After The Win, Companies Need To Deliver “A Perfect Conversion”


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Your company has worked for weeks and months on positioning your services exactly the way you want. The client has given the right signals that it values your service proposition, and thinks your approach is intriquing. There seems to be a connection forming between the decision-makers and the sales team.

And then you get the word….you have won the big sale! Congratulations. Time to brew the pot of coffee…the real work begins.

Now comes a critical stage in the relationship…the Implementation or Conversion process. This stage is the first time your company moves from typical sales hype to reality of having to deliver what you sold. In many instances, this is a sobering time in the deal for both parties, one that Perfect Service companies need to critically analyze and design.

Bruce Temkin, in a recent blog post, describes this as the “Engagement Phase,” the underappreciated stage between Point of Sale and Service. He believes that during this stage instead of worrying about collecting the proceeds from the sale, companies should focus on getting their customers satisfied.

The longer the transition period, more risk, and opportunity, a company has to reinforce its value proposition. Companies take this transition stage way too lightly.

My View

Many industries, particularly those delivering outsourcing services, experience long periods between sales and ongoing service. Typically, this stage is viewed as a technical experience as the service provider is taking its new client’s detailed requirements and translating them into service capabilities. We are in the weeds here.

To perform this phase, most companies deploy a dedicated conversion or implementation team to the transaction. This team is staffed with Project Managers, Business Requirement Analysts, Technical Analysts, and other members of the Project Teams.

To collect client requirements, there is a lot of client interaction and documentation, often with face-to-face meetings. Any confusion or details that are unclear are addressed here by this team.

In short, the conversion process is an intense learning experience, with frequent client interaction.

And once the conversion is completed and services are now live, the client is transferred to the Relationship Manager and the ongoing service organization.
Several things can be improved with this typical arrangement:

1. Most of early relationship building is done with Conversion Team, not ongoing Service Team. The early meetings are where first impressions are created. While probably personable, the Project Manager’s chief talent is most likely structure, detail clarity, and adherence to schedules.

2. Most client learning is experienced by Conversion Team, and although details are likely documented, the “soft” learnings are not as well as the conversations leading to specific decisions. As a result, client particulars must be “re-learned” by the service team.

3. There is often a lack of continuity in commitments made from sales to conversion to ongoing. This is understandable given that each group has its own objective. Unfortunately, that objective is rarely the same.

As Temkin describes: the main objective of Sales, Conversion and Ongoing Service should be the satisfaction of the client, not just the achievement of a departmental goal. Companies that recognize this will review their conversion processes with a different eye:

  • Involving Client Service staff during the conversion process;
  • Training Project Managers on the tenets of delivering satisfaction rather than merely the execution of the project;
  • Identification and resolution of client dissatisfiers early in the Conversion process, rather than waiting for them during service delivery.

In Re-Engineering The Corporation, the classic business book, a view presented is that Conversion is just an extension of the sales process. That makes some sense, since business requirements and offerings are collected during the sales process and are used for implementating that business.

Instead, I offer the following thought: that Sales and Conversion are just the first part of the Service Process, and need to be as thoughtfully designed.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Christopher Myers
Benefits Services Consulting
For more than 2 years, Chris Myers has designed and managed industry leading Employee Benefits service organizations. His passionate and innovative approach to service is widely recognized in the benefits field. His "Perfect Service" approach was created in 21 and within two years improved his company's satisfaction ratings to the top of the industry.


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