Implementation and Onboarding w/ CSM Office Hours

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This is a podcast episode titled, Implementation and Onboarding w/ CSM Office Hours. The summary for this episode is: <p>This week the topic for discussion is around onboarding and implementations.</p><p><br></p><p>A weekly segment:</p><p>CSM Office Hours</p><p>Every Tuesday. 11:30am ET.</p><p><a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>--</p><p>If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...</p><p>Jay Nathan: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p><p>Jeff Breunsbach: <a href="" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank"></a></p>
Managing customers that don't go according to the project plan
03:11 MIN
When does your implementation team get involved in pre-sales?
01:34 MIN
Getting the implementation specialist in early, to better understand the key drivers
02:01 MIN
Having the CSM and implementation manager experience
02:10 MIN

Speaker 1: Welcome to the Gain, Grow, Retain Podcast.

Jeff: Gain, Grow, Retain, you have Jeff here. Before we dive into the show today, we have some exciting news that we've been holding onto. As of this month, Gain Grow Retain is officially part of the HubSpot Podcast network. And this becomes a really important milestone for our community and brings more validation to customer success. Something I love about the HubSpot Podcast network is, all the inspiring shows dedicated to helping professionals learn, grow and scale their businesses. If you love Gain, Grow, Retain and want to check out other shows like us, I'm a big fan of My First Million, I Digress and The Salesmen, check out all these shows and more at podcastnetwork. Hope we're all doing well today, what is today is? It's Tuesday, I was going to say it's Wednesday and it's the middle of the week, we're halfway there but we're not there yet. Unless you're way over on the other part of the world, then maybe you are. So, just a quick note about me and I'll introduce self as well too. My name's Jeff Breunsbach, I really focus in on implementation and onboarding. I used to be a developer in onboarding, back in Y2K days and then, I ran project teams for a company that got bought by Oracle and the whole thing turned into Oracle Commerce. So, implementing commerce for Lowe's and Home Depot and any other place where you could buy stuff to stuff in a pinata. So, that's my usual joke on that. And then, I was at a company called Brightcove, which was one of the first online video platforms and ran all the big implementations for there. And that's when things started moving into SaaS land and just started seeing, A, that's a totally different world than, hey, we're going to go install this on your server and walk away. And I don't know if anybody was, back in those days, but you could have your build that you loved, for me, it was 4. 5. We're going to roll with 4. 5 and when 5.0 looks good and it's through its bug testing and everything and then, we'll go with that. And SaaS, you can't do that, you get what product gives you and everything. So, started seeing these different ways of having to work with customers and things like that. And then that's, kind of, progressed over the last 10 years, of specializations and different groups and upsell and renewals. And before, we weren't involved with that, we would just take care of the customer and then, the salesperson would drive up in their BMW and give them another three year contract. So, a lot has changed in this world. So, what we're going to do is, we're going to put you into breakout rooms, as usual, however, I'm going to be 100% completely clear here. The first thing that you do before you start introducing yourself and commenting on how bad my jokes are is to find the leader and absolutely say, this is the person who's described, who's going to take notes, right? And, actually, if anybody was on the leadership office hours, last week with Mike, the whole diversity inclusion, we had a massive outweigh proportion of men speaking than women. So, please step up if you want to talk, is what we're basically saying. We want to see lots of different types of people out there talking. So, on that, we will definitely pick somebody, if you don't immediately speak up, so that's our warning on that. So, I put three questions out there, I think each one of these, people could probably just talk about one of them. If one group wants to just jump into the number three question and then, another one wants to go into number one, that's fantastic too. We don't need all the breakout groups talking about the same subject but we just love good conversation when we come back. So, the other thing, so your ice break, as we say, is your favorite band and you can't say you like everything. Take a stand, that's what we're here for. Even if it's country, we won't make fun of you. So, okay. Sorry, okay. So, these questions pretty clear for everybody? Thumbs up if all is good, understand. All right, good. And listen, we understand and take into these conversations, when you go into these breakout rooms, that you might be in a different spot that some of your other people in your breakout room are. If you're at a 50 person startup, you might be doing all of this and you might not have an implementation department with 30 people in it. So, looking forward to hearing some of the discussions, Gal's going to put you in the breakout rooms and if there's any problems with that, you can just contact her, not me. So, I'm just- crosstalk

Gal: Oh, okay, sounds good, everyone. So, I'm going to go ahead and click the breakout rooms and we will bring everybody back in about 25 minutes. So, enjoy the conversation.

