Ep. 41: Kia Puhm Wants You To End The Product-Sales-Customer Success-Support Tug Of War


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In this episode of Helping Sells Radio we're joined by post-sales expert Kia Puhm. Kia is an entrepreneurial executive who has held chief positions in customer success, services, account management and support at companies such as: Oracle, Eloqua, Day Software (Adobe), Intelex Technologies, and Blueprint Software Systems. Kia has pioneered the art of customer experience by leading businesses through the transition to customer-centric organizations. Kia explains how to end the product-sales-customer success-support tug of war.

We spent most of our time with Puhm, talking about this tug-of-war between the customer-focused teams at SaaS organizations. There is no doubt they each have good intentions, but because each is focused on its own objectives, sometimes the customer gets lost in the shuffle.

For example:

  • The product team wants to make the product.
  • Sales wants to sell the product.
  • Professional services wants to setup and configure the product.
  • Customer success wants to get customers to use the product.
  • Support wants to help resolve customer questions about the product.

The product.

These are all noble endeavors, but what about the customer? 

Puhm urges her clients to think about the customer's journey, focus on what the customer considers a successful outcome in their own job, and how the customers uses the product to achieve that outcomes.

Says Puhm, "Understanding the customer journey from their perspective...and...understanding how the product is used in the context of their business" is how software companies can foster a healthy conflict between teams.

In other words, the best way to gain alignment is to map out the customer journey and understand what a customer considers success. This thinking enables different teams to come together to help customers achieve success throughout their journey. 

Do you know who else talks about helping customers achieve their own personal journey? Past Helping Sells Radio guest Tara-Nicolle Nelson. Listen to her episode

"If everyone understands what the customer is trying to achieve and how they use the product in the context of their business, they (your teams) can all figure out solutions that make sense for moving the customer forward in their journey," explains Puhm.

Alignment becomes natural if you can do this.


Ep. 41 #HelpingSells Podcast: @KiaPuhm On Ending The Product-Sales-Customer Success-Support Tug Of War. https://ctt.ec/u9cZ3+

Learn More about Kia Puhm

Read Kia Puhm's blog post, The Product-Sales-Customer Success-Support-Customer Product Roadmap Tug of War.

Visit Kia Puhm's website.

Connect with Kia Puhm on Linkedin

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Sarah E. Brown and Bill Cushard

Written by Sarah E. Brown and Bill Cushard

Helping Sells Radio co-hosts, Bill Cushard and Sarah E. Brown, are Rocketeers based in Palo Alto, CA.