Does your SaaS product/service sell itself in your subscription based service? Or maybe, it is something more towards a membership style of arrangement? Either way, there are a lot of lessons to be learned from the art of onboarding employees for most SaaS models. When we look at successful onboarding programs they typical address four different areas: work to be done, rules of the road, company culture, and getting connected (mentors). The successful onboarding programs, I am familiar address these four areas within the first ninety days. We could argue how successful companies at delivering on these but for the sake of things let’s stay on the subject of successful ones.
I think most SaaS companies do a good job on the work to be done and the rules of the road. The emotional and functional side of the onboarding. Deriving use of the product/service is should and often is of primary importance. We need to retain the customer and the only way we will is through use. What I don’t think we do is considered the bigger picture of addressing the lifetime needs of the customer earlier enough.
SaaS companies try to achieve this through continuous development most specifically with upgrades and integrations. Surprisingly, those options can be more of a deterrent to use. The problem that exists is that too much information or just as I learned how to use the product, I receive another upgrade, “a friendlier interface” or so they say.
What if we froze upgrades for new customers for ninety or one hundred and eighty days. Outside of security packages, would that hinder or help us onboard customers? Maybe, we give them options to use certain features and enable them white-glove services if they desire them? Or at least a higher interaction of support for a short-time when they take that step. In other words, a more social approach? That is the part I have found lacking in the delivery of many SaaS companies, the social component of value (If you think like me, value is derived from a three-legged stool – Social, Functional, Emotional).
SaaS companies should take the time to be social, and a few ideas might include:
- Learn about new subscribers/members based on how they define value. What are their interests and needs?
- Customize communications at the minimum have a workflow that they can be organized into that is the most like their defined value.
- Create at least one significant interaction, a great customer experience or as Disney might put a “Weenie”, with every new subscriber/member during the first 90 days
- Constantly deliver highly satisfying and measurable experiences as part of everyday work.
- Put the carrot out there for them to take the next step to use more of the product/service both as part of what they have already purchased and upsell when they have not taken the next step after an expected time, reach out and engage before they ask. However, have tools to signify non-interest or another path needs to be taken.
- Provide mentorship opportunities from in-house account reps and even from customer platforms rewarding mentors.
No one will have a perfect onboarding program. However, investing in this area may be the most significant revenue producer in your entire company. We all talk about innovation, but innovation means little without use. And, of course, use if the ultimately determining factor of value.