Several weeks ago, I spent two days with a buying client helping them evaluate key suppliers, which included looking at past scorecards. During the evaluations, some version of this question was often asked: “How much have we spent with XYZ supplier and what did we get?” Often, that question could not be readily answered.
After the sale, your champions are placed at great political risk (sometimes even career risk). After all, they were the ones who “went to bat” for you and your firm and they are the ones who will most likely be held accountable for any underperformance on your part. After the sale, we have a responsibility to look out for our champions and to do everything in our power to make them look good.
It continues to amaze me how quickly some sales reps will forget the customer and the champions that were nurtured during the sale after the business is won. I’ve seen champions who were left high and dry by suppliers, and the champions quickly turned into serious and committed detractors – even to the point they would never consider giving business to that particular supplier again. And yet, for the most part, this is avoidable. Assuming you sold to a customer’s outcome(s), mutually developed success criteria (value dimensions) for the outcomes, your task after the sale is to deliver on those outcomes – and to formally communicate and get credit for it.
Below are screenshots of a resource that allows clear and formal communication to get credit for past value delivered. The top right quadrant below, “Program Performance,” allows the account manager and customer to review how the implemented solutions have created value.
When clicking on the “Program Performance” quadrant, the following screen appears, allowing the customer and account manager to drill down into specific program performance metrics. The blue, green, and yellow highlighted boxes allow for a quick status assessment, providing the opportunity to course correct when necessary and get credit for success when relevant.
The credit for past value delivered is not just for you — it is also for your champion. When this is done well, I’ve seen customer champions take your Past Value Delivered proof and present it to the CFO, CEO, and even the Board. This not only demonstrated by how “smart they were” to choose you but how effective they were in using you to advance the business agenda of the firm.
Steve is the founder of Value Lifecycle, a strategy consulting firm, with clientele representing over 100 diverse industries. He has over 33 years of experience in operations, sales, sales management, purchasing, and executive management. After working extensively on both the selling and buying side of the equation, Steve brings a unique perspective to the challenges facing his clients as they define and execute their business strategies. Steve have consulted, trained, and implemented both strategic and tactical buying and selling programs in all major North American market centers, as well as Europe, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, and Africa.