So, we got a lead, which eventually became a sales opportunity and after negotiations and going back and forth, the deal is finally done.  What’s next then? Well, selling is no longer enough, because the relationship between a supplier and a customer rarely ends when a sale is made.  On the contrary, in many cases, the way that the seller will handle the relationship after the deal is done, will most probably determine if the buyer is going to come back for more in the future or not. 

For many buyers, the product is no longer just an item, as they anticipate from their suppliers things like installation assistance, parts, repairs, retrofits, upgrades in order to prolong its’ lifecycle for as long as possible.  Especially in B2B transactions, the buyer is purchasing a mean that is going to produce things/results that are expected to yield profits.  Therefore, as Theodore Levitt claims in his article “After the Sale is Over”, the purchaser buys an “augmented” product, so in his/her mind is entering into a bonded relationship with the seller that is starting as the selling is confirmed.   

Having the above in mind, it comes as no surprise the fact that only in the US, businesses and consumers spend over $1 trillion every year on assets that they already own.  Companies are now promoting the value that their customers are going to get using their products/services, rather than these products/services as standalones.  Through top after-sales services, organisations are building long-term relationships with happy and loyal customers, who also become promoters of their brand.

Thus, it is evident that companies can certainly benefit by turning their focus on after-sales services, but on the other hand it is more complicated than manufacturing products for a number of reasons like making use of people, parts and equipment at more locations than they do to make their products.  Also, companies need to support all the goods that they have produced in the past and this task is undeniably very complex.

In my view though, organisations need to invest in this aspect of the business, because as things stand right now, after-sales services can be a source of differentiation.  Companies are competing to deliver value in their customers by investing in designing their product and the way that this product is produced, but they need to concentrate also in the longest-lasting source of income, which is post-sales support.  Being level with our competitors in quality and price is absolutely essential, but the way that we perform with regards to after-sales can be a game changer.