Customer Success Leadership Community

  • 1.  New customer valuable Onboarding journey

    Posted 9 days ago

    In the past 2 years as a CS, I have been struggling with creating an efficient and simple onboarding process for our new clients.  

     

    SaaS B2B platforms can be very intimidating at first and look very complicated to use. Like all companies, we put a lot of effort to hook up new clients. 

     

    Our duty as CS managers is to help our new clients get the best from our products. We aim to deliver a fast and clear onboarding so they can benefit from our platform right away. That's how we can ensure better engagement with our product and higher satisfaction level from our end users.

     

    I know this challenge is quite common for CS teams and therefore I was thinking maybe we can share some ideas and inspiration...

    This is how we do it - what do you think?


    #CustomerSuccess

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    Klil Nevo
    Juno journey
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  • 2.  RE: New customer valuable Onboarding journey

    Posted 9 days ago
    Hi Klil,
    I think sharing ideas and inspiration is a great idea!
    You are so right - SaaS platforms can be intimidating - regardless of how versed or savvy a customer is so onboarding can be a big challenge.  I know from being on both sides (providing onboarding and receiving it) that what customers have responded to most and what I value most is understanding the journey of not only how to use the platform, but being able to tie it back to my own company's metrics of success - metrics that would have motivated the purchase in the first place.
    I rely on my experience in business development and BD has two main goals: 1) Make your client's life easier and 2) Make your client look like a superstar.  I find the biggest mistake I have made and have been on the receiving end of is relying on the customer to ask me what they want to learn about the platform.  In many cases, the customer may not even know where to start or may not see the full capabilities of the platform to drive growth across multiple areas.  I believe they are looking to the CSM to guide and direct them by being that archetypal "Yoda" guide.  Take them through proven best practices, use metrics to validate the course of the journey (and still be flexible to additional opportunities), help them understand the big picture in easy-to-digest bites.
    I think customer discovery should start the onboarding process and should be a take-off from the discovery done in the sales process: goals, maximization, KPI metrics, endgame, key players, evolution...etc.  From there the "standard" onboarding journey can be adapted to fit the journey that the customer needs and every step of the way they are seeing the value of their investment.
    Thanks so much for posting this!
    Jodi

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    Jodi Millen
    ThinkAthena
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  • 3.  RE: New customer valuable Onboarding journey

    Posted 2 days ago
    Hi @Klil Nevo
    I am also in B2B SaaS and our platform onboarding process is a bit daunting, as I sometime equate it to onboarding an ERP. There's a lot of data that's disorganized and unstructured and requires a lot of cleansing and normalizing before we can ingest it into our platform.

    I love the idea of sharing ideas and inspirations, and work works and doesn't.

    In terms of a "simple onboarding process", I believe it'll depend on how high level you want to show your customers vs "the mess" that happens behind the scenes on the internal tactical tasks that happen. We utilized a generic onboarding process I found through Support Driven (link below) that's fairly simplistic, but allows you to adapt as you need. I've found this is a good basis to start, but sometimes reality and idealism don't collide. We've used elements of this to create our onboarding process, but since we're still discovering what works and doesn't for us, we're still on the immature side of things.

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/10njBbNo50kBAJxurfmjMX69-3mUZi2Cm/edit#gid=107340442​

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    Benjamin Tu
    Head of Customer Success
    Terzo Technologies
    CA
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  • 4.  RE: New customer valuable Onboarding journey

    Posted yesterday

    Hey Klil, 

    Prior to creating Onboard.io, I spent a few years consulting with early stage SaaS companies creating and optimizing their onboarding journeys. Here are the most common challenges that came up: 

    - Over-complicating the explanation of your onboarding process OR not explaining it at all. There's a happy place in the middle that will leave your customers feeling excited and prepared. Usually that looks like a 3 phase approach - for example, Configuration, Integration, Go Live. Rather than explaining in a complicated email or visual every step along the way (at the beginning), try pulling that back to a simple overview: here's an example

    - Introduction to onboarding and aligning expectations. The customer introduction to onboarding should happen long before the actual introduction. Using something similar to the example above, the Sales team should be sharing what that onboarding process looks like before the deal is closed. This is going to help the customer align their expectations with yours. 

