What is the last step of your sales cycle? Most B2B sales organizations will consider the job complete at the contract signature. The goal has been reached, the quota met. All seems to be in order here.
Yet, if the true goal of sales is to Seek to Serve™ a buyer, the sales cycle is not over until the value promised is actually the value delivered. A purchase alone does not guarantee this. But the majority of B2B sellers are failing on this vital follow-through.
In Consumption Economics: The New Rules of Tech, only 14% of surveyed business executives rated their software installations as “very successful.” A number of buyer struggles from poor user adoption to long time-to-value have driven this overwhelming buyer dissatisfaction. The increasing adoption of SaaS software deployment models is accelerating the time-to-value issue even further that, in turn, exacerbates renewals — the revenue cycle is unforgiving. As it is, according to Forrester Research, B2B buyers believe only 8% of salespeople are focused on driving valuable end results.
It is imperative your organization expands its sales cycle to ensure customers receive the value they have purchased — by adopting your solution with ease and success. Supporting this can improve buyer health scores and increase the likelihood of buyer retention and renewals. And even as little as 5% increase in retention can boost profits by 25%, supporting sustainable revenue performance.
To start, your leadership team must productize your onboarding, adoption, education and account management services through, what we call at Mereo, the Whole Product approach.
EXPAND YOUR SALES CYCLE STEPS — EXPAND YOUR VALUE
The Mereo Whole Product approach treats your solution as more than a piece of code or hardware. Your solution becomes the combination of your core product, your tangible product and your augmented product — the services and support you build around the core.
In practice, the Whole Product approach and expanded sales cycle amounts to:
Introducing your onboarding, implementation, education and adoption, and support services during the sales cycle.
Leverage these services as an essential — and perhaps differentiating — complement of your product offering. Show how your approach will drive value and a return on their investment.
Ensuring an overlap in customer handoff between the sales team, onboarding team and account management.
Maintain sales engagements until onboarding is complete and account management takes the reins of buyer support. Embrace and envelope the buyer during the point where their risk is highest — implementation.
Including project management, technical services, communication (marketing to their users) and education as part of the onboarding solution.
Help them communicate and drive user adoption. Leading companies offer a 30- to 90-day window of concierge services to every customer to ensure adoption happens quickly and seamlessly. Many even include a formal training program at a cost as required with every contract to accelerate adoption.
Employing a formal account management approach for all customers.
Hold regular health checks with your client to help them understand adoption by area (e.g., function, region) — while helping illuminate opportunities to improve value creation. These health checks can also lay the groundwork for account expansion through user growth or complementary product sales. Using an ABC analysis based on actual and / or potential revenue, schedule these account reviews on a monthly, quarterly or semi-annual basis as the buyer’s value to your organization dictates.
Engaging your best customers in customer advisory boards and user groups so they can learn from each other — and you can learn from them.
Create online forums while scaling thought leadership and best practice communications. Encourage and respond to your buyer’s feedback and input that can improve and shape your product strategy and roadmap.
Lastly, reflect your Whole Product approach in the proposal timeline to show your prospect you mean to be their trusted advisor for the long haul — and to set your organization apart from competitors. The contract signature will become merely a step on a comprehensive path of value, and an easier decision for your buyer at that.
TAKE THE NEXT STEPS TOWARD SUSTAINABLE REVENUE PERFORMANCE
Cloud-based deployments and subscription revenue cycles make buyer renewals and expansions all the more critical to revenue performance. Your buyer’s satisfaction relies on the value your organization can create and, most importantly, actually deliver for successful user adoption.
Transform your sales cycle to elevate value for your buyers and your organization alike. Contact our Mereo expert revenue consultants to set up a 30-minute baseline review of your current approach.