How To Select The Right Customer Onboarding And Implementation Software?

Find the best customer onboarding and implementation software for your business needs. Explore our blog for insights into customer onboarding and implementation


March 30, 2022

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    For any SaaS company, effectively onboarding new customers and ensuring smooth implementations are crucial to long-term success. The customer journey typically begins with a promising sales conversation and proceeds through pre-sales, onboarding, implementation, and eventually renewal and expansion.

    How you manage this journey has a significant business impact, especially in the startup world. Research shows that SaaS companies can potentially increase retention by 25-50% and grow recurring revenue by up to 10% by improving their onboarding and implementation processes. On the other hand, poor or disjointed handoffs between teams can lead to customer churn, wasted resources, and missed revenue opportunities.

    In the enterprise SaaS industry, it is crucial for businesses to prioritize customer success in order to remain competitive. As the industry moves from on-premise to subscription-based models, enterprises are placing a greater emphasis on customer-centricity .

    Choosing the right customer onboarding and implementation software is thus critical for SaaS businesses looking to streamline processes, enhance collaboration, remove friction, and ultimately deliver value faster. Consolidating data and workflows into a single source of truth propels an aligned, insight-driven customer journey. Teams are empowered to work together to activate customers faster and promote adoption, while leadership gains visibility to optimize investments and accommodate a growing customer base.

    The goal of this post is to unpack what best-in-class SaaS customer onboarding and implementation software looks like, key selection criteria for solutions, and how to get started on evaluating the softwares that can help you transform the customer experience.

    What Does A Customer Journey Look Like In Any Enterprise Saas Industry?

    Customer Journey in SaaS Enterprise

    Understanding the typical customer journey in enterprise SaaS is critical. Each stage of the journey is owned by specialized teams with defined goals and processes. Here's a breakdown of what the journey typically looks like:

    Pre-Sales Stage

    • Lead generation: The marketing team generates buzz through targeted campaigns and events that capture promising leads. Sales development representatives qualify accounts further.
    • Sales conversations: Account executives contact leads to present solutions, demo products, discuss pricing, and negotiate proposals.
    • Proposals and negotiations: Deal desks support the sales process until the customer signs the contract.

    Onboarding Stage  

    • Contract signing: Legal teams finalize details before the customer agreement is signed electronically.
    • Provisioning and access: Operations staff provisions cloud environments, creates accounts/credentials and sends welcome communications with training links.
    • Initial training and support: Customer success managers conduct orientation sessions to go through the basics. Support addresses early questions.

    Implementation Stage

    • Data migration: Engineers work on transferring client data from legacy systems into the new SaaS environment.
    • Custom configurations: Solutions architects implement integrations, customize rulesets, build custom reports/dashboards, etc. based on the scope of work.
    • Integrations: Dev teams establish real-time syncs between the SaaS platform and other core enterprise systems (ERP, CRM, etc.)

    Customer Success Stage

    • Adoption tracking: CSMs routinely examine usage metrics to proactively diagnose bottlenecks impacting adoption.
    • Expansion opportunities: Account managers connect periodically to discuss new feature releases and identify expansion scenarios within the enterprise.

    By understanding the customer journey in the enterprise SaaS industry, businesses can optimize their processes and ensure a positive experience for their customers.

    Brief Process and Issues

    While customer onboarding and implementation is indispensable for SaaS businesses, the underlying workflows have become highly fragmented across multiple teams, systems, and touchpoints:

    Manual Handoff Between Teams

    The customer journey typically kicks off with sales discovery calls and demos. Once a deal is closed, the account gets tossed over the wall from sales to onboarding staff. The core knowledge transfer happens through scattered emails, phone calls, meeting minutes and siloed CRM records.

    Rather than a consolidated customer profile, the onboarding coordinator has to manually piece together context from various sources. Relevant details frequently fall through the cracks during this rushed handover before day-one meetings.

    Data Silos Across Tools

    Customer data lives fragmented across sales CRMs, onboarding checklist trackers, project management apps, and service desk tickets. There is no single source showing real-time customer health or a complete history since initial deal sourcing.

    While each team has visibility into their engagement metrics, connecting the dots between adoption, satisfaction and revenues requires time-intensive manual analysis. Leadership thus suffers from a lack of aggregated insights.

