How Do You Run a Successful SaaS Onboarding Process?

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It’s essential to know how to run a successful SaaS onboarding process.

One of the main problems users face after getting a SaaS product is the lack of onboarding. There are several reasons for that lack. The first one is because companies are too focused on acquiring customers. Another reason is they forget to care about clients. Whatever the cause for the lack, it’s a significant mistake.

This article will go through running a successful SaaS onboarding process. It will also go through the qualities that such a process should have.


What Is a SaaS Onboarding Process


Onboarding is the process of helping customers set up and start using a SaaS product. It involves training and creating the necessary accounts to ensure customer success in using the software.

Customer onboarding process is crucial because it largely determines how a new user can use the software. In other words, it sets the stage for whether your customers will be satisfied with your product or not. A successful onboarding process can lead to higher customer retention.

If your product fails to meet your new customers’ expectations, they’re going to leave bad reviews and spread the word about it. Dissatisfied customers are also going to cancel their subscriptions. In the case of those with Lifetime Deals (LTD), they will simply stop using the product. When you consider that it costs up to 25 times more to get new customers than retaining existing ones, that should be avoided.

User onboarding experience is part of customer service. It’s good to note that 68% of customers are willing to pay for higher prices as long as they get excellent customer service. With a robust onboarding process, you can boost your customer loyalty. In the long run, it will also save you time and effort since it will reduce the need for your customers to seek help and support from your team.


SaaS Onboarding Process Purpose


The primary purpose of the onboarding process is to transition your customers from being beginners to regular users of your product. To do that, you must provide them with all the info they need. You also need to give them reasons to continue using your product.


Creating a Good SaaS Onboarding Process


Building an onboarding process that would satisfy your customers and hit your goals requires planning. We have listed best practices you can take when creating your winning onboarding strategy.


Learn the Critical Aspects of Your Product


While you are familiar with your SaaS product, there are some aspects of it that you might be missing. For example, what elements can make customers realize that your product is of actual value to them?

Let’s say that you have developed a solution for small businesses to handle their inventory. After making your customers sign up, they would be o a page with a demo on using the platform to maximize profits. That can be a critical aspect of the product because that is the moment when many customers realize they would like to use your product. That’s the “aha” moment.

You need to map your customer’s journey with your product. The most critical aspect of their journey is their emotional response to your product. This response usually happens when they realize the value of your software to their business. You have to capitalize on that emotional response.

Your job is to make sure that realization is within the early stages of their journey. Create a journey map to track your customer’s experience with your product.


Build a Welcome Email Series


Remember that welcoming your customers after they subscribe to your product is necessary. It’s not an extra that you can give to your customers. It’s something that they expect. The best platform for welcoming your customers is through a series of emails. The emails will create a clear starting point for connecting with you and your product.

You can use the emails to tell them about specific features and functions that you want to highlight. It’s also a great way to remind them about your service after a certain period. It’s a legitimate way of connecting with them with the opportunity to upsell.

You don’t have to limit the format of your welcome email series. You can use video modules to teach them how to use your product.


Pick an Onboarding Model


There are several onboarding models available. There is no single best model since each one offers advantages and disadvantages. Make sure you consider your product and your customers when you pick an onboarding model to use the right one for your product.


Self-Service Onboarding


As the name suggests, self-service onboarding takes on a more DIY approach to onboarding. Note that this would only work if your software is easy to use and people can figure out how to use it independently. The self-service approach also does not mean you won’t provide some kind of service to your clients. You need to be there in case they have to clarify something.

All you have to do is create a simple walk-through and welcome and let customers figure out the rest for this type of onboarding. This model would work well with social media platforms and mobile apps. You don’t use the self-service for software used by businesses.


Low-Touch Onboarding


The next model is the low-touch model in which customers can have some human support. There are many ways to onboard your clients, like offering product tours, checklists, and even tutorials, but there are no tailor-made solutions for a single customer here. So, the tutorial that you will be offering can be videos or scheduled webinars.

The low-touch model is ideal for SaaS products of moderate complexity. For products that require multiple steps, you should consider this model.

Low-touch onboarding is the standard for many popular Saas companies. For example, Canva uses it for its users.


High-Touch Onboarding


If there’s low-touch onboarding, then there is low-touch onboarding. The high-touch model requires more human and customized support. It offers a personalized experience, and there will be one-on-one support in some cases.

