SaaS Buyer Onboarding: A Easy (However Detailed) Information

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In case you screw up your buyer’s expertise early on of their subscription, it’s onerous to persuade them to maintain paying month after month.

And since SaaS and subscription companies rely on month-to-month recurring income to develop, it pays to excellent your buyer onboarding course of.

Give your clients a poor onboarding expertise and so they’ll be arrange for failure proper from the beginning. It’s going to be tougher for them to see the worth in your product or the way it can remedy their drawback.

However in the event you get it proper, not solely will you will have much less churn and a better lifetime worth, however you’ll additionally spend much less time and sources on assist.

What separates a poor buyer onboarding expertise from a foul one? And what do you must do to ensure each new person understands how your product could make their life simpler?

That’s what this text is all about. Let’s onboard some new clients.

What’s buyer onboarding?

Buyer onboarding is the method of getting your clients setup to efficiently use your product.

After I say “efficiently,” I imply they’re in a position to make use of your product to resolve no matter drawback triggered them to want your product within the first place. 

For example, if a buyer purchased your social media analytics software program to trace the efficiency of their advertising and marketing campaigns, your onboarding course of ought to present them how to try this.

What separates an amazing buyer onboarding expertise from mediocre (or flat out dangerous) one is your potential to transcend simply exhibiting clients navigate your software program. You must present them successfully use it to maximise their expertise.

Right here’s a great way to consider it. 

Let’s say you had been going to show somebody drive. Would you simply present them the place every part is (gasoline/brake pedals, turning alerts, and many others.) and simply go away them to it? 

Or would you inform them about how a lot strain to use on the pedals. How you can learn all of the numbers on the sprint. When to make use of the emergency brake. All these particulars are what is going to enable them to drive accurately and forestall them from fully wrecking the automobile.

That’s the identical approach you must take into consideration buyer onboarding. Don’t simply present all of them the gorgeous buttons. Present them use every part primarily based on what they’re attempting to perform.

Why is buyer onboarding essential?

I might checklist off a bunch of statistics to point out the significance of buyer onboarding. However actually, it actually comes all the way down to this: In case your clients don’t know use your product, they’re not going to maintain paying for it.

That must be all of the motivation you must be sure to’re onboarding your clients successfully. 

However past that, a great onboarding course of will:

  • Preserve clients engaged: We’ll get into some examples afterward. However in the event you’re capable of constantly educate your clients new issues about your product, it’ll give them a purpose to log again in and proceed utilizing your software program.
  • Enhance trial conversions: In case you supply a trial interval, onboarding is SUPER essential. You’ve got till the tip of the trial interval for customers to see the worth in your product. A very good onboarding expertise can shorten your time to worth, which makes trial customers extra prone to convert to paid clients.
  • Constructed-in advertising and marketing channel: Some corporations do product onboarding so properly that their clients brag about it. Phrase of mouth is arguably the strongest type of advertising and marketing you may get.
customer onboarding praise

Lengthy story quick, onboard your clients. It’s useful, belief us.

Choosing the proper buyer onboarding instruments

You understand one thing is essential when there’s a whole trade constructed round it. That’s the case with buyer onboarding.

There are tons of instruments on the market that’ll make it easier to setup, implement and monitor your buyer onboarding course of. Listed here are some price trying out:

Product excursions

No one units out to construct a product that’s complicated to make use of. 

You may assume your product is simple to arrange and perceive. However that’s not at all times the case. I’m certain you’ll be able to consider a software or two you’ve paid for that was overly-complicated and painful to make use of.

Even when your product is pretty straightforward to make use of, it by no means hurts to point out new customers round.

Product excursions have rapidly turn out to be some of the widespread buyer onboarding techniques for SaaS corporations. They make it simpler for customers to get to know the ins and outs of your product with out having to schedule full-on demos.

Plus, they could be a nice method to improve person engagement and be sure that clients get extra use out of your product.

Fortunately, there are many instruments that can assist you arrange excursions inside your product. Right here’s a fast checklist of some choices (there are tons of others):

Buyer messaging

Whenever you’re onboarding customers, communication is essential. You must be with them all through all the course of to verify any questions they’ve get answered, and so they don’t really feel misplaced or confused about your product.

