Written by Maureen Paulsen on Tuesday, March 4th, 2014
The deal is closed. The sale is made. Victory! And onto the next prospect…
Not so fast.
By nature, sales and business development professionals are eager to get back on the hunt after a deal is finalized. That’s what makes them great at what they do. But a hasty exit away from the prospect—now turned customer—can be a missed opportunity during a critical stage of the customer lifecycle. While many organizations have a formal process to onboard their employees, some neglect the value of welcoming and orienting new customers.
Onboarding customers isn’t just about making them feel warm and fuzzy—it’s about equipping them with the tools, information and resources to make the best use of your products/services. How does your customer take advantage of all of the great things you sold to them? The more your customer is engaging/using/benefiting from what you provide, the more likely they are to settle in and stay and become a long term customer and refer other business to you.
Even if a new customer’s main point of contact shifts to another part of the company (such as an account manager or customer service team), once they’re ‘in,’ it’s important for the sales and business development professional who got them there to give customers an official welcome. And, ideally the accounts department will have its own onboarding process with education and setup for the customer.
For the sales professional onboarding can be as simple as a handwritten note, letter or a small package with a company logo item enclosed. Even a quick phone call to say thank you will do. The key is to incorporate some form of onboarding as a standard part of your sales process. It will help make your brand new customer feel like they made the right choice, and it just might lead you to your next sale.