A best-practice process to create net new sales opportunities should be customer-centric which is integral to driving value. Understanding your customers, their industry, their personas, and their financial KPIs are imperative. Take it a step further by sharing related insights in a way that provokes your customer/prospect into thinking more strategically about their business. This opens the door for personalized, value-based conversations proving the value of your solution and service offerings.
Now, think about growing your key accounts and building customer loyalty by delivering measurable business improvements.
Closing the next deal or ensuring the contract is renewed is NOT based on customer satisfaction. Satisfied customers leave all the time. But loyal customers – those that see long-term business value from your products and services – will renew and buy more. And the most dependable way to earn loyalty is through measurable success.
More Than Satisfied
If you think about a sales process through your customers’ eyes, they aren’t buying your product or service. They are buying an outcome. There’s an old story about how nobody wants a 3/8” drill bit. What people really want are 3/8” holes. The drill bit is a just means to an end.
That’s what this whole process is really about. The customer is looking to achieve an outcome.
However, a couple of bad things happen way too often. First, the sales team has the wrong perspective. They look at the contract or purchase order as the end of the deal. On the other hand, the customer looks at the sale as the beginning of a new process. Their concern is achieving the value promised throughout the sales process.
The second way in which most companies fall short is during the transition from sales to services. Too often, the value the customer wants isn’t relayed to the account support team. At best, the specifications, features, requirements, etc., may be communicated. If the only yardstick for success is ‘did we satisfy the requirements?’ the chances are pretty high that you’re miles away from delivering the expected value.
Gartner Group conducted a study showing no correlation between post-sale customer service and growing revenue at a customer. However, that same study showed a 48% improvement in revenue growth and a 94% improvement in retention if you help deliver ‘Customer Business Improvements.’
A ‘satisfied’ customer should only the starting line. Building loyalty, which comes when you deliver Customer Business Improvements, is the goal.
Proving Value with Measurements That Matter
Sales Leaders and Account Management must work closely with Customer Success partners to continually develop each customer’s business value. Furthermore, those post-sales teams must have a workstream dedicated to measuring the value (or, more likely, measuring how we support achieving the value).
Without proper programs to measure and monitor client success, it won’t matter how streamlined or customer-centric the sales cycle. That’s troubling news for many companies. In a survey conducted by Revegy and Finlistics, 75%+ of respondents said they don’t measure realized value consistently or AT ALL!
What Costs Clients, Costs You
As we move further into the ‘Everything as a Service’ economy, sales teams and account managers must document customer expectations around business value. This is NOT functional requirements. It’s NOT Service Level expectations or Quality expectations. It is measurable business outcomes that caused them to look for a solution in the first place.
Gallup published a study last year saying 71% of B2B customers are ready and willing to take their business elsewhere.
The study goes on to say, “Vendors that make a significant impact on their business can get a 31% higher share of wallet.”
If what we want are revenue growth and contract renewal, we must ensure that our company delivers the business value promised in the sales cycle. We must measure it and share that measured business value with the executives that launched the original evaluation of our solutions. Too many companies don’t get the credit for the value they deliver because they skip this last step.
Proving Value to Your Customer as a Service
You have to take credit for the value delivered and get the customer’s buy-in. Otherwise, you run the risk of being a supplier for a customer that is ‘ready and willing to switch.’
The WIIFM in sales and account management is a faster path to growing revenue. Wouldn’t it be nice to reach out to an executive with the following message?
“Dear CIO/CMO/CSO, last year you selected us to help you (reduce costs in the supply chain, shorten time to market, improve margins, etc.). I’d like to meet with you to review the business impact we delivered to your company and share a couple of other ideas we have about how to help you impact (margins, revenue, costs, security, etc.).”
We all know that it’s tough to get a second meeting with an executive. However, if you have a proven history of delivering value, you are far more likely to have regular meetings to discuss new ideas for mutual growth. It’s a clear win for your customer and you!
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Want to learn more? Check out this live session with Jeremey Donovan, SalesLoft’s SVP of Sales Strategy and resident sales forecasting expert.