The Ultimate Guide: Enterprise SaaS Customer Onboarding [Steps & Best Practices]

Customer onboarding is the most crucial phase of a customer’s lifecycle in B2B SaaS. Here is a guide for customer onboarding & best practices.

The main goal of every enterprise SaaS company is to attract, engage, and convert your ideal prospects into paying customers but is it enough to acquire the customer? The probability of selling to a new prospect is only 5% to 20%, while the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%.

So, how do you retain the customers your sales team has converted?

It is where the customer onboarding process takes importance.

The new customer onboarding process is the most crucial stage of your customer's lifecycle.

It is the first impression of your brand to your customer as it sets the tone for their whole relationship with your product and company.

“Two things remain irretrievable, that is time and a first impression which applies to the onboarding experience for the customer.” ~by Cynthia Ozick

Customer onboarding simplifies your customer journey by bridging the communication between customers and your company. The two main reasons customers churn are because they don't understand your product or they don't find any value in it.

It is an opportunity to help your customer understand how your product helps them meet their needs and solve their problems.  

What is the customer onboarding process?

Enterprise Customer onboarding is a process of nurturing new users and customers to understand the value of a product and adopt it. A good customer onboarding framework leads to the smooth onboarding of a client and ensures customer retention.

It is the stage where companies provide an experience that gives the customers confidence that they have made the right decision and reassures them that the products meet their needs. It is essential to realize the importance of customer onboarding and how it helps reduce churn rates.

Why is customer onboarding important?

Customer onboarding makes customers' lives easy, it is an ongoing process that needs constant attention and care. It allows them to move seamlessly through the process and helps build trust.

The information and knowledge they need to use your products are readily accessible to educate them about what your products offer and convince them how it is a solution to the problem they are trying to solve.  

Here are some benefits of the customer onboarding process:

  • Customer retention: The customer onboarding process helps your ideal customer to understand the value of your product to avoid churn and increase customer retention. It helps to increase loyal customers that generate more revenue each year they stay with a company. Most revenue comes from existing customers Statistics indicate that a 5% increase in customer retention increases profits by 25% – 95%.
  • Word of mouth marketing: Happy customers can become your top referral sources. Loyal and satisfied customers are a valuable asset to your business as they recommend you to their network.
  • Cost-effective: Customer retention can lower acquisition costs and increase revenue as acquiring a new customer is more expensive than maintaining the existing one.

What are the customer onboarding process steps and best practices?

The main objective is to help new users get acquainted with all the features of your product. Also, empower them by providing them with all the necessary resources to onboard autonomously. The client onboarding process in SaaS must have certain features to guide customers with your product.

Customer Sign-Ups

Through sign-ups is how customers discover your product and get curious which most of the time leads to conversion of customers. A survey conducted by Heap found that the average conversion rate of the sign-up process was 36.2% for 79 SaaS companies.  

The best practices for the customer sign-up are:

  • Short signup: Ask for information that is essential for the signup process. And later you can for more if required.
  • Split information required among pages: If the information required for sign-up is more you can split it up across pages to make it look like less.
  • Make it easy with sign-up options like google, slacker social media: It removes all the obstacles from the sign-up process and means new customers can sign up with a single click.

Welcome E-mail

Congratulate and thank your customers for buying the product and choosing you over other competitors and let them know how excited you are to have them on board. Keep in mind to have a good first interaction to set up a good impression.

The best practices for welcome e-mail are:

  • A message thank you: A thank you message is crucial to let your new customers know that you value them.
  • Share resources: It could include a product tour video, links to help center articles, or product FAQs.
  • Direct click through to your product: The main focus of your welcome email is to get your new customer to click through and log in to your product. So a direct link or call to action would be helpful.
Enterprise Customer Onboarding Best Practices

First User Login

The first login is your customer’s first real impression of your product. They may have already seen a product demo or watched your product tour with the resources you sent them. Now it is time for them to start using your product with the help of a step-by-step guided tutorial or a wizard to take your customer through the process.

The best practices for the first user login are:

  • Set Navigation: It is effective to start with a welcome pop-up or a set-up wizard to help customers navigate through your product.
  • Make it easy to engage: Your product requires ongoing activity and engagement to help customers realize the value that your product offers. These activities include achieving small milestones which remind customers that they are on the right path and encouraging them to keep engaging with the product.

