4 Steps for SaaS Customer Onboarding

Image property of Chanty Inc.

The basics for SaaS growth relies on acquiring new sign-ups and converting them to paid subscribers. Getting your potential SaaS customer to sign-up takes resources and time from marketing and sales. Sign-up is still less than half of the journey.

In addition to just getting your customers email from your sign-up form and sending him/her their password and link to the SaaS software, you need to encourage and convince them to really use the software. That’s called onboarding. We at Pilvi have been working with SaaS Startups and Enterprise SaaS companies in building effective onboarding funnels. Below you can find a few key findings you should consider when building your SaaS onboarding.

Create a user experience that engages your subscriber

You have 2 goals during the trial period. First, your customer has to understand that your software solves their need and second you need to provide something a bit more than your customer was expecting. So how to do this?

1 Manage Expectations

Onboarding your customer starts before the sign-up. This is where you measure your sales & marketing cooperation with customer success. The focus in expectations management is of marketing material, product plans and pricing.

  • Make sure your marketing and sales activities are aligned with the value you provide to your customer
  • Personalise plans and make choosing one as easy as possible
  • Align your prising with the value your customer is expecting

Tip: Know your competitors and their offering. Why your customer should choose you instead of others?

2 Be With Your Customer

What is the first message you send to your customer after the sign-up? Is it something that helps to get started and customer remembers or is it just an automated email with link and credentials to the service? The focus in customer interaction is on personnel, email templates and selecting right channels.

  • Introduce yourself to the Customer. Make sure he/she knows that you’re there to help.
  • Show your enthusiasm. It’s super exciting that the customer has chosen your solution and you’ll make everything that your customer will succeed.
  • Provide multiple channels for your customer. Based on selected subscription there might be forums, email, chat, telephone, slack channel or whatever suits to you and your customer.

Tip: Sign-up to a few SaaS trials. Keep your eye on the personalized communication you’ll get during the trial period.

3 Set Goals And Help To Achieve

After the customer has selected the right plan and has logged in, is time to focus to the software you’re providing. What are the values you’ve promised? What are the activities in your software that needs to be done to perceive the promised value?

  • Define 3-4 key activities in your software your customer has to do during onboarding.
  • Guide your customer through your software. Make sure your customer understands what needs to be done and how different functions work.
  • The last key activity is always that the customer adds their payment details for recurring billing

Tip: Let your most recent employee sign up to your SaaS. What are the first steps he/she does and what are the open questions?

4 Don’t Forget Your Customer After Onboarding

Think yourself as a football coach and your customers as your team. First, you have to teach them how to play. Then you have to individually find the weaknesses and find the best exercises to overcome these. The last part is to continuously teach something new and to make sure your team knows you’re the best coach for them.

  • Activity based tips is an easy way to provide help for the customer. You should know what the customer is doing or that is the next activity they should do.
  • Use multiple channels for interaction: pop-up window inside the software, emails, help and how-to articles, case stories or maybe a call from your customer success manager?
  • A good key value is that customer should receive getting started and best practices links during the first 2 days. After that, you should interact with the customer every 2-3 days.

Tip: Track the steps your customers do during the trial. Is it aligned with your activation plan? The ideal customer flow might differ from your plans.

The last advice for continuous onboarding

Onboarding is something that you should develop continuously. Make small changes and try new things. It might be a small change in your UI, an updated email template or a new feature. Be sure that you’ll be on top of your customers’ mind. The worst mistake you can make is that you leave your customer alone and they end up to a dead end.

Links for more deep dive into onboarding best practices:

Doubling your activation rate – Kissmetrics

A Guide to SaaS Customer Onboarding – Chartmogul

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