Something that is often undervalued, undermined, and certainly underdeveloped in any organization is the post-sale part of the revenue generation engine. Many struggle to automatically throw a customer, which they have worked so hard to acquire, over the wall to a customer service department.

The truth is that the real selling begins after the sale. It is my belief that quality, customer service, client service, and account management should seldom be a department, but rather a fundamental mindset of the entire organization. A recent survey highlighted that, on average, you have a one-to-two chance of earning incremental business from existing or past clients and a 1-to-18 to 1-to-30 chance, depending on the industry, average sales cycle, and average sales price, in winning that business from a prospect unfamiliar with your past performance.

Your relationships and ability to systematically nurture and keep your finger on the pulse of that customer voice becomes a quantifiable return on integration. By seamlessly incorporating the pre- and post-sales functions of the revenue generation engine, you further establish greater barriers of entry by key competitors and sustain a diligent client protection strategy in the process.

The easiest thing is to sell more of the same products and services to the exact same customer base. We call that addition. Next are your expansion strategies, which involves taking your existing customers and selling new products and services. There is also what we call replacement strategy, where you would be offering the same products and services to new clients and customers. And by far the most challenging business development cycle tends to be selling new products and services to new customers or channels – what we call innovation.

For addition and expansion – functional relationships will suffice. Ideally, many unknown risks have been mitigated through their previous interactions, which have established trust with you, your firm, and the performance of your products and services. Examples of these functional relationships are operations managers or purchasing agents.

However, replacement and innovation will demand strategic relationships to influence at the executive or perhaps even the board level. At this stage, the conversation is greatly elevated from the what and how to the why. Strategic relationships also demand a reduced sense of self-interest and heightened level of strategic problem solving and strategy execution.

Author's Bio: 

David Nour is a social networking strategist and one of the foremost thought leaders on the quantifiable value of business relationships. In a global economy that is becoming increasingly disconnected, David and his team are solving global client challenges with Strategic Relationship Planning™ and Enterprise Social Networking best practices.