In this session of Preflight UK’s Office Hours, James Stuart, CSM at hackajob spoke to Jeff Kushmerek, CEO and Founder at Infinite Renewals, and Tim Gough, VP - Services, at Interact, about how pre- and post-sales interactions impact your business and how companies can make the most of them.
Jeff set up Infinite Renewals to help emerging B2B SaaS companies reduce churn and increase recurring revenue and software adoption by launching customers efficiently and happily. Over the last 10 years, Jeff has worked with multiple companies to make continuous improvements to Customer Success and Professional Services teams while also helping Product and Presales teams impact customer satisfaction and retention.
With a background in digital communications, across private and public sector organizations, over the last 25 years, Tim has been working in program and project management roles that walk the line between the pre and post-sales world.
Here are our top takeaways from the session.
Product fit issues are a big reason for churn. This normally happens because the discovery call was weak. Bringing in the right resources in the presale phase means that it can also be turned into a discovery phase. At this stage, the implementation team can get the prospect to think about the right value expectations for their leadership as a business case.
Additionally, it can help customers have clearer expectations of what needs to be done at their end – for integrations, data exchange/migrations, and other business processes.
Interacting with the people who will eventually implement the software for them can help build more faith in the sale. Additionally, the fact that these teams/professionals don't work on commissions makes it easier for customers to trust them.
By participating in the presale discussion, PS and Implementation teams can better understand the business problem being solved.
Expectation gaps or mismatches in the post-sale stage could mean that customer teams need to consult with their key stakeholders at multiple points post-sale – delaying the implementation process.
Setting the right expectations and telling customers exactly what preparations need to be done at the end shaves time off implementation.
As Jeff put it, if everything you do is one-off or custom, you don’t really have a product; you have a white-label solution.
Have a consistent, easily repeatable, and visible process. Make sure you have processes that are consistent, regardless of who’s running the implementation. Templates are a great way to do that.
Additionally, find ways to ensure project visibility, so customers know what is happening, and what needs to be done at all stages of the process.
Define internal roles and responsibilities correctly. Whether it is to manage technical aspects of implementation, project management, or to ensure clear customer communication and accountability, make sure your team has the right skillsets for the different demands of implementation.
Don't be afraid to tell customers if they are not following best practices. Enterprise customers expect to be directed by you. Communicate where they would be if they followed best practices and where they are.
For enterprise customers, remember that you’ll need to repeatedly roll out new sets of users and identify new use cases and projects. Ensure that you have systems and processes to facilitate this seamlessly.
Don’t let QBRs be reduced to another tickbox activity: Use them for what they really are: an opportunity to show value.