What does your kickoff meeting look like??

  • 25 July 2023
  • 3 replies

Userlevel 4

The exact opposite question to someone else’s post this week - focusing on our larger enterprise clients and wanting to provide a little more consistency in the delivery of our Kickoff Meetings. They are a necessity due to number of players and complexity of work to be completed.

Curious how you’re handling this part of the process?

  • How long is your kickoff meeting?
  • How far “in the weeds” do you take the conversation?
  • What tool(s) are you using to get things going?
    • Power Point / Prezi / other?
    • Strictly the GuideCX Gantt
    • Both?
    • Something else?

(I’d love to bring us into the 21st century but not going to get more software spend for 2023 so free tools are always appreciated.)


Best answer by cheylafrance 26 July 2023, 17:10

View original

3 replies

Userlevel 5

@Casey Wilt such a great question. Our situation may be a bit unique, but we handle our implementations in three or more stages:

  • PM Staging/Kickoff
  • Integration
  • Implementation
  • Reporting

Staging involves the following including the kickoff call:

  • Introduction from the AE
  • Kickoff Survey and data gathering
  • Welcome email & kickoff call scheduling
  • Kickoff Call

The PM leads the kickoff call with both the AE and CSM in attendance and it is typically 30-60 minutes in length. We schedule for a full hour and in general our mid-market client kickoff calls take 30-45 minutes and our Enterprise calls take 45-60 minutes. During the kickoff we cover the following:

  • Introductions
    • Spiff team
      • Identify each role and when they are involved in the overall project 
        • PM - entire duration
        • CSM - long-term contact
        • Integrations Consultant (will be assigned when staging is complete)
        • Implementation Specialist (will be assigned when Integration is complete)
        • Reporting Consultant (if reporting is purchased will be assigned just prior to implementation testing)
    • Client team
      • Plan admins
      • IT contacts
      • Executive sponsor
      • Security contact
      • Finance admin
  • Review project scope
    • Review sales order
      • What is/isn’t included
      • Validate
        • # of plans
        • Integrations
        • Add-Ons
    • Change control process
  • Project methodology & timeline
    • Clarify timeline is high-level based upon integrations & number of plans & that formal timeline will be provided once Implementation discovery is completed (Implementation stage)
    • Identify actions/requirements to move from stage to stage
    • Timeline considerations
      • Client preparedness
      • Data connections
      • Other considerations
    • Follow-up on kickoff survey
  • Review stage sign-offs & status updates
    • Sign-offs
      • Data mapping
      • Plans & rules
      • Project Sign-Off
      • Reporting requirements
    • Status update
      • Timeline is tentative until implementation discovery complete
      • Outstanding items
      • Completed items
      • Status update delivery schedule

Our kickoff is generally left at the high-level as it is setting up the client to be ready to move into integration and then the subsequent implementation build. Once we have all the data required in order to begin integration we then schedule an integration discovery call (typically an hour) with the integrations consultant who does a deep dive into the data mapping from the source system(s), identification of manual uploads, unique mapping requirements, etc. Once they get the integration requirements documented (may take additional calls) they provide the client with that documentation and request sign-of so they can then build the integration(s). 


Once the integration is complete, the Implementation Specialist is assigned and then an hour long Implementation discovery call is scheduled where the IS does an extensive review of the client’s commission plans to fully understand all the requirements. This typically continues over several calls and is documented in the same manner as the integration data mapping is. Build doesn’t start until the plans & rules are sign-off by the client.


I know this is a rather long explanation, but just answering the kickoff call question may not have provided enough context.


Userlevel 1

Hey Casey! 

i’m loving the questions to better your Onboarding Experience. 

I am someone at GUIDEcx who did many of the kickoff calls so this is something I’m passionate about! 

  • How long is your kickoff meeting?
    • I generally went between 30-45 minutes for my kickoff calls. the 15 minute buffer helped to slow down the pace of the call and allowed for more questions. I found that the number of attendees was directly related to the time spent on the call. 3 or more I would suggest the 45 minutes. 
  • How far “in the weeds” do you take the conversation?
    • This is a great question and sometimes needs to be called out that you’ve gone too in depth on the call. I’ve found that I need to be strategic in separating kickoff vs. onboarding. I suggest mentioning the immediate next steps in detail for about five minutes to understand action items but the overall onboarding process/desired outcomes should be the highlight of the call! Focusing on the course of the entire onboarding is the key to this call, however making sure the customer knows what they need to do for the next few days/1 week is key to continue engagement and accountability. You can also leverage your tasks in your onboarding project to keep the customer/internal team on track to walk them through the process to ensure you don’t get into the weeds during your kickoff call. I try to say something like “We’ll get into that as soon as we complete the steps before it. As long as you’re following the steps, you will succeed within {timeframe discussed for go-live}. That’s helped set expectations for me!
  • What tool(s) are you using to get things going?
    • Power Point / Prezi / other?
    • Strictly the GuideCX Gantt
    • Both?
    • Something else?
      • I use a mixture of the onboarding project and slides from a powerpoint to call out personal touches like, Points of Contact, desired outcomes and more. I definitely try to show the onboarding project as a whole so the customer knows they’re in the right place when they access it on their own time!

Kimberley Francis and I have a masterclass dedicated to the kickoff call! You should be able to access it under GuideU Masterclasses :) 


I hope this was helpful! 

Userlevel 7

Another thought-provoking question by the great @Casey Wilt with AMAZING answers from @rondeaul and @cheylafrance! I’ll throw my two cents in here as well and hopefully it helps:

  1. Calls (Kick off calls, training calls, integration calls, etc) should never go more than 60 min. Anything more than 60 minutes runs the risk of info-dumping and a lot of that info is forgotten when the participant exits the zoom room.
  2. As the Guide of the clients implementation I keep the customer on the right path. I don’t let them get into the weeds at all. It’s a tricky balance, but I know that if I let them off the trail too much then they’ll get lost, confused, and overwhelmed. I usually say something like this when they ask a question that will take us off-track: “Great question, we’ll actually cover this in more depth in our 2nd meeting. But here’s a quick answer _______” Doing this instills confidence that I (as the onboarder) have a plan to address their questions. 
  3. I LOVE using the GUIDEcx project overview and gantt chart. Sometimes a powerpoint is helpful, but I haven’t really used one since using GUIDEcx. Here’s the link to the training Cheyanne was referring to: