4 Best Practices for Making the Most of the Braze Integration and Onboarding Process

Benjamin Kasman By Benjamin Kasman Mar 23, 2021

So you’ve decided to start using Braze—congratulations! It’s a big step for your business and one that makes a lot of exceptional things possible for your marketing strategy and user engagement efforts. But just as customer/brand relationships aren’t built in a day, setting up your business for success with the Braze platform is an ongoing process that involves thoughtful planning and collaboration between your organization and the Braze team.

That’s why the Braze Integrations & Onboarding organization works with new Braze customers to make their onboarding process as smooth and impactful as possible. This process can be somewhat different from customer to customer, but at its core it’s about building a relationship, agreeing on goals and needs, and providing expert insights that can help companies master onboarding and implementation-related challenges—from making sure that all the channels you plan to use are integrated properly to determining that you have your data collection strategy set. That allows you to ensure that this part of your project doesn’t take any longer than necessary and that you can start using Braze to forge connections with your users ASAP.

To make that process as seamless and useful as possible, I spoke to some of my colleagues on the Integrations & Onboarding team to gather their recommendations on four key things to focus on as you begin this exciting process:

1. Get Everybody on the Same Page

As with most large, cross-functional projects, internal alignment and clear communications is key. But what does that look like? Well, imagine that your brand’s CRM team is raring to go and wants to jump into the Braze platform this week, but your engineering team is working on a sprint that ends 10 days from now...and are only vaguely aware of what Braze is and why they should spent time and resources getting it integrated.

But while this kind of situation can be hard, it isn’t inevitable. To smooth out the process, we generally recommend starting the internal conversations early and making sure that whichever members of your team who are going to be hands on in the Braze dashboard are communicating with the folks who will be helping to carry out the actual integration work. Having an internal meeting that covers your resource readiness and schedules for both the marketing and engineering teams can work wonders and significantly increase the odds that your brand will leverage Braze on schedule. In addition, thinking through all the different teams who touch your customer experience and your technology stack can be a good way to ensure that every potential stakeholder in your organization is looped in from the beginning.

For our part, the Braze Integrations & Onboarding team makes a point of providing support and assets that can help your team make those key connections early on and align on your brand’s priorities and goals. That support can include:

  • Onboarding meetings and worksheets to give your teams the opportunity to talk through priorities and timelines—and to diagram what you’re looking to achieve

  • Detailed documentation for both marketing and dev stakeholders, ensuring that key stakeholders are up to speed on what’s possible with Braze and any relevant considerations from a technical perspective

  • Time-to-launch Braze customer case studies providing perspective on the experiences of other brands that have gone through this process

  • Optional Braze services to support a more hands-on approach to the onboarding process, if needed

  • Referrals to Braze Alloys solutions partners for brands looking for even more assistance and resources as they tackle this important process

"The whole onboarding team were amazing. They were really accessible, happy to support, always looking to learn about our business and support our goals. The team were friendly and very keen to make sure we were successful. It was a pleasure working with them."

—Mark Fulton, Comms Platform Product Owner, Virgin Media

2. Set the Right Scope

Once your whole team is aligned about when to get started with the Braze onboarding and integration process, you’ll want to prioritize what the team works on first. When we talk about determining the scope of your Braze onboarding, we’re really talking about two different kinds of scopes, both of which can impact onboarding complexity and how long it takes to get up and running with Braze.

  • Functional Scope: This covers the functionalities and messaging channels you’re looking to implement with Braze (think setting up email or ensuring that the Braze Web SDK is integrated with your Content Cards)

  • Value Scope: This refers to the essential campaigns your brand is looking to implement during your onboarding (think building out a new seven-day customer onboarding flow across multiple channels or launching a weekly email newsletter)

As you’d expect, the complexity—and number—of things on your Braze wishlist can impact the work and time needed for your company’s onboarding. That’s why it’s so essential to have a clear picture of your must-haves, your nice-to-haves, and what items are low-priority; it makes it possible to understand more fully up front what work needs to be done and what timeframes are realistic for your onboarding.

If your focus is on speed, we’ll work with your brand to identify a target integration date—usually 60 or 90 days after kickoff—and collaborate with you to build out a plan to hit that timeline by reducing time to integration, time to production, and time to value. But while we’re proud of how quickly our customers are able to hit the ground running with Braze, speed isn’t always the central consideration for brands. For brands looking to leverage the full range of Braze channels, for instance, it can be more impactful to focus on prioritizing the breadth of the onboarding and implementation, rather than trying to rush to do everything in a 60-day window.

