Enabling Reps to Provide Value Post-Sale
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The sales process does not end after customers make a purchase. Maintaining customer relationships after the initial deal closes is equally as valuable for long-term organizational success.
While it is easy to think about revenue generation in the short-term, this outlook can be detrimental to customer relationships and long-term revenue goals. Providing value throughout the entire customer experience is critical to establish trust and drive retention.
By providing post-sales functions with comprehensive support on how to maintain and deepen value with customers, reps can prove commitment to customers’ success, leading to mutually beneficial relationships.
“Anyone in the post-sales world is really focused on the long game,” said Emily Garza, AVP of customer success at Fastly. “You can push a sale in the short-term but that could actually hurt long-term growth if it’s not the right fit or not the right timing with the customer. We make sure that all the conversations that we have, we’re coming in with some sort of value proposition, we’re making good use of customer’s time.”
To enable teams to provide value post-sale, three key focus areas can be critical for enablement leaders.
Focus on Revenue Enablement
Revenue enablement fosters a seamless customer experience both externally and internally. On an external level, revenue enablement equips reps across the revenue organization to help customers most effectively leverage an organization’s product or service, tailored to their specific needs.
In doing so, revenue enablement focuses on initiatives that allow customers to maximize the value they get from partnering with the organization at every step of their journey. For instance, this could include partnering with customer service reps to deliver educational elements – classes, coaching, webinars, or training videos – that deepen customers’ understanding of the product or service. Alternatively, it could include resources to help reps approach specific customer scenarios such as upsell or renewal conversations.
Internally, revenue enablement requires a shift in mindset to effectively encapsulate pre and post-sales efforts rather than solely traditional sales teams. This includes account management, customer success teams, and technical support teams. By placing more value on enablement for post-sales teams in totality, revenue goals and customer retention rates become more attainable.
“Companies that build this go-to-market model consistently grow their accounts at a faster, if not double, rate of those who don’t,” said Kari Ardalan, regional vice president of scaled success at Zendesk. “The biggest topics that we have found when talking to folks in the customer enablement space is really this risk-averse mindset that customer teams can have when selling to customers.”
In standard sales practices, sales enablement teams function with their focal point being to get customers in the door. By thinking instead about revenue teams as a whole, the focus shifts from short-term sales to long-term revenue growth and customer retention. Revenue enablement arms reps with the information, resources, and training to most effectively meet the needs of customers at each stage in the sales process. Rather than simply selling the customer the solution, revenue enablement helps customers grow over extended periods of time and find their own success with products and services throughout the entirety of their lifecycle.
Define the Customer Journey from a Post-Sales Perspective
Defining the customer journey with a strong emphasis on post-sales fosters a more thorough understanding of the customer and their lifecycles. To effectively define the customer journey from a post-sales perspective, enablement can consider the following questions:
- What does customer engagement look like across each stage of their journey, from net-new to renewals and growth?
- What are the key data points and insights? How do post-sales reps access and utilize that information?
- How can reps provide a seamless post-sale experience that speaks to the value of the company and or the product at the right moment in the customer’s journey?
With a comprehensive outlook of the customer journey, post-sales teams have the opportunity to build relationships and get to know their customers better, building on the insights passed to them by sales reps. Post-sales teams have intrinsically different needs and goals than sales teams, requiring thorough and specific industry knowledge that relates to their customers. This depth of knowledge can be used as an advantage to further funnel feedback to inform the go-to-market strategy based on what reps are hearing directly from customers.
“Frame [post-sales] as an opportunity to add to the internal feedback cycle,” said Garza. “Your post-sales team is really deep working with customers, they understand what their business is doing, why they’ve chosen your product, how they’re using it.”
Since post-sales can encompass a wide range of responsibilities that span different teams, such as customer success and support services, aligning on who owns what within specific customer relationships can be challenging.
For post-sales teams to collaborate with one another, it is important to have a solid understanding of what customer businesses are trying to accomplish, why they purchased the product or service in the first place, and how they are specifically using it to achieve their respective goals. By funneling feedback from the market regarding why customers are utilizing or not utilizing certain features, post-sales teams can leverage information to drive collaborative and informed decisions within their organizations. Ultimately, this can help lead to a smoother and more tailored customer journey.
Set Goals for Long-Term Customer Growth and Retention
Providing value throughout the customer lifecycle requires shifting goals from purely net-new sales to long-term customer value. The purpose of post-sales teams is not to push products and services, but rather to help customers realize optimal value from those products or services that they have purchased. By focusing on identifying the needs and best opportunities for customers, there is increased potential for customer retention.
“Post-sales teams have a better opportunity to build relationships and get to know their customers better,” said Christopher Prudente, manager of customer success enablement at HubSpot. “They need to get specific industry knowledge for their customers.”
Reframing goals to encompass customer growth and retention can promote higher revenue in the long term. This means that goals for post-sales teams must incentivize behavior that is aimed at building and maintaining trusting relationships. Placing customer needs as paramount proves commitment to partnership and establishes a strong sense of credibility with existing and potential customers.
”If you’re doing all the things that you’re supposed to be doing, if you’re doing your job right, the revenue will come because you’re having ongoing conversations…as you’re building these deep relationships,” said Garza. “You’re getting introductions to other businesses. All this stuff that we tend to take for granted as just it’s part of the job, all of that is building the pathway to continuing to grow revenue.”
Through enablement, post-sales teams can better leverage information from pre-sales and sales to add tangible value to the customer journey.
By placing more emphasis on post-sales teams and long-term customer relationships through enablement, customers are inclined to view their relationships with reps as more than a seller and customer, but rather as true partners. By providing post-sales value, the customer is more than a mechanism to meet immediate revenue goals. Instead, the long-term relationship fosters continuous value and beneficial feedback, for both the customer and the organization.