The easiest way to try this is thru a buyer messaging software. Messaging instruments will let you create and ship a sequence of emails to customers all through their whole onboarding expertise. You’re mainly guiding them via get setup and use your product.

I’ll dive into extra specifics just a little afterward. However for now, simply be sure to have a software in place. And shameless plug, we even have our personal messaging software, which I extremely advocate 😉.

baremetrics messaging


Naturally, clients are going to have numerous questions once they’re studying use your product. Except you wish to spend all day answering product questions, I extremely advocate organising some sort of helpdesk software program.

Ideally, you need a 1-2 punch:

  • A information base the place customers can go to seek out solutions to widespread questions
  • A assist system in order that your private inbox doesn’t get flooded with assist emails.

Fortunately, there are many instruments out there for this too:

Product analytics

Since we’re within the enterprise of analytics, we like utilizing knowledge to make higher selections. And that features your buyer onboarding course of.

One of many objectives of buyer onboarding is to get customers to interact along with your product and all its completely different options. With product analytics instruments, you’ll be able to measure how customers work together along with your software program.

For example, possibly you wish to see which options are used essentially the most by clients within the first week of signing up. Getting that degree of insights will help you form your buyer onboarding course of by studying which options new customers are most all in favour of. 

Listed here are some well-liked product analytics instruments you’ll be able to think about trying out:

How you can measure buyer onboarding

Having an onboarding course of in place is one factor. However how have you learnt whether or not or not it’s really working?

There are many issues you’ll be able to monitor to get insights into how your onboarding techniques are doing. Listed here are just a few.

Trial conversions

In case you supply a trial interval to your product, one of many greatest indicators that your buyer onboarding course of is working (or not working) is your trial-to-customer conversion price. 

Clients who’ve been efficiently onboarded and perceive the worth of your product usually tend to convert than somebody who hasn’t actually been engaged throughout the trial interval.

In case you’re utilizing Baremetrics, you’ll be able to simply see modifications in your conversions within the Trial Insights dashboard.

trial insights

In case you don’t discover a change in your conversion price or common trial size, you may wish to tweak your onboarding course of to enhance conversions.

Buyer retention

One other metric you’ll be able to tie again to buyer onboarding is churn. Particularly, you wish to take a look at your person churn price and churn time.

churn rate and churn time

The explanation churn time is so essential is it provides you an concept of what may’ve gone unsuitable. 

For example, in case your common churn time is 18 months, then it’s most likely not a difficulty along with your onboarding. But when clients are continually churning inside 30-60 days, it’s an indication that one thing’s going unsuitable early on. And enhancing your onboarding course of may very well be the answer.

In our information to cohort evaluation, I stroll you thru precisely discover whether or not or not your onboarding course of is the reason for your churn.

Cancellation causes

These first two approaches are nice for supplying you with quantitative information about how properly (or not-so-great) your buyer onboarding course of is. 

However if you’d like extra qualitative knowledge, you’ll be able to ask clients why they’re cancelling their accounts.

Then, monitor the cancellation causes and search for developments. 

Particularly, take note of individuals cancelling as a result of they don’t perceive use your product, didn’t see the worth in it or some other potential points that may very well be tied again to your onboarding course of.

baremetrics cancellation reasons

If you wish to learn to extract these insights, learn my Three-step information to churn evaluation. It goes via discover out which clients are churning, and why.

There are different issues you’ll be able to measure, like product engagement, however the three we coated gives you a great place to begin.

How you can create a buyer onboarding course of for SaaS

Alright, now that we’ve got a great overview of what buyer onboarding is, and monitor it, let’s speak about arrange your personal course of.

The objective is to stroll new clients via use your product and ensure they’re getting essentially the most worth as doable.

Remember the fact that not all SaaS corporations method onboarding the identical approach. However in the event you can nail these seven components, you’ll have a recipe for a tremendous buyer onboarding expertise.

1. Signup course of

Some individuals will argue that onboarding doesn’t really begin till after a person indicators up. However your signup course of is a golden alternative to kickoff your onboarding.

Instantly after signing up, the place do you direct customers?