Jeff: Awesome. See you soon. Oh, I can join, Gal, I can actually stop and join.

Gal: Go for it, Jeff. I'll- crosstalk

Jeff: I'm going to do that.

Gal: Okay. See you back. I'll pull everyone back.

Jeff: Okay. Hello, is everybody back? Let me see, let me see my view here.

Gal: Yep, everybody's back here.

Jeff: All right. And has everybody picked a leader? All right. Is anybody in such shock about some people's musical choices, that they could not continue on? Okay. We can pop those in the chat. So, listen, first of all, we were just wrapping up on this conversation and I had a point or two that I was... Oh, sorry Kevin, I was just about to compliment you on something you just said that I rudely jumped all over but I'll take care of it in the recording. But Kevin brought up some great points and I said, I disagree with them, we're like, oh, actually, no, I agree but maybe not here. But, listen, when Gal and I were pre- gaming and after we stopped talking about the most amazing thing, which is Survivor coming back on the air tomorrow, we started... That's right, number 41, baby. crosstalk

Gal: So good, so good, let's go. Tomorrow people, we're going.

Jeff: 8 o'clock. So, after that, we got into, do you charge your customers for implementation? And I don't mean to be the, so like, hey, check out this thing I wrote... Oh, this is the one article but this is starting in pre- sales. There's one after that, if you're interested, about should you charge for implementations, up there in the blog. But very passionate about this subject and Kevin and through our... when I was immediately disagreeing and then coming back on it was thinking, when you're a startup and I work a lot with startups and everything, the common problem that I see is that, customers are, kind of, taking advantage of the implementation team or the implementation process, because that could be your CSM and you've got 15,000 other things going on. And my dad, who was a plumber, used to say, my least favorite four letter F word is free. And if you're free and there's also very great philosophical books about this, one is Baldini, The Persuasion, I can find the link when I post this on LinkedIn. But the value perception and perception of something free is that it's not valuable. And so, the classics things that I see in startups is, you don't charge and then also, there's no timeframe on this and as Gal was saying as well, there's no scope. So, Gal, what happens, in that regard, when you have those factors lined up and how is it- crosstalk

Gal: Yeah. Our conversation was along the lines of, people are just a lot less invested and they don't put a dollar value to it. The example that comes to mind that I go over in my head when I think about this is, when you see a gym offer a free 21 days, you're a lot less likely to go to the gym for those 21 days than if you put money down and paid for personal training, right? You're going to get a much better result when you actually are invested in it and it's very similar to what happens with implementation.

Jeff: Yeah. And I've seen such... If you go from scale of 1 to 10, with one being free, no scope and no time limit, to suddenly being like, it's 45 days, it's$ 15, 000 and tiny turns into a pumpkin after 45 days. And it's like, we got to get our act together and get on this. Sometimes, with kids now, well, discipline goes a long way sometimes, right? And setting a non- subservient relationship from the beginning. And then, if you're like... and I'll stop the soapbox after this. But if you do the combination of, your team's in there showing value in the pre- sales process and then, you're saying, they'll see the value in that. These people are doing the job, they're implementing, probably, in my same vertical and know what my competitors are doing. Yeah, I'll pay 15K, I'll pay more for the strategic one and things like that. So, anyways, that's my perspective on that. We did see, and somebody can jump on this, when you get super mature, it might not be the case more and that was, sort of, Kevin's perspective. Where it might be such a packaged thing, you just sign up, check the box, download the software, whatever. So, there's different scenarios for different people. But I would love to hear... Okay, so for... Okay, Gal, how many breakout groups were there? Oh, she's...

Gal: Sorry, we had four but Josh, did you have your hand raised?

Josh: Yeah. I just wanted to ask- crosstalk

Gal: Sure.

Josh: Yeah. So much of what you said, I'm completely aligned with. One of the things that I've sometimes struggled with is, when implementing that requirement for payment or valuation of the onboarding phase, what do you do when the customer says, I know we talked about doing that project plan but things came up, right? And they, kind of, disengage. Every time that I've faced that, if they came back 90 days later and said, hey, we're ready now. Well, you all just had to back down off of that though.

