Working with the Sales Team — A CSM Basic Skill

Sales and Customer Success can be invincible allies–or deadly enemies. Here are 5 tips to foster the former.


As with any other collaboration, clarity helps. Since customer success is a new field, its boundaries are fluid, making for lots of experiments and innovating, but also confusion. So define:

  • who owns customers, and during what period(s) of their journeys
  • what conversations can be pursued independently, and which ones need to be shared
  • how to handle renewals
  • how to manage customer escalations
  • how to share intel about customers


If the customer success organization is new, sales reps can be genuinely puzzled by its mission. And some reps may feel threatened by what they fear is encroachment on their territory. So take time to explain the goals and processes of the customer success organization (your efforts to clarify will pay off!)


Sales reps live on commissions. They are not going over your head because they hate you, but because they believe that not delivering that enhancement request will kill the deal they hope to close. They won’t return your texts during the last week of the quarter because making quota is all that matters. It does not mean that  you should meekly acquiesce to everything, but start by empathizing.

Share (good) leads

CSMs are in a perfect role to spot opportunities for expansion since they develop considerable knowledge of customers, and trust. Ask the sales reps what constitutes a solid lead for them. Take your time qualifying to deliver perfect leads.

Highlight successes

The best spokesperson for the wonders of customer success is … a sales rep! Encourage success stories, especially from wildly successful sales reps (BTW, successful reps tend to get along well with CSMs in the first place because they understand the value of customer success programs for customers and themselves).


Have you been able to forge a great relationship with your sales team? Add a comment to tell us how.

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