When Should Customer Success Own Expansion?

Palette Team

Should sales or success own renewals and expansion? Unfortunately there's no easy answer; it's different for each company, and requires careful consideration of your business, customer segments, and each of their specific needs. The length of your sales cycle, the level and frequency of interaction between CSMs and customers, the size of your product portfolio, and historical rates of renewals and expansions are all important considerations to evaluate.

Oftentimes, the best approach is a hybrid one. Providing joint responsibility can help sales and success work together more effectively and provide a high level of service to the customer. When taking this approach, it's important to evaluate commissions from these deals and ensure that the payout is fair to both the sales rep and the CSM. Since sales reps have a higher variable component to their salary; they may end up with an outsized reward for each expansion compared to CSMs, who may have contributed significant work only to receive a lower share of compensation.

If your company has repeatedly shifted responsibilities for renewals or expansions back and forth between sales and success, you may benefit from creating a new role within the success team solely focused on renewals and expansions. This role requires a CSM with strong sales skills, who can take a long term view of the customer's needs while also leveraging sales tactics in order to grow revenue.

This is never a simple determination to make; to learn more about what factors to consider, reach our guide on when customer success should own renewals and expansion.

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