client onboarding, content marketing, Continuum Managed Services, customer retention, customer success, sales and marketing,

How to Guarantee Client Success After They Sign on the Dotted Line

By:  Ben Barker, Brandon Garcin, Mary McCoy & Joseph Tavano of Continuum Managed Services (Pictured Above)

So you’ve closed a deal and signed your client. Congrats!
Now what? Maybe you ring the sales bell, but what happens afterwards?
You’ve earned your new client’s business, but now you have
to keep it. In addition to delivering on contracted good and services, there’s
a lot more that goes into generating a customer—especially if you wish to
retain them. No matter the industry, there are multiple stages in the overall
life cycle of a customer. After you generate the client, you’ll need to onboard
them to your product so they are set up for success, nurture the relationship
to build strong, dependable revenue and plan strategically for long-term growth
as your clients’ business demands grow and change.
Customer Success
in the Short Term – Client Onboarding
Following up After the Sale
You were in regular communication with your client before
they signed on the dotted line, and you have to maintain those frequent touches
afterward. First, establish a client onboarding process to set expectations and
ramp them up for success. Send a welcome email, sharing all of the best ways to
contact you and any important documentation or links you think they’ll need to
properly leverage your products and services. After clients sign the contract,
immediately follow up and schedule an onsite visit. You may be able to support
them remotely, but you’re in the business of relationships. This onsite meeting
is the perfect opportunity to revisit
your service level agreement (SLA)
and map out short-term and long-term
goals of your partnership. In so doing, you’ll become more than just another
vendor. You’ll be a strategic business advisor, thus making you stickier.
Client Enablement Materials
Beyond the initial follow-up, develop a consistent
communication plan to stay top-of-mind with clients. Every time a new partner
enablement material is created, distribute across email and post to your client
portal, if you have one. Provide some context for how that resource or piece of
collateral will help them, and what they can expect from it. Providing these
educational materials is a crucial component of customer success. These
materials can be product-specific or general best practices tips. If you’re an
MSP, for instance, you might consider sending end users a list of tips for
staying secure online.
Every good you buy comes with a set of instructions because
there’s always some learning curve consumers have to get over.  In the same way you should create and share
educational materials as part of your marketing program, you should also build
educational programs into your client onboarding plan. We offer our own
partners a free, self-paced learning service called Continuum University to
ensure successful adoption of our IT management platform. This helps partners
learn how our products and services work, which equips them to better manage
their own client service delivery. Consider implementing something like this at
your own company. Offer in-person technical trainings if applicable. Just as we
advise MSPs to lend support remotely through educational email sends, we also
encourage many to conduct cybersecurity seminars onsite. By taking the time to
train clients about common social engineering tactics, for example, MSPs
graduate to the level of strategic IT consultants. At the same time, these MSPs
cut down the influx of IT disasters attributable to human error.
Planning for
Customer Success & Retention
Long-term customer success and support are key drivers of
retention once initial onboarding phases are complete. If you’re a software vendor,
you’ll want to make sure your customers have access to dedicated technical
support, training and troubleshooting resources; these are designed to help
answer specific questions, train new users, and problem solve when things
aren’t working as expected.
If you’re a service provider, you’ll likely want to take
things a step further and set aside dedicated time to work with your customers
to understand how their business goals, roadmap and technology stack are
evolving over time. This often ends in a win-win as it strengthens your
position and value prop as a strategic partner who’s actively working to help
your customers grow and succeed, while also providing you with insight into
potential cross sell and upsell opportunities.
Another important element in this equation is data. If
you’re able to provide your customers with insights as to how your software or
services are helping them save time or money, operate more efficiently,
eliminate technical issues or alleviate pressures that existed before they
started working with you, they’ll be far less likely to jump ship and sever
ties with you. If your offering has some sort of self-service analytics
component that allows your users to do this themselves, that’s great – try
going the extra mile by scheduling
semiannual or quarterly business reviews (QBRs)
and check-ins with an
account manager to make sure they’re crunching the numbers effectively and are
really seeing the value you bring to the table. 
At the end of the day, bringing new customers through the
door is of course a top sales and business goal – but focusing on winning and
keeping those customers for life, and putting the right mechanisms in place to
ensure long-term retention and success, can be just as important.
Relationships with Your Clients
When you close a deal with a new client, it is your
responsibility to grow and nurture that relationship. If you build strong and
genuine relationships with your clients, you will reduce the risk of churn and
increase your upsell/cross sell opportunities. There are a few ways that you
should attempt to grow and develop relationships with your clients.
Scheduled Check Ins
Make time for your clients. This is key. Check in with them
on a regular basis to make sure that they are happy with your services and that
you’re meeting their expectations. This time can be used to go over the service
level agreement (SLA) that you have set with them, as well as the previously mentioned
business goals and QBRs. The frequency of these check-ins should be flexible
depending on how much support a given client requires. Some clients may only
want to check in with you once every quarter. Others might want to have monthly
calls. Being flexible will make your clients feel like you have their best
interests at heart.
Face Time
The amount of face time that you’re able to spend with your
clients depends on a couple of things. First of all, it depends on their
location. If your clients are all located in or around the city that your
business is based, you’re going to have a better chance of setting up
face-to-face meetings. This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t serve clients
outside of your local geographic location, or that you shouldn’t try to make time
for clients that are further away. It simply means that these visits will be
less frequent and need to be scheduled far in advance. Another determinant is
the workload of your employees. If your technicians are busy remediating
tickets all day, they’re not going to be able to do as many site visits. Taking
advantage of an outsourced network operations
center (NOC)
is a good way to free up some more time for your current
technicians. By offloading the mundane, day-to-day work, they’ll have more time
to spend building and reinforcing relationships with your client base.
Social Media
Social media is a good tool for staying in touch with your
clients, but should really be looked at as a supplemental effort. Don’t rely on
social media to stay in contact with your clients, but rather use it as another
avenue to provide them with crucial information and helpful content.  One way that you could utilize social media
is by sharing company updates. Let’s say you know that your phone system is
going to be down for scheduled maintenance during a business day.  You can post this kind of announcement on
your company’s Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn accounts so that anyone who sees
it will know to expect an interruption in communication with you during this
time. Social media can also be used to share content that your clients will
find helpful. Think about some of the questions that your clients have asked
you in the past. If you have a company blog, you can simply post the answers
there or share the article on your social channels. If you’re not managing a
blog, you can search some third-party publications and share the content that
they’ve already created. Your clients will be happy to have the information in
front of them and the publications will be happy that you’re promoting their
Do you have resources in place to ensure your clients’ needs
are being met at each stage of the relationship, or are you set up to close
deals and move on to the next prospect? Unless you’re guiding, training, and
helping your client succeed through the use of your product or service, you’ll
never be able to realize the full profit potential that can be achieved from
closing a new customer.
Are you looking for more information on customer success?
Make sure you attend HubSpot’s session, It’s Not Over When You Generate a New
, presented by Dan
Wolchonok at MassTLC’s marketing conference on March 24th.  Continuum
is a proud user of HubSpot, and each of us leverage the marketing automation
platform daily to drive leads and sales. Learn more about the

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