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Terminus Blog

November 29, 2017

6 Tips for Transitioning a Customer from Sales to Customer Success

Category: Other

In the world of business, landing a customer is only the beginning — maintaining the customer is the true test. The probability of selling to an existing customer is between 60 and 70 percent, while the chance of selling to a new prospect is between 5 and 20 percent. Once you land customers, clearly this is your best shot for making additional sales. But, that’s only if you can retain these individuals or organizations.

Transitioning a customer from sales to customer success is one potential problem area. It’s a delicate balance because the salespeople need to get back to what they do best — selling — but new customers have to be treated with kid gloves.  Even if they’re locked into a contract, if they’re not happy, they’ll try to get out of the contract as soon as possible, won’t consider your company for additional products or services, and may badmouth you to other companies.

Below are six tips for easing the transition from sales to customer success:

1) Aim to Make the Transition Seamless

Some companies put a lot of effort into sales — and they should — but a customer is like a marriage partner: whatever you did to get them, you’ll have to keep doing it to keep them. You can’t afford to have a transactional relationship with customers. If you take this approach, you’ll be in a continuous cycle of obtaining and then losing customers. And eventually, negative word of mouth will stem the flow of new customers. Put as much effort into the transition as you put into the transaction.

[Tweet “Make the transition from sales to customer success seamless. #FlipMyFunnel”]

2) Hold Hands as Long as Necessary

One way to make the transition seamless is by remaining with the customer during the handoff. While there will be a contact person in customer success, there should also be another person (preferably in sales, since a relationship has already been established with this department) who routinely checks on the customer to ensure that everything is going smoothly.  

Customer service may get bogged down with tasks, but to a new customer, it might appear that they’re just nonchalant. On the other hand, when employees are busy, there’s a tendency for them to assume that customers know they’re working as quickly as possible. Don’t assume anything. Call the customer to inquire about the transition process and address any concerns they may have.

[Tweet “Sales hold hands with an account until #CustomerSuccess is ready for them to let go. #FlipMyFunnel”]

3) Respond Quickly

The best way to ensure you’re on top of the transition process is to make sure you’re included in any communication (email, alerts, etc.) with the customer and always in the loop during the first few months. If and when necessary, you can gently nudge customer success if you feel they’re not engaging with the customer in a timely manner.   

Remember that you’re trying to build a long and loyal relationship, not merely tying up the loose ends on a transaction. A slow response at this stage could create the impression that this is a preview of how response times in the future. And this could cause the customer to have buyer’s remorse.

[Tweet “Stay close to the customer until they are fully onboarded. #FlipMyFunnel “]

4) Make Sure You Have Enough People

Ideally, you’re sufficiently staffed in every area of your company. But customer success is particularly important to your company’s success. It doesn’t matter how many customers you acquire if you’re not prepared to take care of them. And you need more than just warm bodies. You need people who are properly trained and skilled to handle your new customers.

[Tweet “Ensure your #CustomerSuccess function is properly staffed. #FlipMyFunnel”]

5) Prep the Customers and Customer Success

Once the sale has been closed, start prepping the customer for the next steps. Creating a checklist or handout of the process or procedures is one way to ensure that everyone is on the same page.  

Also, since every customer is different, you also need to make sure that customer success understands the unique needs and expectations of each new buyer. For example, how will the product or service be used? If any training has been conducted, what did it entail? Does the sale contain anything out of the ordinary? Did the sales rep promise anything that is not standard?

[Tweet “Once sale is closed, be sure to share next steps with the customer. #FlipMyFunnel”]

6) Use Your CRM

Your sales team is probably familiar with customer relationship management (CRM) software, which allows your company to create customizable dashboards, schedule events such as follow-ups, and track service tickets. CRM software also allows companies to create and generate monthly reports and quarterly reviews, and also filter data and reports by various fields.

It’s a useful software tool that shouldn’t be limited to your sales team. By providing your customer success team access as well, they get a clearer picture into the lifecycle of the customer from lead to close, which helps them understand the nuances of service. Just as a sales rep would, they can set reminders for check-ins (vs. follow-ups) at regular intervals using the same tool so that consistency remains in play. And reporting ensures that the best case scenarios (and failures) can be studied for future optimizations to the hand-off process.

[Tweet “Be sure your customer success team has access to your CRM. #FlipMyFunnel”]

The customer’s experience is the determining factor in whether they will be loyal clients who renew their contract, make additional purchases, and recommend your company to others. Customer satisfaction should be your top priority, and having the right strategy can help you achieve this goal.

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