This article guides you through the 7 most vital elements of perfecting your sales to customer success handoff process.
Your business may have a world class sales team and a finely tuned group of customer success managers. However, if they aren't working together during the handoff of a new customer, you are giving up the opportunity to deliver the best possible experience.
Even if both teams do their jobs well, the lack of integration could lead to a fumble during one of the most critical stages of your customer's journey. Leaving this phase to chance is not worth the risk. Your organization should not only have a customer success handoff playbook, but you should also consider regularly reviewing it and perfecting it.
7 Vital Elements of a Great Handoff Playbook
No two customer success handoff playbooks are the same. They must take into account all of the unique aspects of the organization, product or service, and customer. As the complexity of any of these factors increases, it may also increase the complexity of the playbook itself. No matter the size of the company, the value of the product, or the length of the customer journey, this handoff is essential to keep customers coming back and may impact your business and brand reputation.
Whether you are a small startup or a large international business, there are some common questions you can review to perfect your sales to customer success handoff playbook.
Is Everyone On Board?
The most well-thought-out, detailed, and perfected handoff plan will have little impact unless everyone is on board. The first question to ask, as you perfect your playbook is, "Do we have buy-in from all the appropriate stakeholders?" That means ensuring that everyone who has a role to play in the handoff understands the importance of having a plan and is willing to participate in the planning and implementation.
What Are Our Common Handoff Goals?
Your customer success handoff playbook should clearly state the shared goal of the customer success handbook. Without clarity here, the sales team and the customer success team may be working at cross purposes and having a sales to service handoff process is vital to minimize customer churn and sustaining your revenue growth. Is the goal customer retention, revenue retention, revenue growth, customer satisfaction scores? With clear goals, both teams can help to navigate the handoff in a way that is focused on clear outcomes.
Do You Have A Repeatable Handoff Process?
Many organizations have a handoff process. Unfortunately, sometimes it lacks clarity, or it is not even written down anywhere. Just because everyone thinks they know the process, doesn't mean everyone is reading from the same playbook. It is worth ensuring that every step is codified in such a way that both teams can verify that everyone is following the correct steps, and nothing gets missed.
Is There a Consistent Onboarding Process?
Once a new customer is handed off from sales to customer success, there should be a defined set of steps for initial onboarding. What these steps include varies depending on the product or service. Some customers may need more onboarding than others, but all of them need to know that your company is there to support them after the sale.
Are the Expectations Clear?
For a successful handoff experience, expectations should be clear. They should be clear for the sales team, the customer success team, and most importantly, the customer. The teams should know, through clarifying the playbook, what they will be offering to the customer in terms of a post-sale relationship. Those expectations should be clearly communicated to the customer before the sale is completed, so there are no surprises down the road.
Is There Clear Accountability?
None of this planning will be of any value if there is not a clear outline of accountability. For each step of the process and each element of the playbook, there needs to be clarity regarding who is responsible for the task and who is ultimately accountable for completion. This is especially critical since this entire process depends on the cooperation of two separate departments. When something gets missed, it is the customer who suffers.
Is the Playbook Ever Perfect?
No. Playbook is ever perfect because things are always changing. This is more relevant as B2B marketers shift away from a traditional funnel to a more customer-centric flywheel paradigm. The following video helps outline the conversation between funnel vs flywheel approach that is being adopted by growth marketers more and more these days.
Customer expectations change. Team organization and responsibilities change. Products change. Since the goal is keeping customers satisfied before, during, and after the sale is the one constant, the playbook should be reviewed regularly to ensure that is still the best process to meet the goals of the handoff.