So how do you get started when it comes to assessing scope? As one of my colleagues put it, “Ultimately, marketing and engineering teams must be in lock-step and aligned on the same understanding of the scope required to achieve their marketing goals.” This is especially important if you’re integrating multiple channels and platforms, and don’t have the resources to do them all at once.

The Braze team will help you talk through your priorities, business goals, and resourcing constraints in order to help you identify where to start, and then how you proceed from there. We’ve found that having new customers review the Braze Developer Guide to outline all the steps needed to successfully integrate each channel in connection with Braze can do a lot to simplify the process and improve internal understanding of what’s needed. Separately, we highly recommend that leads from both your marketing and engineering team talk through what is needed for your brand to see success with its use of Braze (i.e. what KPIs and metrics the marketing organization need to measure and what their goals are) as well as around what’s feasible for the engineering org to accomplish in a given time period. These conversations aren’t a magic bullet, but they can do a lot to support a more effective, timely onboarding process.

3. Take Advantage of a Wealth of Valuable Content and Resources

Want to become a Braze pro? That’s what we want, too! And the resources we share can help you get there—in fact, the LAB (Learning at Braze) courses you’re given are actually the same instructional series that Braze uses to teach new hires the ins-and-outs of our platform. (Our three most popular courses? Braze 101, Email Deliverability, and Custom Events and Attributes.) Your onboarding team will likely provide you with a list of LAB courses to enroll in before they provide you with a tailored dashboard training and other enablement sessions. These LAB courses cover the fundamentals of Braze and allow you to get more out of the customized trainings that will follow.

Beyond LAB, your onboarding team will also provide you with relevant documentation for channels in your scope and a shared workspace where your team and the Braze team can collaborate on timelines, integration milestones, data/campaign planning, and even QA steps for your integration. Looking for guidance on any of these subjects? The workspace will have them all consolidated in one place for your team to leverage!

Looking for some relevant content to start reviewing as you begin the onboarding process? Check out these additional key resources:

  • Braze User Guide — This resource covers essential topics related to getting started with Braze and spotlights key functionality.

  • Braze Developer Guide — These resources are aimed at developers looking for documentation on the Braze platform and related topics.

  • Braze Blog — This resource provides ongoing coverage of the customer engagement landscape, and highlights Braze use cases, strategy, and game-changing campaigns, as well as 101 content, exclusive interviews, and a lot more.

  • Braze Bonfire — This customer-focused Slack community allows end users and other individuals at Braze customer companies to connect with each other to highlight industry trends, share best practices, and discuss the Braze product.

  • Braze Quarterly Product Launches — Every three months, our Product Marketing team walks Braze customers through major new Braze product releases, feature updates, and other key developments—and answers customer questions at an exclusive webinar series.

  • Braze@Braze Messaging — This outreach is delivered to you using Braze, showing off how the Braze platform can be used to provide impactful digital experiences to your inbox and within the Braze product and highlighting new content and resources relevant to your onboarding journey as they’re released.

4. Stay Curious

Questions always come up. So don’t be shy about asking them! The Braze Integrations & Onboarding team is here because we want to help you use Braze successfully, so please don’t hesitate to reach out when there’s something on your mind. We make a point of creating additional content and resources inspired by common customer questions and challenges, so by surfacing concerns or areas of confusion, you can not only improve your brand’s own outcomes—you can help make things clearer for others in your situation going forward.

Once you’ve had your kickoff with Braze, you’ll be provided with a team email alias (think “[email protected]”) that includes not only your Braze onboarding team, but also commercial contacts and even managers and directors at Braze. This is a great place to surface questions, feedback, and product suggestions as they arise, allowing you to be proactive about your brand’s use of Braze.

What if you haven’t started your onboarding process yet but still have burning questions? In that situation feel free to forward any questions you might have to your commercial representative, who can provide you with the answers you need. Unsure what your onboarding package includes, or what support looks like after onboarding is complete, or maybe what a certain feature in Braze does? Just ask!

Final Thoughts

The Braze Integrations & Onboarding team is here to help. As you begin your customer engagement journey with Braze, our goal is support and collaborate with your team to help you reach—or exceed!—your goals. By focusing on the tips above and leaning on our assistance and expertise, you’ll be well-positioned to get aligned internally, leverage Braze resources, and master customer engagement.

For more on how to get started with the Braze platform and your customer engagement journey, check our guide: “Learning to Use Braze.”

Benjamin Kasman

Benjamin Kasman

Ben Kasman is a Product Manager at Braze working on our SDKs team. When he’s not plannings team sprints, you can find him planning his next Chipotle order, or his next running route.

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