It’s no surprise the handoff from sales to customer success is one of the trickiest parts of the customer success journey. It doesn’t help, either, that this handoff happens early on in the customer success journey. An awkward transition from the sales process to implementation and onboarding can set the tone for the entire customer relationship – good or bad.
Whether you’re looking for a new way to manage the sales > onboarding process or if you want to find creative ways to optimize your current handoffs, this new customer playbook can help. Check out the steps your team can take to optimize your sales through onboarding customer experience:
1. Introductions: Meeting your new customer – and giving them the chance to meet their onboarding team – is a critical part of the handoff process. The Account Executive (or whoever is managing the sales process) should send out an introduction email to all customer contacts introducing them to all members of your onboarding team. This email introduction should also include the executive sponsors on both sides and offer the chance to meet in person in an upcoming meeting, if possible.
2. Customer Review: While you will get the full account download from Sales during the handoff, it’s a good idea to bring yourself (and your team) up to speed in advance. Before the internal handoff, make sure you:
- Google the customer to get a grasp of their business, offerings, and business model.
- Review the existing contract, engagement data, and any other information housed in your CRM system.
- Connect on LinkedIn with the customer contacts you were introduced to via email.
- Read through any public documents and earning reports that may be available.
- Analyze the competitive landscape to understand your partnership better.
3. Internal Handoff: CSMs are required to know the ins and outs of their customer accounts, and this all starts with an internal account download from Sales. This is the meeting where the Sales executive can give your team an overview of what was purchased, the customer expectations, how they make decisions, and more. This is also the perfect time for your team to ask questions and make sure you’re prepared to take over the account in full.
4. Customer Presentation: Think of this step as the official onboarding project kickoff meeting. The customer is officially out of the sales process and on their way towards implementation. Make sure to include the following in your presentation to ensure a smooth kickoff:
- Customer business overview and org structure
- A contract overview, use cases, and goals for the project
- The tech stack being used
- A high-level look at the customer journey and what to expect during onboarding
- A Q&A section
5. Follow Up: The first follow-up after your kickoff presentation is critical as it sets the stage for your communication style moving forward. Make sure you thank the customer for their time, attach the presentation, and provide the next steps. It’s essential to keep the ball rolling here and not allow for any lag between kickoff and implementation.
6. Onboarding Engagement: CSMs must stay engaged with customers throughout the onboarding process, especially if other dedicated resources are managing the onboarding project itself. If the customer engages mainly with onboarding, training, and enablement resources, try to check in 1 – 2 times per week to ensure things are on track.
7. Onboarding Survey: Once the onboarding process is complete, send a quick survey to your new customer to see how things went. Ask them for any feedback and then take this feedback into account when bringing new customers on board.
Interested in learning more? Check out these related ClientSuccess resources: