How many times has it happened to you. You are so excited after you have purchased a new product or service, only to be let down almost immediately, with your very first experience. These too-often felt frustrations lead to early attrition, difficulty in realizing future revenue growth and sometimes a multiplier effect occurs when customers share their bad feelings with others. Here are a few onboarding strategies to start your new relationships off on the right foot. Reduce the Expectations Gap
Particularly in B2B sales it is very difficult to appreciate the full extent of all expectations that have been created over time. Objections are addressed, many value statements have been made and sales relationships have been forged. Now the rubber hits the road! It is very important to manage the relationship as early as possible. Try some of these key steps:
Thank the customer for their business. Let them know you want to ensure their satisfaction.
Inform them of what to expect in the way of timing, performance, support.
- Introduce them to your support resources for any questions or issues that might arise.
Ask them if they have any immediate questions and make it easy for them to respond. Ensure that you are set up for very fast response.
Solicit a better understanding of their current and expected needs so that you can be responsive to them.
- Track and learn from your interactions so that you can establish a process of continuous improvement.
Your New 'Ongoing' Customer Value Program
Imagine that you have a Customer Value Program. You may wish to call this a Customer Retention Program or a Customer Satisfaction Program. The objectives of this program are to provide unique and ongoing value to your customers to differentiate you from the competition, to increase satisfaction and loyalty, to maximize your share of customer wallet. You will continuosly look for ways to delight your customers and uncover the key insights that will help you align a deeper level of relationship and value.
This program starts with your very first customer development effort to each new customer. AND, it never ends. Determine your contact plans over the first and subsequent years, the value to be delivered, the insights to be uncovered and your response commitments. Meet and review the success you are having with your Customer Value Program at least twice each year. Review results by key customer segments and make adjustments for better outcomes.
Learning from our New Customers
We have all heard the expression, "Out of the mouth of babes". Usually the context is that young or inexperienced people can be remarkably wise. If your organization is open, attentive and focused on meaningful engagement and response with new customers, they will usually present you with a new paradigm for consideration. New customers have high expectations and are usually willing to let you know about their experiences. Take full advantage of this and you will not only set the stage for more satisfied, loyal and profitable customers but you will have many new ways of improving all of your customer experiences as well as your sales performance.
Next Steps to Consider
Commit the organization to be in service to your customers. Ask your sales reps to only make promises that they know can be kept. Ask your support people to act as though they were helping a good friend. Ensure that you are ready for onboarding your new customers in a way that makes you proud. In a way that you would like to be treated.
I suggest that you consider creating a Sales Insight Discovery Program™ for your sales reps. This program should include call scripts, objection handling, contact plans, and the insights needed at each stage of the pipeline. This will be the blueprint for your reps to deliver a consistently valuable experience. Interested in exploring this process? Start by taking the Sales Effectiveness Scorecard™ to see how you stack up in 10 key areas.