How to Successfully Transition a Won Project to a Project Manager


LOS ANGELES, June 16, 2016 — So you won a project? Congratulations! You breathe a sigh of relief knowing you can finally pass it off to the talented hands of theproject manager. It might feel like your job as the salesperson is complete, but if you want your project to be successful, your job has just begun!

My experience in a hybrid position as both a project manager and salesperson has allowed me to observe what is required of both roles in order to ensure smooth sailing. My advice and observations below are directed primarily towards the sales role.

We can all probably relate to the varied amount of time needed to transition projects. I have won projects that require anywhere from five minutes to an hour of transition time. Thus, if you have five won projects to transition, the hand-off could take anywhere from thirty minutes to half of your entire work day.

How to Prioritize Incoming Projects

The first step is determining which projects demonstrate the highest sense of urgency. Factors that determine urgency can include, but are not limited to:

  • Timeline — is the study launching ASAP? Is it a race among vendors?
  • Transition time — will the study take five minutes or thirty minutes to transition to a PM?
  • Country in which the study is being conducted — if you win a study launching in Japan but the current time in Japan is 3 a.m., it’s probably not imperative to launch immediately as the majority of valid panel takers will be sleeping
  • Individual work circumstances that may influence your prioritization — if you have ten minutes before a meeting, tackle the opportunity to transition the study that only requires five minutes versus the one that requires 45 minutes, even if the 45-minute win came first chronologically

Details, details, details

Did I say it enough? There is no such thing as too much detail as long as it’s not confusing or convoluted. When I am wearing my sales hat to transition a project to a Project Manager, I go through everything I would need form the perspective of the PM to run the study successfully.

Project Management Detail Checklist:

  • Project name: 

  • IR: 
  • Client PO#: 
  • LOI: 
  • Target: 
  • Quotas Details: 
  • Country: 
  • Miscellaneous notes:
  • CPI = 
  • Programming/Hosting:
  • N size commissioned=
  • Attachments:
  • Total N size for project = 
  • Field Start Date:
  • Device Compatibility:
  • Field End Date:

Don’t expect the PM to sort through the bidding emails in order to view the original bid communication. Always include it in your transition notes. Once the PM has all relevant information, your job as the salesperson continues; monitoring the project through its lifecycle. If you notice the IR is not performing to spec, check with the PM first to see if there is anything you can adjust internally before inquiring with the client. By no means do you need to bother the PM with inefficient questions.

Here’s an example of a common scenario and alternative:

Scenario: The project isn’t performing to spec.

Question: “What’s happening here?”

Alternative: Check the project details. You will probably find something more specific you can reference or add to your question, asking something more along the lines of, “I noticed females 18-24 are open in your project but closed in the client reporting tool. Can you take a look when you have a minute?”

Your job as the salesperson is to help the PM, not add more stress. I have always believed that in most cases, the success of the project ultimately lies on the salesperson.

Happy transitioning!

About Katherine Albers:

Katherine Albers is the Senior Manager of Global Client Services for Innovate. Previously, she worked for another sampling firm where she helped lead project management for the company. For Innovate, Katherine contributes her experience and knowledge to many of Innovate’s clients and assists in guiding the development of Innovate’s sampling technology.

About Innovate:
Real People. Quality Data.™ Innovate is a global online sampling firm, generating high-quality data from engaged panelists. Founded by Matt Dusig, Gregg Lavin and George Llorens, Innovate provides 24/7 client service to thousands of market researchers and research departments around the world. Innovate pioneered Human-Powered Sampling™ which promotes responsive communication for client satisfaction and created the First Class Panel™ which is a heavily-screened, profiled and engaged audience of survey respondents.

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