5. The Hand-Off

Work Together to Make Customers Smile

If everything works out according to plan, then you’ve taken a person from interest in what you’re selling to the gratifying point of making that purchase. Fulfillment is a great term, because it speaks not only to the technical aspects of fulfilling the order, but also the happiness you are bringing to your customer’s life. In order to provide this high level of satisfaction, your sales team must work together with everyone involved in the fulfillment process, including product selection, delivery, confirmation, and follow-up, to meet and exceed expectations.

What Is This?

This is the fulfillment stage of the process. Once you’ve worked out the logistics on the how, when, where and how much of the transaction, you need to make sure those folks who are actually doing the credit card processing, the package shipping, the delivery service, the order tracking, and the confirmations are all on the same page with exactly what needs to be done.

Why Should You Do It?

The fulfillment stage of the sales process should not be thought of as the final stage, but rather as the first stage in the newly blossoming customer relationship with this person. Receiving that package, or setting up that consulting meeting, or downloading that software is their first experience with the product they have just bought. You want to make sure you start this relationship off right by paying attention to all of the details involved in getting the new purchase to your new customer.

Very often it’s the small, intimate moments that matter the most when it comes to making an impact and reinforcing your brand promise.


How Do You Do It?

Share the Load

Maybe one person does everything for a customer, but even in the smallest of businesses this usually isn’t the case. Share the love and share the load as you work to turn that lead into the happy customer you always dreamed she could become. Now that she has turned over her hard earned money, she will be expecting VIP treatment from your team. And she should get it.

Ways you can share:
  • All contact and purchase information collected during the conversations and activities in the early stages of the sales process should be communicated to the entire fulfillment and support teams.
  • Promises should be well documented and communicated to any team members now joining the customer relationship.
  • Communicate any changes in your team contacts to your new customer in a friendly, helpful way.
  • Make sure to document and highlight any special requirements or extenuating circumstances that were brought up during the sales process to the entire team.
  • Be up front about any turbulence your new customer might encounter when transitioning over to the fulfillment team. Your sales team should educate new customers on timeline expectations from the new team, so that vacation schedules, staff changes, and other natural disruptions to the flow don’t mean a customer falls through the cracks.
  • Make the sales team available to the fulfillment and support teams for any future questions or clarifications needed.


Using Your CRM

By storing important lead information in your CRM, you can make the hand off between sales and service seamless. When your sales team understands the value of a long-term happy customer, they will be happy to keep the CRM info up to date for each lead throughout the sales process. As a result, the service team can really focus on providing a wonderful fulfillment of all the promises made during the follow-up stage.

CRM makes for a smooth sales hand-off by:

  • Providing everyone with up to date contact information and lead “backstory.”
  • Helping sales to stay in the loop even after service takes over, with one place to see everything.
  • Giving you a place to store sales promises, perhaps as tasks to be completed, so that every customer is made happy.

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Keep Your Data Fresh

Everyone who interacts with your leads/customers should have access to as much information as possible. However, sometimes that information is not shared. Here are a few tips to help your whole team work together to keep contact data up to date and ready for the hand off:

  • Have one place to store everything. It just won’t do if your sales team keeps contact info in one place and your customer love team keeps it somewhere else.
  • Integrate your systems. While the above tip is true, there is not one piece of software that will help you do everything you need to do. Keep your contact info in a CRM that can work with your other tools, such as your email service provider, accounting software, e-commerce platform, fulfillment center, web form creator, and your social networks.
  • Use shortcuts. Since most communication happens via email these days, there is no excuse not to save a conversation history with your contacts. Shortcuts like BCC’ing emails into your CRM can save you a ton of time.
  • Explain value. No salesperson loves data entry. Sometimes people will not keep good notes on leads and conversations. But if you can show your team the real value of understanding a customer, and how much a happy customer is worth to the business, you should have an easier time getting everyone to do their part.

What Not To Do

Keep everyone on the same page with a smooth transition from intent to purchase to actually getting them the item. It’s a group effort that will benefit your customer the most.

  • Don’t disappear – Just because the sale has been made does not mean the selling is done. Taking someone’s money and then leaving them alone to figure out who they need to talk to next or how they get the product delivered is, in some legal circles, considered abandonment. It’s a bad thing.
  • Don’t hoard the relationship – Your customer is best served if they feel  they have a special relationship with your entire company. No matter who they call, that person should know the full history of communications, promises and purchases. You may like being their favorite sales representative, but you will ultimately benefit more if they feel that they are your business’s favorite customer.