    Duplicate and Out-Of-Sync Data

    As customers interact with various departments, they often end up providing duplicate information on contacts, technical specifications and business requirements. For example, sharing the list of users who need access multiple times.

    This replicated data also gets out-of-date quickly as organizational changes occur over time. Syncing updates across all downstream teams then turns into a major bottleneck without systematized processes.

    Unmet Expectations

    In their eagerness to close deals, sales teams frequently overpromise product capabilities beyond standard features or underestimate implementation complexities. Customers get disenchanted post-launch when reality does not match the original pitch.

    Since pre-sales tended to gloss over limitations, implementation staff inherit the task of firefighting bug fixes and extensions to bridge the gap. But absence of shared visibility hinders verifying achievable milestones early on.

    The downstream impact manifests in protracted launches, cost overruns, adoption lags, technical debt and increased churn risks over time. For instance, lack of contextual knowledge during onboarding hampers proactively driving utilization and value realization.

    Eliminating such friction requires breaking down cross-functional barriers and connecting workflows across the customer journey.

    So What’s The Solution?

    The fragmented systems and data underlying complex SaaS onboarding journeys call for a platform approach that breaks down functional silos and connects workflows end-to-end. Rather than makeshift bridges between separate apps, the model needs to shift towards unified customer intelligence.

    Consolidate Systems and Data into a Single Platform

    Eliminating information gaps requires consolidating siloed tools into a single source of truth like CogniSaaS which centralizes customer data across the entire lifecycle. This connected system with the customer at the epicenter fosters fluid cross-functional orchestration.

    For instance, instead of rushed email handoffs, sales can directly transition accounts to onboarding teams within CogniSaaS via in-app triggers. All deal artifacts and prior communications stay preserved in context for the next phase.

    CogniSaaS also seamlessly integrates complementary platforms like JIRA to sync product dependencies. This keeps all customer insights interconnected across enterprise systems to enable real-time alignment.

    Structured Cross-functional Collaboration Across Teams

    Complex coordination between functions further necessitates workflow automation. CogniSaaS transforms manual efforts into structured sequences using rule-based assigners, reminders, approval chains, and playbook templates standardizing cross-functional processes.

    For example, customer usage reports can automatically trigger scheduled QBR meetings between success managers and product leaders to discuss adoption trends. This drives precision in execution while allowing customization where required.

    Single Source of Truth Dashboard

    CogniSaaS provides an all-encompassing solution for system consolidation and engagement data aggregation. By integrating all engagement data into unified dashboards, leadership can benefit from unprecedented clarity, thereby eliminating the need for piecing together tribal metrics. CogniSaaS offers integrated visibility into health scores, expansion opportunities, and revenue risks across the onboarding funnel, thus providing an unparalleled level of insight into customer interactions.

    The downstream benefits of interconnecting touchpoints, teams, and data in this manner lead to faster value realization, frictionless adoption, and growth through renewals and new business. With its platform-first approach, CogniSaaS is at the cutting edge of customer onboarding, delivering streamlined processes that ensure success. CogniSaaS's innovative approach eliminates the need for complicated and fragmented processes, providing a solution that is both efficient and effective.

    In conclusion, CogniSaaS has revolutionized customer onboarding, providing a comprehensive solution that is unparalleled in the market. With its integrated approach, CogniSaaS delivers a streamlined and efficient process that leads to faster value realization, frictionless adoption, and growth through renewals and new business. CogniSaaS is the future of customer onboarding and implementation software, paving the way for a new era of streamlined and effective processes.

    What Is A Single Source Of Truth Platform?

    A single source of truth is a repository where data from several platforms may be gathered and arranged in one location. It's simple to use and lets you and other team members view data from one central spot. The following are the components of a single source of truth platform:

    Unified Customer Data and History

    Instead of piecing together account context from sales, delivery, and support systems, an SSP centralizes profiling data, deal records, implementation artifacts, and engagement analytics into unified customer records. This provides comprehensive visibility minimizing information loss across handoffs.

    Cross-functional Transparency

    When various metrics are connected on common dashboards across pre-sales, onboarding, implementation, and beyond, transparency emerges at scale.The progress and health signals visible to customer success now align tightly with sales expectations and implementation workstreams.

