GUEST: Michael Tuso, Director of Revenue Performance at Chili Piper
When the sale’s over...
What do you do to generate more revenue?
And, more importantly, how to make it scalable.
What we talked about:
- What happened when Chili Piper split post-sales roles
- How to think about champion enablement
- How COVID-19 is impacting Chili Piper’s strategy
The importance of specialization
When it comes to generating more revenue from the post-sale notion, Michael notices that most companies lump everything into one role.
And Chili Piper used to do the same thing.
But that all changed last year.
Chili Piper has had a tradition to celebrate hitting major company milestones — they fly everyone to a country abroad, rent a giant Airbnb and enjoy themselves.
Last year, if they hit their target, they’d all fly to Ibiza.
In June, their CEO heard a speaker at a conference talking about separating customer success and account management.
His CEO returned and called for the split and Michael separated them by July.
By August, the revenue the account management team generated was equal to that of the entire sales team after splitting into that single role.
So, the whole company got to fly to Ibiza.
“In terms of winning deals, cross-selling and upselling, specialization is really where it started for us.”
The arguments Michael had heard that this sort of thing only works at larger companies and would be too costly fell flat.
Their customer success team has gotten better at what they do, while the account management team is killing it taking care of the business-case side of things.
Champion enablement and coaching
Another area where the post-sale revenue can be maximized comes in the form of coaching.
Specifically, champion enablement.
If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it’s basically enabling that one person in a company who can really champion your product with all the resources they need to do so.
But actually, the secret to pulling this off is to make sure you create multiple champions.
And it makes sense.
If you look at the average tenure of a VP of Sales at a startup, it comes to about 19 months.
With turnover so high, you don’t want to have only one contact in an account — it’s going to make it much harder for that to be sticky.
Who’s going to go to bat for you when your contact leaves?
Michael cites data showing that the earlier the team can get into different accounts, the more successful things like customer success and account health become.
Of course, in order to pull this off, each team needs the right coaching.
They have weekly training sessions with all teams present to go over concepts that will enable them — often going over ideas in some of the best books out there.
And lately, they’re doubling down on this approach.
“The philosophy of our company right now is doubling down on learning and investing in our people and products.”
The coaching is also offered at an individual level or for specific teams.
With the segmentation mentioned earlier, this allows for more specific coaching relevant to the specialized goals of each.
And with the pandemic raging, some things have changed but the things which work are worth the company investing more time and attention.
How to adapt to a pandemic
One example where things have changed is in account management.
Where before, the team was heavily invested in going after cross-sells and upsells, now they’re shifting their attention to renewal and customer retention.
In the pandemic, they want to focus on doing the right thing by existing customers.
So, while they may focus on new accounts if they can cross into non-affected industries, much of the coaching centers on retention.
One example would be training the account management team on how best to use tactical empathy.
“How do we use tactical empathy right now in order to retain our customers and make sure that they're happy?”
In a more general response to the pandemic, the company has a philosophical pillar to be sensitive to and acknowledge the fact that people may act irrationally in times of fear and uncertainty.
But this is why Chili Piper is doubling down on its heavy investment in its own teams…
Eventually, there will be a day when everything goes back to normal.
And when that happens, the investment in people, training and processes are going to pay off big for companies who have looked at this crisis as an opportunity to double down on these things.
Ultimately, crises are the best opportunities anyone can be given to grow stronger.The B2B Revenue Executive Experience. If you don’t use Apple Podcasts, we suggest this link.