Quite a lot of corporations ship them to:

  • The dashboard/principal display screen of their app
  • A generic thanks web page

Right here’s a fast story to point out why these aren’t the simplest method.

Final 12 months I went to the Museum of Modern Artwork in Chicago. I went to the entrance desk, received my tickets, and the consultant didn’t give me any path. They didn’t ask what I used to be all in favour of. They didn’t inform me what reveals they’d. They didn’t inform me about be part of a tour or something.

So I wandered round aimlessly and tried to navigate across the museum myself. There are a number of tales within the constructing and so much to see. So for sure, it may be just a little overwhelming significantly in the event you’re not an artwork connoisseur.

Whenever you ship new customers to a thanks web page or the primary web page of your app after they’ve simply signed up, you’re placing them in the very same place I used to be in on the museum. You’re forcing them to wander round your product aimlessly.

Will they ultimately discover their approach round your product? Most likely. 

However similar to me within the museum, it’ll be harder for them to get the total expertise and pleasure with out some steering from the specialists (on this case, you).

The workaround is straightforward. Instantly after signing up (or inside the signup course of), information them via the setup course of.

Right here’s an instance from Lumen5. After signing up for an account, the very subsequent display screen you see is that this one, asking what your objective is.

lumen5 onboarding

This info helps them perceive extra about who their clients are, and makes it simpler to customise their onboarding expertise.

After this step, they take you thru the method of making your first video.

Lumen5 onboarding step 2

By guiding new customers via the method of utilizing your product proper after signup, you’re rising the chance that they’ll (a) perceive use your software and (b) be an engaged person proper from the beginning.

2. Welcome electronic mail

Instantly after a brand new person indicators up, you must ship them a welcome electronic mail. This electronic mail ought to push new customers again to your product. 

This step is especially essential in the event you don’t have an in-app welcome sequence in place just like the Lumen5 instance.

Right here’s a take a look at how we arrange our personal welcome electronic mail for Baremetrics.

First we set our viewers, which is just individuals who’ve signed up lower than a day in the past.

baremetrics welcome email set up

Then, we wrote up an electronic mail to welcome them aboard. Crucial step for this electronic mail although, is directing the person again to the app by giving them a particular motion to finish.

welcome to baremetrics email

Discover how our name to motion is “Let’s begin by connecting your billing knowledge!” Since that’s the very first thing a brand new person must do with the intention to use Baremetrics, that’s the main target of our welcome electronic mail. 

We additionally hyperlink to our assist articles in case they’ve any questions, and welcome them to ship us an electronic mail as properly.

One of many cool issues about utilizing our Messaging software is you’ll be able to monitor when and the way typically a person opens your emails.

For example, we will see this person has opened and clicked the welcome electronic mail. In the event that they nonetheless haven’t linked their billing knowledge, it’s an indication that they’re having some form of concern and we would wish to attain out to them to see what’s occurring.

Customer profile activity

Additionally, be sure to ship new customers follow-up emails after the preliminary message. However extra on that later.

I additionally counsel having a look at these 9 onboarding electronic mail templates for brand spanking new customers.

Three. First login

The primary time a person logs into your product, they shouldn’t really feel misplaced. 

Like I discussed earlier, even in the event you assume your product is tremendous intuitive, you shouldn’t assume everybody will be capable to leap proper in and use it.

Let’s return to my museum expertise for a second. Think about if as an alternative of simply randomly strolling all through the constructing, there was a information to point out me round and level out the place all of the reveals had been. I most likely would’ve had a distinct expertise.

Throughout buyer onboarding, you must be that “tour information” to your product when customers first log in.

However except you by no means sleep, you clearly can’t personally stroll each new person via your product once they first login. 

That’s the place these product tour instruments I talked about earlier come into play. You should utilize instruments like Chameleon, Userpilot and Userlane to create self-guided product excursions.

For instance, while you first log into Loomly, you’re prompted to create a social media calendar, and so they stroll you thru the method step-by-step.

loomly setup

In addition they use tooltips for further steering, and to point out you the place/what all of the completely different options are.

loomly tool tips

In case you don’t wish to go that route, you’ll be able to even present customers a video walkthrough once they first sign-in like this instance from Wrike.

