Automate the sales-to-service-delivery handoff

| By: Steve Farnan

The first 90 days with a new client is the most influential period in your relationship. It’s like starting a new job; in the first three months you want to put your best foot forward, deliver all of your work on time, and nurture the relationship. Your performance in these three months has a major impact on the longevity and profitability of this new relationship.

However, like most relationships in life, it’s the first impression that holds the greatest weight. So why is it incredibly common for service providers to drop the ball between the close of the sale and the beginning of a new client onboarding in just the first week?

This drop off of communication between sales and service delivery is what we like to call The Continental Drift and there are a number of reasons why it happens. But instead of determining a better solution to this conundrum, sales reps and service managers continue with a whole lot of finger-pointing.

Whether you have a process in place for this handoff or not, you’re constantly subject to human errors that can quickly leave a bad taste in your new client’s mouth. In an industry where competition is high, leveraging automation is the key to better collaboration, a more fluid process, and a great first impression.

Quote automation

Closing this gap starts on the sales side with your quoting process. How can you expect your service team to deliver the same great service to each new client when sales reps lack consistency with how they quote? Deciphering Joe’s quote from Tom’s is a waste of time and can cause a chain reaction of errors in the implementation and billing steps.

Believe it or not, installing a quote and proposal automation solution, such as ConnectWise Sell®, can help make the handoff smoother. In a recent webinar, now ConnectWise Manage® Product Manager, April Lazenga explained, “The biggest benefit of quote automation is that everybody on the sales team is following the same processes. They all pick from the same templates your company creates within the platform and they all pull products and services to quote from the same database. It really helps eliminate confusion not only during the quoting process, but when it ends up with the service team.”

Quoting platforms also play a big role in connecting information from a won opportunity to the installation project plan. When you use ConnectWise Sell and ConnectWise Manage together, every line item from the quote is automatically documented and transferred to the sales opportunity as products in the company record. Eliminating the need to enter information from the quote into your CRM system saves time for the sales rep and eliminates excuses as to why the information wasn’t passed along.

Workflow automation

Think about this: While your team members are busy fumbling the pass-off between the sales stage and implementation, your client is sitting in their office wondering when the project they just signed for will get started. The more days you make them wait, the more frustrated and concerned they’ll get. Trust us: A phone call from a frustrated new client is NOT the first touch point you want in your service delivery process.

Workflow automation can keep you in control of the situation and timeline, helping you avoid this from happening. When set up in your PSA, workflow rules trigger actionable next steps based on the occurrence of a specific event. In ConnectWise Manage, you can set up a workflow rule to automatically move the process along to the next phase when a sales opportunity status is changed to ‘Won.’ For example, you can set the workflow to:

  • Email a specific member of the service team
  • Create a new service ticket or project plan

Plus, all the information that was transferred from your quote to the sales opportunity gets transferred with this action, as well.

With automation like this, your professional services team can pick up where sales left off in a matter of minutes. Instead of the several-day lag time, imagine your new client getting an introduction email from your service team the same day they signed the contract. Now that is impressive.

Final thoughts

Making a good first impression involves more than just automation – it requires processes around these tools. Consider training your sales team to talk about the next steps as the deal is closing. Or use the workflow rules to communicate expectations with your clients. It could be as simple as an email that says a representative from your company will be in touch within the next 48 business hours. The most important thing is that you’re setting the expectations along the way so they’re never left questioning why they hired you.