You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: onboarding is the most important part of the customer journey. Creating a smooth onboarding experience can mean the difference between having to prove again the value upon contract renewal and knowing that a signature is guaranteed and that CSM’s can focus on growth 💵
We would need more than 1 blog post to go over all onboarding best practices but for now, here are my top 5:
✅ Start early:
Sales can start sharing the value of the onboarding program before it gets to Customer Success. They can inform them why onboarding is critical, how it will guide them through product implementation and how it will ensure they get to their desired outcome.
✅ Don’t skip the internal and external handover:
Align internally between Sales and Customer Success. No customer enjoys having to repeat why they bought the solution and what they hope to achieve. CSMs that have the information before the meeting with the customer will be able to show up prepared with key examples of goals and use-cases to position themselves as experts 😎
✅ Plan and plan some more:
No matter what internal tools you have (Hubspot, Gainsight or maybe just a very cool spreadsheet) creating a plan which is shareable with the customer is key. The Success Plan is there to align and agree on 1) desired outcomes, 2) the implementation plan, 3) milestones, 4) roles and responsibilities and 5) the training.
Agreeing to the plan means that as a CSM you can always go back to it if customers aren’t moving in the right direction. For the customer, it means knowing what comes next and where onboarding ends. Change and uncertainty can be stressful; having a visible plan will put new users at ease. Furthermore, the plan is also the base to go back to in any future businessreviews (QBR’s) – something we will blog about in a later stage.
✅ Get those Aha! moments:
The customer is always right, or in this case, what they want to achieve is always right! Find the shortest path to help them reach their goals.
Have you ever sat through an onboarding and thought ‘I just want to know how to do “X” right now’ ? It’s important that new users get confirmation of why they bought the solution in the first place. Get them from ‘Aha! This product could help me with problem “X”’ to ‘Aha! I see how this product works and how to use it to fix the problem’, without losing them.
✅ Don’t let go post training
Just because users have completed onboarding doesn’t mean they are active users. Change management is a big part of the adoption phase. Helping customers implement the solution internally and supporting them as they change will make a difference between an onboarded and active user.
Got another best practice that’s turned your onboarding into an adoption and engagement machine? We’d love to hear it!
The Account Prioritization Matrix helps CSMs focus efforts and deliver value