First, they immediate you to decide on a template.

Wrike First Login

Then you definately get a video that exhibits you arrange your workspace.

wrike video tutorial

Both of those techniques is healthier than doing nothing in any respect. Don’t go away new customers hanging. Be their tour information.

Four. Assist middle

Even when you’ve got essentially the most useful guided walkthrough on the planet, your clients are probably going to have questions in some unspecified time in the future throughout their onboarding course of.

Documentation is among the greatest methods to let clients self-service their assist points. The extra thorough and detailed your product documentation is, the much less time you (or your assist group) has to spend answering the identical questions again and again.

Each SaaS firm ought to have a assist middle of some kind the place clients can get solutions to the most typical questions customers have about your product. 

Based on one article, 81% of shoppers attempt to lookup solutions to their questions themselves earlier than reaching out to buyer assist.

However simply having a information base isn’t sufficient although. You must inform your clients about it. 

Bear in mind in our welcome electronic mail I confirmed you earlier, we hyperlink on to our assist middle.

Loomly does the identical of their electronic mail affirmation message

loomly account confirmation email

Additionally, your information base shouldn’t be static. You must continually add new assist articles as you add new options and your enterprise grows.

However to begin, you must have:

  • Getting began information: That is the place you’ll element the steps clients must take with the intention to setup and use your product.
  • FAQ: Essentially the most generally requested questions you get from clients. It’s useful to group them into classes so it’s simpler to navigate. Right here’s an instance from Asana.
asana faq

Bear in mind, your assist middle doesn’t should be excellent. A minimum of cowl the fundamentals to begin, and you’ll at all times replace it later. Earlier than you already know it, you’ll have one thing as wild as Canva’s assist middle!

5. Webinars & workshops

One factor I’ve realized all through my years as a marketer is that individuals be taught otherwise. Some individuals want to learn articles. Some like to observe movies. Others want audio.

The identical precept applies to buyer onboarding. A few of your customers are going to be cool with watching a Three-Four minute overview of your product. Some individuals will simply dive in and be taught as they go. Others will learn via each assist desk article you’ve ever written. 

And then you definitely’ll have some preferring webinars/workshops.

Webinars are nice for lots of causes, however two of them are:

  • They’re nice for visible learners: Some individuals want to be onboarded by watching specialists (you) undergo your product and clarify it. Webinars are the right format for this.
  • They’ll construct group: Notably in case your webinar is dwell, getting a gaggle of likeminded individuals (the customers who signed up to your product) gathered collectively generally is a good kickoff level for constructing a group.

One of the vital widespread issues that stops individuals from doing buyer onboarding webinars is the idea that the webinars should be dwell. 

Most individuals don’t wish to spend on daily basis internet hosting a webinar. And fortuitously, you don’t should.

Listed here are just a few widespread choices to contemplate:

  • Choice A: Host new buyer webinars throughout set time slots. You select the times and instances while you’re going to host a webinar, and folks can select one of many out there slots.
  • Choice B: Pre-record a webinar and make it out there for all new customers on demand.
  • Choice C: Pre-record the webinar, however have an open chat the place viewers can ask questions. And do a dwell Q&A on the finish.

The good thing about possibility A is it supplies essentially the most participating expertise for brand spanking new customers. They’ll ask questions as you’re presenting, so every webinar/workshop is extra personalised. 

The draw back is that it takes up extra time and sources. So this method is greatest for bigger corporations with a excessive quantity of recent customers every day/week. 

Choice B is an efficient hands-free method that’ll prevent numerous time. It’s splendid for SaaS merchandise that don’t require a ton of customization. 

For example, a software like Tailwind solely has so many use-cases. Individuals use it to handle their Pinterest and Instagram accounts. So an on-demand webinar that exhibits the completely different options of the product  is sensible.

Then again, consider a product like Monday. It’s like a freaking Swiss Military Knife of instruments. You should utilize it for challenge administration, as a CRM, content material calendar and dozens of different issues. Plus, it has a ton of various options. 

It’s tough to have a pre-recorded webinar that’s going to fulfill all their potential clients in the event that they aren’t capable of ask questions throughout it. That most likely explains why they do every day webinars, along with on-demand ones.

