How difficult is it to actually purchase and implement your solution? Learn how you can ensure a seamless process with ample support.
- A couple of years ago, I was brought in by a client to help them develop a growth strategy and to help them figure out where some of their most glaring inefficiencies lie. They're an IT consulting company with three primary divisions, sales, delivery, and operations. The primary concern the CEO had, like most CEOs, was new business growth. A secondary concern was that they were losing business, both at the implementation stage, which should never happen, but also they missed opportunities to cross sell additional products in the post-implementation stage. So as I began to evaluate the situation and talk to both current and past customers, a couple of significant themes started to emerge. First, costumers didn't like the fact that a person on the sales team spent all the time building a relationship in order to gain the business, but then seemed to disappear once the sale was made. And then once the project was passed off, the delivery team took over. Secondly, they found the delivery team to be inflexible and not all that personable. Essentially, this client fell into a similar trap that many businesses fall into. They have too many silos in their own organization and don't really understand the full impact those silos have on their customers. Customers want to know three things once they've decided to buy from you. First, that the solution will deliver what you promised. That it'll actually solve the problem. Second, that you can implement it effectively and on the agreed upon timeframe. And finally, third, that there is continuity of customer service throughout the relationship. These expectations may sound like complete common sense, but you'd be surprised how many businesses don't operate with high marks in all three areas. All that said, let me give you some ideas that'll help you more effectively implement your solution. First, create a system by which someone on the sales team is the quarterback of the account. They are the single point of contact throughout the relationship. They should know everything that's happening and get regular reports from delivery on how things are going. They should also have regular check-in meetings with the customer throughout the implementation to ensure satisfaction. If your business has sales people that are simply hunters and then pass it off, you might think about a team approach by which an account manager is with the sales person every step of the way. The second thing you can do is to cross-train your delivery team on both customer service and sales. Then you can cross-train your sales team on delivery and customer service. And finally, cross-train your customer service team on sales and delivery. This will create a team environment and break down the silo mentality that I mentioned earlier. Finally, have a system of customer satisfaction meetings and surveys that happen on a regular basis. I would recommend monthly, but quarterly at the least. The customer may not want to do these, especially if things appear to be going well, but you should bake this into the proposal from the beginning. See, many times, the decision maker isn't aware that a potential problem exists until it's too late. Then you have to try to involve as many hands-on people at the customer's side as possible to resolve it. If you have a commodity or retail product, your focus should be on customer service, as you likely don't have a delivery team per se. But for all of us that work in a business-to-business space, these strategies are critical to seamless implementation and will set you up for future sales within the same account and true customer loyalty for life.
- Describe the overall phases of a sales process.
- Explain how to perform prospect research.
- List and define possible motivations, as well as enabling situations for change.
- Describe ways to establish credibility and obtain commitment.
- Explain the elements of post-sales activities.
- Describe the importance of process in sales activities.
- Itemize steps in the process for obtaining commitment.