Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Getting the Order vs. Gaining a Customer

Most software sales people focus on their goal of getting the order – and this is simply insufficient in today’s SaaS world. 

Promises are made, then forgotten.  Post-sale, customers are turned over to the vendor’s professional services team for implementation (or expected to implement on their own), after which the professional services folks move on to the next implementation effort.  And when it comes time for a renewal discussion, sales people feel like they have to sell the whole offering all over again…!

Why?  Because most software vendors suffer from two major problems:

  1. Poor communication from sales/presales to professional services/implementation to customer success teams (if a customer success function exists at all at the vendor).
  2. No discussion of a Value Realization Event with the customer.

What’s a Value Realization Event?  Very simply, it is the first time the customer begins to get value from the software.  Not the full ROI, just one “turn of the crank” – a small victory that the champion/sponsor/buying team can announce internally that says, “It’s working and we are now getting value from our investment.”

Sadly, very few software vendors discuss Value Realization Events with their customers.  Those that do, however, are telling their customers that they care about the customer’s success using the offering – and these vendors correspondingly differentiate from their competition.

But wait – there’s more…!

The vendors that do this best – and really set themselves apart – uncover and discuss Value Realization Events in Discovery and show those capabilities/outputs in their demos

Those vendors also ensure to define Value Realization Events for each customer and communicate this information from sales/presales to professional services/implementation to customer success teams.  That way, everyone on the vendor side knows what the customer needs to achieve to gain value from the purchase as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Is there more?  Yes indeed!

When it is time to discuss renewals, which customer is most likely to say, “Yes, please, I’d like to renew and expand my license…”?

Customer 1, who was left alone once the PO was sent to the vendor?
Customer 2, who was left alone once “go live” was achieved?
Or Customer 3, who was assisted through implementation, guided through “go live”, and carefully tracked through their Value Realization event(s)?

What do you think?

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