Lead to deal and back again

© ColinBroug@sxc.hu

We’ve all been there – leads turn into prospects and opportunities, we land a deal and now we have a client on our hands. But, for how long? Up until the site launch and some monitoring afterwards? Perhaps a support package here and there? What do we do to keep the clients once we “have” them?

Are we making our best efforts to keep them close and turn them back into leads for new projects they have or do we simply turn our backs and look forthe next lead in our sales pipeline?

Lead to deal

Standard CRM terminology tells us that a lead is every person we’re in contact with for a potential business relationship. Not every lead will make a quality prospect (a lead we identified as someone we would like to do business with), let alone opportunity (when it is apparent that both sides would like to do business, but there’s still official proposals and details that need to be agreed on). Everyone handles this process a bit differently, and the focus on this post is more on what happens afterwards.

When everything falls into place, though, we have a deal and a new client on our hands. This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Project is under way

And then the projects starts – as the features are being rolled out and as you’re getting ready for that L day, how much support do you offer to your client during this process? Are you on top of things, testing all things possible, have you made sure the key areas of the store are running smoothly?

Who takes the initiative? Are you leading the client and pushing them for stuff they may still need to prepare on their side? Is it something you can take over and help them out? Have they checked out user guides? Do you feel they will know how to operate the store on their own once it’s live? If not, how can you help them get there? Do you care enough to do so?

Or are you just sitting ducks wishing for the best when the launch happens?

Newsflash – clients can pretty much tell the difference.

We’re up and running – now what?

Hopefully all things went well with the launch and the first orders come in (usually a good sign that the launch was successful :)) – are these figures in line with client’s expectations? Are you checking site traffic and sales funnels for some bottlenecks so you can react quickly and suggest the client some modifications where necessary? Launches without any issues in the first couple of days are a very rare thing, but how you prepare for and handle these is what will make or break your relationship with the client.

Once you’ve survived the first week(s) after the launch and you have clear skies ahead, now is the time to start turning your client into a new lead – are there some enhancements that might be useful? What are your client’s plans for the holiday season and beyond? Anything you can help with?

Time to call it a day

Of course, some clients may not have the budget for further development and may want to handle things on their own moving forward – which is also a sensible decision. You may have some new priorities and may not be able to support the client moving forward any more – and that’s also reasonable, but make sure to be the ones to raise that question yourselves.

It’s all about initiative and showing you actually care what happens with their business, and anyone will certainly appreciate that.

Take the next step

This post is more of a reminder, a contemplation note if you will, with a lot of questions (I’ve counted 20 total) to keep in mind.

Hopefully some of these will make you take a step back and re-think some of your standard behaviors when working with clients and that you’ll consider making small, yet incremental changes to the way you operate on daily basis.

One small improvement at a time, we can all grow as service providers and help our clients grow their businesses.

So, what do you think? Any questions to add (or share some answers as well)? 🙂

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  1. Thanks for such a detailed comment, Edwin, and for sharing some insights into how you guys work – there are some very good ideas here for all of us.

    I hope there will be other readers joining in soon to share their experiences as well 🙂

  2. This is a good post. It’s good to see another e-commerce company ask the right questions. There’s a growing number of e-commerce companies. However not everyone’s providing the right quality or focussing on the best KPI’s. You ask for answers, I’m keen to provide some from our point of view.

    Now, what we really focus on is: we invest in knowledge. We keep our team up-to-date with the latest Magento, e-commerce and marketing news. We share our knowledge via an internal forum. This automatically leads to high quality work from which clients benefit.

    Secondly we inform our clients via the forum. Also, every week we write an e-commerce training and explain the training in a video (I won’t spam the url, but you can find us on Youtube). If a client benefits from a certain extension or store update, we share this in the forum. Every week we send out an e-mail to our customers containing all the latest news from our forum, and we include the best articles from other sites (like yours ;-).

    Since 2009 we’ve organized 50 organize ‘knowledge sessions’ at our office where a quality speaker will take the stage. We invite customers and contacts to join our team in these sessions. So not only do customers get a chance to gain knowledge, they also connect with our team and other clients.

    So every week it’s certain we have some sort of contact with our customers triggering upsells, providing new insights and sharing relevant information.

    Also: invest in providing top-notch customer service. The past two years we implemented tools and processes and we’ve reorganized our support-team. Hello 97% customer satisfaction. This is the first bases to continuous work for existing clients.

    I really enjoy working in a field that is so versatile and has such an active community. Hopefully posts like this will stimulate creativity and quality. We all benefit from this.

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