WHY IS KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER IMPORTANT?
At the heart of every subscription-based business is the loyalty of the customer. Loyalty doesn’t simply happen at every renewal opportunity. It’s built over time and through meaningful customer experiences. The very first of those customer experiences happens with the sales team. While customers may be excited to get through the sales process and want to start using your platform quickly, they also don’t want to keep repeating themselves. Handing off a customer from Sales to Customer Success should be done carefully and thoroughly so that customer trust remains intact. The process should be built around a systematic Transfer of Knowledge about the customer and their reasons for buying.
WHO NEEDS TO KNOW HOW TO DO A HANDOFF?
The Transfer of Knowledge about a customer is important to both the Sales and Customer Success teams. Sales needs to know what information to gather, consolidate and share. And, Customer Success needs to have a straight forward process for assimilating this information and using it to kickoff the relationship with the customer.
PUTTING HANDOFF IN CONTEXT
We recommend bringing a Customer Success team member into the sales process when there’s no more competition, and the details of the relationship are being discussed. This serves two purposes:
- It exposes the Customer Success Manager to the customer and their most pressing needs
- It introduces the prospective customer to the person (or team) that they will be working with. (Hopefully the CSMs are charismatic and knowledgeable people whose presence in a pre-sales environment enhances the likelihood of closure.)
By bringing Customer Success personnel into the relationship before closure, knowledge transfer is streamlined and potential friction (over having to repeat themselves and/or feeling misrepresented) is minimized.
GUIDELINES FOR TRANSFERRING KNOWLEDGE FROM SALES TO CUSTOMER SUCCESS
Handoff should include a standardized process for sharing information and a checklist of vital information that needs to be included. Both Sales and CS teams should agree on what information is essential and how to organize that information to streamline the Handoff.
We recommend the following checklist of vital information to include:
- all key customer contacts, their roles, e-mail addresses, phone numbers and other pertinent information
- any/all pre-configured demos (screen shots) and the use cases around which they were built
- description of the steps involved in getting the customer to sign
- any special data or systems integration configuration or services required
- special product configuration requirements
- synopsis of the contract:
- Who signed for the customer
- What product modules or features were sold
- Number of users
- Services contracted
In addition to the above information, customer success teams need to know and internalize exactly why the customer bought and what constitutes success for them. Without this information, Customer Success starts off at a deficit of information, and this can strain the relationship from the start.
WHAT DO WE LEARN THROUGH KNOWLEDGE TRANSFER?
Aside from the important information that is shared about a new customer, the process of internally transferring knowledge is valuable, as well. Companies that master internal communications around customers and minimize customer needs to repeat themselves demonstrate maturity and responsibility to the customer. These traits are foundational in developing an enduring and trusting relationship.
Read more about the Blocking and Tackling of Customer Success .