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Great Customer Relationships Are a Marathon, Not a Sprint

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Posted in: Buyer Engagement, Company, Sales Enablement
great customer relationships are a marathon, not a sprint

Organizations everywhere have seen great success in implementing sales enablement to acquire new customers and grow their business. But too often, strategic enablement initiatives end when the deal closes, leaving post sales teams to fend for themselves.

This is particularly challenging when you consider the role of functions like account management or customer success in building lasting customer relationships. Without the critical content, guidance, or training they need to elevate every interaction, post-sales engagements will suffer. And while this may have been dismissed by buyers when business was booming, during periods of uncertainty, these fractures become fault lines — capable of leveling renewal and expansion efforts when they matter most.

Now, more than ever, businesses must expand enablement’s reach beyond frontline sales to empower all go-to-market teams and keep customer momentum going, long after the deal has closed.

The New Reality of Post-Sale Success

Today, customer experience is paramount. And every moment your customer spends with your brand — including engagements with field teams, marketing, product, and services — becomes a part of their overall experience.

Research has shown that better experiences lead to better outcomes — one study by Adobe found that companies who effectively met customer experience expectations were “three times more likely than their peers to have significantly exceeded their top business goals in 2019.” Numbers like this emphasize the importance of personalized, value-driven engagements throughout the customer lifecycle.

This is especially true in the world of post-sales, where a customer’s ability to realize a return on their investment hinges on the seamless execution of onboarding, deployment, and maintenance. Done right, these engagements are akin to saving for retirement: Their value accumulates over time as you build a deep, consultative relationship with your customers. If and when economic circumstances change, you will have the “savings” — demonstrated value and trust — needed to prove measurable impact and, ultimately, retain customers. Under this lens, the post-sale customer experience has never been more critical to your business.

The Status Quo That’s Hurting Your Business

We know that in order to deliver these relationship-building conversations, teams need effective enablement — content, guidance, and training, available at the moment of action. Recognizing enablement’s importance, but constrained by resources, businesses frequently recycle sales enablement efforts for post-sales engagements. But, customers have different needs than prospects, and enablement efforts must be tailored accordingly.

Consider a use case like content. The assets that marketing creates for the acquisition of new business are typically deemed “good enough” to be used to secure renewals.

Any account manager will tell you that it’s not an equitable substitution. Messaging meant to attract buyers doesn’t reflect the needs of existing customers. Your users are already familiar with your solution; rather than driving urgency or need, your post-sales assets should convey the value your solution has delivered. Lacking this content up-front, post-sales teams are left to personalize assets, wasting valuable time tweaking content instead of creating value during customer engagements.

Does this pain sound familiar? It’s the very same problem that enablement functions sought to eliminate for sales — and one which they must now resolve for post-sales teams, too. Tailored enablement for every stage of the customer’s life cycle ensures that you don’t just win new business, but retain it too.

Enable Your Teams, Engage Your Customers

In previous roles as Vice President of Global Success and Renewals at SAP, and Director of Global Customer Success Management at Adobe, I’ve witnessed firsthand the impact of great enablement, and the power of a great post-sales engagement.

That’s why I’m thrilled to join a team dedicated to helping customers invest wisely in their business and its future success. As Highspot’s new Vice President of Account Management, my mission is to ensure that every team is empowered with the sales enablement platform they need to delight customers, from the moment a deal is closed and beyond.

I look forward not just to what post-sales enablement will deliver for my own team, but our customers’ teams as well. To learn how enablement can drive success for all customer-facing teams, read SiriusDecisions’ new research on the concept of revenue enablement.

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