The most important part of the customer journey doesn't include the customer.
It is called the Sales Handoff.
Why is this important?
The minute the customer signs, the time to value clock starts ticking, and clear expectations in the sales process, with a good sales handoff process, start building that value.
The HubSpot blog on sales to CSM handoff elegantly describes this:
Think of this portion of the customer journey as a relay race in which sales pass the baton to delivery, and the finish line is customer success.
The opponent in the race is customer expectations and the possibility of them deciding to take their business elsewhere.
If the baton is fumbled or dropped in this process, there is a real risk of this happening.
So what defines a good sales handoff?
A good sales handoff provides a smooth transition between the customer purchase and delivery and sets the tone for the customer's experience.
In short, this means sales provides timely, accurate, and precise communication about the customer purchase and any additional services or support the customer may need. It should also allow the customer to provide feedback on their experience and ask questions about their purchase. Finally, a good handoff should also be tailored to each client's needs to ensure that all of their expectations are met.
That's a lot! Let's break it down with a process. Here are six elements that Roadmap uses to create customer success.
1) Friction in your sales process to allow your internal team time to conduct a proper handoff. At Roadmap, in our quote terms, our standard friction is two weeks for the sales handoff, project set up and scheduling of work, and having an internal briefing.
2) Standard Information Requirements: create a format that the sales team needs to follow and standard information to provide to the delivery team. At Roadmap, our sales documentation requirements include the following: signed quote, original proposal, call recordings (if applicable), project brief with client and project background, key contacts and concerns, and our consulting framework answers: (GPCT)
Goals: Overall client and specific project goals (What does success look like?).
Plans: What plans does the client have to achieve these goals and objectives about the project specifically?
Challenges: What internal and external challenges is the client-facing concerning their goals and the project?
Timelines: What are the timelines for the client?
3) Internal Briefing: set a time between sales and the delivery team to review all the sales documentation and to allow for questions and answers, clarification of expectations, feedback to improve the process in general and requirements for this specific client.
4) Client Kickoff: set a time for sales to introduce the new customer to the delivery team and review the scope of work, and expected outcomes to ensure alignment and review timelines, communication processes and billings. The goal is to provide the client with complete clarity on what will occur, by who, by when and what is required of them (if anything).
5) Communication: Create a shared space for project information and cadence of communication status updates with a standard format so complete information is always available to the client. Note that between the time that the customer signs and the transfer of relations, sales needs to update the customer on the status of this process that is occurring that they are not seeing.
6) Transfer of Relationship: Have a clean break between sales and delivery. In small companies, this is only sometimes practical. Still, the risk is having multiple communication channels with the client that may not be communicating with each other or fully aware of the status and delivery details.
Ultimately, the sales handoff is a crucial unseen part of your customer's journey. It makes all the difference between making them a successful client or failing to meet their expectations and ultimately losing them.Let's Talk!