Jeff: So, a good point, because I say this to all project managers, when they start getting hired as a project manager for SaaS companies. And it's very brutal and I just say, don't F with the revenue, right? So, if you want to win project manager of the year, then go work and build a space shuttle or something like that. That's an internal conversation for me, Josh, that's reverse sort by ARR and status, in an exec type of meeting. And that comes up and you're like, what do you guys want to do about that? It's usually rehabilitate. And now you've got some leverage, right? So, you've said, hey, you guys paid 20 grand for this, we are willing to... But we really just want to see you get value in our product, right? So, we know we said this expires in a month, let's get to where you need to be. And it's usually a conversation of, okay, if you get a person on board and you can get us these data files or whatever those things need to be, are we completely clear that we can start the project on this date and then end it in 45 days? And then they say, yes, and then we're good. You've given them that chance back, you're not the, oh, those guys are brutal and they really just lay the law down and things like that. So, that's my approach on that is, as much as you try and set the rules up, you go for 85% and then that way, when the 15% jumps up, it's a lot less brutal than when it's 50 or 60% of your customers that are doing exactly that. All right. We wanted to take a minute. And if you haven't implemented a CRM system into your business, now is the time. A CRM platform is at the heart of scaling your side hustle into your success story. CRM platforms take any customer interaction and transform that interaction into valuable data and insights, allowing you to strengthen relationships with your customers and grow your business. With tools for marketing, sales, customers service, content management and operations, the HubSpot CRM platform is fully customizable for whatever your business needs. Use HubSpot to meet customer demand, align your teams and work smarter without slowing down. With total control and over 650 integrations, HubSpot is totally customizable and purpose built for businesses big and small. Whether you're just getting started or looking for all the bells and whistles, HubSpot is the number one CRM platform for scaling businesses. Learn more about how you can customize your CRM platform with HubSpot at hubspot. com. Now, back to the show. Okay. I will say, group number two, I would love your assigned leader. Yes, Oliver, what was your favorite band? I'm thinking craft- crosstalk

Oliver: Yeah, no, ACDC and U2.

Jeff: There we go there we go. Okay. So, what did you guys talk about or where were the chairs being thrown and lines being drawn in your meeting?

Oliver: Well, we covered them mall- crosstalk.

Jeff: Oh, awesome.

Oliver: In a way, right? So, I think in general, everybody agreed that, when does your implementation team get involved in pre- sales? They should be in as early as possible but it depends on the complexity of the product and the solution, right? So, some products and some solutions are relatively easy, right? So to say, to implement. So, maybe not necessarily get involved in the pre- sales part. But when you're talking, most of the products are generally complex. You get them in early, you get them in the discussions with the sales team and the pre- sales team. And they are an asset, really, to the overall sale, right? Now, we discussed, do you charge for it or not, right? And, again, it comes down maybe to the maturity of the company, also it comes down to the strategic importance of the deal, right? So, sometimes we've seen, discounts have been offered, right? And sometimes even free, right? It's thrown in as part of the solution sales, we'll offer the implementation, because it's relatively simple, right? Not too complex, we'll offer it for free. So, again, it's a strategic value, more than anything, in terms of, okay, you are up against a competitor and you want to win this deal. You see a longer- term value, which will come in. I've seen- crosstalk

Jeff: So, Oliver, on that note. And I'm going to wrap it into... I hope I said your name correct. A point in the chat here, that still show them the value, strike through the dollar amount, right? It's when there's no price that they really take it for granted. But showing them that initially, with a strike through and saying, listen, we'll throw implementation in this part of that deal or whatever. They're like, oh my God, you guys are giving us 15K and you're like, yeah. And then, you have even a little bit more negotiation when you start throwing your scope in there and your timelines and everything like that. So, that's my point on that. I 100% agree with you about sometimes throwing it in for the strategic value of it. Just let them know what the value. You always find out how much the floor mats were supposed to cost when you buy the car, right?

Oliver: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, another point I have, kind of, to your three questions and other, is just thinking it through now, right? I've seen this and I've done this, right? I've been in implementation. You sell an implementation scope, right? As soon as they go out of the scope, and you sell it for best value that you can get away with, right? To a customer, right? And once they go out of the scope, you're talking about change requests and they cost an arm and a leg, right? And I've seen this tactic all the time, right? You have a professional services team, sells you what you think is a good deal and then, you go change request and suddenly, you're paying gold buckets for it, right?

