The first 30–90 days of an engagement are critical for the long-term success of a customer.
To ensure you’re starting your customer relationships off right, you need a streamlined sales-to-service handoff and an effective client onboarding process. Research has shown that a poor onboarding experience could cause businesses to lose up to 80% of customers within the first week. Long-term, onboarding impacts service retention rates, causing you to lose out on potential profit and a lasting partnership.
Closing these procedural gaps is an opportunity to build trust with customers and get them energized about working with you and your team. If communications stop as soon as contracts are signed, that’s an immediate poor customer experience that will affect their impression of the team they’ll be working with.
Tools like HubSpot are a key part of keeping your onboarding team organized while they work with incoming clients. HubSpot serves as a source of truth for your team, keeping new clients organized within a service ticket dashboard and aiding as a communication tool between customers and onboarding specialists.
Set Realistic Expectations
Before customer onboarding can begin, your sales and services team needs to be synced on what delivery actually looks like. By ensuring alignment on what your team will be providing, you can meet — and even exceed — customer expectations in the early phases. Building and using a service-level agreement (SLA) in HubSpot Service Hub helps to ensure clear expectations for handoff time and task completion between service and sales teams, which run the risk of operating in silos without connected tools like those found in HubSpot.
Open communication between teams is a key aspect of this. Sales needs to know what services can provide inside and out, and service team members can also play an important trust-building role in the sales process by attending a meeting and laying out exactly what a soon-to-be-customer can expect. Using the company or deal record in HubSpot they can read up on interactions-to-date for the prospect, and make notes before, during and after these calls that make for a seamless kickoff. This level of detail is especially beneficial for customers trying to achieve something specific that requires expert guidance or explanation, like a complex integration or implementation.
Your sales team will also be collecting a vast amount of information about your customers that will help your services team familiarize themselves with their goals, opportunities and pain points. HubSpot’s company record is a great place to collect and share information between your sales and service team. Within the HubSpot company record, you can:
- Consolidate client resources here as a single source of truth between teams
- Link client intake forms and resources
- Add and pin notes for members to easily see and sift through
- Track and show all communications between your team and your main points of contact
These insights are a huge benefit to your services team as they begin client engagement and help to create lasting first impressions that drive lifetime value.
There are a lot of moving parts involved in the sales-to-service handoff and onboarding process. From services team members who need details on the project, to the operations taking place behind the scenes, to the marketers who want feedback to guide future communications, a lot has to happen on a condensed timeline — all without adding undue friction for the new customer.
At New Breed, we use the Ticket dashboard in HubSpot Service Hub to manage these onboarding efforts. By doing this, our experts can assign who will be onboarding each customer, easily get to the company record to view important information learned in the sales process, and move tickets through each stage.
Once the onboarding team knows who the client will be working with, they can set up an internal sync where sales can speak to key elements of the engagement and answer any questions the services team may have.
Clear Communication and Timeline
Behind the scenes, the onboarding team will be navigating your new client through initial housekeeping items, getting team members access to different softwares, and setting up any and all initial kickoff meetings. This can be done within HubSpot’s Conversations inbox — or within their own email provider's inbox — with the aid of the HubSpot extension. This is a great tool to easily pull in standardized onboarding templates that help save time and track all communications, which will then sync over to the company record.
Another key piece of a great onboarding experience is a clear and achievable sales-to-service onboarding timeline. With this in place, your team can stay informed on who is currently in communication with the client and what stage of onboarding they are in.
Once a client is completely finished with the onboarding process (whether through an introduction or kickoff call or through introductions to their project managers) their job is not quite done. Using HubSpot’s email template features to send a follow-up email with a satisfaction survey is a great way to continue to improve the onboarding process. In Service Hub, service teams can even customize these surveys to get at the exact information needed to enhance onboarding for future customers. To automate this, set up a workflow in HubSpot that will send them an email with the survey after they have completed onboarding.
Keep your customer’s needs at the heart of your internal communications and process through every touchpoint to drive a powerful, positive early experience. Not only will you deliver on the commitments made during your sales process, but you’ll create momentum for eventual retention and expansion into your customer base as you create champions.
Crafted, connected tools like HubSpot Sales and Services Hubs add compounding value to a process that involves team members across different departments. Having a single source of truth within a company record, a clear and organized ticket dashboard, and the opportunity to communicate through the platform or with aid thereof will make sure your onboarding process is smooth from start to finish.
Natalie Mardirossian is an Inbound Marketing Specialist at New Breed. Natalie also supports both the sales and service teams by guiding new clients through the onboarding process.