When I was new to Presales, my mentor Mr.Sridhar Iyengar shared a secret sauce for successful sales – Identify and build Customer Champions.
Power of Champions
Your champions have the ability to connect you with key stakeholders like decision-makers including the person responsible for procurement. In a few cases, they have the power to influence decisions and move the needle towards your product or service.
Building these customer champions not only helped me win sales. They helped Customer Success to retain the accounts and become their advocates.
Let’s look at how these champions helped during the sales process by sharing the following details
1. Evaluation criteria
The moment they trust you, they will start divulge details on the key features expected by the management. This had helped me to give a “Wow” demo. During POC, I was able to work build the solution as per their standards and create an impression.
2. Decision Making Process
The champions knew why the organization is looking to buy a new product or service, why it is important for them, and what they expect from the vendor to buy the product. Hence, they know the critical factors involved in the procurement process.
The champions never divulge details about the competitor’s name. Since they believe in you they share the number of competitors involved and whether we have an edge over them or not. In a few cases, they keep the competition at bay and vouch for your service.
4. Influence in decision making
This is not something the champions share. But, it is an action taken by them.
They get into the minds of the decision-makers and influence the decision on why they have to choose our service. They present why your product or service has a competitive edge and the ROI benefit.
The champions handle objections on your behalf. Help the sales by closing the account for you.
The champions do these because they strongly believe in your product or service. So, sales should be careful with their treatment and make them a winner.
Customer Champions don’t stop only with closing the sales. They want to make the product or service a success. By doing so, champions would like to demonstrate the value they bring to the organizations.
Be it implementation or onboarding, they gather and bring the right stakeholders to the table. This is done to ensure that the product goes live without many hiccups. They handle any friction during this phase.
The champions ensure that the product usage increases by the respective team and by doing so they can show the ROI as quick as possible.
6. Alerts or concerns
When there are any alerts during the implementation or concerns related to the product, they give a headsup and ensure that you have the time to fix it.
It doesnt stop here, when there are too many issues after productions or when the satisfaction level dips, they raise the red flag.
Once the implementation is complete and successful, they will be happy to refer your product or services to their network. They will be willing to give testimonials and endorse to other prospects whom you forward.
Customer Champions are your allies. They are influencers during your sales process. Post-sales they are your advocates. So, find one as early as possible and develop a great and healthy relationship with them.