How to Nail the Sales to Customer Success Handoff: 5 Tips to Help + Email Template
Your sales team works hard to connect with quality prospects and close deals.
But if your sales process ends when new customers sign on the dotted line, your company probably won't be as successful as it could be—especially if you sell for a SaaS brand.
Why? Because the sales to customer success handoff is essential. You need to make sure this transition is as smooth as possible. If you don't, your organization's customer relationships will suffer, and your retention rates will plummet, which could be disastrous.
Fortunately, there are a few things sales reps can do to nail the customer handoff. I'm going to share a few of them with you in this article. Then I'll share an email template any salesperson can use to start their company's onboarding process the right way. Let's do this!
Why the Sales to Customer Success Handoff Matters
Most people don't understand the importance of the sales handoff process, which is why few companies prioritize it.
But the truth is, a quality handover will benefit your company in multiple ways. Here are my four favorites:
Reduces Customer Churn
Your SaaS company cares about churn rate. How do I know? Because every SaaS company cares about churn rate. If they didn't, there'd be a lot less SaaS companies out there.
A seamless transition between sales and customer success teams will create a better experience for new customers, which will encourage them to keep paying for your product. The longer they pay, the more money your company makes, and the more success you enjoy.
Increases Customer Satisfaction
Have you ever heard someone say, "Man, this company treats me like garbage, but I'm going to keep paying for their product/service anyway!"?
Telecommunication companies are the only ones that can repeatedly dump on their customers and get away with it. The rest of us have to prioritize the customer experience. Luckily, doing so almost always produces positive results. The question is, how do you do it?
A thoughtful handoff process that exceeds customer expectations is a good start.
If you can transition new clients from the "sales" phase of the customer journey to the "customer onboarding" phase without friction, you'll earn their respect. If you do so while minimizing time-to-value, you'll win their hearts forever, Jack and Diane style.
Can Increase Customer Referrals
What do happy customers do? They keep paying for the goods and services they like. They tell their friends, family, and co-workers to start paying for them, too.
So, a smooth handoff between sales and customer success teams could lead to a significant bump in customer referrals. In the same way, a junk handoff will lower customer satisfaction, as mentioned above, and decrease the referrals you receive. No bueno.
Aligns Sales and CS Teams
Finally, a proper transition between departments creates alignment.
Salespeople will know exactly what information to provide to support reps. Support reps can then use said information to facilitate a quality onboarding experience.
This level of alignment makes team members feel like they're striving towards the same goals, even if they work for different departments. It will also improve the customer experience, opening the door to future sales, upsell and cross-sell opportunities, etc.
5 Tips to Improve the Sales to Customer Success Handoff
So, how do you actually facilitate a smooth handoff between yourself and your customer support team? The five tips below will help. I encourage you to implement them ASAP.
1. Document Everything
First, commit to documentation.
As a sales professional, you set customer expectations. After all, new customers talk to you before most other people in your organization. These expectations need to be clarified to CS.
So, ask yourself, "What promises did I make during the sales process?" Then write these things down in a document that you can easily pass to a support rep. This will help prevent miscommunications between departments and ensure all promises are kept.
Broken promises are one of the fastest ways to alienate new customers. You need to avoid this scenario at all costs. Fortunately, it's easy to do if you simply document everything.
2. Collect Customer Data
Your company's support team needs to know as much about your new customers as possible. This will help them deliver a stellar onboarding experience that boosts satisfaction levels.
Pass along demographic information, such as your new customer's job title, company size, and who their organization's decision-makers are. I suggest passing along psychographic details, like the customer's goal and pain points, as well. Doing so will help support reps segment customers into different groups and personalize their efforts.
Collecting customer data is easy if you use a customer relationship management (CRM) tool like Close, HubSpot, or Salesforce. You work in sales, so you're probably already familiar with CRM software. But if not, learn more about these kinds of apps here.
3. Establish Workflows
Next, develop workflows your team can use to facilitate the knowledge transfer process.
Why is this important? Because it will help your sales reps achieve peak productivity. They'll never have to wonder, "Wait, what do I need to send the CS team again?" They'll know exactly what to do to ensure a smooth handoff between teams.
Once you develop a standardized handoff process, you can work to automate it. For example, you can program your CRM to pass account information to your CS team as soon as a new customer comes aboard. (Note: integrations with Zapier can make this happen, too.)
