Before you can even think about implementing an onboarding process, an essential prerequisite is a product for which there is a sufficient market demand. Once you have worked tirelessly to perfect your offering, the next goal is gaining momentum, traction, and a cash positive status quo. Breathing a sigh of relief, you might think the sales responsibility is over after a sale is made; in reality, the customer journey has just begun. More importantly, the Customer Success journey has now become a key factor in maintaining the account. Before you can shift focus to contract renewals, upgrades, and client engagement, you first have to tackle the customer onboarding. Here are Strikedeck’s tips for bringing your customers on board efficiently, with the least amount of friction.
Pain Points Prescription
A significant step in closing a deal is showing your potential customers that you understand their pain points and have the capabilities to solve them. Even before you begin the onboarding process, make sure your product includes the elements you promised would change their business operations for the better. Nothing is worse for a new customers than handing over the first check and excitedly anticipating the advantages a tool will provide, only to discover that the selling points are actually not included yet, or worse, not even developed.
During the sales process, make a note of what constitutes ROI, their desired outcomes, and define clear milestones for what success looks like to them. Having clear expectations ensures that you won’t overpromise and under deliver. If you can immediately demonstrate real value, you’ll secure a customer for life.
Understand Their Obligations
Just like you make an effort to understand their pain points, you should also take an equivalent amount of time to grasp their short and long term goals. Not only do you need to consider where you fit in to their success plan, but also how you can assist them in impressing their supervisors and clients. Do they need to demonstrate considerable revenue gains, or show an increase in sales leads? How is success quantified for the executives, investors, and stakeholders?
Obligations go hand in hand with pain points; while pain points are the issues that make their job difficult, obligations are the benchmarks that need to be met, and the people that need to be impressed. During the sales process, demonstrate the main features that correspond to meeting their obligations. When conducting the onboarding, highlight these components again, and ensure that they know how to operate the necessary tools with expertise.
Begin Right Away
As soon as the sale is closed, you should begin initiating the onboarding processes. Don’t waste time deliberating the best methods, or celebrating your success for too long, because the optimal window of opportunity may disappear. When clients are the most excited about the promise of your product is the ideal moment to amaze them. A swift, but detailed, onboarding process confirms that they made the right decision in choosing your solution.
The best way to make sure that the onboarding process works smoothly is to automate repetitive steps that would otherwise be subject to human error. For example, once a customer is officially your client, personalized welcome emails that herald the advent of your new partnership should be sent immediately. Instead of having a busy CSM remember to send an email to begin the process, set actionable triggers with Strikedeck that launch pre-set playbooks that take care of the onboarding catalyst.
We’re All In the Same Boat
There is nothing more annoying for a client than making them switch between systems to complete a task. If they’re setting up their account on a desktop computer, make sure the whole process can be completed there, right within the same interface. Save progress, so that if their onboarding has to be interrupted for some reason, they can pick up right where they left off. Be diligent with your onboarding processes; stay with your clients throughout the entire experience so they know you value their time and want them to grow with the use of your product.
An ideal way to do this is to conduct weekly or bi-weekly sessions to touch base and make sure things are on the right track. Naturally, there will be minor frictional issues as everyone learns the new system, but if you’re always easily accessible for questions, they’ll know you have their best interests in mind. Another way to keep everyone on the same page is to set up an onboarding tracker that everyone can access to assess progress. Schedule meetings at the critical junctures and highlight when items have been completed. A visual checklist maps the onboarding process so that customers always know where they are headed.
Wrap and Tie It With a Bow
While a gift analogy might be taking it a bit too far, once the onboarding is finished, it can be good to summarize everything that has been covered and set up processes for interactions in the future. Have a point person for the account, and provide clients with the resources, support numbers, knowledge base links, help articles, and their own personal Customer Success Manager to serve as their point person for the rest of the partnership. If you make sure to assess their strengths, goals, pain points, and need for speed, while providing a consistent and cohesive experience, you’re on the right path to securing their enduring loyalty.
What do you do in your onboarding processes?