One of the challenges faced with technology projects is the transition from sales to implementation. Most IT solution providers have a “pre-sales” function that helps the sales team and the prospect with developing an effective solution vision and design. These professionals are usually the best talent in their organizations! They have had experience with implementations and due to their stronger communication and interpersonal skills, have been recruited to be part of the sales support team. They work closely with all involved parties to understand the needs, develop applicable solutions, demonstrate their recommendations and make the client feel comfortable working with the team. It is all good, except, in most instances, they will be out of the picture after the sale!
With their exit, clients lose lots of knowledge that was developed during the sales process and will have to go through their needs explanation process again with the implementation team. Although this time around discussions are at a much more detailed level, it is usually beneficial to have a smooth transfer of earlier gained knowledge, so implementation consultants would be more efficient in their discovery efforts. One simple approach that can address this issue is to be asking all vendors during the sales process to be documenting all their pre-sales designs and discussions and have that document available for review prior to contract finalization. This document can act as a great initial requirements discussion point with the implementation team in order to get them up to speed quickly without consuming lots of consulting time. Another approach, if you can get away with it, is to also require the pre-sales consultants actively participate in the early stages of the project. Tighter transition from sales to implementation will set the stage for a more effective project launch.