The Handoff from Sales to Operations

The Handoff from Salees to OperationsIn a relay race, the baton handoff is crucial for a win. The same is true in business. The handoff from your sales representative to your operations team is key for your success. If the transition does not go as planned, you can quickly lose clients, wasting time and putting your bottom line at risk. They may see your company as disorganized or unprofessional, or perhaps won’t feel like they’re truly being listened to. This is not the way you want to start with a new client.

According to Bain & Company it costs 6 -7 times as much to acquire a new client as to retain one. This should be huge incentive to keep your clients on your roster, as opposed to focusing on only bringing in new names. Making a few tweaks to the client process can give you a big jump in retention. And improving your retention by just 5% can increase revenue by 25% to 95%.

Here are our best tips for creating a successful handoff from sales to operations:

  1. Educate the sales team

Make sure the sales team is educated on all the latest packages, services, and costs for your business. If they’re giving clients wrong information, it will cause problems right out of the gate. Have a meeting, send an updated document, or even give an online quiz to make sure each member of your sales team is well informed.

  1. Detailed notes

The sales team should take detailed notes during each interaction with their leads, and store them in a common place, such as your CRM. As soon as the lead is ready to sign, the sales team should share these notes with the operations team so that every employee can be an expert and fully understand the clients’ goals.

  1. Designate a Go-To Point Person

If the client is confused about who they should be speaking to, they might just pull their deal. Assign a go-to point person to lead the account, and have them lead the kickoff call. The salesperson should also know who the account lead will be, so they can personally brief them.

  1. Create a Checklist

Go over a checklist with the sales team, so they know what information they need to pass on to operations. The items should be personalized to your business, but these should be provided at minimum:

  • Client’s basic information.
  • Who else was involved with the deal.
  • What problem the client looking to solve.
  • Which competitors the clients considered..
  • What promises were made to the client.
  • What is their timeline for services.
  • What relevant systems they use.
  • Any potential concerns with the account.
  1. Design Appropriate Compensation

If you have a big problem with client retention, it might be that your sales team isn’t bringing in the right qualified clients. Your sales team might be over-promising or not properly communicating to the operations team because “the job is done” To solve this, revise your compensation plan to require salespeople to repay commissions earned from clients that cancel their services after a certain amount of time. These “claw-backs” make the salespeople incentivized to sell good, honest deals. They will be more motivated to conduct an excellent handoff to the account manager so they can protect their investment.

  1. Improve communication

If your sales team and your operations team don’t communicate to begin with, you’ll never be able to improve the transition. If they sit in different areas of the office, try bringing them together for a lunch. Organize social events or other post-work extracurricular to help them develop a rapport. When they have more familiarity with each other, it will be easier to discuss clients more efficiently.

Follow these tips to improve your client handoff from sales to operations. Not only will this increase your client retention, it will also improve your revenue.

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