WHY IS Launch IMPORTANT?
Launch is actually more a customer status than it is an event. Rather than thinking of Launch as something you do with or for your customer, consider it a state of accomplishment where you can (or should) take a breath and feel as though you and your customer are at a good place for them to take off in using your solution. WHO NEEDS TO KNOW HOW TO DO Launch?
Launch is determined by the Customer Success team, and a status that is communicated company-wide. Launching a customer should feel good and involve a feeling of accomplishment for the company. While larger companies won’t celebrate every launched customer, it’s important that you don’t take any of the Land steps for granted, and continue to invest in preserving best practices for getting customers launched.
PUTTING Launch IN CONTEXT
Launch is a status that can be determined after you have conducted End User Training. Once you’ve officially launched a customer, you will then begin connecting with them through a cadence of retrospective and business reviews.
GUIDELINES FOR Launch
Rather than providing a set of guidelines for how to “conduct” a launch, let’s consider a checklist to assess whether a customer is optimally launched:
- Have all desired integrations been successfully implemented?
- Has all historical data been loaded so that you are not potentially forcing users to rely on or return to a legacy system?
- Have the core enablement and end user trainings happened on schedule, and do you have confidence in your customer’s ability to begin using the platform?
- Does your customer have confidence in their ability to begin using your solution without your hand-holding?
- Is the primary admin within the account proficient enough with your solution to serve as an on-site help desk and conduit for larger issues?
- Has the customer experienced an early success in using the solution such that they are enthusiastic about adoption?
- Do you and your customer have a clear agreement of their early desired outcomes, and do you share the opinion that their initial use is advancing them in the proper direction of achieving those articulated outcomes?
- Have you determined a date and time for your first retrospective meeting in which you will assess progress in adoption?
- Are you poised to be agile in dealing with your customer, understanding the customer lifecycle that they should experience moving forward and prepared to revisit their stated outcomes and provide the appropriate support to advance adoption?
- Do you have an early and strong health score for your customer, which includes an aggregate of usage, engagement and satisfaction?
- Would your customer say that they are glad (thrilled? excited?) they bought your solution to either replace an existing technology or improve an existing process?
To say that your customer is effectively launched, you should be able to answer “yes” to all of the above questions. If you routinely find yourself answering “no” or “not quite” to some of them, then consider revisiting your previous steps. Launch should be a state of accomplishment that is determined as a result of using the best practices for all of your onboarding efforts.
WHAT DO WE LEARN THROUGH LAUNCH?
It’s estimated that, of the 30,000 new products launched each year, around 80% fail. While there are a variety of reasons for failure, being deliberate, effective and enthusiastic in each step of your onboarding will minimize your risks. When you can determine that your customer is launched toward independent and productive use of your platform, then you should feel confident in their adoption. This is not a given, so take a moment to assess how effective your trainings are and how legitimate your launched status is.
Read more about the Blocking and Tackling of Customer Success .