Sales to Customer Success Knowledge Transfer: The Most Critical Internal Discussion
The Sales to Customer Success handoff is a critical step in the Customer Journey. If the Customer Success team cannot be involved in the sales cycle it is imperative that the handoff happen in a timely manner and cover the critical details needed to ensure an effective partnership kick off with the customer.
So while everyone knows that the handoff is a key step, people often fall short in making it effective because they haven't align on ensuring the right information is shared. Below are the 10 pieces of information every handoff should include.
Company Overview: What does their company do? Who are their customers? What are their values? How is business doing? Who are their competitors? This is your opportunity to make sure you truly understand the customer; the more you know the more consultative you can be throughout the partnership.
Business Goals and Partnership Objectives: You must understand the customers business goals and how these map back to your partnership. You need to understand how your product will help them achieve these and how they will be measured. The customer should also have partnership goals, these are the specific things you will need to deliver and the KPIs they will measure you against.
Product Use Cases: Which use cases resonated with the customer? How do they envision using your solution to address their challenges? What did they find interesting and what resonated with them?
Key Stakeholders: You will need to know who the key players will be in the partnership; there will be your day-to-day contacts, end users, influencers, executive sponsors etc. Discuss the sentiment of each person and the role they played in the evaluation process. Get to know the details - what colleges did they go to? How many kids they have? Where they live? etc. These little details will go a long way as you are working to build rapport.
Organizational Chart Overview: You and the AE should understand the overall org structure, reporting lines and dotted lines. Now that you know your core team, you need to understand how they map into the greater organization. Use tools like discover.org and others to help with this.
Contract Review: It's critical to know what the customer purchased and the intended use case for each product. Equally, it's important to know what they didn't purchase and why. This could help set the stage for growth discussions in the future but also help you uncover any concerns the customer had preventing them from moving forward at this time - budget, product, resources, etc.
Special Contract Terms: If there are special terms in their contract, as the CSP you must be very intimate with these details. Auto-Renewal, opt-out, special pricing conditions, payment terms, contract length, etc. If there is anything in the contract or MSA that IS NOT standard this is the time to discuss.
Competitive Evaluation: If they evaluated additional solutions during the sales cycle these competitors will be present during the customer journey; your competition is waiting for you to fail so they can swoop in. Make sure you know what they liked about each solution and ultimately why they chose you in the end. All of this will help you combat this risk during the partnership.
Customer Expectations: What expectations were set with the customer? Did we agree to an accelerated onboarding timeline? Higher SLA with support? Customer Success rep in their timezone? In-person training? If there were things discussed that the customer EXPECTS we need to know what those are so we can align on and deliver on their expectations. Hopefully we did not commit to anything we can't deliver.
Technical Requirements or Product Requests: Review any technical requests or requirements, statement of work (SOW) for any custom development work that will be needed, integrations or custom API work, etc. Not only do you need to understand these requirements but you need to be aligned on who will own and manage this work as well as any timelines that have been established.
Of course each company will have additional details that may need to be covered, but these 10 items should be part of the core discussion. If you are aligned on all of these details, you will be set up to have a productive partnership kickoff and you will start the relationship off on the right foot.