


Download The 90 Day Sales Enablement Plan for Customer Success. In this tool, we review the core functional accountabilities for sales enablement leaders, which of these accountabilities need to be leveraged to enable customer success managers, and a 90 workplan to get up and running.



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Adrian Mussanna

Leverages expertise in digital marketing and analytics to help clients make their number.

Adrian leverages his venture capital and digital consulting background to help clients implement achievable solutions in an era of digital disruption. His experience in scaling start-ups across multiple verticals gives him the ability to apply achievable data-driven solutions. His focus is on helping clients execute the emerging best practices needed to succeed where the point of sale starts at digital discovery.

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