There’s a lot of good work that customer success and product teams can do together when they become a power couple in a company. But they must be synchronized, and that’s usually not the case. Such an alignment is even more of a necessity for SaaS businesses as there is a much shorter delay between gathering customer feedback and implementing or amending product features to address that feedback.
That’s why top management must set the right framework and incentives for those teams to work in tandem toward a common goal. Organizing recurrent meetings and consistent communication could help, but the next big hurdle is to enable members to share a common perspective on a continuous basis for fully leveraging potential synergies.
Adopting new technologies such as a Customer Growth Platform™ is a great way to reach that objective and getting buy-in from all the important stakeholders is therefore essential – especially from the product team who are typically the gatekeepers of implementing the platform and would benefit from a tool that offers deeper visibility into clients. So here are a few ideas for getting them on board:
- Begin by asking the right questions
Asking the right questions is an effective sales technique to show interest in the problem faced by customers (or colleagues) and make them talk about their needs. Doing so with product managers shouldn’t be too difficult. They probably already have a lot of questions on their mind and making educated guesses about what those could be is an excellent way to get the conversation started. We have a few suggestions for you:
- Do product managers know which customers or customer segments are most valuable? Are those customers using what the product team has built?
- What are the actions taken within your platform that indicate successful product adoption?
- Which features are driving the highest engagement? Which features are causing trouble?
- Highlight the features that will benefit them most
Being aware of the questions that keep your product managers awake at night is useful to spot which features of a customer growth application are relevant to them. Their needs probably differ from yours. For instance, you might be particularly interested in high-level customer health metrics, while they are more likely to appreciate the ability to drill down and retrieve granular customer feedback thanks to advanced user intelligence functionalities. Know the difference and consider their daily priorities and responsibilities to identify how the platform can address their pain points. Those are the capabilities you’ll want to emphasize when discussing the tool with them.
- Find your champion
Who said you had to do all the heavy lifting on your own? There must be someone on your product team who is easily approachable and already understands the value of the solution you want to promote internally. Talk to that person first, articulate the benefits, and support this member to become an evangelist and communicate the vision on your behalf. The rest of the product team is more likely to listen to their fellow subject-matter expert who speaks the same language they do and has a similar perspective rather than an outsider. Chances are that your advocate will even make points you didn’t know were important.
- Actively gather feedback
Another way to get buy-in from your product managers is to involve them at each step of the decision process – recognizing their expertise and showing that you care about their opinion. You can, for example, ask them to list their expectations and requirements to give a clearer picture of their needs. You might also organize product-oriented meetings with vendors such that they have the opportunity to have all their questions answered and can see the value of such tools firsthand during a demo.
- Manage buy-in as a process, not just an outcome
Let’s say you have got all the relevant product stakeholders to say yes to investing in a customer growth platform. The next step is now to work in close collaboration with the vendor selected to reap the benefits of the solution. Here again, uses and expectations of the tool are certainly going to differ, but the primary objective remains to bring product and customer success teams in alignment. That’s why you might want to prioritize the deployment of features which are valuable to both teams and occasionally check whether your product colleagues receive as much value as you do.
There is no universal formula to get buy-in from relevant stakeholders on a customer growth platform. Still, the points discussed in this post can give you some indications about how to make it happen and start exploiting the synergies between customer success and product teams. How well is your SaaS business performing in that regard? Take our Customer Success + Product Management Alignment Benchmarking Survey to tell us more about alignment in your organization.