Blog by Chirabrata Das
“It is too early for us to invest in an onboarding tool” — that is the typical response we heard from many prospects we have interacted with in the last few months.
Businesses gradually realize the importance of repeat business (recurring revenues) from existing customers. It is more relevant in the B2B SaaS world. With strategies built around driving more dollars from existing customers, it becomes imperative to continue on a solid footing once the deal is signed.
The sales cycle paints a rosy picture of the capabilities of any product or service. Reality hits customers once the implementation begins. It’s not just pain for onboarding and implementation teams — it’s equally difficult for the customers to justify the dollar investment if things are not set up correctly with the agreed-upon functionalities.
Customer Success or Client Onboarding teams are not responsible if the customer expectations still need to be met. Every function is equally accountable for the customer not being successful.
Customer onboarding is the most crucial stage of the relationship as it decides whether the relationship will last multiple cycles or just the initial contract duration or even lesser. This is the first change from a client perspective in personnel they have been dealing with — from sales to post-sales.
If this phase is handled well, the customer realizes the tool’s value within a short span. This builds the customer’s confidence in the tool and the company, allowing them to invest more in it either by increasing the number of licenses or purchasing additional functionalities, services, or product lines.
On the flip side, if this transition is handled well — it becomes a liability on both sides as the implementation team needs to make the customer live by a specific date, and the customer might need to be on the same page. This might happen due to various factors such as:
- No defined goal or measurable success metric from a customer perspective to validate the value delivered by the product/service
- Certain features or functionality which are a must-have is not yet available
- A roadmap functionality promised during the contract signing is yet to be prioritised.
- Delays due to personnel non-availability etc.
To ensure that the above-mentioned chaotic situation never arises, the handover from sales to post-sales must happen on time, with all the relevant information about the customer being passed on to post-sales teams. This is the first challenge since, in many organizations, post-sales teams need direct access to CRM systems.
Additionally, many relevant documents are exchanged with the customer from a solutioning standpoint that stays in personal repositories or emails and needs to be more centrally managed.
Assuming the transition is handled correctly with ample time given to the Onboarding teams to have the kickoff call with the customer, the next challenge that most teams struggle with is figuring out the use cases the customer is trying to address with the use of the product or service. If this is adequately defined, it becomes effortless to track the progress of the project or implementation against these use cases.
On the flip side, if use cases and associated requirements are well documented, things invariably come to a standstill during the implementation, as few things are non-negotiable from a customer point of view that might have yet to be addressed in the first place.
What’s the way out?
The easiest way to resolve the solution is to have processes in place to ensure nothing goes out of hand. That’s easier said than done in organizations where we are talking of hundreds if not thousands of employees who have to align with the process or the process change.
The next option would be to invest in tools that cater to the needs of every team and seamlessly share information across systems. In an ideal world, this is the way to go. Different teams evaluate tools from different perspectives and focus on the primary pain points.
But they fail to realize that since different teams will be working on various tools, very soon they’ll be welcoming a significant issue that is persistent in the enterprise SaaS world, i.e., disconnect between the teams!
And then, it becomes a vicious cycle of misunderstandings, misinterpretation, lack of knowledge, and different sets of priorities and KPIs leading to customer churn.
Budgeting for the Customer Onboarding Tool
Now that you know how customer retention is a combined effort of all your internal stakeholders, i.e., your teams (sales, onboarding, implementation & success), it is also essential to understand which tool requires a budget in your plans for 2023.
When it comes to budgeting, your core focus would be investing in something that will help your business profit. And it’s a no-brainer that profit is directly dependent on your customers.
It makes perfect sense to invest in a customer onboarding tool that compliments all the different tools used by different departments of your organization — a single source of truth for your internal stakeholders and customers.
Suppose you are still determining which tool is best for your investment and need guidance about the customer onboarding process. In that case, you can contact me directly by requesting an evaluation link below.