In this session of Preflight's Chennai’s Office Hours, Jetin Prasanth, Chennai Cohort Lead and CSM at Evabot, spoke to Srikrishnan Ganesan, CEO & Co-founder of Rocketlane on the latest from the world of customer onboarding.
Srikrishnan shared his insights on:
Here are our top takeaways from the session.
The first sale is never the end of the engagement in the SaaS world. It’s the pathway to selling more. Building customer trust and confidence in your product and your team is crucial, and customer onboarding is your chance to do this. It is the first true partnership customers experience with you: it’s when they will assess you to see how proactive, efficient, and dependable you are.
Get customer onboarding right, and it improves opportunities to upsell, increases expansion potential, builds customer advocates, and ultimately, arrests churn. This explains why customer onboarding is the area of focus with experts consultations and more.
Implementation is no longer equated to customer onboarding. It’s necessary but not sufficient.
In addition to the solutioning, customizing, migrating, etc., that implementation entailed, companies today need to consider training, customer education, and more.
They need to move beyond just enabling go-live to actively help customers realize value by understanding their goals, the jobs-to-be-done, and translating them into your product's usage.
It makes sense to have a dedicated resource if not a team when the customer onboarding process:
The optimum model to work towards: Onboarding led by Professional Services and complemented by Customer Success.
For inspiration, check out Preflight Member Alex Farmer’s ‘road trip to business value’ analogy from his Implementation Stories session on the role of the CSM in customer onboarding.
In cases of POCs, scope the POC to push customers to narrow down the most important and indispensable use cases/functionalities. As the expert, you need to own and drive this conversation and show them what they need to assess what you can do for them.
For instance, if you're replacing a product, resist the temptation to take them exactly where they were with the earlier product. This means that you’ll need to focus on precisely what goals you want to help them with. You can also phase out your approach, say by staggering multiple processes such as tool changes, process changes, data migration, etc. Drive the project forward every quarter by running initiatives that help them get more value.
It helps to involve a team member from the solutioning or onboarding phase even before the sale is complete, say, at the 90% deal closure stage. This way, you’ll be able to have an honest conversation about what’s possible and what’s not; you can avoid any mismatched expectations that could lead to churn later.
Develop a playbook for driving adoption. Initiate adoption with a subset of people from the customer team–ideally high-initiative employees with a growth mindset who can adopt and engage with your product first. Then, find the story that can resonate with the rest of the users.
Pro tip: Experiment with a ‘reverse demo’ where key users from the customer side demo exactly how they’re using your product to find value.
One way to do this is by defining the first moment of value, getting the customer to agree on that goal, and then measuring how quickly you could get them there.
Involve the executive sponsor. Show a commitment to course-correcting and fixing gaps, and align on a timeline when you want them to be ‘successful’.
Steering committee meetings can be an excellent forcing function to ensure that these things remain on track so you can meet the mutually agreed-upon deadlines.
You should look to integrate at least four types of tools to assist in onboarding:
You could use tools like Skilljar to offer self-paced learning (versus live training) for an effective and scalable approach to drive adoption. Make sure to push the right resources at the right time. For instance, you could stagger the training such that everyone on the customer’s team is expected to complete a particular module in a week, before the next meeting, or the next update.
Tools like Slack or Microsoft Teams are handy but fall short on visibility as updates and conversations are buried in chat conversations.
Onboarding needs a project tracking tool to handle project management internally and at the customer’s end.
This could include tools like Notion or Google Docs to work on shared documents, templates, and more.
Rocketlane simplifies and consolidates communication, project management/tracking, and document collaboration with its unified workspace that improves communication, collaboration, and project visibility for teams and their customers.
Looking to see how you can benefit from a purpose-built customer onboarding platform? Sign up for a demo.
If you want to learn more about Customer Onboarding, Implementation, and Professional Services in-depth, join the Preflight Community.