The big idea: who owns the customer?

I am starting a new type of post, which will highlight a strategic idea.

This time, it’s about customer ownership. Who owns customers within the organization? What functional unit makes sure that customers are happy, loyal, and likely to remain so?

Some organizations see the Sales team as owning customer relationships — but sales is measured on revenue targets, so how does that work for customers who are not actively purchasing new products? Some vendors say that the Support team owns customers — but the support goals and objectives, and staffing models, are focused on case resolution, not any kind of proactive programs.

Where does your organization stand on customer ownership?

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  • Gina Hayes Reply

    As a past manager of customer success, client services and technical support teams, I believe that ownership belongs to post-sales teams, specifically customer success and/or client/customer services. This view is generally not shared with sales organizations. But the facts are that sales organizations, as was mentioned in the article, have a different focus. They are primarily focused on new and add-on sales, and are compensated based on those goals. Customers move in and out of sales cycles but they consistently need service and support. The amount of time customers may require to be successful, can be considerable and is not the best use of a salespersons time. In most instances, when issues arise with existing customers, they are directed to a post-sales support organization for assistance. Therefore, the “the day to day care and feeding” of a customer is in the hands of a post-sales team. The sales team can always be brought in to handle strategic sales. The key to making this relationship work, is that the post-sales account manager and the sales account manager have to work together as a team so that everyone understands what is going on in an account. . I say account ownership belongs to the post-sales team with assistance from the sales team when an account is in a sales cycle..

    • ft-admin Reply

      Hi Gina!

      Very well said…

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