Trending This Week: How Successful Sales Reps Act After the Sale
By staying involved after the contract is signed, sales professionals can make a big impact on the customer experience.
April 28, 2017
As customer experience becomes a guiding mantra, more B2B organizations are reassessing all their practices and processes. However, according to SiriusDecisions, many overlook the critical post-sales customer experience.
When sales reps continue caring for customers after they’ve signed the contract, it’s not just the customers who benefit – turns out the sales rep’s company tends to benefit as well. As SiriusDecisions explains, to get this right, sales professionals need to pay attention to the timing, triggers, and their responsibilities across four stages.
Stage 1: Welcome New Customers
If you embrace the tenets of modern sales, you closed the deal by serving as a helpful, trusted advisor while the buyer was researching, evaluating, and deciding on the best solution. They didn’t just buy a product or service from you – they signed on to a new relationship, so it’s critical to guide your buyer through the process of becoming a customer.
Encourage a long and mutually beneficial relationship by easing their transition from prospect to customer and paving the way for success. By staying heavily involved during this period, you can help ensure a smooth – and loyalty-inspiring – process.
Stage 2: Instill Confidence
Once the customer begins using your company’s solution, make sure they get the most value possible. You can do this by filtering helpful information and opportunities the customer’s way. These could include regular account updates and messages dedicated to nurturing the relationship, along with connecting your buyer with other customers when both parties can benefit from the introduction.
By monitoring customer engagement and participation in user-specific events and opportunities, you can get a sense of the customer’s experience. If you detect anything negative, do what you can to quickly and proactively remedy the situation.
Stage 3: Strengthen the Relationship
You’ve already set the stage for your customer to gain measurable value from your solution. Now you want to make sure they are aware of that value. This is key to customer retention, which is critical whether you sell on a recurring revenue basis or simply want to increase the likelihood of contract renewal. We all know it’s easier to keep an existing customer – especially if you’ve taken care of the relationship and are helping the customer realize the full value of your solution.
You can convey this value during formal account reviews by covering success metrics and the overall relationship health. At the same time, keep your credibility intact by addressing any challenges and shortcomings head on.
If your company touted your customer’s success in a case study or through a speaking engagement at its user conference, be sure to share that on LinkedIn. Remember, you don’t have a relationship with the organization, you have relationships with its people. Helping your contacts get recognized for their decision to choose your company can go a long way toward solidifying the relationship.
Now is also the time to co-develop a plan for further strengthening the relationship. Getting the customer to agree that the engagement is paying off paves the way for ongoing, expanded investment.
Stage 4: Expand the Relationship
In social selling the more you deliver value in the form of being helpful, the higher the chances you’ll close deals. The same is true of your relationships with existing customers – help rather than sell and you’ll likely earn more business from them.
At every stage, you should continue doing what modern sales professionals do best: uncover the customer’s strategic initiatives on social media, continue supplying thought-leading content, and advise on how the customer can best address their needs.
The key is to focus on the customer’s experience. To that end, you could also invite your customer to exclusive events covering your solution’s latest features, or to meetings discussing strategic applications of the solution. Maybe you arrange small gatherings of an elite set of customers to discuss their challenges and best practices.
When you sense that your customer is so delighted that they are willing to be advocates, the time is right to expand the account. Look for ways to get more people within the customer’s organization using the solution. Or look for ways to sell another solution into a different business unit or department.
Don’t make the common mistake of stepping aside once the contract is signed. At a time when the customer experience can make or break deals and relationships, stay involved and do all you can to ensure that experience is memorable in a positive way. Your customer and your boss will both be glad you did.
To stay in the know on all the latest sales trends and insights, subscribe to the LinkedIn Sales Solution blog.