Team alignment is crucial for ensuring that all members of an organization understand the vision and mission of a company and work together in a structured manner to attain the end goal of the organization.
As a Chief Customer Officer, you need your team to understand your customer success goals and work in alignment with the strategies developed by you. This will require you to teach your team to understand their individual as well as the team goals and to acknowledge how their contribution connects with the wider organizational goals.
As the number of individuals increases, team alignment becomes more difficult to attain. So, as your customer success team grows in size you will have to get ready for educating, involving, and aligning the right people at the right position. Without achieving team alignment you cannot achieve the success goals of your B2B SaaS Company in today’s competitive market. A B2B SaaS Company with everything at the right place can fail and get negative growth if it does not have a cross-functional customer success team aligned with its organizational goals.
In this write-up, we will discuss team alignment, what an aligned team looks like and finally we will give you some tips to align your customer success team.
Definition of team alignment
Team alignment is the term that signifies that all the members of a team understand, contribute, and collaborate towards achieving a common goal or vision. It is important for every organization as without alignment individuals will be working in different directions making it difficult for the team to reach the desired goals.
Even if an organization has a pool of talented employees, productivity and efficiency cannot be ensured without combining the talent of those individual team members together as a team. The result of the efforts of team members gets multiplied when the team is aligned.
Signs of an aligned team
Now that you know what is team alignment and its necessity for your organization, you need to introspect whether you are leading an aligned team or not. Here are the three tell-a-tale signs of an aligned team.
A singular vision – The team is guided by a singular vision i.e. every team member understands the end goal of the organization.
A simplistic language that is easy to understand – The team uses simple language to communicate with each other and everybody understands that language. This ensures that no command or response is misinterpreted.
Team members working in a unison direction – The team members do not only understand the goal but also work strategically towards that goal. Every team member walks in the same direction.
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Tips for CSMs to achieve team alignment
Accept our good wishes if you just found out that your team has all the signs of an aligned team. But, if you felt your team is lacking at any point, keep on reading. Given below are the tips to help you as a CSM to achieve team alignment in your organization.
Have individual goals for each customer success professional in place
It is quite common for Customer Success Managers to create and communicate a ‘team goal’ for their team. But, they often miss the importance of creating individual goals for each member of the team. When you provide each professional with their individual goal that is aligned with the team goal they can work more efficiently for the attainment of the team goal. Breaking the larger team goal into smaller chunks of individual goals will not only make the task less intimidating but also help the team reach the goal more efficiently. This will further help you as a leader in scrutinizing and seeing which team member is lacking behind. So, make sure to have individual goals for each customer success professional in your Customer Success Team.
Ensure that individual CS objectives are tied up with overall business objectives
The aim of creating individual goals is to attain the overall business goal. So, it is imperative to tie up individual goals so that together they can lead to the attainment of the bigger organizational goal. Each individual should know that the business objective will be fulfilled only when every member of the team attains their individual goals. This will ensure team collaboration. While the team members should be free to work for their goal individually they should also be aware that they have to match their steps with other team members walking with them to reach the team goal.
Encourage team collaboration instead of a feeling of competitiveness amongst CS teams
Having individual goals may bring a sense of competition among the team members if the organizational goal and strategy are not communicated well to them. As a leader, the Customer Success Manager must inculcate the feeling of collaboration rather than competition among the team members. It should be communicated that the team members have been given individual goals just for breaking the bigger task into smaller chunks. They need to be told that each of them will be working in collaboration to reach the organizational goals. Frequent meetings, team-building games, and other such creative techniques can be used to fill the team members with team spirit and a collaborative mindset.
Share success stories of CS representatives when they achieve their objective as a token of achievement
Humans, by nature, love to be appreciated. If and when a customer success representative achieves their objective, their success story should be shared and appreciated as a token of their achievement. This will not only make that representative feel appreciated but will also invoke healthy competition among the team members. When your Customer Success Representative knows that their efforts will be appreciated, they are more likely to be more productive and dedicated towards their work. Each small victory of team members and the team as a whole should be celebrated. It will create goodwill and motivation for the team to excel in their work.
Create an atmosphere of team alignment within your entire CS group
To foster the habit of collaboration among the team members it is necessary to provide a work environment that promotes alignment. A work environment that is infested with office politics and such negative attributes can have a negative impact on team collaboration and cooperation. Being the Chief Customer Officer, it is your duty to create an atmosphere of team alignment within your entire Customer Success Group. You need to infuse the growth mindset in your team so that each team member is self-directed towards achieving the growth objectives of the business rather than pulling someone down to get ahead of them. 19
A Customer Success Manager of a growing B2B SaaS Company needs to handle a large team of customer success representatives. In order to achieve their Customer Success goals, they must have team alignment and well-structured collaborative planning. It must be noted that building team alignment is not a one-time task. A CSM needs to continuously put efforts in maintain the team alignment even if it was achieved at a time. You will need to keep checking your team’s alignment position. This can be done by asking anonymous questions to every member of the team. The answers received in the process will help you in gauging the results of your team alignment strategy. You can find the areas that require your attention the most thus saving you a lot of time and effort. In a nutshell, don’t just create a team alignment strategy rather keep doing follow-up tests to ensure that your CS team is always aligned and working towards the attainment of your organizational goals.
Shivani is a talented CS manager with the skillsets to elicit, scope and manage end-to-end B2B SaaS project delivery. She has a keen interest in depicting her learnings in customer success by writing resourceful blogs and articles.
Published February 22, 2022, Updated March 01, 2023