The SA organization uses process mapping as a framework for structured and continuous improvement. LucidChart is used to document SA execution workflow and details; in other words, what we do and how we do it is documented as a visual process map. This provides a single location to find reusable artifacts, enablement, and tooling.
The goals of SA process mapping are inclusive of the following:
SA process mapping is not meant to restrict creativity, experimentation, or improvement. As part of the SA Learning Organization, SAs are encouraged to challenge our mental models and focus on solving problems as a team. If something can be done better, please try it out and share your learnings. Contribute to our process maps and to the supporting handbook pages.
To following process maps are best viewed in full screen. Please note that many of the map nodes are clickable, leading to other maps, handbook pages, or other supporting artifacts.
Solutions Architects record all customer and prospect activity to promote transparency and collaboration. By consistently capturing our customer facing activity, we can perform analysis for further reporting to establish efficient decision making for GitLab's business. More information on this process can be found on the SA Activity Capture page.
Follow the process detailed in the Working with Professional Services handbook page.
Simplified process description:
Follow the process detailed in the GitLab's Customer Assurance Activities handbook page.
Simplified process description:
Enterprise Solutions Architects typically support two sales teams made up of Sales Development Representatives, Strategic Account Leaders and Technical Account Managers. Commercial Sales Solutions Architects support Mid-Market Account Executives and SMB Customer Advocates in a pooled model. When joining a sales team, establishing working agreements is critical to providing optimal service to the customers as well as the GitLab team. A sample template of working agreements is found below to help facilitate conversation and establish these agreements:
The entire cross-functional team should help in the preparation of the QBR content that the sales rep will present during the QBR, and should participate in the QBR session. It is often helpful to perform a dry run of the QBR with the area sales manager prior to the actual meeting, to review the content and timing of the presentation.
Solution Architects may participate in initial qualifying meetings (IQM's) or allow the SDR and SAL/AE to manage the initial call and utilize information gained during it for additional preparation. Teams can handle this on a case by case basis.
When reaching out to engage SAs during opportunity qualification and discovery, technical evaluations, please provide the below information. This will enable the SAs to execute an efficient and relevant discovery, ensuring our prospects' / customers' optimal experience. The SAs reserve the right to decline the meeting if the below information is missing/not provided after being asked & if the correct personas are not engaged. We will review the exceptions on a case-by-case basis in case the below information is not provided and/or not qualified.
Solution Architects should participate in technical discovery after lead qualification is complete and in other activities during the sales process that lead to a technical win, e.g.
SA's may also work in tandem with a TAM to support existing customers, especially when expand opportunities exist within the account. And SA's may also have regular touch points smaller customers who do not have a TAM assigned.
Prior to any technical discovery and demo preparation, the SA should be provided with the following information about the current opportunity:
The Solutions Architect, in order to tailor conversations and demos to demonstrate value as well as address current problem areas, will want to understand the following information, and may request further technical discovery prior to any demo:
U.S. Enterprise SA's are aligned regionally with Strategic Account Leaders and aligned in their respective account activities. Each team collaborates according to their own Working Agreements.
When workload exceeds the SA's capacity or when there is a request from other departments, please submit the request for assistance on either of the enterprise triage boards based on region: US EAST Triage Board or US WEST Triage Board. The issue creation and triage processes are described in detail below.
EMEA Enterprise SA's are aligned regionally with Strategic Account Leaders and aligned in their respective account activities. Each team collaborates according to standard Working Agreements, but they can be adjusted by teams individually.
Default alignment is maintained in the EMEA Triage README. Exceptions will happen, especially in the case where SAL's work with named accounts.
When workload exceeds the SA's capacity or when there is a request from other departments, please submit the request for assistance on the EMEA Triage Board. The issue creation and triage processes are described in detail below.
SA engagement for customer interactions, RFP's, audits and more (how to engage a Commercial SA) can be requested by an SMB or Mid-Market Account Executive or other GitLab team-member using the appropriate GitLab issue board. Commercial boards exist for both the Americas and EMEA. The Americas Commercial Triage Board and the EMEA Commercial Triage Board are leveraged by the team in order to ensure coverage for all sales activity. The issue creation and triage processes are described in detail below.
Customer Success Team (SA/TAM) engagement for customer interactions, RFP's, audits and more can be requested by a Strategic Account Leaders, an SMB or Mid-Market Account Executive or other GitLab team-member using the appropriate GitLab issue board. A single APAC Triage board exists that serves both Enterprise and Commerical markets. The APAC Triage Board is leveraged by the team in order to ensure coverage for all sales activity. The issue creation and triage processes are described in detail below.
The SA team associated with each region will monitor the triage board and/or an associated Slack channel for incoming work and will contact the appropriate Customer Success team members via Slack, email or phone depending on required skills, schedules and availability. SLA for activity is 48 hours unless the issue is marked with an 'Expedite' label.
When technical staff is required for a marketing event, follow the process outlined on the Marketing Events page. SA managers and others in Customer Success should monitor the Event Staffing Board regularly for new events (although Marketing staff will CC the appropriate managers on issues.)
When a prospect or customer have required capabilities that do not map directly to our product offering, Solutions Architect’s first step is to explore solutions or work-arounds that would satisfy their requirements with our current toolset. If the SA is unable to determine an approach that works for the prospect, the next best action is to reach out to the Product Manager. To determine what Product Manager is appropriate, review the Product Categories handbook page.
To be efficient as possible, this is the recommended approach: