Do your sales teams forget about their customer relationships as soon as deals close? Can these relationships lead to revenue growth?
Throughout the sales process, sales teams work hard to develop the executive / stakeholder relationships that lead to closed deals. So, why do so many sales teams forget about these critical relationships once the contract is signed?
One reason may be management’s directive to salespeople to prioritize pursuing new sales opportunities above all else. Another is certainly the mistaken assumption that once a customer, always a customer. It is common knowledge that expanding revenue growth opportunities with current accounts is far less expensive than acquiring new customers. Combine that reality with tight competition in almost every market, losing a hard-won customer relationship usually means that you never win them back.
You need 3 things to maintain and nurture existing customer stakeholder relationships after your initial deal closes
- Strategic Value
As we explore each area in more detail, you will learn how Tohoom can help you create stakeholder relationships built to last.
Durable stakeholder relationships don’t happen by accident. Sales teams must intentionally plan for relationship durability over the entire fiscal year so expecting salespeople to act on 2 to 3 strategic interactions with existing customers during this time is key. These strategic interactions may include your company’s executives participating in executive to executive meetings one to two times annually.
By intentionally designing strategic interactions with customer stakeholders, you create accountability and durable account relationships which attribute to revenue growth. Tohoom helps sales organizations achieve these strategic objectives with our Stakeholder Lifecycle Management software designed to help customers Target – Find – Connect & Collaborate with executives throughout the deal cycle. Using our platform, Tohoom helps customers manage existing stakeholder relationships in the Collaboration phase. During this phase, sales leaders will design specific strategic interactions that salespeople are expected to act on quarterly. We call these strategic interactions “Collaborations”. For every established stakeholder relationship, a “Hoom” is created to represent them, so that Collaborations are set and tracked automatically with Tohoom.
One of the biggest reasons that stakeholder relationships become “stale” is because sales leadership hasn’t prescribed specific strategic interactions for the sales teams to act on with their customers. There are only so many lunches or sporting events executives will attend before they demand a higher level of strategic value from the business relationship.
If you want to achieve customer durability far into the future and aid revenue growth, you must demonstrate and maintain your strategic value to customers. Tohoom helps sales organizations design and deliver strategic value by setting Collaborations for these existing customers (or Hooms – documented in Tohoom’s software). Here are some typical collaborations:
Q1 Strategy Sharing Session:
The sales team sets up a 30-minute or 60- minute meeting using this agenda:
- 10 minutes – The customer stakeholder (Hoom) presents their fiscal year priorities to the team based on their annual planning.
- 10 minutes – Your sales team presents your fiscal year’s strategy and highlights any new solution capabilities that deliver more value to your customer.
- 10 minutes – Your sales team and your customer discuss areas where your company can help them achieve their fiscal year priorities.
Why does this format result in a great meeting?
First, by its design this strategic interaction leads to your customer discussing the business priorities they must accomplish. Something they may or may not share with others. Second, the customer is telling you exactly what else they believe they need to buy to help them achieve their objectives. When your customer willingly discloses potential new sales opportunities, you have earned their respect as a trusted partner. Hard to ask for much more in a customer relationship!
Q2 Peer-to-Peer Dinner:
The sales team schedules a dinner in a hub city and invites all customer stakeholders, where the sales team has established relationships, to attend. There are no presentations, product pitches or hidden agendas. The idea is to create a private and closed environment for you and your customer to network and further cement the business partnership between your organizations.
How does this dinner format further cement the relationship?
Sending your best listeners to this dinner means you learn what’s working in the relationship, and more importantly, you find out quickly if there are product or relationship issues to address. When problems are identified early, you can involve your customer success team or company leadership to get things back on track. Whatever the challenge, you don’t want to find out at contract renewal time that unresolved problems mean no new deal.
Q3 Budget or Close:
The sales team sets up a meeting to review all projects being worked on with customer stakeholders or their delegates. The meeting purpose is to establish final goals for completing these “in-progress” projects before the year ends.
How does this strategic interaction benefit the relationship?
This is the perfect opportunity for your salespeople to identify and qualify new sales opportunities with the stakeholders in your existing pipeline. This establishes a healthy Q4 pipeline and proactively primes your revenue growth in your Q1 pipeline development pump! Additionally, the sales leadership team can now plan for and prioritize the sales resources needed to drive your best deal opportunities to closure.
At this point you have intentionally designed, and are set to track, strategic Collaborations with your customer stakeholders. This is step 1 and fine until none of your salespeople meet with their stakeholders. But how do you know if they acted on those Collaborations or not?
To ensure the durability of your customer relationships, organizing and ensuring that stakeholder Collaborations happen is critical. Tohoom’ s platform organizes and manages this process for salespeople and their sales leaders.
Here’s how the software works:
Inside Tohoom, the subset of Hooms move through the Stakeholder Lifecycle Management stages ending in the Customer Retain/Expand stage. This stage signals that the sales team has closed an opportunity with this customer and the rep has an established relationship with this Hoom. Tohoom will automatically generate collaborations for these loyal customers and are organized for completion by the timeline you have set in the system. This results in a shared understanding between your sales leaders and their team members of expected interactions for this loyal customer throughout the fiscal year.
Drives sales effort alliance
The collaborations feature of Tohoom enables a discussion between the salesperson and their sales manager. It goes something like this:
- Which stakeholders (Hooms) did you plan to Collaborate with last month?
- What percentage of those planned Collaborations took place? What was the specific result or outcome of those Collaborations? What help or support do you need from me or others in the company?
- Which stakeholders (Hooms) are you scheduled to Collaborate with next month?
This is an important and often overlooked aspect of the relationship between the salesperson and their manager and the Tohoom software takes the guesswork out of these briefings. It manages the process for your sales team and drives revenue growth.
Why does this matter?
First, this structured process improves productivity for salespeople by identifying what they are expected to achieve during the next sales period.
Second, sales managers have the comfort of knowing that the system captured the reps progress, and that Tohoom is remembering the details for them. The manager and the rep can both easily see what has been accomplished and what future expectations are.
Last, no more strategic Collaborations falling through the cracks. Tohoom seamlessly drives team success & revenue growth forward.
Durable stakeholder relationships can be achieved with Intention, Strategic Value and Organization. With Tohoom’s Stakeholder Lifecycle Management (Target – Find – Connect – Collaborate) software, the final relationship phase of Collaboration helps your customers achieve relationship durability.
Imagine the impact on quota attainment and revenue growth if each salesperson with existing customer relationships closed one additional strategic deal each year. Leveraging Tohoom’s Collaboration process, your customer stakeholders now view your company and sales team as a strategic and trusted partner. If your business growth depends on contract renewals, your renewal business just became more sustainable and a lot less risky!
Ready to learn more about how Tohoom can help your sales organization create durable customer relationships designed to last? Visit www.tohoom.com, call us at 949-864-6660 or email: email@example.com