SMART Goals For Onboarding: Key Objectives To Drive Effective Onboarding

Setting SMART customer onboarding goals is very important if you want to achieve the right customer success. Read to understand what the SMART goals should be.


October 16, 2023

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    Have you ever made good vacation plans to some destination you’ve never been to before? Ideally, you’d start by scouting some places via the internet and make a list of places based on your budget, the distance, hotel reviews, reservations, etc.

    Now, on the day of your travel, you know what your destination is, but for some reason, your maps have stopped working. And now that you weren’t prepared for this app malfunction you are either stranded in the middle of nowhere or you’re left to mercy at asking for directions from people you come across on the road.

    Do you think your journey would be a “delightful” one? Or do you think it looks like a plot for a thriller movie (which may or may not end in peace?)?

    The customer onboarding journey is also very similar to a planned trip. If any point in the journey, the plans and strategies fail, the goal of the trip (successful onboarding) also fails. What’s left, then, are

    • Disappointments
    • Delayed Go-lives
    • Delayed time to value
    • Low NPS
    • Negative Retention
    • Low Product Adoption
    • And finally, Churn

    In this article today, let's take a look at some of the SMART goals that can help you in effective customer onboarding and thereby promote business growth.

    What Are SMART Customer Onboarding Goals?

    We all know what SMART stands for. But for a refresher, this is what it means.

    S- Specific

    M- Measurable

    A- Achievable

    R- Relevant

    T- Time-Based

    Now let's take a few examples of how SMART Customer Onboarding goals should look in theory.

    • The customer completes the onboarding process in 5 weeks.
    • The customer was able to slash their go-live delays by 50%
    • Customer project teams were able to identify revenue risks 1.5x times faster than before
    • The customer was able to increase their CSAT/NPS score by 40%
    • Customers were able to reduce 25% of manual work by automation

    SMART onboarding goals are like green flags in the customer onboarding journey that will help your teams and your customers make the most out of your product.

    Why Setting SMART Customer Onboarding Goals Is Important?

    A renowned American salesman and writer, Hilary Hinton Ziglar, once said, “A goal properly set is halfway reached.”

    Setting the right customer onboarding goals will help your team change the face of your customer success. Having a customer onboarding process without definite goals and objectives is like telling your onboarding team that they are going on a hike (with proper equipment) and not telling them which mountain they’ll be hiking on.

    Without the right set of customer onboarding goals, your onboarding teams will be at the mercy of guesswork and thereby clueless during the whole process. This is definitely a recipe for a failed project leading to customer churn.

    How To Set SMART Customer Onboarding Goals?

    If you have read so far, you would have understood what and why SMART customer onboarding goals are and are important for enterprise SaaS companies. Now, let us take a look at how to set SMART customer onboarding goals for your teams.

    1. Identify The SMART Goals

    Based on what you have to offer, the complexities of implementations, team size, customer needs, bandwidth, etc., the very first step of setting goals is to identify what the right set of SMART goals are for your organization.

    Some of the common SMART objectives set by enterprise SaaS companies include

    • Increasing customer satisfaction and loyalties
    • Increasing product adoption
    • Delivering faster time-to-value
    • Reducing support requests and implementation times

    2. Formulate The SMART Goals

    Once you have identified the SMART goals for your organization, the next step is to add a structure and quantify your customer onboarding goals.

    Some of the best ways to formulate the SMART onboarding goals are as follows:-

    1. Increase the percentage of new customers who complete their first product interaction (e.g., product setup, initial purchase, or a significant action) within the first week from the current 30% to 50%.
    2. Achieve reduction in time to first value within the next six months, measuring the time-to-value for each new customer cohort.
    3. Achieve an increase in customer engagement in completion rates within the next quarter.
    4. Achieve a 10-point increase in NPS scores within the next year, conducting quarterly NPS surveys focused on onboarding.
    5. Reduce onboarding-related support tickets by 30% by providing customers with self-help resources.

    3. Define Goals For Your Team

    Once you have the customer onboarding goals identified and well formulated, the next step of the process is to communicate those goals to the relevant team members. Having the team in this loop will help them prioritize and work more efficiently as they know what goals need to be achieved and what can be done to achieve them.

    Sharing the customer onboarding goals with your team can also be the best way to involve your team in the overall success of your organization.

    4. Re-evaluate & Review

    Customer onboarding isn’t a one-time process. As your customers evolve, your product will evolve, and so should your goals. It is very important to regularly review and reanalyze your goals based on the progress made previously.

    Re-evaluating and reviewing your customer onboarding goals will help your business keep up with the changing needs of your business, thereby helping your customers grow along with your teams.

    5. Track & Measure Progress

    Now that the goals are identified, defined, and set in place, the next step is to track and measure the progress of these goals at frequent intervals. You can implement the necessary tools for tracking the progress of your SMART customer onboarding goals.

    “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it” - Lord Kelvin.

    This can help you track what is working in your favor, and you can double down on it or dispose of the goals that don’t serve your business any purpose.

    Setting SMART customer onboarding goals is always going to benefit your business and your customers and team. Your customer onboarding teams will have clear direction when they onboard a new customer. Your customers will have solid insights into what you have to offer, thereby fostering a healthy relationship with your product.

    If you are unsure what an ideal customer onboarding process should look like, I would highly recommend you get a free onboarding consultation by clicking on the button below. If you are trying to revamp your onboarding process, try CogniSaaS - A customer onboarding and implementation software that helps cross-functional teams deliver value at scale.

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