“Client, look forward to working with you. Someone from our Implementation/Operations/Delivery/Customer Care team will be in touch with you to schedule install/delivery/training.
You can’t picture one of your salespeople saying that to a new client. After all you don’t employ firstname.lastname@example.org. If you ask your clients, especially the new ones, about their onboarding experience they may not have heard “someone will,” but they probably heard “Doug/Xen/Cynthia will…”
Like a relay race in track-and-field the hand off, in our context between sales and whoever is delivering what they sold (for simplicity referred to as the “Delivery Team” for the rest of this article), is crucial to a successful long-term client relationship.
To ensure a successful hand off implement these three best practices:
1) Create a “hand off” checklist and hold both groups accountable to following it – this means giving your Delivery Team permission and protection to push back deals to a salesperson who doesn’t complete their part of the checklist. I get that sales wants to closes sales and move on to their next opportunity (I was that salesperson), but empowering the Delivery Team to push back now will prevent problems from arising later. Aside from avoiding awkward conversations with unhappy clients what’s in it for your salespeople being accountable to their part of the checklist is improved rapport with the Delivery Team.
2) Have Sales make a warm introduction between your client and the delivery team lead – ideally in-person, but more likely this will happen by email. Your sales team may complain that they “don’t have time” to make that happen, but taking a few minutes to make a warm introduction could save that salesperson’s client from beginning to look for a new vendor shortly after onboarding.
3) Create clarity with your client on next steps – by including 1) a deadline by when the person they introduced their client to will reach our (e.g. Cynthia will reach out by the end of this week) and 2) a timeline, by text or picture attachment, of all steps from that email to delivery to first quarterly review meeting. Humans crave clarity and certainty. This is especially true with enterprise sales that have a lot of people and processes involved. The more clarity your salesperson can create during the hand off lowers your new client’s anxiety and creates rapport with the Delivery Team. Some of the steps on your timeline may not have deadlines attached. That’s okay because it gives the Delivery Team an opportunity to create rapport and co-build a plan that fits for them and your new client.
Some or all of those best practices probably exist in your organization already, but they likely aren’t implemented regularly or consistently, which would make the graph of your customer hand off experience look like a sine wave between “poor” and “awesome” instead of a straight line at “awesome.”
A few hours building a checklist and a few minutes making warm introductions might feel like a lot of time, but it’ll be less than the time you’d spend replacing clients who had a bad hand off experience.
Until next time… go lead.
Hiring More Effectively
When: Thursday November 29th, 2018
Crash our regularly scheduled Sandler Management Solutions Class.
Successfully putting the right people in the right roles in your organization is a science that requires a systematic approach. It’s estimated that a bad fit hire costs your organization between 4.1 and 6.2 times base salary regardless of role. Even for an entry-level position that’s into the hundreds of thousands.
The tools you will receive are:
- A three-part formula for quickly determining if a candidate should advance based on their data
- Tools to support good fit hiring
- New mindsets, activities and techniques that limit time wasted on bad fit candidates
- Opportunity to network with fellow business leaders
Whether you’re hiring your 1st team member or your 1,000th you’ll gain insights that will save you time and your company money when hiring.
Reserve your seat today. Seating is limited.