When you establish a workflow that you're happy with, turn it into a playbook of sorts. This will make it easier for new employees to get up to speed with your processes.
4. Host Joint Meetings
If you sell a complex product, such as ERP software, consider hosting a video conference to introduce your new customer to the support rep they'll work with.
This will increase all stakeholders' comfort levels as new customers progress from sales to onboarding. The more comfortable everyone feels, the better the transition will be.
Since we're on the topic, I suggest hosting internal meetings from time to time as well. Sales and Customer Support should have regular check-ins to discuss the handoff process and how to optimize it. This will ensure both departments are on the same page.
5. Monitor the Situation
Finally, keep an eye on your new customers. Are they progressing from sales to onboarding? If not, what's causing the holdup? And is there anything you can do to help?
By committing to account management, you'll ensure new customers are well-cared for. When new customers are well-cared for, they'll stick around, purchase additional products and services, and refer your company to their friends, family, and colleagues.
Use This Email Template to Ensure a Seamless Handoff
A well-written email that introduces new customers to the support reps they'll engage with during the onboarding process is crucial. Don't worry, I'll tell you exactly how to write one. Then I'll give you a rock-solid email template you can use to nail your handoff.
The Subject Line
The subject lines you'll write during the customer handoff process don't need to be as enticing. But they still need to grab your new client's attention. Here are a couple of tips:
- Personalize your subject line. Remember, you know the person you're emailing. You've talked to them, learned about their pain points, and sold them a product and/or service. You have a bonafide relationship with them now. So, at least add their name to the subject line—it’ll make the transition feel more personal.
- List the reason for your email. Your new customer gets a ton of emails every day. To make sure yours don't get lost in the shuffle, state your business. In all likelihood, your email aims to introduce your new customer to a specific success rep. But, in certain situations, you may want to introduce them to your company's customer success manager (CSM) first. It's up to you. Either way, make sure the reason for your email is clear from the subject line.
To ensure your customer handoff emails make a lasting impact, utilize Close's Email Subject Line Generator to create compelling subject lines. Grab your new client's attention and make the transition seamless!
The Body Copy
Your new customer opens your emails and… What do they see?
To ensure a smooth transition, make your body copy personal, address your company's readiness to serve, assure new customers that they're in good hands, and set expectations:
- Personalize your body copy. Once again, make sure you address your new customer by name in your email. It will make the handoff process more engaging.
- State your company's readiness to serve. Your new customer is excited to use your company's products and services. They want you to be excited too. So use your body copy to tell them how pumped you are that they've come aboard. Doing so will help new customers feel like they made the right choice with your product/service.
- Assure new customers that they're in good hands. You need to introduce new customers to the support rep or CSM they'll be working with—even if you already named them in your subject line. But I suggest going a step further. Tell your new customer that the person the support professional is highly qualified and that you've already shared all of your notes with this person. Doing so will make customers think, "Great, now I don't have to re-explain my challenges and goals to someone new!"
- Tell your new customer what to expect. When will your company's support team follow up? Include this information in your email so that everyone is on the same page.
Now it's time to end your message. Here are a couple of best practices to keep in mind:
- Thank your new customer for their business. This person didn't have to buy from you. Show your appreciation with a little "thanks for buying" type of messaging.
- Remind your new customer that they can contact you at any time. Customers should view you and your company as high-touch. You can reinforce this image by encouraging new customers to reach out to you at any time, should they feel the need.
Your Sales to CS Handoff Email Template
BOOM! You know how to craft your own handoff email. But guess what, you don't have to! I'm going to give you a template you can use to nail the transition process.
Strengthen the Customer Experience with a Strong Handoff
A smooth transition between sales and CS teams will benefit your company in multiple ways.
It will boost your customer retention metrics. It will help create happy customers who refer your products and/or services to others. And it will bring organizational alignment.
All you have to do to nail the handoff is follow the tips I shared above. If you document everything, collect customer data, establish workflows, host joint meetings, and continually monitor the processes you've built, you shouldn't experience any problems.
Of course, you have to make sales before worrying about handing new customers off to support reps. Close can help with that. Use our CRM to organize prospect data, shorten sales cycles, and ensure your and/or your reps hit quota on a regular basis.
Sign up for a free 14-day trial of Close to see if it's the right sales CRM for your company!