Best Practices For Using This Template
Once you've loaded the POC template into Coordinate, you'll want to create a project from the template for each of your prospects. This gives each prospect their own customer project portal where they can collaborate with you, check in on the status of the POC, ask questions, complete tasks, and invite coworkers.
To create a project from the template, click the Create Project From Template button on the right side of the template. After you give it a name, here's what the POC project will look like:
To get you started with how to use this template, we'll start by walking through each phase of the POC.
Phase 1: Planning and Kickoff
The best way to start using this template with a prospect is to use it on the kickoff meeting and every meeting thereafter. Bring it up on the screen with your prospect during a POC kickoff call and use it to walk them through the plan, make changes, etc.
The goals of the kickoff call are to:
- Agree on a framework for the POC.
- Identify and invite all of the POC stakeholders on their side.
- Agree on timeline and success criteria for the pilot.
1) Agree on a framework for the POC
Start by walking the prospect through each of the 3 phases outlined in the POC template. Discuss your expectations over the course of the POC and uncover any issues or questions that they may have.
Often, they'll bring up additional things that need to happen on their side or things that they need from you. Notate those in Coordinate, either by creating new tasks if they are distinct action items, or leaving them as notes on an existing task.
Many of our customers also like to record meeting notes in Coordinate, so that every stakeholder on the project can refer back to them when necessary.
You don't have to have everything answered yet, but at least you and your prospect should be aligned on what the general POC process will look like and you should capture any outbound items in Coordinate.
2) Identify stakeholders and invite them into the plan
Once your prospects are familiar with the plan, next you want to make sure you know all of the key stakeholders who will be involved in the POC. There are different types of stakeholders depending on your product and industry, but it's important that you capture who will be involved in the project. Example stakeholders include:
- Decision Makers
- Executive Sponsors
- Legal and Compliance
- Technical Users
As you uncover each of these people, it's helpful to invite each stakeholder into your Coordinate project page:
Don't worry if you don't invite everybody in during the kickoff meeting, you and your customers you and your customers can each invite additional people later.
Once stakeholders are invited, they'll be kept abreast of the POC project and will be able to complete tasks, leave comments, and add new tasks as necessary. You'll be able to work asynchronously with them throughout the remainder of the POC.
3) Agree on timeline and success criteria for the pilot
Before you dive into success criteria, it's important to set or confirm the remaining dates for the rest of the pilot. Usually this includes setting dates in Coordinate on the most important tasks remaining throughout the rest of the POC, for example: Training, Interim check-in, and the Readout meeting.
Now it's time to finish the rest of action items in the Planning and Kickoff phase:
On the call, you can either verbally discuss and codify these tasks, or assign them to individuals who will followup afterwards. It is absolutely best practice to either mark them as complete on the call or to assign them to somebody who will be responsible for completing it.
Do to the importance of these items, we will devote a section to explaining each.
How To Best Capture the Proof-of-Concept Success Criteria
It's important throughout the POC to keep clear track of the prospect's success criteria, validate it, make sure that it gets achieved, and understand if it changes.
While you likely know what their success criteria is coming into the Kickoff meeting, it's important to capture and confirm it during the Planning and Kickoff phase of the POC. You should then capture them in the goal section on the right side of the Coordinate project portal:
Some of their goals are clear, with a specific date and quantifiable target. Other goals are squishier, but no less important.
Not every goal needs to have every attribute filled in, just fill in what you and the prospect know and agree to. Here are the attributes that you'll want to discuss and capture:
- Goal Name - It's important to capture the success criteria using the framing your customers uses. If their goal is to increase revenue, then you'll want to frame the goal as "Prove we can increase revenue by $x", or if their goal is to improve efficiency by x% in their client services division, then make sure you use their terminology when naming the goal, like "Prove we can improve Client Services efficiency by X%"
- Quantifiable Progress - If there is a specific quantifiable goal that the customer is looking to prove during the POC, then Coordinate makes it easy for you to add a Progress Bar to a goal, where you can change the numerator, denominator, and units of measure. Often these are Percent, Hours, or Dollars, but can be Widgets or whatever you need depending on your product or service.
- Due Date - Lastly, it's important to get both you and your prospect aligned on the timelines for the POC. We recommend discussing the POC timeline with your prospects and codifying it in the goals.
Some additional tips for setting POC success criteria:
- Be clear how success will be measured.
- Establish the success criteria at the beginning of the project, and revisit throughout as necessary.
- Understand how the success criteria helps the prospect meet their business objectives.
- Make sure the success criteria is meaningful to your prospect.
- Be confident that your product or service can help your prospects hit the codified goals.
- Make sure your prospect is dedicating enough time and resources to achieve the goals.
Phase 2: Running the POC
Our template leaves the second phase of the POC open, because it's very dependent on your specific product or service.
After the Planning and Kickoff phase, you'll want some event or clear demarcation of the POC beginning, often a Training or something similar.
We've also included an Interim check-in step, which gives your team the opportunity to check in with the customer in the middle of the POC to answer any questions. This also gives you the opportunity to course correct as necessary before the POC is finished.
The list of items included in our POC template for Phase 2 is not exhaustive. Other items you may want to include depending on your products or services are:
- Change management
- Technical implementation
- Perform integration
- Business analysis
Phase 3: Evaluate Results
You're almost there! You've kicked off the POC, aligned with the prospect on success criteria, and executed the POC. Now it's time to wrap it up and figure out next steps.
Phase 3 of our template is broken into a few tasks:
At a high level, you need to collect opinions and measurable results from the team, compare them to the goals set out at the beginning of the POC, and then ask for the sale.
Collect feedback and results
This step is one of the most important of the entire POC. If you've done your job right, the POC was structured where the prospect's business goals were aligned with what your product or service delivers, and the POC was structured to prove it.
Depending on your product or service, you may already know the results. If so, it's important to post the readout to the Coordinate portal for all to see and provide feedback.
Sometimes the prospect needs to supply the data, in which case you can assign a task to the appropriate person to get them to post it. When you do, make sure to both assign it to that person and add a due date prior to the Readout meeting.
The Readout meeting is where you and your prospect sit to review results of the POC.
Ideally, you've proven that your product or service can help them achieve business goals that are important to them.
At the Readout meeting, it's often helpful to bring up your Coordinate project portal with the prospect, review what you said you were going to do at the beginning of the POC, and compare it to what you actually did.
Discuss next steps
Good job! You've delivered during the POC, now it's time to ask for the sale and move forward with them becoming an actual customer.
Depending on your product, style, etc you may or may not want to leave this task in the portal, or you may want to combine it with another task.
We included it in the POC template to make sure it doesn't get lost, but you should structure it however is most helpful for you.
- Once you use the POC template on your first couple prospects, you should revisit the template and update it to match your specific business.
Want additional help?
If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or schedule a time to speak with us here.
We're available to answer questions, provide feedback, or even review your specific project requirements if you'd like a 3rd party sanity check.