    Centralized Playbooks and Processes

    With customers interacted with via multi-channel campaigns, support tickets, and manual follow-ups, ensuring process consistency is extremely difficult. SSPs solve this by enabling configurable playbooks, reminders, and automation standardizing stitching workflows cross-departmentally.

    Insight for Continuous Optimization

    But the SSP upside extends beyond improving current execution. Connected platforms supply leaders with holistic adoption trends, risk alerts, and expansion opportunities helping them continuously fine-tune go-to-market and onboarding strategies over time.

    Essentially, consolidating workflows, data, and insights is instrumental for scaling personalized engagements in today's customer-centric era. SSPs manifest the future of modern SaaS.

    Which customer onboarding and implementation software Should You Be Investing In?

    As a business owner, you know that customer-centric onboarding and implementation are crucial for the success of your business. However, with countless tools available in the market, finding the right one can be overwhelming.

    While most of them promise to fix all your problems, statistics show that 30% of SaaS companies suffered from an unacceptable customer churn rate in 2020. This means that most tools don't offer a foolproof solution as they only focus on one or two teams involved in the customer journey, leaving your business fighting the issue of information loss.

    That's why it's essential to look for a tool that offers comprehensive solutions for all teams involved in the customer journey.

    So, before making any investment decisions, make sure that the customer onboarding and implementation software you choose offers everything your business needs to succeed.

    Providing Intelligent Focus

    When collaborating with multiple teams, it is imperative to acknowledge that each team has its priorities within the customer journey. Therefore, it's critical to invest in an efficient tool that streamlines client onboarding and reduces implementation time. With the right tool, you can significantly improve efficiency and deliver exceptional service to your valued customers. Don't compromise on this investment if you want to remain competitive in the market.

    Facilitate Cross-Functional collaboration

    It is absolutely imperative that we emphasize the critical fact of information loss that can arise from using different silos of tools. To provide clients with a smooth and hassle-free onboarding experience, we must have a platform that is entirely focused on their needs, acting as a single source of truth for all their data. Any loss of customer information during the transfer process is unacceptable. The implementation team's efficiency can be significantly increased by fostering more robust collaboration between internal teams and customers.

    Effortless Visibility

    Most project managers or customer success teams spend time collating the required information by scavenging different tools. These data are then to be presented to the internal teams, and the customer in the process called reporting.

    There is a high possibility that they might have skipped on a few significant pieces of information, owing to the time required and accounting for the manual error.

    Hence, the platform you should be investing in should be able to provide effortless visibility on crucial data that can help the project managers and the implementation teams work on their product roadmap and allocate resources accordingly.

    Entire Customer Context At The Fingertips

    The tool must be capable of providing a comprehensive view of projects, use cases, tasks, and project dependencies for each customer with just a single click. This approach negates the need for implementation and leads to repeatedly requesting information from the accounts and customer success teams. Such back-and-forth communication only causes delays and escalations.

    Help Evaluate & Minimize Revenue Risks

    An effective customer onboarding and implementation Software must provide concrete insights and recommendations to accelerate prioritization, not only at the task level but also at the use-case level. Teams need to swiftly identify revenue risks in order to prioritize their efforts and achieve a common goal of success. Additionally, evaluations should help teams and customers recognize accountability and dependencies of tasks and use cases, allowing for seamless collaboration amongst all involved parties.

    Final words

    In conclusion, choosing the right customer onboarding and implementation software is crucial for any business looking to improve its customer experience, drive growth, and increase customer retention. Investing in the right customer onboarding and implementation software can not only improve your bottom line but also build strong, long-lasting relationships with your customers.

    Choosing the right tool for your business is crucial, especially in the enterprise SaaS business, where customer-centricity is taking the forefront of the business.

    Rupesh Rao, the founder and CEO of CogniSaaS, has rightly pointed out,

    "The current tools for customer onboarding and legacy project management are mostly task tracking tools. For historical reasons, these tools were not designed to track the value delivery by tracking customer business outcomes and use cases."

    Therefore, it becomes imperative that more thought and planning should go into selecting the right customer onboarding platform for your business.

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