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Being on the CSM frontline allows us to directly influence the success of our clients. I love that; as our clients are successful, we’re successful. Each day we learn from the trenches what it takes to make clients happy and successful.
Let’s move forward with this week's blog post!
On April 18, 2018 I introduced a presentation called “3 Essential Pre-onboarding Principles” at a local Customer Success meet-up in Utah. While that presentation focused primarily on practical examples tied to the principles, I thought I’d compile additional thoughts in form of a 3-part blog as part of CSM from the Trenches.
Those 3 essential pre-onboarding principles are as follows:
For the sake of this 3-part blog, I’m going to define pre-onboarding as the time prior to bringing clients onboard or beginning their implementation. This period serves as an excellent opportunity to set and build relationship momentum, as well as set both you and your clients up for greater, long-term success.
SaaS as a business thrives on collecting data – in which Marketing, Sales, and Customer Success are each involved – on customers. Whether it’s usage metrics or general client information, data makes our world go round and enables us to better serve customers.
An important thing to remember is that different touch-points have different purposes in collecting data. For example, pre-sales is tasked with acquiring and closing new deals; however, post-sales can and should influence what information is critical to collect.
Understanding your different touch-points and the information you should be collecting along the way will ultimately ensure customer customer onboarding readiness. Read on to learn more!
As mentioned previously, pre-sales is tasked with acquiring and closing new deals but it is important for them to collect information that is critical to onboarding success. From my experience, there are 5 points of data about new clients that are typically collected or reviewed during this time.
Depending on the size and structure of your company, the actual handoff of this information could be more formal or informal. If there are gaps to be filled, start with 2-3 and fill them! Try to capture this as early on in the process as you can (it can help with the long-term success of your customers).
Questions to ask yourself:
Because of limitations on the pre-sales side (and the fact that each touch-point serves a very specific purpose in data collection), you may have to do additional work to gather information related to a client’s current environment and capabilities.
Prior to kicking off a new relationship, don’t be afraid to ask your clients for additional information that will positively influence the momentum of the relationship (especially if you’re lacking this info from pre-sales).
Consider an onboarding readiness survey (perhaps a Google form or simply part of the kickoff call) that captures the following:
These 9 additional data points can help you assess a client’s current environment and capabilities, build their faith in you as a trusted advisor, as well as positively impact the momentum in kicking off the relationship.
Questions to ask yourself:
Continuing the theme of building relationship momentum, the kickoff is the best opportunity to align and set expectations by putting a stake in the ground concerning tailored scope of work.
If you haven’t already implemented these, here are a few things to consider as you kickoff a new relationship:
Questions to ask yourself:
As a quick reference, here are 5 best practices to remember to ensure customer onboarding readiness:
These steps are an excellent starting point if you are looking to set both you and your customers up for greater long-term success, but are certainly not comprehensive. However, by taking the time to make collecting critical client information a priority, you’ll be able to focus on the value you’re able to provide to each customer.
**Be sure to tune in again next week for Principle 3: Identify Key Individuals, Influencers, and Contacts!**
Here are other customer success resources:
Customer Success eBooks:
Other CSM from the Trenches Posts:
Learn more about how ClientSuccess can help your company develop a strong customer success methodology and strategy with easy-to-use customer success software by requesting a 30-minute demo.