    - Training too early leads to confusion. This might have been the most frequent mishap I saw. Many companies close an opportunity, pass the customer to onboarding, and out of the gate the Onboarding Manager starts training the customer on the product as the first step. The challenge with that is if your onboarding process typically takes 30 days and they're trained on day 1 (or day 5), by the end of onboarding all is lost. They aren't going to remember what they were trained on the first day. 

    - Giving the customer visibility will give them accountability. If the customer doesn't have visibility into what they need to do next at any point in the process it will break. Even aside from that, if they have to reach out to you or sift through emails to figure out what they have to do next, it will break. That's actually why we created Onboard.io. At the end of the day you have to find a way to give the customers exact next steps and make it available to them whenever they want it. 

    - Value, value, value. The value of your product can't solely be post launch. Time to first value is an important metric to follow. The first value doesn't even have to be product related, it can be knowledge that you're sharing with them. If your software legitimately doesn't provide a value until it's live and being used, I'd challenge you to think outside the box. I once told a customer where to get dinner in a city they had never been, the next day they told me that was the best dinner they had ever had. A goofy example, but I became "that guy who knows where to get dinner". The name of the game is constantly providing value. It could be a recommendation on another software they're looking at to solve a different problem, a different way of looking at a problem they're trying to solve, or even just going above and beyond to help them implement your software. Give them that first value, then give them additional value early and often. 

    I wrote an ebook on The Definitive Guide to Customer Onboarding, there are a ton of tactics/strategies in there. 

    Let me know how I can help. Happy to chat and give my feedback on your process (the link in your original post wasn't working for me). 

    Chat soon, 



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    Will Stevenson
    Founder
    http://onboard.io/
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  • 5.  RE: New customer valuable Onboarding journey

    Posted 2 hours ago
    Hey WIll

    Really enjoyed your perspective on Onboarding! I have a question on your third point, Training too early. Can you clarify what you mean if you train on day 1 but your onboarding takes 30 days the customer will forget? For us training on the software is part of the onboarding, so are you referring to Onboarding in this point as implementation? (setting all the neccessary things up?) Perhaps you can help me understand it a little more, I found it a very interesting point that I havent seen around before.

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    Nicholas Ciambrello
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  • 6.  RE: New customer valuable Onboarding journey

    Posted 2 hours ago

    Hey Nicholas, 

    Absolutely happy to expand. I view Implementation (in most cases) as the first part of Onboarding. Many companies blur the lines between the two and in the first (or second) meeting post sales they train the customer on the software. From my experience this almost never works.

    At this point it's almost like the customer is coming off a high + a stressful situation. They've found a software that will help them solve a problem. They were really excited. They went through some sort of sales motion, where they had to prove internally that the juice is worth the squeeze, they had to negotiate in many cases, and then they signed their reputation away saying "this is going to work". It's an exciting, terrifying, stressful situation... Then in many cases we say "Welcome. Now I'm going to train you, remember all this, and then we're going to configure, integrate, and test the solution." We're never giving the customer a break in that situation. 

    I would even saying doing a full scale training in the first part of post implementation is too early. After they've configured, integrated, and tested, it's just the start of the journey to truly understanding the product. Personally, I like the break the training into micro education sessions. Maybe the first week post-implementation, you have a goal of getting them educated on this part of the product. After they see success there, the next weeks goal is to provide education on that part of the product. When they see success, we move on. 

    With really complex solutions, it's almost impossible to provide full training on the product at any one point. Think about it from a consumer brand standpoint. If you've ever driven a Tesla, there's no way you learned everything in one session. Session one is learning you don't need a traditional key, it brakes for you as soon as you take your foot off the gas, and charging 101. Session two might be how to connect your phone, moving to different driving modes, and finding nearest superchargers, etc. 

    Whether we want to admit it or not our B2B SaaS buyers are comparing our onboarding process to consumer brand onboarding processes. The question I'll ask is, how can your company's onboarding process be more like Tesla or Apple's onboarding process?



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    Will Stevenson
    Founder
    http://onboard.io/
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  • 7.  RE: New customer valuable Onboarding journey

    Posted an hour ago
    Hey Will

    Thanks for the quick reply, super interesting and agree. Challenges we have is 1 our product doesnt really need much implementation as theres very little set up and people tend to drop off in engagement over time. In the progression you brought up (learning in small phases) have you seen large drop offs in engagement over time? Feels like in todays world everyone wants immediate satisfaction. How are you balancing that with a phased approach?

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    Nicholas Ciambrello
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