Successful expand selling depends on sales, services, and customer success functions working together to cost-effectively accelerate revenue growth with existing customers. (Tweet this!) Marketing, services product management, and account management all have important roles to play as well. Fortunately, expand selling is not a “zero sum” game, where one function has to lose in order for another to win, but an investment and optimization opportunity that can benefit your organization as a whole. Here are some of the ways that collaboration between different organizational functions can affect your company’s expand selling potential.
Where Your Collaboration May Need Improvement
Based on the findings from our recent Expand Selling survey, we see relatively satisfactory levels of collaboration happening between sales and customer success, and to a lesser extent, sales and services.
However, at TSIA, we believe that “high” collaboration will need to be the watermark across the industry for expand selling to truly take root.
The most pressing need for this level of collaboration is driven by anticipated changes to who within a technology company will be primarily responsible for expand selling in the future. In this same survey, we asked the question, “For the expand phase of the customer engagement model, which function has, and will have, primary accountability for revenue achievement?” Here were the results:
In general, technology companies anticipate that customer-facing functions beyond sales will take on more responsibility for expand selling. (Tweet this!) This will take some of the pressure off of sales so they can focus on higher value and more strategic-level sales pursuits.
So, Who is Responsible for Expand Selling?
To be clear, TSIA does not see these results as a sign that the sales function will be marginalized as other roles take on more. Rather, we see this as a sharing of responsibilities across all of the functions, leveraging the direct touch points and relationships with customers that each function possesses to accelerate revenue growth. Effective expand selling will enable valuable sales resources to focus more effectively on both land and strategic expand opportunities. They will be freed up to pursue these activities through the involvement and support of the other functions.
Our research shows that there is currently a significant gap across all roles within the services and customer success functions. Furthermore, the services sales specialist’s support for expand selling is also low, leaving out this important “services-skilled” resource in the growth of services revenues.
The roles of value engineer, success account executive, and automated sales, have high focus on the expand phase (as we believe they should), but the prevalence of these roles in the industry is currently low. We see a significant opportunity for companies to invest in these emerging roles as part of a combined expand selling initiative.
Continue Developing Your Organizational Capabilities
At TSIA, we view expand selling as a formal, structured set of capabilities that companies need to build and deploy in order to be successful. The reason for this is that expand selling involves transformation across many elements of the business, ranging from new selling models and motions, to investment in skills training and predictive analytics capabilities.
We’ve seen that companies have very high, and increasing expectations for services and customer success teams related to expand selling. Another question we asked in our survey was, “Do your services teams (including maintenance & support services, customer success) have revenue generation goals they must achieve?” Of those who responded, 81% said “yes”.
We then asked, “The revenue goals given to your services teams (including maintenance & support, customer success) year over year are…” 84% answered that they are “increasing.”
We view these results as a good thing that is pointing to the future state of expand selling, but we also see the need for companies to invest in the necessary formal, structured set of capabilities that will be needed to ensure expand selling’s success.
Expand Selling Keeps Evolving, Stay Informed
TSIA’s expand selling efforts are in high gear following the formal launch of expand selling (ExS) as our newest research discipline, which we announced at our recent TSW Best Practices conference. With ExS, we are actively building a community across sales, services, customer success, marketing, and services product management to chart the course for successful expand selling best practices and results as this area rapidly emerges. If you’re interested in getting involved in this exciting new area, contact TSIA or myself directly for more information. There's also still time to register for my upcoming webinar, "Sales and Services Collaboration to Grow Customers" this Friday, June 19th, where I cover the above concepts in more detail. I look forward to hearing from you!
About the Author
Mark Middlekamp is vice president of research, Expand Selling, for TSIA. He has nearly 30 years of experience in sales, marketing, and software product management. Mark is dedicated to helping sales, services, and marketing organizations generate more profitable product and services revenues leveraging Cloud and outcome-based operating models. He can be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.