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Golden rules for the Sales - CS handover

  • Jan 3, 2024
  • 3 minutes

Revenue won, is not revenue secured.

Your customers - old and new - are on a journey with you and can become dissatisfied or unengaged at any time. 

Throughout their journey, there will be numerous points at which they are more prone to becoming dissatisfied. And the handover from the Sales team to the Customer Success team is a crucial and early point. 

A seamless handover ensures that the promises made during the sales process are not only fulfilled but exceeded, supporting a great first impression and encouraging long-term customer loyalty.

Here are my golden rules for the Sales to Customer Success team handover of new customers.

A healthy handover starts well before the win

The first question to answer is: are you communicating your sales opportunity pipeline to your Customer Success team so they know what is coming down the line? 

If not, I cannot emphasize enough how important this is.

Sales and Customer Success together are a revenue powerhouse. A comprehensive understanding of the sales pipeline ensures that every member of that revenue team is well-informed about the new customers entering the fold.

Assign CS to each account before the contract is signed. Your CSMs will begin to feel responsible for the account earlier, perhaps being involved in trials and other communications, and will become better prepared and more embedded sooner. 

This open communication also ensures that CS teams are equipped to take over and deliver on promises made during the sales pitch. And it helps in setting the right expectations with the customer from the very beginning of their journey.

Plan & process

A detailed and well-communicated process is essential especially when a new customer is coming on board. We want a world-class first impression, every time.

For me, this is all about good planning. Without a structured plan in place, there is a higher likelihood of misunderstandings, dropped balls, and, ultimately, dissatisfied customers.

Take the time to detail the customer journey from Sales to CS. Clearly defined touchpoints during the handover process help ensure that all aspects of the journey are considered. These touchpoints can include trial set-ups, trial check-ins and kick-off meetings.

Then define responsibilities. Making team members accountable for each step is critical to avoid confusion. Sales and CS teams should collaborate to define the specific responsibilities at each stage of the customer journey.

For instance, the Sales team might be responsible for providing detailed documentation of the customer's requirements and expectations and sending the intro email. Simultaneously, the CS team could take charge of creating an onboarding plan, ensuring a smooth transition for the customer.

This collaboration between Sales and CS teams is not a one-time event at the point of handover, it is an ongoing process. Regular meetings and check-ins between the two teams are essential to align objectives and update each other on the progress of your plan before, during and after the handover.

Get the basics right

There are lots of pieces of information that Sales and Customer Success need to discuss during this process. The basics are goals, personalities and contact preferences - and it’s crucial you communicate these well in the handover.

Why did the customer buy from you? 
And why now? 
This is critical for CS so they can deliver the return on investment the new customer is looking to achieve.

Who are the individuals involved? 
What do they like? And what are they most interested in? 
How do they communicate? 
Help the CSM go from stranger to partner quickly by sharing things that will help them connect on a personal level.

Note: both Goals and Personalities can be uncovered by using conversation intelligence to go back and listen to calls in the sales process it's the best way to prepare for kickoff. 

Contact preferences
How does your new client like to be communicated with - email, LinkedIn, phone call, slack or WhatsApp? 
Don't slow things down by using the wrong method.

Context is king

Bonus points in the information handover come with sharing beyond the basics in your conversation with CS. The more context you can give about the customer, the better. Two areas you can start with are:

Any hiccups in the sales process should be communicated to the CSM to make sure that they understand what was learned and how future hiccups can be avoided.

What opportunities are there to grow the account in the future?
Maybe more users as they hire? 
Or more products? 
Make sure the steps to increase the value of the account are clear to the CSM.


Customer satisfaction at every step

Finally, don’t think of onboarding as a hurdle to get over. Onboarding a new client is a great chance to acquire brand advocates or evangelists. 

Build customer satisfaction into every step and even consider adding an NPS score request into the onboarding process.

Following this though, you need to be ready to handle any dissatisfactions early. Anticipating and addressing potential issues before they escalate is a proactive approach to customer satisfaction. 

Your customer will appreciate and remember proactivity at this early stage in their journey with you. 

The Sales and CS teams should collaborate to identify friction and pain points and develop strategies to mitigate them. 

This might mean providing additional resources, personalized training, or dedicated more support during critical phases of the handover. But these learnings will be invaluable as more customers come on board, further protecting your future revenue.

Want more on customer transitions? Here are the golden rules for the Marketing to Sales customer handover from our Head of RevOps, Dan. 

Shelley Lavery is the CRO and Co-Founder of Jiminny, the leading conversation intelligence and sales coaching platform that helps companies maximize their revenue. With over a decade of experience in coaching B2B sales teams, Shelley was previously Group SVP of Sales at Reward Gateway now leading the conversation intelligence discussion with expertise and insight.

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