It is easy to think the sales process ends once a customer has signed a contract or downloaded an app or created an account. But it’s a huge mistake.
Great products have a point of view on the way things ought to work. GMail chose labels over folders for email categorization. Pandora chose recommendations over libraries for music libraries. Looker chose spreadsheets over an SQL prompts for data exploration. None of these ideas matter if they aren’t used.
People try software because they like a the product’s point of view. Customers want a better way of doing things. The decision to trial a new product is aspirational.
But to truly adopt new software, customers have to change their habits. Users must convert their aspiration into new routines. They have to commit to the product’s point of view. A MadLib from the book The Power of Habit sums it up:
I learned this selling billing and invoicing software to law firms. It was one thing to convince the managing director of a law firm to pay for the software over a 90 day sales cycle. But it was an entirely different matter to educate, convince and convert individual attorneys to use the software. That took far longer.
But both parts of the sales process were critical to the success of the deployment. Without the sale, we didn’t make money. Without attorney adoption, our product didn’t work. It had no value and customers abandoned it.
The best products combine a strong point of view with the marketing and sales efforts to change the way users live and work. The sales process starts with education but has to finish with behavior change.