Kicking Off a Project WITH NO KICKOFF CALL! Are we crazy or brilliant?!?!

  • 17 July 2023
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Our company is getting ready to roll out a new implementation/onboarding plan for our smaller customers. Because our product (SaaS) can be set up in just a couple of weeks with standard tools, features, and industry best practice material, it seems like the right way to go to pull our teams into a more ‘hands off’ approach to onboarding in these instances.

What this means for us is:

  • No kickoff call! Are we nuts? 😬 
    • The call will be replaced by a kickoff email.
    • All of our ‘to do tasks’ are going to be housed in GCX which will be sent to the customer team.
  • All account set up to be done by one of our implementation specialists and information collected from customer would be done via a form/checklist sent out via GCX.
  • All back and forth communication/questions would be handled via GCX.
  • The final sign off for account go live may include an actual final wrap up call just to be sure we have all our ducks in a row for flipping the ON switch but we are trying to automate this completely so that’s not 100% at this time. 

I’m wondering if anyone else out there is handling their smaller clients in this manner and any advice to avoid pitfalls, give me any uh-oh moments, or any other knowledge you might have to pass on! 


6 replies

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First things first, I saw your subject line “are we crazy or brilliant” and then I looked at the username. Then I knew in a heartbeat that @sagesehmi is brilliant so there was no need to read the rest of the question. Whatever it says I wholeheartedly stand behind it!

But, just for good measure I did read it haha In a nutshell it’s inspiring! Who has time to hop on kickoff calls these days anyways?

Here are a couple of things that I recommend keeping an eye out:

  1. Make sure your sales team is on the same page. They will need to set the expectation that the customer will receive emails. That way the customer isn’t lost in the ether, waiting for a kickoff call when they should’ve been working on tasks already!
  2. Train your team to recognize red flags. I would strongly recommend that you get your team together and help them understand red flags. A common one is when a project goes too long without being updated (there’s a last updated column and a report that they can reference). This will help them know to reach out via project notes to see if the customer needs to hop on a call to get back on track. Usually we don’t like seeing a project go more than 3 business days without any activity! 

You’ll have to document your learnings here and share with the broader community what you’ve seen! I’m excited for you to kick off this new onboarding experience! It’s all about iterating!

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Love it! I echo @emaynez in saying that this makes total sense for the right customer segment *if* your sales team is able to set the right expectation with prospective customers and *if* robust alerting and monitoring is in place to flag risks in that group of customers.

Setting the right expectations is 90% of the battle.

Identifying risks is the best way to make sure you can manually intervene when needed -- and ultimately test and prove your hypothesis. 

I’m excited to follow along and hear how it’s going--you got this!

Userlevel 1

Great topic and I agree with @emaynez and @harrisclarke on the importance of expectation setting as part of the sales process. It’s likely those smaller customers went through a quicker sales cycle which means there could be less boxes checked to confirm good fit, etc.

Therefore it’s important for the customer to know how to raise their hand for help if needed. Is it simply changing the status of a task to “Stuck” or is it something different?

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@sagesehmi

 

Here are a couple of things that I recommend keeping an eye out:

  1. Make sure your sales team is on the same page. They will need to set the expectation that the customer will receive emails. That way the customer isn’t lost in the ether, waiting for a kickoff call when they should’ve been working on tasks already!
  2. Train your team to recognize red flags. I would strongly recommend that you get your team together and help them understand red flags. A common one is when a project goes too long without being updated (there’s a last updated column and a report that they can reference). This will help them know to reach out via project notes to see if the customer needs to hop on a call to get back on track. Usually we don’t like seeing a project go more than 3 business days without any activity! 

Ditto on these points! When I have had more of a hands-off connection with customers that I’ve worked with, I have found that as long as I make 1) the available resources and 2) where to access those resources clear the customer tends to respond well. The sales team can help make sure these things are clear when there isn’t a kick-off call to do so.

The uh-oh moments happen when a quiet customer goes unnoticed for too long. Having a process in place to recognize red flags and get the customer re-engaged will be massive!

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@chadestes brings up such a good point! I love the idea of marking a task to stuck, that’s a great way to train the customer on how to get help on something.

@sagesehmi is that incorporated in the kickoff email? Speaking of which would you mind sharing that with the broader group so we can take note???  

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You guys are the BEST! Thank you @emaynez  @chadestes @bcroft @harrisclarke !!!

Absolutely - the number one thing that throws a project into disarray (IMO) at the outset is miscommunication or lack of expectations being defined during the sales cycle. Getting our sales team on board with this ahead of time is Job #1! 

I love the suggestion to monitor for red flags as well. Any suggestions on how to build that into GCX? Just using the email reminders?

 

And yes @emaynez - happy to share once this is all written out!

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