Not every SaaS company does Rapid Prototyping for new customers, but we encourage it as an opportunity to be impressive right out of the gates. If your solution allows you to get a quick win with your new customer by focusing on a single area or part of your solution, you will start the relationship off with a bang that will have far reaching effects.
Prototyping can be built off of configured demos or from batch data. Customer Success Managers should be the ones providing this quick win to their customers. They may need help from the Product team, and they may rely upon information the Sales team provides them on the configured demos they used during the sales process.
Rapid Prototyping is a step in Landing an account that happens just after Implementation and just before Core Enablement. Not all SaaS solutions lend themselves to Rapid Prototyping, but if the ability to do so exists, it can be very valuable to establishing momentum for getting to first value more quickly.
Rapid Prototyping should be conducted in a single meeting with a customer, and not last more than 2 hours. You don’t want this to be overwhelming, but you do want the experience to impress your customer, excite them for a full implementation, and demonstrate that you know how to use their data in your platform. Three rules to follow in Rapid Prototyping:
Is there one part of your solution that you can easily get up and running for a customer? If so, always use that area for a Rapid Prototype. You want this prototype to be easy to build and to turn talk into reality for your customer. What data sets did your customer provide or reference during the sale? Perhaps one of those lends itself best to a prototype. If none were provided, consider requesting access to a partial data set or a single source during Implementation Discovery and using that to develop your Rapid Prototype. Stick to a single area of your platform, rather than trying to do too much. A small, visible illustration, using your customer’s data, will be very powerful. It will start the wheels turning for them and keep them motivated to continue on with Core Enablement.
The primary goal of Rapid Prototyping is to begin proving to your new customer that their purchase was a smart one. If you are able to develop a prototype that specifically addresses a use case they shared during Discovery, that is especially powerful. If not, at least provide them with a quick win in an area of interest to them or an especially impressive part of your platform. Don’t mistake being impressive with being showy. A Rapid Prototype must be practical for it to be effective. The goal is to instantiate something of real value that you can do relatively easily so that your new customer becomes an immediate evangelist to his/her team and creates enthusiasm around your capacity to help them solve real problems. Capitalizing on this “wow” will serve you – and them – well.
A Rapid Prototype should serve as an allusion to full implementation. Don’t do something during prototyping that you will never again do during the rest of your implementation. While you want the prototyping exercise to be impressive, you also want it to reflect the future steps involved in full implementation. In other words, show them a little of what you do and how your platform will work for them – and then continue showing them in the same way as you advance through implementation. This step should serve as a blueprint for the continued relationship. If it doesn’t you will quickly go from Wowing them to disappointing or frustrating them.
Rapid Prototyping is a great way to learn how your customer learns. Demonstrating the power of your platform within their unique environment is a valuable relationship-building exercise. It’s also a way to see how you will need to communicate moving forward. Take note of how your customer listens and learns so that you can adapt your communication style as you move forward.
Read more about the Blocking and Tackling of Customer Success .