Earlier this month at Forrester’s B2B Summit, there were a couple of common threads that ran through the keynotes — the need to: 1) put the customer at the center of everything we do and 2) break down silos between cross-functional teams, aligning to enable buyer and customer value. Aside from the obvious connection between the two, the presentations generated a lot of buzz, lasting the full three days of the conference and continuing today.

These themes gave me pause. As someone who has been both a practitioner and now an analyst speaking to many customers, I can confidently say that we are often our own worst enemies. We think we’re aligned, but we design processes and procedures from our internal perspectives on the company and team level, neglecting to think about how it will impact the customer or our colleagues. That is the opposite of being customer-obsessed. To be truly customer-obsessed, B2B companies must focus on four critical capabilities: investing to become customer-led, insights-driven, fast, and connected.

And there is good reason to make the shift. Forrester’s State Of Customer Obsession Survey, 2024, data shows that customer-obsessed companies outperform their peers in every metric that matters. They see 28% faster revenue growth, 33% higher profit growth, 43% better customer retention, and 44% better employee engagement. What company doesn’t want that? (Rhetorical question: I know everyone is waving their arms in the air exclaiming, “Yes! We do!”)

Riding the momentum from the keynotes, I approached this conversation with colleagues and customers. Since I cover B2B customer success (CS) and post-sale customer engagement, I focused on an evergreen topic, the alignment between sales and CS. More specifically, how do we eliminate unnecessary friction and best align our promise-makers and promise-keepers in service of the company and the customer?

Aligning sales and CS is not just a strategic move; it’s a transformative one. It requires a shift in mindset, from viewing sales and CS as separate entities to seeing them as integral parts of a single, customer-centric revenue function. It fosters a culture of accountability, collaboration, and continuous improvement. B2B companies must ensure that every customer interaction provides value, and aligning promise-makers with promise-keepers helps do that.

Invoking our Summit 2024 theme, let’s break down these silos so that we can “align, reinvent, and win.”