Preflight Conversations

Sales-to-customer-implementation handoff: Best practices

Preflighters discuss how to ensure your sales to onboarding handoffs go smoothly and plan seamless integrations
September 9, 2022
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The sales team must meet targets, which means closures come sooner than the onboarding team would like. One of the challenges in onboarding clients is their readiness to provide technical integration points. It could halt and cause delays in getting to the time-to-first-value for customers.

In this conversation, members of the Preflight community discuss what can be done to avoid  the substantial downstream impact of a handoff with inadequate information to the onboarding team. Preflighters discuss how situations like these have been dealt with and what will help the onboarding team plan a seamless integration.

Mahesh Motiramani, Director, Customer Success AMER, Strategic - Dataiku

  1. Ensure that the executive sponsor knows the readiness needed and its impact on the Time to first value (TTFV). Additionally, ensure that the executive sponsor appoints a person accountable for readiness.
  2. Deliver an overview of readiness requirements in the pre-sales presentation or a discussion.
  3. Hand over a pre-built checklist to the person accountable. If it is online, fillable, trackable, and can alert on missed milestones — even better!
  4. Identify with your champion, i.e., the person accountable, a “win” that can be achieved with minimal dependencies and sooner than the estimated timeline of the desired value. This provides some sense of progress and achievement, as well as the impetus to fulfill other requirements or resolve dependencies quickly.
  5. Have a weekly Exec Summary sent out to the sponsor, highlighting the dependency and its impact on TTFV. Use this in your monthly success review with the executive sponsor. Try to do this monthly in the onboarding phase and then pivot to quarterly business reviews.
Creating early wins with the first value delivery framework by Irit Eizips

Sudheer Goda, Senior Director PS - Gainsight

A system maturity survey before customer onboarding would be one way to handle it.

Sri Ganesan, CEO, and Co-founder -  Rocketlane

I think it helps to have a readiness checklist for a set of standard packages of “solutions” per vertical. Here are some examples:

(i) E-commerce Basics - have a list of use cases covered and what org, content, and API preparedness is required

(ii) E-commerce Advanced  - have a list of use cases covered and what API preparedness is required

(iii) Telco Basics - starter use cases and what APIs are needed etc.

Start with the generic package that is most suited for them and assess their preparedness. That could be the minimum viable and minimally dependent win!

  1. For each “phase” of deployment, ensure you start on it with “developer time” commitments on the customer side to fix API issues, etc., quickly.

Often the buyer of your solution may not be able to prioritize the time of the engineering resources in their organization. It helps to ensure they have buy-in and secure resources from engineering before they start, e.g., X hrs per week for the next four weeks of engineering time. Doing this before the kickoff will let the organization agree on prioritizing this initiative.

The onboarding team is responsible for ensuring that the sales handoff does not cause any bottlenecks at a later point in the customer journey. With these simple tips and preventive measures, onboarding teams can ensure smooth handoffs and contribute to customer delight.

Do you have any thoughts and tips you want to share? We’d love to have you join Preflight Community and share them with our members!

More resources

  1. How Rocketlane’s Salesforce integration ensures a smooth customer onboarding experience
  2. Meet Rocketlane Forms: Collect and organize data in a jiffy
  3. The Customer Onboarding Maturity Model

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Usha Kalva
Community & Partnerships @ Rocketlane

Usha is a Community Manager at Preflight. She's been an EIR, runs a successful restaurant, and is inclined toward the social sciences. In a parallel universe, she'd have been a wildlife photographer.

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