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Establishing Effective Sales Teams Throughout the Customer Life Cycle

#customerdneeds, #customerNeeds, #customerservice, #customerswants, #developgoodsalesteams, #effectivecustomerservice, #salesteams July 26, 2018

This post is aimed to provide you a preview about the cultural change behavior we have to execute to provide your After Sales team a customer success mindset.

I started to worry about this theme about 3 years ago, and what motivated me were some factors like:

  • quality of service delivery
  • provision of the service in a reactive way
  • lack of commercial synchronicity and account strategy with sales staff
  • little contact with the customer base by the after sales team

On top of that I would like to eliminate comments very common in our team such as:

  • "Ah but the customer did not use my product right"
  • "The client did not complete the deployment"
  • "He did not change the processes he needed within the company"
  • "His analyst was doing soft body"

Our deliveries were never bad. After all, they were in use: best project management practices, ITIL® and an excellent technical team. But something was missing...

For a period of eight months I started to visit about three clients a week and asking these company directors from the aftermarket point of view:

  • If the deliveries of the team services were done with quality
    and,
  • What is value delivery of services from the perspective of the customer

It was a profound and fundamental experience that changed my view of provision of after-sales services and customer expectations management needing to align with the after-sales-team with sales staff & after-sales service assuming a leading role in the sales process.

I ended up "discovering" this topic in conversations with three colleagues who already practiced it. I wanted to share this experience with you, but before moving on I did a quick internet search on the definition for Customer Success:

Customer Success is is a professional or department actively focused on thinking of solutions that improve the life of the client next to the services offered by the company - Tomás Duarte - Blog Tracksale - 2016

Customer Success is the job of proactively orchestrating the consumer journey toward the solutions he pursues - and that are always evolving - Lincoln Murphy - Endeavor.org - 2017

Customer Success is strategizing thinking about the success of the consumer and working to ensure that they have the best possible experience in your company - Isadora Lopes - Outbond Marketing

Customer Success ensures the best possible experience for your customers through value creation. - Lilian Oliveira - Sambatech

  Customer Success is when your customers achieve the desired result through interactions with your company - Talita Batista - Rock Content

and strong comments as :

You can focus on adoption, retention, expansion, or advocacy; or you can focus on the customers' Desired Outcome and get all of those things –Lincoln Murphy

 

“At the outset of a startup, engineering throughput can be a limiting factor; the team simply can’t code fast enough. At some point, the product launches but no one knows about it. Marketing is the bottleneck. When customers come rushing through the door, money in hand, sales and customer support might stunt the growth of the company. Other times it’s culture or product market fit or money or competition. But for each startup at every stage there is a limiting factor.” - Tomasz Tunguz

 

“At Buffer and many other customer-centric startups, the product, marketing, and engineering teams all listen to customer questions and answer them directly. This has changed through the years as the needs and team have grown. In its current form, just about everyone in the company ends up hanging out with the Happiness Heroes for about a half day each month.” - Carolyn Kopprasch

 

Get good at asking questions:
Why did you click on that?
Why didn't you click on that?
What would make this better?
What's missing? - Ellie Wilkinson
“Today’s B2B customers feel empowered. They demand a whole new level of customer focus, expecting companies to know them personally, recognize their challenges, and cater to their needs.” - Dana Niv  

I also came across a market indicator that I could not confirm the source of the information where it is 7 times more expensive, between conquering a new customer and retaining an old, acording to Gallup customer retention raising rates by only 5% can increase profits by 25-95%, and Gallup says B2B customers with high customer engagement scores achieve 50% more sales revenue and 34% more profitability than other companies.

Customers are in control and if this does not happen in your industry, it will soon be a reality, so get ready!

 

How can after sales professionals help this journey to customer success?

Change of Mentality
After-Sales should look for the definition of customer success for the customer and then walk in the same direction. I am not talking about  project business objectives, the relationship goes beyond that... You need to know the market and the segment in which the customer operates.

You need to understand what strategy teams have been thinking about customer success, and work to ensure that it is the best possible experience for your business. There's no point in having a highly qualified Customer Success team if the after-sales team does not respond well when a customer calls!

Leaders should ask the team questions like:

  • "What can you do in your daily life that improves customers' vision of the company?"
  • "How can you improve your interaction with customers?"
  • "What in your work could facilitate a client's journey with the company?"

This change of attitude is fundamental because we need to deliver customer experience and quality during the whole customer life cycle in the company, and it is expected that this will be a longe one.

Customer Activation - This is the time when we are starting to deliver a project or support. This process is often called activation, and it is critical how you engage the customer at this stage. That is, deliver 100% of what was promised or you can lose the customer forever.

Projects

Pay close attention here the first signs of customer loss occur during activation. For example, projects that exaggerate promises of marketing. But also After-Sales can contribute to the loss of the client due to a poorly executed transition of the project team. Or problems can occur when the support team rotates the client to a generic email, such as "support" or "contact."

It may even be that the seller simply disappears after receiving your money.

The client's experience at this stage is fundamental. Design a structured service kick-off with elements such as:

  • sharing the business objective
  • asking the goal of the client
  • demonstrating to the customer where he is within the cycle

Remember to use the best service practices that meet the customer needs, not yours.

Support

Many companies still understand that this phase will continually break and need adjustment. The company should move to be proactive as quick as possible in this segment.
Tips :

  • Be proactive
  • Search for patterns that may indicate that a customer is having problems. Monitor applications, data, and infrastructure issues that can negatively impact the customer experience
  • When there are several calls it can mean that the customer is engaged. But if it is taking too long for the service to be fixed there may be a risk of "churn"
  • Sustaining the customer's success vector can help them find priorities in the queue of requests; perhaps a high-value customer who has a positive success vector can wait as long as we focus on the lowest-value customer, but an at-risk customer must be first.

In my research I found some very interesting tools that will help you in this work (https://www.gainsight.com/ and https://www.neoassist.com/) that operationalize the customer's life cycle

Happy customers, buy more, pay more, recommend the company to friends, volunteer for case studies, and help you promote new fetures. A satisfied customer is the best advertisement.


You can organize your Sales Teams' tasks effectively by utilizing Armatic's To-Do List feature. Check out more info on the To-Do List help page.


About the Author


Nelson Rosamilha, PMP®, PMI-ACP®, BB, Prince 2 Practitioner®, MSc

http://br.linkedin.com/in/rosamilha

twitter: rosamilha

+55-11-(9)8979-9852

About the Author
Hope Finlayson

Hope Finlayson

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