Data Consolidation

Customers may need to set up integrations with other tools they use, import data from other sources to reduce the information in silos or invite their team to get the most value from your product. It helps them work on a single course of truth platform where they can work together.

The best practices for data Consolidation are:

  • Process automation: It helps the customer to achieve the goals and targets with ease which is the main motive of any product or service. Automation removes any obstacles that may stop you from reaching your goal.
  • Optional consolidation: some customers might not want integration or want to upload any data or want to invite any team member. So it is crucial to not make these integrations compulsory.
  • Customer support: It is crucial to provide as much customer support as possible to make their onboarding process smooth and make them feel valued.

Product Walkthrough

Customers expect guidance when they start they might require help in each step to set up and complete the required tasks to get started with the product. The most effective way for your customers to learn and adapt faster is for them to start using the product.

The best practices for product walkthrough are:

  • Options for a selective walkthrough: Some customers might be familiar with your product or have been a user before. So a walkthrough that has the option to select the walkthrough step to go through saves a lot of their time.
  • Self-paced process: Most of the time employees are packed with tasks that they are not able to find time to go through the guides. So making it easy for them to go through the steps at their own pace will help them work effectively.
  • Extra support options: This is the step where customers might need a little extra push or support to use the product to its full potential. So it’s always a good idea to have a support team with live chat options to solve their queries.

Customer Follow-Up

The main goal of customer onboarding is to keep the customer engaged so that feel valued and aren’t lost. It is always helpful to send additional follow-up emails, offering tips and pointers to make them log in and prompting them to use your product.

The best practices for customer follow-up are:

  • Share offer: Sharing new updates, tips on the features usage, or links for the helpful resources and help center. It is important to keep them engages with resources to keep adding value to their customer experience and prompt to make them log in.
  • Share often: Sharing little follow-ups often helps to keep the customer engaged with products and content.
  • Share testimonials: Testimonial videos or customer quotes help remind customers of the value of your product and encourage them to engage more often.

What are the metrics to measure successful customer onboarding?

Every new client onboarding process flow needs metrics to help measure how efficient the process is and which parts need improvement. Customer onboarding metrics are most impactful to evaluate and enhance your onboarding process throughout the customer lifecycle.

“If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it. “

~ Peter Drucker

Time to Value

Customers need to feel the value in your product to move forward but if they are overwhelmed with information that they don’t immediately need may cause them to churn.

Time to value is one of the most important customer onboarding KPIs to be measured. It is crucial to make onboarding Shorter and more effective to help users achieve value sooner. The shorter the onboarding period, the higher the probability of customers renewing the contract.

User Engagement

As mentioned in the follow-up process your customers must interact with your product to understand the value that your product offers.

This metric can be measured with the help of a customer success platform you can see the time duration of product usage, the number of times they use the product, what is their engagement score, and when they last logged in. It helps to understand the concerns of the customer and solve them as soon as possible.

Enterprise Customer Onboarding Metrics

Data tracking & Analytics

Analyzing the data can give you gain valuable insights into the customer's engagements and activities which helps to make data-driven decisions.

These tracking metrics help in the customer onboarding process to main the quality of product/service. Data analysis will help you understand each customer’s specific problems and tell you all the things you need to improve.

Milestone completion

Milestones are crucial for almost every process as they allow you to achieve goals by following the right steps and putting in the minimum effort. These are set goals or tasks that are needed to be completed by a particular deadline.

When you are onboarding a customer is essential to set milestones according to the customer use case this can be done by the customer success manager. It is crucial to only set the milestone that helps the customer reach the end goal and help them to adopt the product.

Conclusion

Customer onboarding has become a factor in measuring the success of enterprise SaaS businesses. It is an ongoing process that needs constant attention and care. It is the most crucial phase of a customer’s lifecycle.

It is essential to follow the right steps and best practices are essential to achieve a greater customer onboarding experience. It is also important to measure the outcome of the effort you have made that can be achieved with the help of the metrics mentioned above.  

In conclusion, It is necessary to pay attention to customer onboarding strategies as they can determine how fast your business grows and investing in a customer-centric onboarding and implementation platform can help your business achieve a great onboarding experience for your customers.


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