Post sale complexity often overwhelms new and existing customers. There are a lot of moving parts in any implementation project.
When things go smoothly, as promised, clients continue their relationship with you. However, when post sale implementation hits continuous roadblocks, clients experience buyer’s remorse.
Is the critical timeline when transitioning sales promises into contractually-obligated execution full of surprises? If so, why continue to cause clients to second-guess their decision to do business with you?
Both pre- and post sale complexity are the norm within complex Industrial Internet of Things environments. However, multiple causal factors derail the post-sale time period.
The signal is whether your organization frequently experiences glitches in the handofs of strategy for execution. If so, many of the following causal factors are the culprits.
- The sales organization overpromises specifications which are unable to be delivered at the agreed-upon price point and timeline.
- Processing of contracts is stalled due to incomplete documentation.
- Client specifications have errors requiring rework and redesign.
- Supply chain issues delay delivery of critical components or delivered raw materials are defective.
- Project management office initiatives underestimate the time required to manufacture custom orders.
- There are unanticipated software incompatibilities with legacy hardware.
- Operations has a bigger backlog than what the sales team initially anticipated.
- Employee churn across multiple departments creates bottlenecks as newer employees get up-to-speed.
- What would you add to this list?
Dealing with post sale complexity tests whether an organization has order-taker mindset or innovator mindset. Guess which mindset catalyzes customer success for customer retention?
Collaboration and Convergence. Has each team member done innovative, flawless work or are they simply order-takers, completing tasks and handing work off to the next person in line? Operating on misassumptions compounds the probability of errors introduced in the initial phases of a project being perpetuated with each subsequent hand-off. Eliminating assumptions from post-sale implementation processes allows teams to build more robust solutions that factor in unanticipated events impacting project completion.,
Human Capital and Technical Workforce Hiring Strategy. Also, many smaller businesses do not have a highly refined technical workforce hiring strategy. In fact, in small businesses, the human resource function can be assumed by the CEO herself or, alternatively, outsourced. However, what happens when the CEO or the outsourced HR folks are generalists rather than specialists? Order-takers target head count while innovators assess how complementary skill sets contribution to the organization’s value stream.
In digitally connected, complex Industrial Internet of Things environments, customer retention is equally complex.
Continuing to operate in departmental silos is an impediment to the type of sustained cross-functional collaboration required to acquire and retain customers.
My advice: Move away from treating post sale complexity as an aggregation of unrelated tactical tasks. This factor especially impacts small to mid-size organizations with less employees doing far too much.
Instead, address post sale complexity with a technical workforce hiring strategy focused on convergence rather than segmentation. If you are seeking answers to some of the issues I’ve brought up today, contact me and let’s discuss.
Babette Ten Haken writes, speaks, consults and coaches about collaborative value creation for customer success and customer retention. She connects the dots between strategy and execution. She works across leadership, human capital / HR and technical/IT/engineering teams within the industrial Internet of Things ecosystem. Her focus? Creating enduring business outcomes. Babette’s playbook of technical / non-technical collaboration hacks, Do YOU Mean Business? is available on Amazon. Visit the Free Resources section of her website for more tools.
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