If you were watching the IAAF World Athletics Championship in Doha in October 2019, you may have seen the United States’ victory in the 4x100m relay race. It’s a fast-paced race, taking only 37 seconds from start to finish, and during that time four different athletes each run a 100-meter sprint. Between sprints, the athlete who is just finishing and the one about to start have to exchange a baton.
While being able to sprint your 100-meter leg of the race is very important, the transition between runners who pass the baton is perhaps even more critical. The difference between the first-place U.S. team and second-place Great Britain team was only 0.26 seconds, so even a small hiccup in that exchange could be the difference between winning the race and not even making it on the podium.
Your sales-to-onboarding handoff may not seem like it has the same high stakes as a world championship race, but for your business, it does. If the transition is awkward, or someone drops the baton, you are missing out on a critically important opportunity to make a good impression with your client. If the transition is bad enough, it may even be leaving the door open for your competitor to take over that top podium spot by stealing your client. A smooth sales-to-onboarding transition is essential to remain on top.
Tip 1: Have a Specific Process in Place for All Client Transitions
Even if you have a very small business, you need to have a process (preferably something that is written down) for how every client will transition from the sales process to onboarding. It should include:
- The point in the contract/sales process at which a handoff will take place
- All the steps involved in a handoff
- Timelines for completing each step
- Who is responsible for each step
Tip 2: Regularly Coordinate to Align Sales and Onboarding
Perhaps one of the most frustrating things for new clients in the onboarding process is joining a company and having someone tell you something different about the products or services than what you heard from the sales team. It’s the job of salespeople to help clients see how a product can meet his or her needs. Once they convince a client to buy or sign up, it’s the job of the onboarding team to fulfill the promises the sales team made.
This can become a problem if your sales team and your onboarding team are not in alignment. In a dysfunctional company, you may hear the onboarding team complaining about how the sales team is exaggerating or making false claims to clients. Like that track and field relay team who train on their own for the 100m sprint and then together for the transitions, a well-functioning company will have sales and onboarding meet on a regular basis to discuss:
- What the sales team is promising or selling
- What clients are asking for
- What the onboarding team is delivering
- Where these two things don’t align and why
Up Next: Communication and Goals
In Part 2 of this post, we’ll discuss more tips for keeping sales and onboarding teams aligned for a smooth and efficient handoff. If you need a software platform that can help you align these two teams and improve onboarding, schedule a demo to see why GuideCX is quickly becoming the preferred platform for onboarding new clients.
- Your Customer’s Perspectives with Tobias Kederer (Podcast) - July 13, 2020
- Ongoing Onboarding with Donna Weber (Podcast) - July 8, 2020
- Reducing Scope-Creep with Better Client Onboarding - June 7, 2020