Jeff: Yeah. That's never great. That's why you should be in there, early in the pre- sales, to scope it out in there. I do advise though, every kickoff deck should have a thing about change orders, to let people know that if scope changes during this, that you may talk about it, right? So, there's that. All the great points, I did want to make sure we get to some of the other groups as well too. So, group three, appointed leader. Was there a group three, in my line? Yes. Oh, Holly's shaking her head, there was a leader. Was it Holly?

Speaker 1: I was going to say, I think it might have been me. I can't remember what our group number was, so I apologize. Well, hello everyone. I thought this was an awesome productive conversation. The one thing I will caveat this little presentation with is, I actually wish that I asked everyone how large their company was, just to, kind of, see and split quantitatively, how this is all different from one another and if there is any correlation. between company size. Everyone did have an implementation team, to some degree, they were called different things, integration, consultants, professional services fell under that realm. But what was super interesting is, after that fact, so when does the implementation team get pulled in and then whether or not implementation is charged for, totally varied based on everyone and the different companies that they work for as well. Some implementation teams were pulled in from the start, from the get go and were involved in scoping discussions. Myself, actually, we don't pull our integration team in until we even talk about a development, in any capacity, because we have a UI that folks can use. And then whether or not implementations are charged for, also was varied across the group. I think it was split about half, yes and half, no. Again, I wish I asked question, would've loved to have seen what the split on that was based on company size and what impact that had on some of those questions.

Jeff: Awesome.

Gal: Are your group members here still? Can they drop it in the chat? Go for it.

Speaker 1: We had a few drop offs but Brandon, Holly and probably had one more, Nikita.

Jeff: Okay. So, while you guys drop that in the chat, I'll have Stephanie go, our appointed leader.

Stephanie: Hi. Stephanie here from PredictHQ. We were really focusing, right at the beginning, on I think the benefits of the implementation team getting involved really early. We had a mix of really large, really small companies within our team but the general consensus really was, the earlier the better. Of course, depending on the segmentation of the customers, the size of the deal, the type of the deal, it was different. But ultimately, the part that I really liked, because I would be the one working on the mutual success plan with the customer, is that if you can get that implementation specialist in really early, they can really help to understand the key drivers. Anita was speaking a lot about this, understanding key drivers, understanding what those measures of success are and really start to communicate that out to your team really early, which I think is valuable. Kevin mentioned that, the sales teams can be a little bit nervous about implementation specialists, as well as CS, coming in early and perhaps disqualifying the customers. But ultimately, that is a positive thing, right? You want to have a long- term customer, you want to ask these strategic questions at the beginning and it is going to benefit you. Part of the discussion that we were having with Kevin is, what a competitive advantage it actually is. It does certainly help, I think, for the customer to qualify you, to have someone that's quite trusted coming in that isn't trying to sell you, that's asking you strategic questions. And as Kevin mentioned, it shouldn't feel too easy, right? You should have someone in, coming in asking those questions, challenging you a little bit, for you to understand that this is a serious company, that we do have your best interests at heart and we are trying to understand your goals. And so, I think, at least, if you can't get the implementation specialists in early, you should definitely have good communication from those AEs, back to the implementation specialists, back to CS, to help to start building those plans as early as possible. So that's, kind of, really where we started off, as earlier the better, I think, is the main message. I don't know if anyone else wants to jump in from my group to add to that.

Jeff: I will just also say what JT just posted in the chat. Excuse me. Is super valuable feedback which is, complexity of implementation, right? There's a big difference between insert credit card here and drop this JavaScript code in and you're good to go, versus we need to build out inaudible connection in between these three systems and all that fun stuff, right? So, I don't know. I think the other thing and definitely what Anita jumped in for a second on this, is we talked about that when you bring a non- commission person from the implementation and the CS team and that, they're just so valued as a person that's just there to answer questions. You can start asking the more success like questions and even come up with a joint success plan earlier on and they're going to be like, those people asked really of questions, they're focused in on our success. And we talked about a survey that, when I was at Virgin, that we ran where they felt that by bringing in these resources, at that time, the customers felt like they didn't even want to deal with the sales people afterwards. And it was dealing with the implementation or maybe they had a great sales engineer but it was these people that could answer the great questions for them, about what really mattered and how to use the products. That's what sold them on the deal and we all know that CS and implementation and that's who knows how to use the product. Anita, do you have anything else to add on that? I know you had some good points but I didn't mean to call you by... Nope, all right. Okay. I'm going to check the chat here because I know we all appreciate getting an extra couple minutes from meeting to meeting. Any other quick questions or quick points about implementation? No. Awesome.

