Over the years, if I’ve learned anything in the world of digital marketing it’s that change is the only constant. No two partnerships are exactly alike, which creates both excitement and a fun challenge each time we onboard a new client at Big Leap.
Through the sales process, one question keeps popping up:
How will communication work after I sign on the dotted line?
The hand-off from sales to the fulfillment team hinges on effective communication. It’s understandable that a new client would ask this question, and I love it when they do!
There’s no single “right” way to onboard new clients in B2B business, but then again, there are plenty of ways to screw it up. To help you find what works best for you and your clients, I asked a few experts I know how they personally answer the question above. Here are three of their top tips, as well as one of my own.
Tip #1: “Communication doesn’t work without the people behind it.”
In our digital, connected world, communication is key and is much easier these days. For my clients, partners and team everything boils down to communication in the “pass off.” I think clients understand that the person selling the product or service isn’t the project manager or individual team member that executes the project. Implementing a warm hand-off or meeting where the client gets to meet the team working on the account, sometimes before a contract is even signed, can go a long way to helping the successfully transition a client from sales to fulfillment. A solid team that trusts each other with superb communication protocols will succeed and have happy clients.
-Timber Barker, Trec Creative
Tip #2: “Involve fulfillment in the sales process.”
Unfortunately, in many industries there are frustrations when sales transitions clients to fulfillment. All too often sales and fulfillment begin pointing fingers at each other and it’s the client who ends up losing.
It’s critical that clear expectations are set between the three parties involved in the transition and it always comes down to communication. Sales needs to know exactly what fulfillment can produce and ensure an accurate representation is made. Fulfillment needs to know the representation and agree they can satisfy it. The client needs to understand how and when their expectations will be met. I’ve found that involving fulfillment in the sales process is always beneficial for aligning the three parties.
-Jason Coulam, Avalaunch Media
Tip #3: “Educating employees to be very communicative and clear is the key to mitigating friction.”
I do not think there is a magic bullet for this. If you as a salesman are a much better communicator than those who are actually performing the work, there is bound to be some friction when it switches from sales to production. Educating employees to set up a clear communication schedule is the key to mitigating that friction. This way the client and our team know when communication is supposed to happen and there are no long gaps where the client thinks, “what are they doing for me? Are they even working on my project?” If there is constant communication then this helps mitigate these doubts or concerns.
We also like to give clients some reading material after they sign on with us so that they can better understand the processes and what to expect. This helps eliminate most of the frequently asked questions in the beginning.
-Matt Sutherland, Built By HQ
My Tip: Don’t pretend to be something that you aren’t. This eliminates most problems before they ever become issues.
If you are a pug – then be the best pug you can be. Don’t pretend to be a golden retriever. Eventually the client will find out you are a pug and it just results in problems all around.
Most of the headaches I have witnessed in fulfillment communication in my career are from companies and people pretending to be what they aren’t. Avoid the majority of headaches and issues before they even start by not pretending to be something that you aren’t. If the company doesn’t have a high level of proficiency at a certain skill or service – don’t sell and do that service! Find what you and the company excel at and then sell/deliver on that.
There you go, I hope this helps! Feel free to share your own tips in the comments below, and join us in the conversation on LinkedIn.