We know closing the deal shouldn't end the relationship between the sales person and the customer. After all, these are the customers we can continue to nurture for further value. But what keeps them responsive to us and to our offerings? Delivering value! Engagement can't end when the deal is signed. Keeping customers engaged and providing ongoing value is essential for ongoing success. This holds true in b2b and b2c. In these days of waning customer loyalty, customer value helps keep your customers coming back for more.
What is Customer Value at Its Core?
At its core, customers perceive value as:
Value = Benefits minus Costs
Costs and benefits are measured not only terms of money, but in terms of time, attention, reputation, privacy, status, comfort, ease of mind, excitement, entertainment, effort, etc. The greater the benefits are than the costs, the greater the perceived value by your customer.
Why it Matters to Your Sales Team
Instead of seeing your business as transactional, customers will start to view your sales reps as a trusted advisors and partners. Nurturing customers after the sale increases their satisfaction, and leads to higher retention and revenue in the future.
What You Need to Deliver Customer Value
Build into your sales process an easy way for your sales people to understand what your customers consider important to them, how well are you delivering it and what you need to do so that you can improve. Consider standardizing this as part of the discovery process or create engagement tools or satisfaction surveys that ask for the customer’s feedback. What are the key ingredients?
1. Be Transparent
Ensure that your sales team’s key mission is to always be in honest service to the client. As a sales manager, it is your responsibility to make sure that the promises made by your team are reasonable and that they are delivered. It’s a simple goal but it’s crucial. Failure to do this will impact in the short-term, and seriously erode the foundational trust needed for the longer term.
Prospects know when sales people are not being sincere or honest. No one likes being “pitched” to. By having an honest, comfortable yet professional conversation with your clients, they will be more willing to engage with your sales reps, provide key insights and consider the solutions your sales rep offers to them. If they are left with the impression of insincerity or distrust, clients will no longer be responsive. Nobody wants to do business with someone they don't trust.
2. Educate Your Clients
A steady supply of valuable and topical content will ensure that the customer sees value in your relationship. Most people continue to educate themselves through internet research or word of mouth so that they are better informed and more effective in their respective roles. It is important to invest in supporting your sales team with information that your customers find interesting, valuable and relevant so that they can get the information they are already looking for from you and not a competitor.
Help your sales people become the ‘go-to’ experts when there are questions or when a buyer needs a fresh perspective on problems or needs. Don’t be afraid of losing your advantage and giving away too much information. Educating clients makes your sales team more useful and more valuable. Your team should have a plan of delivering value above and beyond your customer’s expectations. Educating your prospects will allow you to build a foundation based on trust, which is key to a long-term client relationship.
3. Make the Client’s Life Easier
Success for a sales team can be measured by the extent to which they are able to make their client’s lives easier. Clients will have a genuine appreciation for someone who is able to make their lives easier by going the extra mile with ideas, solutions, products, timing, pricing or even just the space to think. If your team adheres to this, you will see a noticeable increase in appreciation and loyalty and sales effectiveness.