6 Steps to Streamlining The Sales-to-Service Customer Handoff Process


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In modern business, building solid and lasting customer relationships is all about delivering a great experience at every stage of the customer sales funnel. From awareness to loyalty, your prospects’ trust can be won or lost. 

Have you equipped yourself with enterprise-level SEO to drive traffic to your site at the awareness stage, invested in nurturing leads and targeted content to pique potential customers’ interest at the discovery stage? 

Perhaps you’ve developed comprehensive content and offered trials and demos to demonstrate the value of your product across the evaluation and intent stages. 

And perhaps this has been successful, and you’ve made plenty of sales.

Well, don’t let all your efforts to this point go to waste! The handoff process from sales to service is just another opportunity on the customer journey either to develop your relationship with customers further and retain them long-term or to lose them altogether.

The good news is that simply by bridging the gap between sales and service effectively, you can provide a wonderful end-to-end customer experience that’ll push prospects to the loyalty stage of the sales funnel.

Let’s take a look at some steps you can take to streamline this process:

1. Align Sales and Service teams in their roles and targets

Collaboration is key to providing an excellent handoff experience. You must get Sales and Service teams and leadership on the same page and build trust between them by sharing information. Both functions should have a complete picture of the entire sales funnel and an understanding of their roles within this. 

Although each team has its own defined responsibilities, you should ensure that the divide between them isn’t too stark. It’s worth considering blending the roles of sales and service for management.

This will allow both teams a bridge for communicating insights, challenges, and goals and greater visibility throughout the customer journey. 

Teams should take advantage of each other’s insights and experiences. 

Sales should communicate to Service their ideas of what will make the most difference to the customer experience, and Service can offer Sales customer success enablement support to streamline handoff.

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Teams should work together to make sure their targets are compatible.

Where a target like increasing sales by 200% would suit Sales, this could negatively impact the Service team’s retention goals. Sales might well be able to persuade a wider range of prospects into parting with their cash for a one-time purchase, but these untargeted consumers may not see value in the product/service for long and take their business elsewhere, increasing churn.

Setting a goal like increasing your Net Promoter Score or Monthly Recurring Revenue instead would be much more suitable for both teams and encourage them to work together closely to achieve this. 

Sales would hand off a customer to service for onboarding, and in addition to doing their best to meet customers’ needs, Service teams might attempt to cross or upsell products/services to fit customer demands and meet their targets.

2. Maintain a consistent tone of voice

Consistency is a vital component of customer retention strategies.Providing consistent and high-quality communication is critical. 

Many companies have created “tone of voice” guides to ensure that employees use appropriate language and communicate clearly with customers. This means that messaging across all platforms and stages of the sales funnel is consistent. 

There shouldn’t be a jarring shift in tone from sales to service standing in the way of smooth onboarding. Employees should be as engaged by providing a great onboarding experience as they are by making a sale and demonstrate this in their tone of voice throughout the customer journey.

3. Record customer data 

From the very first stage of the customer lifecycle, staff should be gathering critical information about customers, from their preferred contact details to their pain points, needs, and goals. 

You may be familiar with this task from managing sales leads, but the data you’ve recorded will come in handy beyond winning the sale. It’ll enable you to provide a better customer service experience to streamline the handoff process.

A robust CRM system is crucial here. Include specific fields for issues experienced in onboarding. Employees can then refer back to this documentation to make efficiencies and improvements to the onboarding process. Adapting and refining this should be a continuous task for your workforce, and the data you gather will drive your progress. 

It’s also crucial to record customer data in the event that you lose a key member of your sales or service team. Ensure your staff’s hard work and your customer’s information and experience are recorded and documented safely. 

You might have the best products and Sales team on the market, but without recording relevant data, your customers will have inconsistent experiences at the service stage, and this will lead to churn.

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4. Construct account maps

CRM systems are a goldmine of data. However, they aren’t easy to skim-read, particularly if the information is required quickly. Account maps are a way of contextualizing the structure of an account without referring to each contact’s CRM data.

An account map is a simple visual tool sourced from complex data. It shows a birdseye view of all necessary points of contact on a customer account. This simplifies internal communications and helps both sales and service understand who they’re talking to and their customers’ purchasing history at a glance.

5. Build a process map 

A process guidecan help you map out your onboarding process. This means putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Go through every conceivable path of onboarding to refine and improve how staff carry out this process. 

And it means that Sales and Service both have a clearly defined and consistent strategy for handoff. 

Consult with your colleagues, and make the map available to them. Ensure they’re in simple, clear language. 

6. Create a handoff video

Based on the data that Sales have gathered and recorded, address your customer’s pain points and needs and explain how your products and services are best used and how to avoid any issues 

Make your clips short, accessible, and comprehensive. Keep these to less than two minutes, and don’t use jargon.

Demonstrate your expertise and that your service team is friendly and approachable, and customers will be more willing to get in touch.

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Take away the baton…

Allowing some overlap between sales and service will help you boost sales velocity while keeping customer retention high. If you take away the baton, then no one can drop it. Building a seamless Sales and Service team will mean that your handoff process will have to follow suit.


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