The high-touch model is perfect for very complex products. But the complexity of a product is not the only necessary criterion. You should also consider the cost. If your product has a low price, a personalized onboarding process is not advisable.


Check and Improve


It’s understandable if you don’t get the customer onboarding process right on your first try. It should be an ongoing process. You should continuously check and improve the process. The best way to check if it is a good process is to gain feedback from your customers through the onboarding process.

You can also rely on your analytics. Look at your churn rate. If your churn rate is going up, that could mean there is a flaw in your onboarding process.


Best Practices on SaaS Onboarding Process


A part of learning how to run a successful SaaS onboarding process is knowing some best practices. These are the practices that SaaS companies have tried and used, and they have seen good results with them.


Make the Sign-Up Easy


People hate it when they’re asked for too much information. Too many questions can result in unnecessary friction between you and your customers that you want to avoid. So, just ask for the necessary information to proceed during the sign-up process. Don’t ask for that information if something is irrelevant to their first interaction with you. You can ask for it later in their journey.

You want to make the sign-up as smooth as possible to avoid friction.

When designing your onboarding process, determine the actual information you need from your customers.


Place Your Product’s Value Up Front


Your customers should immediately realize the value of your product. They bought your product because it solves one or several of their problems. You need to show them how your product solves their problems. It should be one of the first things that they see. Once they see that, they would be more than willing to go through the rest of the onboarding process.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. What are their problems, and how are those solved? Can your product solve those problems, and how? You can place the answers right on the first part of the onboarding process to answer those questions.

The way to emphasize the value of your product depends on its complexity.

  • If your product is simple, you can show its value by walking your customers through the entire process of using it in one sitting.
  • If you have a more complicated product with multiple steps and processes, focus on solving one problem at a time. Like, have a tutorial that resolves individual issues.

You need to emphasize the wins that your customers will be getting from your product.


Keep it Simple


Your customers are busy. They value their time. If you can keep your onboarding process concise and straightforward, they would appreciate it. They would appreciate it if you could keep the time to a minimum.

The instructions and manuals you will provide them must be straight to the point. Use simple language that’s easy to understand, and avoid jargon as much as possible. If your product is to answer, start by naming those features. Then you can move on towards explaining each part in-depth with a separate section each.


Stay in Touch


Providing an onboarding to your customers does not mean your obligation to them ends. Make sure that your customers can reach you at any point during the onboarding process and after that.

As mentioned earlier, your customers are the best sources of ideas for improving your onboarding process. Don’t ignore feedback, no matter how negative it is. Whenever you get feedback, set deadlines for implementing the changes. Be sure to keep your lines of communication open.


Personalize When You Can


Personalizing the onboarding process isn’t for everyone and all projects. As mentioned before, products with low prices are not ideal for personalization. It takes too much time, and it will not be worth the effort. Let’s say it costs a few dollars to subscribe to your software. It’s not worth t creating a customized onboarding for everyone who subscribes to it.

But whenever possible, you should create a personalized onboarding. If you can, go on calls with your customers to talk to them personally. This personal touch is crucial as it humanizes your brand and gives the impression that you care.

Another way to implement personalization of your onboarding process is by offering options. You can give your customers the chance to choose the kind of onboarding pathway they would like. You can provide them with a video option or a one-on-one call.


Your SaaS Onboarding Checklist


You’re ready to create an effective onboarding process with the ideas listed here. Here is a checklist of the things needed in your onboarding process:

Welcoming your customer. The welcome should be both within your product and outside it (emails). The idea is simple; you just tell them how delighted you are that they picked your SaaS product.

Your onboarding flow. The onboarding flow describes the whole onboarding process, especially during the initial stages. Pick the “aha” or the emotional moment of your customer and work your way from that.

Non-product onboarding. Not all of the onboarding process will take place within your SaaS product. It can be on emails, your website, and social media.

Support channels. Set up multiple channels through which you can provide support to your customers. It can be through chat on your website, through various social media, email, and even through the phone. There’s no such thing as too many support channels.

These are just some of the things that should be on your onboarding checklist. You can expand this to include a few more that’s missing.

The onboarding process is not just a one-off thing. You should consider it an ongoing process in which you can improve as you go along. Following the ideas listed here will put you on the right track.

For more ideas about lifetime deals and SaaS startups, visit our SaaS marketing blog now and read up on relevant content on their site.

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Ken Moo