As a sales rep, are you under the impression that your work is finished after making a sale? After all, you work in sales for a reason — not customer success. Shouldn’t the account manager or customer success team be in charge of ensuring a great client experience?
Not so fast. What if I told you that focusing on client experience is actually the best way to increase sales while working less? It’s true, and I’m thrilled to explain why making a sale is just the first step that sales reps should focus on. From my first days as a sales rep to my most recent closed deal as a CEO, I consistently see the value of client experience in every client interaction.
This post will outline what client experience is, the responsibility that sales has in client experience, and how sales reps can begin growing their success through client experience. As always, you can visit our sales training course for a full discussion on the topic.
What Is Client Experience?
Client experience, also referred to as customer experience, refers to the feelings and opinions of your customer throughout their relationship with you, from the first touchpoint with marketing, to the sales process and new customer implementation, and through ongoing customer support.
The customer experience further expands into how they use your product or service or how your product or service improves their life. Specifically, how it solves their problems and allows them to achieve outcomes they couldn’t previously achieve without you.
Customer experience really comes down to making someone’s life better because you and your product/service are in it. When a customer is delighted with the experience and relationship you provide, they are more willing and likely to become brand ambassadors and refer trusted relationships within their network to your company.
How Is Sales Involved in Client Experience?
Many organizations realize the importance that client experience has in getting referrals and winning more deals, causing them to invest in entire customer success departments whose are measured on:
- Revenue retention
- Customer-user adoption
- Product-suite penetration
- Revenue expansion
- Customer renewals
When these teams are in place, it becomes easy for new salespeople to remove themselves from client experience duties and leave those to customer success departments and account managers.
As a new business rep who was backed by a high-performing customer success team, I was only responsible for selling the client and nothing else. But I knew that sales reps’ involvement in client experience shouldn’t stop there for three reasons — upholding integrity, growing referrals, and gathering testimonials. Let’s break each one down.
Successful salespeople work tirelessly to earn a prospect’s trust and prove they are always acting in their best interest. It takes hours of interactions to prove your integrity, develop emotional connections, and prove you are here to solve their problems before ever having a chance to win a deal.
Why would you wash that relationship down the drain after getting a yes? You should stand by what you sell and be excited to share in the success your client is experiencing because of you. People remember how you make them feel, and salespeople have an incredible opportunity to make their clients feel supported throughout their engagement.
The missed opportunities that salespeople leave on the table in terms of referrals always astonishes me.
Referrals have the highest close rate, shortest sales cycle, and often higher average revenue because you don’t have to discount to keep up with the competition. By neglecting customer experience and not growing a referral network, all of these opportunities are lost.
Building potential referrals takes time — you can’t simply ask current clients to connect you with their network off the bat. Your product or service has to have proven to be a worthy investment for a client before they can even consider recommending you to their peers.
Be intentional in your conversations from the get-go to identify who their closest network connections are and what problems you can solve for them. Then, plant the seed by confidently asking, “I know we still have to prove our value, but when we do, would you be comfortable making an introduction with XYZ.”
If you’ve approached sales the right way and built a strong relationship with that customer, they will have no reason to say no.
You can try to explain your worth all you want, but the truth is that nothing you can say will be as powerful as a testimonial from a client that actually proves everything you’re saying. Testimonials can be written, spoken, published throughout your website, and even turned into full case studies by your marketing department.
Social proof and validation that you really are as good as you say you are is invaluable ammo for you to enter sales conversations with. These testimonials prove that you have helped someone in the same situation as a prospect and that you are ready to deliver the same results to them.
Think of this process as cyclical — by involving yourself in client experience, you build rapport with current clients who provide valuable testimonials that you can use to sell the next client.
3 Parts to Client Experience in Sales
Now that we understand how sales is involved in client experience, let’s discuss the three things that go into a sales rep’s involvement in the process.
- Prospecting and First Impressions — Remember, customer experience spans a client’s entire scope with your company, from the first touchpoint through offboarding. Their first impression of you or your team members is so crucial in developing a strong relationship. People will form an opinion about you, your coworkers, your product/service, and your company very quickly, so make sure that opinion is a good one.
- Build Trust — Sales is about relationships, and when you can establish trust with a prospect early in the sales process, you have a far greater chance of winning the deal. Approach every interaction with them intentionally to show them that they are valued. Mastering the trust equation and utilizing PCE (passion, enthusiasm, and conviction) in your conversations are two of the best ways to build trust.
- Be Involved in Onboarding — This comes down to standing by your product. You should be proud to sell what you sell because it makes your client’s life better in some fashion. Stand by this by being involved throughout onboarding to answer any questions they have and prove the value of your product or service.
Take the Next Steps
You can’t become a better salesperson without evaluating yourself. Take some time to look back at your most recent wins and the way you interacted with them from the very beginning.
- Did you prioritize their pain points and make them feel valued during your first interaction?
- At what point in the customer journey did you let them down?
- Where could you have been more present to solve their problems?
Answering these questions for a few clients is the first step to take in discovering how involved you are in client experience. Once you realize areas of improvement, make an action plan and find someone to hold you accountable for it. Through this process, you’ll become a more well-rounded salesperson.