As our company grows and evolves, so do our best practices. In this episode: Team Delineation.
Early days’ bliss
Until very recently, all our customer-facing staff were assembled in one team of 5. I loved the flexibility this gave us: The same people who introduced evaluators to the product would reach out to provide demos, offer assistance during billing and roll-out, provide day to day support, help with marketing, ultimately working to ensure all customers could succeed well beyond their initial sign up date.
While everyone had their special skills, it was crucial for all team members to be versatile – Ready to jump in and help at every stage in a customer’s journey utilizing Small Improvements. This worked perfectly in our early days.
Challenges started mounting
Yet as we grew from 100 customers to 700 in 34 countries, it became clear that we were faced with dwindling bandwidth and a need for structure. “A Jack of all trades, is a master of none” … It was time for us to grow as a team as well as organizationally, turning those special skills our customer facing team possessed into dedicated areas of focus.
In recently hiring a new customer support representative, the customer team is now 6 people strong. This was really pushing the limits of the old structure, so:
The new way
We decided to split the Customer Team into two teams: The Customer Success team of 2 which is only focusing on proactive outreach and client retention and the joint Support and Sales team of 3. While still collaborators in many ways, our goal is to target our resources having even more of an impact on the happiness and success of our clients and prospects the like.
Customer Success will be driven by two of our longest tenured staff members: Scott Faverty and James Nichols. Support and Sales will be driven by: Tore Ingersoll-Thorp, Andy Fordyce, and our new hire, Sarah Burgess. And Linda who had managed the team in addition to her Marketing duties can finally focus entirely on spreading the Small Improvements love – and we’re hiring in Marketing too!
Support and Sales?
While the combination of Sales and Support may sound unusual at first, note that our approach to sales is very different to the “normal sales” out there. We’re extremely light-weight, and go out of our way to not annoy potential clients. We’ll suggest a demo, and we’ll follow up by mail if the demo was received positively. But we’ll not pester anyone with spam or phone calls, and don’t even sell to companies whose business models we don’t agree with. Accordingly our sales process works without quotas. Thus, sales being influenced by our support channel makes an interesting and fruitful fit.
We’ve just started the process of defining and strengthening the work these two teams will champion, but we’ve already seen higher engagement from our customers! The future could hold even further refinement of structure and growth, but the focus will always be on the optimal way to deliver the best customer experience possible.