Customer Success Leadership Community

Customer Onboarding for Scale

  • 1.  Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 10-27-2021 16:03
    Hey GGR Friends!
    We are starting to investigate ways to better serve our smaller customers, using as much tech touch as possible. I'm hoping you all have some great examples of what is working for your orgs. We have a really robust onboarding program for enterprise customers, but haven't had the same success with our smaller tiers. 
    Send good news stories, happy to exchange knowledge on anything you may be looking for in return!
    TIA

    #CustomerJourney

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    Jonna Pedersen
    Senior Manager, Customer Success
    Intelex
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  • 2.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 10-27-2021 17:00
    Hi Jonna, 

    If you're having success with enterprise customers, you likely know what feature adoptions lead to long-term perceived value and retention. 

    Drive to First Value: If you can pin point these feature adoptions for smaller customers, and drive tech-touch campaigns/automations toward achieving these, I think that's a good high-level approach.   Additionally, I would say make sure the sales team is aware of what you're trying to drive the customer toward in that first 30/60/90 days, and give them collateral to drive that message forward.  That collateral could be a checklist, roadmap, etc. the customer gets at signing, or whatever works for your customer journey.   

    In-Product Guidance:  I also have found that if you can marry the key adoption points and messaging into in-product notifications and checklists, I think that takes it a step further in effectiveness and scalability.  Additionally, if it isn't a complete tech-touch-only onboarding for these customers, you can leverage in-product reporting to identify new customers who are behind the ideal adoption schedule, and then leverage human-touch for those customers.   This directs your employee resources toward potential risks so A. it's clear opportunity, and B. it's not too late to intervene and get the customer course-corrected.  

    Webinars:  Lastly, depending on the type of product and customer, you could host Onboarding webinars.  I've seen this be effectively used to onboard smaller customers at scale.  I think a common mistake with this approach is expecting too much scale from it.  Don't expect that 50+ customers can attend.... questions alone will kill the effectiveness(even if questions are kept for the end or the chat function, which they should be).  Limit this to 10 or so customers per session - arbitrary numbers, as really this depends on complexity of product and variance of customer use cases.   This can be really effective when done well, but can also be a mess and become wildly inconsistent.  I'd recommend selecting 2 or 3 of your top onboarding team members and have them dial out an onboarding webinar script/flow which they each record, listen to each others', and iterate on how to make it better - and then go live with it.  Keep iterating from there. 

    Those are the core ideas which come to mind.

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    William Buckingham
    Customer Success Operations Manager
    Delphix
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  • 3.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 10-28-2021 08:52
    Hi William
     Thanks so much for your response, we are behind in some of what you mention (for example in app messaging, but we are hoping to make more progress in 2022). Love the idea of the onboarding webinar, gives a personal touch. I've been focused on building a customer journey via Gainsight for success planning, then seeding (via campaign reach outs) the customers based on initial response with onboarding tips and tricks based on what their KPI/ROI metrics were identified as. Have you built out anything similar?
    Jonna

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    Jonna Pedersen
    Intelex
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  • 4.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 10-28-2021 11:26
    Hi Jonna, 

    In reality I should have put Webinars first in my list as is it is the most actionable, easiest to implement of the three.  It really can be effective as heck.  I just can't stress the importance of practicing it first enough.   And yes, it does provide a personal touch, yet also scale.  You can start the webinar with the host introducing his or herself in a fun, human way, and/or include a bit about "Who is your webinar host" in the invite.  

    Regarding campaigning customers based off the their initial response and what KPI/ROI aspects, I haven't done this but definitely could see basing this off KPIs/ROI Metrics important to the customer would have moved the needle in the past.  I think for SMB if you have some very specific, narrow metrics that apply to a vast majority of customers, you could have sales validate these, build and input into  the CRM/Gainsight as part of the sales cycle, and then you could campaign off of those. I think your thinking is totally in the right place with that idea.   The dual benefit of this is down the road you could likely do some insightful reporting based off retention and expansion rates of customers segmented by which KPIs/ROI metrics they prioritize.   If one metric proves significantly more retention or expansion, maybe Sales and CS need to sell the customer on the importance of that metric.

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    William Buckingham
    Customer Success Operations Manager
    Delphix
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  • 5.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 10-29-2021 11:35
    Jonna!

    Let's chat sometime. I've done what you're saying a couple times in prior companies. Lots of lessons and learnings, happy to spend some time talking through them. 

    Definitely think about webinars, some sort of learning management system (or LMS), different content types, on-demand vs. live content, in-app onboarding, help centers. All of those play together to give you the option to onboard all your customers. 

    If you already have a really robust onboarding program, great! Parts of that are what you'll need to scale. 

    Shoot me a message (shareil@arrows.to) or DM me - totally happy to find some time to chat!

    Shareil 


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    Shareil Nariman
    Arrows
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  • 6.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 10-29-2021 11:56
    Thanks Shariel! I'll send an email your way so we can connect :)

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    Jonna Pedersen
    Senior Manager, Customer Success
    Intelex Technologies
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  • 7.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 10-29-2021 15:14
    Looking forward to it!

