How to Design a Sales to CSM Handoff That Works

Sales to CSM Handoff

Once the deal is closed, you must ensure that new customers use your product as effectively as possible.

If not, they’ll think your product or service is no good and that you made empty promises during the selling stage, resulting in your retention rate going down the drain.

This is where customer success managers come in. It’s crucial for your retention rates that your customer success team coaches new customers through using your product or service. This is important since the ease of interpretation and implementation is one of the customers’ most important concerns.

However, most businesses drop the ball when handing over a client to customer success. They’ll ask the same questions that sales asked, and the new client won’t be able to utilize your product or service to their advantage.

What is a sales to CSM handoff?

A sales to CSM(Customer Success Manager) handoff is when new customers transition from pre-sale to post-sale and implement your product or service.


Sales reps’ specialty is using persuasion to get a prospect to buy. However, they might not have the know-how to coach a new client on leveraging the product effectively.

This is where customer success takes over. They coach your customers on how to use the product, and this increases your retention rates. Handoffs take place over a kickoff email or video call.

Why is it important?

Efficient handoffs are essential, especially if you’re selling something that requires knowledge and training, like SaaS products.

As soon as a new customer jumps on board, they’ll understand the benefits of your product; however, without proper guidance and training, they can’t take advantage of these benefits. This causes them to get frustrated and lose interest.

They might cancel their subscription before it’s time to renew. Depending on your refund policy, you’ll lose a large amount of money. By then, it’s already too late to educate your customer on how to use your product.

This is why salespersons and customer success must work in harmony to ensure that customers use your product without any frustration. They are also more likely to renew their subscription with you.

Now that we understand why effective handoffs are essential, let’s look at where most businesses go wrong.

This is what most businesses do wrong

Designing a sales to CSM handoff isn’t complicated. The simpler it is, the fewer hoops you and your customers have to jump through. However, many businesses tend to overcomplicate this process, resulting in miscommunication and annoyance.

This is where many businesses drop the ball:

  1. There’s no team rapport
  2. Sales don’t introduce customer success at the right time
  3. Sales don’t set realistic expectations

#1. There’s no team rapport

You want your sales reps and customer success managers to work in perfect harmony.

This is because up until this point, the prospect’s experience is personalized, and you want to maintain that tailored feel and consistency through the handoff and customer success process.

To maintain this experience, your sales and customer success departments must have a strong bond.

Sales reps need to trust customer success to continue providing a personalized experience, while customer success needs insight on how to confidently complete the handoff.

The best way to ensure a seamless handoff is to build team rapport and encourage communication between departments. If you aren’t already, consider using an internal messaging system so departments can discuss how to improve.

Also, try matching up random people from each department and have them chat over a 30-minute video call. Doing this allows your employees to build a strong connection and get insight into each other’s work. This insight is crucial since it’ll equip them with the knowledge for a perfect handoff.

#2. Sales don’t introduce customer success at the right time

If a sales rep is struggling to close a deal, then introducing customer success before the close can give the prospect peace of mind knowing that experts will help them on their journey.

Sometimes a lead knows you’re the right fit, but they have doubts about the beginning stages of using your product. They are thinking you might leave them on their own as soon as you receive payment.


By introducing customer success before closing a deal, you put your prospect’s mind at ease, knowing that you’ll help them leverage your product to reach their goals.

#3. Sales don’t set realistic expectations

It’s super important for sales reps to tell each prospect precisely what happens after the deal is closed since it puts the customer’s mind at ease. They’ll know what’s going to happen and when.

Now that we know what most businesses do wrong, let’s look at ensuring a seamless handoff.

Here’s how to ensure a seamless handoff

Designing a sales to CSM handoff that works is quite simple.

After the deal is closed, the sales team should ask new clients to fill out a form that captures all the client’s critical information. This could be name, business size, expectations, etc.

Next, the sales team should book a kickoff call with the new customer and the customer success manager. Also, it’s essential to send an introduction email so clients know the name of the customer success manager.

During this kickoff call, sales will lead at the beginning and verbally hand over to customer success. Customer success informs the client about what’s happening going forward and sets expectations. Customer success then closes the meeting, clarifying that they are the point of contact going forward.

Last, customer success should send an email to the client and recap everything that happened in the meeting and what happens going forward. It’s also vital to CC sales so they can answer specific questions.

Common mistakes to avoid

Although designing a sales to CSM handoff is relatively easy, try to avoid a few common mistakes:

  1. Inform the customer about the handoff
  2. Allow your team to get to know each other

#1. Inform the customer about the handoff

It’s important to let your prospect know exactly what will happen and when. This prevents any surprises. Also, explain to your client what the customer success manager does and how they’ll coach them.


Allow your team to get to know each other

The biggest tip for designing a sales to CSM handoff is to ensure your team knows each other and works in harmony. For example, it’ll look unprofessional if sales reps ask a set of questions, but customer success isn’t informed and asks the same questions.

To avoid this, encourage your team to chat with one another and get to know the other department’s procedure.

Final word on designing a sales to CSM handoff

The handoff between sales and customer success is one of the most crucial customer experiences. Depending on how your handoff is, your customer will either be happy and renew their subscription when it expires or cancel it before the expiration date.

However, designing a sales to CSM handoff shouldn’t be challenging. With a combination of team rapport and clear communication, you’ll be well on your way to coaching your customers to success.


Leave a Reply