Post-sale insight can be extremely beneficial for salespeople when it comes to fueling future sales, as I discussed in my previous post. Unfortunately, many reps don’t think to ask the specific questions needed to uncover just how clients are using their purchase. Thankfully, Peter Cohan, in an article for CustomerThink, outlines the importance of this type of info gathering, noting that these insights help reps “address prospects more efficiently, and to secure renewals and expand sales to existing customers with greater precision.”
Post-sale insights: Unexpected results
In my first post, I wrote about Cohan’s discussion about the importance of discussing a client’s use and value gained from your product or service after purchasing. Typically, you will hear about expected use cases and unexpected use cases. Finding out about expected use involves discovering how your product or service meets their expectations, including what pain points it solves, revenue it boosts, time it saves, etc., making post-sales a perfect time to ask.
Unexpected use is different in that it shows, as Cohan explains, “use cases your customer has created that were unexpected or unanticipated at the time of purchase, but were discovered and implemented by customers on their own.”
You may be surprised to learn novel ways a client has been using (and getting value!) from your product or service. And, this information can unlock major opportunities. “These new use cases and success stories enable you to expand your footprint into existing customers, entrench current users more deeply and engage new users, while providing additional and unanticipated value to drive renewals,” Cohan writes. “These use cases are often the vehicles to enter new markets or address new players in existing markets.” But, it’s up to you to uncover these post-sale insights.
You may be wondering just when to start up these post-sale insight discussions. Cohan warns that if you ask too soon, the client may not have enough experience using your product or service to really glean detailed information. But, if you wait too long, the client’s memories won't be as fresh, and they might not remember details or specifics about usage. “Specific timing will depend on the nature of your offering, and specifically the time-to-value,” Cohan writes. "Schedule ‘Why did they buy?’ conversations a few months after initial Value Realization Events have taken place. Make it part of your standard post-sale process; this is an opportunity to differentiate…!” He adds that reps shouldn’t schedule these talks, but rather let them come about naturally.
These post-sale insights are so valuable, and while they may take time to procure, they are worth every minute. They bolster your referral sales, revealing the value of what you’re selling to prospects who are considering a purchase. And, most know that this kind of social proof can go a long way. As Cohan points out, “High-performing sales reps know that prospects are much more interested in learning how your organization has helped other, similar customers solve their business problems, as opposed to being flogged with another interminable corporate overview or product presentation!” Additionally, post-sale insights lend you and your company credibility, which is increasingly important to today’s buyers.