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    Shareil Nariman
    Arrows
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  • 8.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Moderator
    Posted 11-01-2021 08:29

    This would make for a great podcast episode or webinar. 

    @Jeff Breunsbach



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    Jay Nathan
    Chief Customer Officer
    Higher Logic
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  • 9.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 30 days ago
    Agree @Jay Nathan! Would love to hear a pod on this topic​

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    Sam Quirke
    Acendre
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  • 10.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 11-02-2021 09:36

    First ones that come to mind:

    1. PLG principles, given you have an ironclad relationship w Product and Marketing (and Sales)
    2. Adoption platform s/w
    3. LMS
    4. Onboarding CMJ checklists
    5. Pooled CSM + Digital CS touchpoints
    6. Video academy series
    7. Webinars + Community
    8. Job Aids
    9. Go Live Expo/Kick-Offs
    10. Pre-Sales Use Case(s) --> Go Live with Tutorials



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    Jeff Heckler
    Director of Customer Success Solutions
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  • 11.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Moderator
    Posted 29 days ago
    A 360°, 100% complete list, Jeff. No surprise when you have to figure out how to take care of 90K+ customers.

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    Andreas Knoefel
    2020 - Top100 Customer Success Strategist
    Inventor of the Customer Success Performance Index™
    I maximize customer ROI, and boost CS efficiencies and Net Revenue Retention
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  • 12.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 30 days ago
    Hi Jonna -

    I wrote an article on the subject as I have been helping a lot of companies revamp their onboarding process.  Take a look (hope it is helpful): 

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/your-saas-onboarding-process-ready-lift-off-robert-kagan

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    Rob Kagan
    Boxless Consulting
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  • 13.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 30 days ago
    Thanks Rob! I will share with my onboarding team for sure, really appreciate the link!

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    Jonna Pedersen
    Senior Manager, Customer Success
    Intelex Technologies
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  • 14.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 29 days ago
    I've been focusing on customer onboarding at scale (digital motion) over the past couple years so I'm sharing some of my learnings below.

    1. Use data to power personalization wherever possible - with the small customers you're most likely not talking to them (at least not as often as your large enterprise customers) so you can't ask them how they're using the product. We shifted from generic onboarding messaging to personalized messaging based on what a customer has or has not adopted over the past year and our adoption and retention numbers for our segment of customers without a CSM has gone up considerably. We also started including personalized onboarding videos in our emails that offer different information and recommendations based on the customer's Salesforce data. 
    2. Go beyond email - Email works for some customers but not all customers. In product guides have proven valuable and I'm starting to look into other channels like re-targeting on LinkedIn and webinars. If anyone has any experience with post-sales engagement in 3rd party channels I'd be interested in learning more
    3. Monitor how customers onboard in different ways - Our customer ops team built out a healthscore specific to our customers without a CSM to flag to us whether a customer is healthy so we can course correct onboarding early (day 45). If they're exhibiting unhealthy behavior, we trigger an email based on what that unhealthy behavior is. If they still don't course correct, we're testing what it looks like to have an onboarding specialist reach out. There is likely a point at which some customers cannot address whatever problem they have with self-serve resources.
    4. Don't stop at onboarding - Onboarding is often a good first step since poor adoption in the beginning can set a customer up for failure, but we found we can still leave a customer stranded and set the renewal up for failure if we stop engaging with them after onboarding. The messaging is different (more about demonstrating the value they're getting and recommendations for how they can get more value) but still important. 


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    Alana Stoltzfus
    Okta
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  • 15.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 9 days ago

    This is excellent. So far I have done messages based on days and stuff like that, webinars, help center.

    But next on my list is more personalized messaging based on their actions, in-app messages, and we need to focus on demonstrating value.



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    Tevin Broner
    Channel Retention Manager
    Fathom
    WA
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  • 16.  RE: Customer Onboarding for Scale

    Posted 8 days ago
    I'll chime in here and add that onboarding to scale should probably also include some tailoring to industry/sector and ensuring that onboarding materials are available in a variety of formats to ensure accessibility.  I have worked in several vastly different industries and each of them has its own industry "culture" that impacts how information is shared, absorbed, etc.  A good example is construction.  It is a widely overlooked industry and statically lags significantly behind every other industry in tech adoption on all fronts.  However, it is the largest industry in the world and in post-pandemic evolution, is struggling to adapt to hybrid and remote ways of working and doing business, all the way often being very gun-shy of basic things that everyone else considers normal, like cloud servers, or CRMS and really struggles to shift.  That industry is made up of hundreds of multi-million dollar businesses in every country and those businesses represent huge opportunity for the solutions that will scale to them and meet them where they are at.  So all this to say, I think onboarding is not only about the size of the customer but also the culture of the customer - the onboarding that can adapt to those will, I think, find success in unexpected places.

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    Jodi Millen
    ThinkAthena
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