Post sale execution is what happens after the contract is signed and comes in-house for implementation.
Do you know what happens next? Or is this post sale execution phase a black hole to you and your customers?
Be honest. Do you feel that once the contract comes in-house, it is no longer your responsibility as far as you are concerned?
The quality of post sale execution, the hand off of sales strategy for project implementation by others, makes or breaks customer retention and customer loyalty. This critical step impacts whether you and your company will be:
- wrestling with an unpredictable revenue stream next year as you constantly replace lost business;
- wrestling to free yourself from your customers’ perceptions of being a high risk service provider;
- wrestling to win high level business deals requiring complex sales skills and cutting edge project planning and management expertise.
As a consumer, you experience post sale execution every day. Your insurance agent hands in a contract to the home office but doesn’t follow up regarding what happens next (if anything at all). Your security alarm service contract is transferred to a new company who happily inputs your billing information but fails to transfer the alarm signal to the new monitoring center. And shall we even begin to talk about your home entertainment and digital media contracts?
Your customers are consumers of your company’s services and solutions. Like you, they have experienced the same lack of service quality delivery outside of the workplace. They bring that consumer products and services skepticism into the workplace each day.
Even if what you both are working on is rocket science (really).
What story do you tell them when they call you with concerns about lack of follow-through on the implementation of their contracts? What excuses do you make when the rate of defective parts received exceeds your estimate?
- Shunt them off to at least one other department which, in turn, may pass them along to yet another department? Once their problem is handed off to someone else, out of sight, out of mind. (“The dog ate my homework.”)
- Tell them you handed in the paperwork to corporate, you guess there was some missing information which prevented processing and that you “thought” your internal department had contacted your customer and corrected the error? (“Oops, now how did that happen?”)
- Apologize immediately, tell them you are well aware of the situation and have been meeting with your internal teams to run interference and make up for lost time in what should have been a smooth post sale execution? (“I have your back. I am your advocate.”)
Post sale execution is, in fact, your responsibility as a Business Person of Worth. Excellence in the hand-off of contracts for post sale execution is the hallmark of mindful and masterful business, engineering and technical professionals.
There is no room for making excuses.
Excuses raise a red flag with any customer. They will become skeptical and cautious about doing business with you in the future. They will not refer future business to you and your company.
While you are busy focusing on making your numbers and doing business with A-List Customers, focus on throughput. Take a long hard look at whether you remain as focused on the quality of post sale execution that your customers experience as you are on closing the deal.
The quality of your customer’s business outcome is directly correlated to post sale execution quality. Time to work on a few details?
Babette N. Ten Haken is a management strategist and team-building leadership coach. She helps teams, startups and businesses who wrestle with unpredictable revenue streams. Her Workshops and Playbooks create more productive and profitable teams in healthier organizations. Her Playbook on leadership and business strategies, including tools, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon.com.