How a Good Post-Purchase Process Impacts Sales
By Maddy Osman on Nov 15, 2018
When a deal closes, an account opens. It’s a metamorphosis of sorts; a transitioning between proposal to actual deliverables.
Even though terms have been agreed upon and contracts have been signed, it’d be unfair for any member of a team to think of their job as “done”. Unfortunately, anti-customer terms, like handoffs, can subconsciously free salespeople of prolonged responsibility and, inevitably, work against client success in the long-term.
A good post-purchase process impacts sales from two different angles.
For starters — from an external perspective — it further establishes trust and positively feeds initial first impressions. After all, it’s in these moments that customers continue to walk the line between trust and skepticism. Demos aside, what they’ve been sold on is still relatively intangible. It’s how the wheels are put in motion, as reflected by client success and sales team cooperation, that determines whether a customer will begin to question or find confidence in their purchasing decision.
From an internal viewpoint, a good, cooperative post-purchase process builds trust and alignment between sales and customer service teams. This then makes for higher levels of productivity and quality of deliverables, which in turn leads to happier customers, referrals, and more sales.
It’s a cycle of checkpoints that inevitably feed into each other, further emphasizing that a sale is just the beginning for every team member involved.
For more on how a good post-purchase process impacts sales, take into account the following takeaways:
Take Detailed Notes
Information is a powerful thing and the more an account team has to work with during the post-purchase process, the more efficiently they can turn proposals into action.
At every point of interaction between salesperson and prospect, sales should be documenting their conversations in a centralized location (i.e. a CRM like Salesforce) for future reference. More than just busy work, these details prevent sales and account teams from having to ask customers repeat questions, or double up on research already completed during the prospecting stage.
With the available Salesforce integrations on the market today — automating documentation with every email and attachment sent — it’s easier than ever to keep everyone on the same page.
Bring in Account Management Sooner Rather Than Later
There’s a fine line to consider when it comes to under-promising and over-delivering.
On one hand, you could argue that adhering to this mantra gives a company ample wiggle room to shine in the post-purchase process. On the other hand, some believe over-promising opens the door to possibility for what a team can truly achieve when put to the test.
The reality probably lies somewhere in the middle — in catering to consistency by simply doing exactly what you say you’re going to do. For salespeople, this means speaking candidly and transparently with customers about how a product or service will serve their needs.
In instances of uncertainty, rather than simply nodding heads to close the deal, it pays to loop in customer success early in the conversation. It’s a move that proactively prevents future internal strife between departments, while ensuring that any agreed upon proposal keeps a solution in mind, rather than just a sale.
Set Clear Expectations for Next Steps
When the sale is all said and done, there must be clear expectations set between teams.
From the sales perspective, this may translate to providing account managers with necessary documentation, walking them through proposal specifications, making customer introductions, and solidifying onboarding dates and times.
For customer success teams, they’ll need to queue up resources, work on pre-onboarding deliverables, and detail for clients any immediate next steps.
Required responsibilities at this stage need to be clearly defined and understood across all internal parties involved. This prevents unnecessary friction and creates a solid foundation with which the team can build upon as customer relationships evolve over time.
Streamline Onboardings as Part of the Post-Purchase Process
One of the most crucial elements of a good post-purchase process is the client onboarding. It’s the event that transforms words on paper into action items.
Aside from better understanding how a vision will become reality, at this stage, clients also get a better feel for how your team operates as a unit. If sales and customer success teams appear to be at odds through the entirety of the onboarding process, client trust may begin to waver and the relationship can quickly take a turn for the worst before it’s even begun.
Make sure that everyone weighs in on what’s to be expected from each department prior to the onboarding date. Most importantly, don’t hesitate to review this process regularly for gaps in both effectiveness and efficiency.
Keep Lines of Communication Open
For as simple as it may sound in theory, in practice, good communication is easy to discount and even harder to come by. One common mistake in the post-purchase process is for sales to completely remove itself from next steps.
For account managers, it can feel as though they’ve been left to put together a puzzle with one too many pieces missing. And for customers, having fostered a relationship with a salesperson from the very beginning, their sudden absence can feel jarring and potentially frustrating.
You certainly don’t want to confuse clients with multiple point people “running the show”, and risk redundancies or misalignments in communication. But when sales continues to express interest in their client’s success post-purchase, the relationship better lends itself to authenticity — giving it more of an opportunity to blossom post-purchase and beyond.
Final Thoughts: How a Good Post-Purchase Process Impacts Sales
A good post-purchase process doesn’t just impact the long-term likelihood of a client-vendor relationship; it also sets the stage for future sales. Without proper communication and clear expectations, departments will remain at odds with each other — sabotaging the potential for success, regardless of how good a product or service may be.
Does your team’s current post-purchase process help or hinder the overall client relationship? How has it evolved over time? Share your thoughts with us by tweeting us at @CirrusInsight.