When you tie a bow on a gift, you might feel like the work is done. But to strategically delight the person who receives it, there’s more to do: Attend the gift-giving event, deliver the gift, and clean up afterward, at the very least.
The same is true of sales. After the prospect has signed, follow-up work is required to set the stage for a long-term customer relationship. Even then, constant tweaks are needed to ensure that future sales go smoothly.
What does that follow-up work look like? It depends on the product and the person who bought it, of course, but a few strategies apply generally:
1. Dump every detail into your CRM
A cloud-based CRM software like Salesforce can help you not just close deals faster, but also make it easier for your entire team to manage client relationships. Salesforce can help you build relationships with clients and collaborate more effectively with your other team members.
Contact and contract information should be in your CRM, of course, but so should lots of other information you might have learned during the sales process:
What if you’re not sure if something belongs in a CRM profile? Add it anyway: Unless it’s outright inaccurate, account managers welcome any and all information you can share about their clients.
2. Follow up immediately
Use software tools to standardize and streamline this process. I personally have used email automation apps like Mixmax to set up templates, sequences, and automate manual tasks. I typically use them for both types of communication.
With new clients: When you bring a new client on, there’s probably a standard set of details you need to share. Why not template information like:
With colleagues: In a similar way, the people you work with expect certain information when a new account comes on board. Set them up for success by using email automation to:
3. Set expectations for the customer experience.
What happens once a customer comes on board but before the work is done? The customer experience. Making yours as strong as possible will help you close more sales and retain more customers.
Put together a post-sale plan. To make sure everything goes smoothly after the prospect signs:
4. Practice careful task management
Once you know your workflow, it’s critical to employ a task management tool, like Trello. This will give everyone in your organization, not just project managers, a visual view of what is being worked on and by whom.
Trello provides your team with a board where you can create lists and move items from left to right. In sales, Trello boards are best used to get everyone on the same page about where leads and prospects are in your pipeline. As you move a card or a list of tasks from left to right, you help team members know when they need to do their part.
To use Trello effectively:
5. Always be improving
Companies that care about their sales experiences are constantly looking for ways to improve them. What gets measured improves, so keep a close eye on your sales data. Look for opportunities to improve efficiency, salespeople who might need an extra hand, and sales team members who are going above and beyond. Both across the team and for individual sales representatives, keep an eye on:
Ask people across your company to pitch in. Every role touches sales in some way: The tech team can make web pages load faster. HR can brainstorm ways to enrich your company culture, which can boost sales engagement. Accounting can keep a closer eye on the books, ensuring that you receive the payments you were promised with fewer follow-ups. Marketers can share personalized content with prospects to boost close rates. Add it all up, and you’ll improve your sales experience slowly but surely. No one piece — communication, automation, project management, or tech — will make a night-and-day difference. Only by making small, iterative improvements every day will you see the results in your year-end sales figures.