Onboarding new managed services clients is a not a one-shot deal. Instead, firms must dig in and create a multistep process that ushers a prospect from the sales cycle through to loyal client. Take the time and hone your onboarding craft and you'll have a grateful customer base. Rush it and you'll have prospects and clients headed out the door.
Here are six tips for successfully onboarding new customers:
1. Even if you don't standardize your technology requirements, you must standardize your onboarding process. Before you write up a contract, advise potential customers about this strategy and how it will benefit them. The more organized, cohesive, and thorough your team appears, the more likely a company will trust you with its IT needs.
2. Conduct a business assessment that takes into account both the technology in use and the corporate culture. You can use this information to identify gaps in equipment, infrastructure, software, and business processes.
3. Stave off buyer's remorse by sending a post-sale congratulations note, reminding your new client that they made a wise decision. “At that moment, the client is feeling the sting of writing a big check and might even want to cancel,” says Todd Colbeck of Colbeck Coaching Group. Following up immediately with a 30-day plan dampens that impulse.
4. Remind the client what they've purchased and why. Mike Strohl of Entisys warns his peers not to get bogged down in technology. Instead, he says, explain how the technology will be used to meet the client's business objectives.
5. Make sure that clients understand everything that you're doing or have done. “If the customer doesn't know you did it, stop doing it,” Colbeck says. “The value is in the perception.” Baroan Technologies' Dimitri Miaoulis suggests scheduling meetings 30, 60, and 90 days out to review progress. “It's similar to a marriage. You have to check in on a regular basis to make sure there's mutual understanding,” he says.
6. Use business management software such as customer relationship management tools to automate and track your onboarding process. Create repeatable actions that you can continue to study and improve upon.