Choice C is one thing I came upon about from one of many SaaS corporations I used to work with. They might pre-record webinars and deal with them like dwell workshops. Clients signed up for a particular date/time. Then, the corporate would play the pre-recorded webinar and reply to questions within the chat.

This technique works properly if you wish to have interaction with attendees, however don’t essentially wish to host a dwell webinar frequently.

When you resolve on the way you wish to host your webinars/workshops, the following step is selling them. You are able to do that through electronic mail like Lumen5 does of their welcome electronic mail.

lumen5 welcome email

Or in-product like Assist Scout.

help scout dashboard

When you have the time and skill to create webinars to onboard new clients, go for it. In case you’re digital camera shy or simply aren’t the most effective presenter, you can even look into hiring a freelancer from a website like Upwork to do it for you.

6. In-app notifications

In-app messaging and notifications appears to have actually taken off previously few years. Whether or not it’s as a result of there are extra instruments that will let you do it now, or SaaS corporations are simply beginning to understand how efficient it may be, in-app notifications are actually well-liked.

There are numerous other ways you should use in-app notifications throughout buyer onboarding.

For example, you’ll be able to create a “Getting began” guidelines that pops up throughout onboarding. As customers full completely different duties in your software, they get checked off the checklist. Right here’s an instance from Frase.

frase new user checklist

In Baremetrics, we present new clients a guidelines that doubles as a method to upsell a few of our add-on merchandise.

baremetrics checklist

One other approach to make use of in-app notifications throughout buyer onboarding is to re-engage inactive customers, or allow them to know when one thing’s unsuitable with their account.

Right here’s an instance from Fitbit. In case you go too lengthy with out syncing your exercise tracker to the app, they present a notification that can assist you reconnect.

fitbit in app notification

If you wish to do one thing related, you’ll be able to construct these options immediately into your product, or use instruments like Appcues and Pendo.

7. Observe-up

As soon as a buyer has signed up and used your product for some time, it’s straightforward to cease the onboarding course of. After a month or so, numerous corporations assume that clients have a great grasp of the product and can attain out if they’ve any points.

However within the SaaS enterprise, it doesn’t pay to be passive. Get proactive and attain out to clients all through their time with you simply to check-in and hold the onboarding course of going.

One firm that does an amazing job of that is Sprout Social. Lengthy after you’ve signed up, they proceed to electronic mail you with new coaching, webinars and even in-app messages.

sprout social customer email

Most corporations have a buyer onboarding electronic mail stream that runs for possibly a month. However Sprout continues for months.

sprout social onboarding emails

Creating an electronic mail sequence like that is tremendous easy.

In our Messaging software, I’ll create a marketing campaign for brand spanking new clients. Then set the viewers to individuals who’ve simply signed up. 

Discover that I set it in order that clients will exit the marketing campaign after they’ve acquired all of the emails OR cancel their account. We are able to create a separate electronic mail marketing campaign for patrons after they’ve cancelled.

Customer onboarding email audience

Then, we’ll simply create a sequence of emails and house them out over the course of a month or two. Right here’s an instance of what the primary month may appear to be.

Customer onboarding Email Sequence

As soon as your sequence is about up, you’ll be able to monitor your electronic mail efficiency immediately in Baremetrics.

You’ll be able to mess around with the viewers segments too if you wish to ship extra focused onboarding emails. 

For example, at Baremetrics we promote a few different merchandise along with our superb Metrics. So if we wished to create an onboarding stream for patrons that use our dunning product, we’d simply change the viewers to one thing like this:

recover custom audience

As you’ll be able to see, there’s numerous flexibility right here.

Normally, it’s by no means a foul concept to ask your clients in the event that they need assistance or present them get extra out of your product. There’s no rule that claims you’ll be able to solely onboard clients “X” variety of days.

Deliver extra clients onboard

Buyer onboarding is a vital a part of operating a SaaS firm. In case your clients don’t know use your product or really feel misplaced, they’re extra prone to cancel their account purely out of frustration.

If you wish to improve your buyer LTV and cut back churn, put the effort and time into enhancing your buyer onboarding course of. It’s price it.

Dominique Jackson


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