This is the second blog in a series that explores the Customer Success value proposition and ideas for how to operationalize and optimize the role:

The Urge to Converge: Understanding the Customer Success Value Proposition

The Urge to Converge: Exploring Customer Journey “Swim Lanes” for Sales, Service and Customer Success

The Urge to Converge: Designing Customer Success Competency Maps

This blog presents ideas for how to design a cultural path to sales and service integration in a customer-centric environment.

Begin with a Customer Journey Map

Customer-centric means everything your company does begins and ends with the customer journey. I cannot stress enough how important this is. In the past, business models, organization charts and workflow maps were organized around the path to revenue, and often ended there. This one idea changes everything!

My point is reinforced by Gainsight’s diagram based on TSIA’s LAER model (Land, Adopt, Expand, Renew). Gainsight examined the steps of the customer journey from the vendor view and the client view. Here are my personal favorite examples of common disconnects:


Vendor view: Change services point of contact.

Client view: Repeating themselves.


Vendor view: Ask for upsell.

Client view: Limited adoption.

Tell me you haven’t been there in your personal experiences. Do I really have to explain it all again? I call you with a problem and you try to sell me more?

Begin by designing a customer journey map. Then, meet with your top customers (and, if possible, a few you lost) and ask for candid input on how the journey went from their perspective. Use the data discovered to determine what is vital to an exemplary experience in your environment. Companies that really want to shine will complete this process with every customer as part of the renewal process.

Design Swim Lanes for Sales, Service and Customer Success

Using your customer journey map, list every potential customer touch point, from preparing for an initial sales contact to customer advocacy. Now determine which role is best suited to that action: sales, service or customer success.


Finally, construct an optimum outcome that delivers customer value, and if possible, attach a metric to measure success.

“Whatever your vision or objective, collect the right metrics and constantly measure and assess your progress. At TELUS Digital our focus is on the customer and it only makes sense to collect the right metrics to have a constant pulse on the customer experience.”

Shawn Mandel, Chief Digital Officer, TELUS

Don’t Neglect the Handoff

In a recent blog post, Brand Promise and Customer Experience, Seleste Lunsford suggests, “As customer relationships move from sales to service, ensure a seamless hand-off and a common language. You should feel like one company, not two… or more.”

On the customer journey map, the hand-off is where most problems occur. Consider this through the lens of our swim lane diagram. As swimmers move forward in their lanes, focused on reaching the end and getting there quickly, wouldn’t it be awkward to pass something to the swimmer in the next lane? TSIA offers guidelines and guardrails for a strong Collaboration Plan.

Coming Up: Designing Customer Success Competency Maps

Next, we will demonstrate the use of competency maps to define skills required for customer-centric behavior that contributes to customer success.

Interested in learning more about how you can help your organization deliver an end-to-end positive customer experience? Visit our booth at the Technology Services World event in October.

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Customer Experience | May 28, 2020

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The 9 Talent Strategies That Drive Customer Experience Success

Customer Experience | May 26, 2020

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