Speaker 2: We had group four.

Jeff: There was a group four, oh my God, I'm the worst. Okay, go group four.

Speaker 2: All right. So, our group was inaudible, Stacy, who had to drop off, Josh and myself and King. And we covered, kind of, three... all of us have had the experience of being the CSM and the implementation manager, as well as CSM, only without need to. So we've, kind of, worn both hats. And a couple of points that we talked about was the fact that, when you are wearing both hands, particularly when your platform is heavy tech, it really is two different skill sets.

Jeff: Oh yeah.

Speaker 2: So, this is content balance of, okay, I'm going to customize the platform more, we're going to run the implementation file, we're going to set up single sign- on or we want to be strategic. And a lot of times, there's just not enough hours in the day to do both, so you're always fighting for that battle and that's challenging. Josh had mentioned a couple of linear ideas, do you have maybe a TAM that you can leverage for the entire team? A technical account manager, that might be one way of doing it. So, that's always a challenge, right? And, obviously, we have to identify the scope of work and what we're going to spend our time on. But the other two points that we talked about, that was very relevant, is this idea of high tech is not only for small to medium size segments, right? And I liked what Josh said, it's like, ooh, you can't use high tech in high touch client or can you? Where can you get these efficiencies of scale? And we talked about some of the self- serve ideas, having a playbook externally, which essentially, might be just links to your knowledge base, that was Josh's idea, right? Links to your knowledge base so that you can give them maybe a one age helping agenda, which would be, when you're not there or they have to do what they were asked to do, they can go back and get the videos, the links, the articles right away, they don't have to search for it, they don't have to ask you or support. Implementation person them at once, if they can't find their email to make it super easy for them. So, I thought that was good. And thinking about, what are those tasks that you can have to be more self- serve, even in the high touch clients?

Jeff: Well, thanks for jumping in, that was fantastic stuff, that's great.

Speaker 2: And the last point was, I think Josh uses ready, fire, aim deployment. So, if you have, your whole implementation team is supposed to show up and they don't show up, don't make the whole thing stop because you can't get single sign- on. Do your quick wins, build the momentum, build the confidence, so we can keep the agenda moving.

Jeff: And that goes back to that value question, and I can't remember, might have been inaudible but it said it like, showing value along the way. If you did a joint success plan in the beginning, right? And let's say SSO is nowhere near that, right? And it was the sixth thing on a list of five. And you went through and you did those five and then, you're able to go back and show month- to- month and you might have even had a QBR by now of, look at all the things that we've done for you. We agreed to this as the joint success plan at the beginning and we've done all this. Yeah, we'll get to ask this so, but you can't say you're not going to start paying for this service because you don't have... And SSO is maybe a little bit more important but some other random requirement or something that might have been part of the initial collection but wasn't imperative to the success of it.

Speaker 2: You can still move into your new home, even though you don't have the right tile in the bathroom.

Jeff: I wish I was as distinct as that, that is exactly what I was trying to say. That's amazing. Well, listen, I could talk about this stuff for hours, I can come back and do another session on this if you guys want to, eventually. But thanks so much for jumping in. Always try and give a couple minutes back here and I'm supposed to see you guys at the next... And oh, Gal, am I supposed to say something else? Thanks for go...

Gal: I was waving.

Jeff: Okay. So, you can just say wave or you can do a goodbye wave- crosstalk.

Gal: Bye.

Jeff: Really appreciate it everybody. Hey guys, thanks so much for taking the time to listen to the Gain, Grow, Retain Podcast. If you liked what you heard, please take a moment and share the podcast with your friends and colleagues and subscribe, we really appreciate it. Talk to you soon.


This week the topic for discussion is around onboarding and implementations.

A weekly segment:

CSM Office Hours

Every Tuesday. 11:30am ET.


If you want to join the discussion with thousands of other customer success leaders, join Gain Grow Retain:

This podcast is brought to you by Jay Nathan and Jeff Breunsbach...

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