Why, in 2017, 'Coffee Is for Closers' Has a Completely New Spin

Closing the deal these days isn't enough. You may need to assign your B2B sales team some dedicated "customer success" representatives.
Why, in 2017, 'Coffee Is for Closers' Has a Completely New Spin
Image credit: New Line Cinema

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If Glengarry Glen Ross had been written in the 21st century, the famous line, “Coffee is for closers” probably would have been changed to read, “Coffee is for sales professionals committed to making sure their clients succeed.” Why? Because we now know that it isn’t just about closing the deal anymore.

Related: 3 Ways B2B Sales Will Change in the Next 20 Years

The reason is that customers who succeed with your product after their purchase benefit your organization in many ways. In fact, some estimates indicate that for every $15 invested in customer success, you earn $100 in revenue. Successful customers? They're the ones more likely to give you high scores on the overall experience, more often open to cross-sell and upsell opportunities and more likely to net you important referrals as advocates for your brand.

Monitor your customer churn rates.

When customers succeed with your solution, that happy outcome contributes to their overall experience with your company; and, whether or not they perceive their experience to be above-average significantly affects whether or not they will renew their contracts or complete repeat purchases.

This fact is not lost on most B2B leaders, as approximately 90 percent of those in one survey indicated that they expected to increase or maintain their level of spending on the customer experience.

So, if your own churn rates are less than satisfactory, take that as a sign that your buyers are looking elsewhere because they don’t feel they are getting the advertised value from your solution. In such cases, designating specific "customer success" representatives on your sales team can help you devote the appropriate amount of time to each and every buyer to ensure that they are as prepared as possible to achieve their goals.

Evaluate your customer success metrics.

Let’s say your sales team is a finely tuned operation full of reps who consistently hit their quotas and receive sterling marks from their clients  on trustworthiness and helpfulness. Everything is going great, until one of your sales reps closes another deal and hands the customer off to the onboarding team, whose members have significant gaps in their process that impede the client’s ultimate success.

What can you do about that? After all, your people are doing everything they can to improve the buyer’s experience. But even if the disconnect isn’t located in your department, putting someone in charge of the customer’s success can help your clients in myriad ways. This representative can prepare the client for the onboarding process; coordinate communication across teams such as customer support, IT, and shipping; and act as a trusted liaison for as long as the customer requires.

Related: 5 Tips for Developing Your B2B Sales

Talk to your customers.

Sometimes, it’s important not to overlook the most simple solutions to your problems. The answer to the question, “Do I need a dedicated customer success rep on my sales team?” might be, “You do if your customers think you do.”

If you don’t currently employ a sales rep whose sole focus is facilitating customer success, survey your buyers to see if they think such a person would add value to their experience. Not only will this give you an idea of whether or not your specific organization would benefit from this kind of specialized rep, but it will also demonstrate to your clients that you care deeply about their relationship with your company, and that you are open to new ideas about how it can be improved.

Survey your sales team members.

On a similar note, don’t neglect the contributions your employees can make to the conversation. If all sales reps are currently sharing responsibilities related to customer success, in addition to their normal sales activities, that fact could be hindering their ability to make the necessary number of new engagements to reach their goals.

Your sales reps may have detailed insights from their years in the trenches that can illuminate whether or not a customer success rep would help the organization.

Talk with them about the amount of time they spend on customer support activities, and then extrapolate this time out to see how their sales performance metrics would improve if they were freed from these obligations. Then, you’ll be able to express the value of the new position in terms of ROI to your bosses.

Consider the specifics of your onboarding process

At the end of the day, your need for a singular customer success sales rep is going to be determined by the nature of your product, your customers, your onboarding process and your organizational structure.

Perhaps your product is straightforward enough that customers should be able to get all of the information they need from the sales process itself, in which case breakdowns may be occurring because your salespeople aren’t making use of your content throughout the buyer’s journey. Or your customers may benefit from continual guidance and instructional content after they have purchased, whether that's due to the addition of new features or changes in their operational needs.

Related: A Simple, 4-Step Blueprint for Building Rapport in B2B Sales

aOverall, consider that as long as your decision is tied to the enrichment of the customer’s experience, it will be justified.

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