Question

Community Building Strategy - Does anyone have a sort of initial charter or way they created buy in from their team before launch.

  • 14 June 2024
  • 4 replies
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I am creating the community for the first time at my company. I was going to put together more of a sales based type deck on the impact, focus, how we can do it, who is involved. So its kind of like a charter, but I think a few more elements to consider. 

 

Does anyone have a good template for this? 


4 replies

Userlevel 4
Badge +4

Hi @cmjwatts 👋,

This is a great question and I’m looking forward to seeing what other community members share on this topic. In the meantime you might also find this recent webinar useful on the same subject: Uniting Forces: Strategies for Integrating Community Across Your Organization.

Userlevel 4

You need to get buy-in from senior leaders to get them to change the way their teams work. This is key not just for the launch, but during building and after launch.

For a tech community, key areas to sell to the senior leaders are….

1. Support Call Deflection - An engaged community will remove an awful lot of the “RTFM” questions from going to support. 
2. User/Account areas of interest - With the new BI Connector (in Beta) you have complete access to your users’ viewing habits. With various mechanisms you can aggregate this data so that you can see when users from an account are consistently looking at product areas that maybe they do not yet use. With a bit of integration, this information can be sent to their account’s Sales Exec, pointing them to upsell ops, etc. 
3. Customer sentiment - Using the data you can start looking into sentiment. Can you predict and therefore prevent churn? Can you find users of the product who can be used as champions for your product? Creating an environment where the users get the sense that contributing to the community can also enhance their personal brand can be gold. Users ask to get answers, that is their pay-off. But those answering need to be rewarded. Promoting them on LinkedIn with use cases, articles about them, etc, will create free promotional content for your company, but will also really engage your top users.

All of the above is about money. You save your organisation money in Support, churn prevention and easy marketing. You contribute to sales by the information that you can give them about their customers or prospective customers (if the community is open to ALL and not just customers). 

I am sure you will think of other positives that will be more tailored to your brand.

Once you have their buy-in, you need them to really push the usage of the community with their staff.

Engagement and content from staff is absolutely the most important thing prior to launch and when it is launched. Imagine an empty hall, where nobody knows each other, with whiteboards dotted around the place. They are empty. There is nothing. Then you ask people to add content. Some don’t mind being first, but may think their question will embarrass them if others think it is stupid. Others will just not want to be the first. Others will walk in the room, see nothing worth them staying and leave. You need your team to add questions (probably as pseudo customer users) and to answer them before the launch. Anything is great collateral to get it started. Basic questions to the most advanced questions that you team can think of. With this in place, a new users will walk into an environment that looks active and has interesting content for them add to or ask for more clarification on. 

But this is often THE HARDEST PART of getting a community going. Your colleagues won’t want to do it, as it is seen as “yet another job to do”. So given the choice, they won’t do it. With their leaders making it part of their job, you will have more success. But you might want to have a bit of a competition to really get them motivated.

Another nice way of achieving this is to look at Support case questions and identify common ones that would be useful to have deflected. If you tell your support team that you can get rid of the annoying and repetitive questions, they will be interested.

Anyway, I apologise for the brain dump, but I think these are the key areas you need to think about. You have to sell the ROI from a community and also have to sell the effort from the rest of the organisation that is required. Many organisations feel that setting up a community is just a case of “switching it on” and expect immediate results. That doesn’t happen. You need the rest of your team to show up to make it work 😉

Userlevel 6
Badge +7

Beyond your buy-in deck, I presented at Gainsight’s Pulse Conference in 2023 on Product Management Principles that might be helpful as you get into the nitty gritty of your community strategy and operations. 

Level Up Your Community Strategy and Ops with Product Management Principles

Engagement and content from staff is absolutely the most important thing prior to launch and when it is launched. Imagine an empty hall, where nobody knows each other, with whiteboards dotted around the place. They are empty. There is nothing. Then you ask people to add content. Some don’t mind being first, but may think their question will embarrass them if others think it is stupid. Others will just not want to be the first. Others will walk in the room, see nothing worth them staying and leave. You need your team to add questions (probably as pseudo customer users) and to answer them before the launch. Anything is great collateral to get it started. Basic questions to the most advanced questions that you team can think of. With this in place, a new users will walk into an environment that looks active and has interesting content for them add to or ask for more clarification on. 

But this is often THE HARDEST PART of getting a community going. Your colleagues won’t want to do it, as it is seen as “yet another job to do”. So given the choice, they won’t do it. With their leaders making it part of their job, you will have more success. But you might want to have a bit of a competition to really get them motivated.

While not directly related to internal buy-in, get with your Sales and CS teams to see if any customers have expressed interest in a community or might know product power users. Invite these customers to your external beta, with an expectation that they will provide seed content (discussions and questions) to populate the community prior to launch. Their buy-in? They will help establish the community’s initial vibe and gain recognition for being a founder.

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