“Why are you asking me all these questions? Have you even talked to the sales rep that I have been working with for the last 3 months?”
Most of us have had this cringe-worthy conversation with a new customer. Sales sells a deal, and on the way back from ringing the gong and high-fiving their teammates, they hand the CS rep a scrunched up post-it note and say “Here’s what you need to know about this account - good luck”. It’s then left up to the CS rep to figure out what the customer wants without sounding like they haven’t spoken with the sales rep.
Below is a case study on a client I worked with. They were struggling with poor onboarding and poor retention, in part driven by poor handoffs between Sales and CS. 3 changes were implemented which resulted in a 35% reduction in onboarding time and a 100% improvement in onboarding NPS scores.
1. Mandated syncs
After a deal closed, there was a mandatory 15 minute internal sync between the Sales Rep and the CS Rep. This was automatically created as a task in Salesforce upon the deal closing. During this conversation, a lot of the qualitative data that the Sales Rep had was passed on and captured. In addition, the ‘forced’ interaction helped improve relationships between Sales Reps and CS Reps.
In addition to the internal sync, there was also a mandatory kickoff call with the customer, the Sales Rep and the CS Rep. While many companies do this already, making it mandatory elevated the importance which resulted in greater compliance. If possible, it’s good to involve the CS Rep before the close. But we found it to be unsustainable from a bandwidth perspective. The kickoff call after the close was very effective and meant that CS Reps only had to worry about deals that had actually closed.
2. Documented hand off notes
An object was created in Salesforce dedicated to handoff notes. It captured information key to the handoff - fields like “Why did the client buy Product X”, “What is the buying process” and “Are they using a competitor product and if so, what features made them switch”. A rep could not move a deal to Closed/Won until these fields were completed.
As quality control, the CS Rep would rate the quality of the handoff notes on a scale of 1 to 5. If the score was 3 or below, it would be escalated to the Sales Rep’s manager for discussion
3. Putting skin in the game
For the Sales Rep, commissions were only paid out once the customer had been successfully onboarded. Initially, there was considerable resistance to this regime, but it was supported from the Sales Executives as they recognized the importance of the onboarding process. There were very clear definitions of “successfully onboarded” tied to usage.
In addition, we measured NPS post-onboarding. Variable compensation for both the Sales Rep and the CS Rep were tied to the post-onboarding NPS. Having skin in the game for both parties encouraged them to work together so the customer had a great experience.
Through these 3 measures, the company was able to significantly improve the experience for the customers. Specifically, it resulted in reduced onboarding time and improved NPS scores, as well as reduced friction between the Sales and CS teams.
If you would like to learn more about how to implement some of these changes at your company, please contact Azim Nagree at azim@nagreeconsulting or visit nagreeconsulting.com
Azim Nagree is an ex-Bain consultant with 20+ years in leading strategy, growth and operations transformations.