Guide

11 min read

How to Power Up Customer Onboarding with Tickets in HubSpot Service Hub

Learn how to scale your customer onboarding process through increased structure, automation and visibility by using Tickets in HubSpot Service Hub and Arrows.

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Introduction

Customer onboarding is a pivotal moment in the customer journey.

It’s the place where all of your customers expectations are put to the test, where the lines between marketing, sales, operations, and customer success meld into a single experience.

Customer onboarding isn’t just about checking boxes or responding to support requests… it’s about proactively creating a clear path from a new customer sign up to the outcomes they bought your product to achieve.

Building a customer onboarding process that enables your growth


A great onboarding process includes considerations for onboarding reps' daily workflows, operations' efficient system, and, of course, the customer experience.

When post-sale teams focus solely on a single pillar, you might be left with a highly automated process that doesn’t improve early churn, or maybe an experience customers love that requires too much manual customization to support your growth goals.

Your onboarding process needs to provide a clear experience for customers, while also aligning with your business needs.

To get there, we will focus on…

→ How to build repeatable, predictable onboarding processes using HubSpot.

→ Ways to increase efficiency with plan design and automation.

→ How to enhance customer engagement with Arrows.


Our goal is to help teams wanting to run customer success in HubSpot bridge the gap between the marketing and sales use cases currently running in their account and what’s possible when you breakdown the silos and connect the customer journey in one place for all customer-facing teams.

Structured Onboarding for Scaling Businesses

Let’s start by defining the idea of structured onboarding.

It’s not just about how your onboarding plan is laid out. It’s about what tasks you’re including and how effectively you are able to document and repeat the process as you grow.

For scaling businesses, especially those where each onboarding rep is assigned more customers, the stakes are high. A structured onboarding process ensures that every customer receives consistent, high-quality interactions, laying the foundation for long-term customer retention and expansion.

However, the challenge often lies in achieving repeatability and predictability in these processes. When onboarding is haphazard or improvised, it not only impacts the customer experience but also leads to operational inefficiencies and higher costs per onboarded customer.

The goal is to create a system that is both flexible enough to cater to individual customer needs and repeatable enough to ensure consistency. This balance is key to scaling onboarding efforts effectively, ensuring that as the business grows, the quality of customer onboarding does not diminish but rather becomes a cornerstone of the company's success.

5 Ways a HubSpot Ticket Pipelines Can Solve Your Onboarding Challenges
  1. Process. Service Hub includes ticket pipelines specifically designed for moving customers through a defined process while providing critical reporting data and triggers for process automation.
  2. Communication. HubSpot is a customer platform designed to track customer activity, emails, and notes between all external stakeholders and internal teams. Reducing the need to ask customers for details previously covered in a previous call or email.
  3. Reporting. HubSpot has reporting capabilities making it possible to share key onboarding performance metrics with key stakeholders proactively or provide them with real-time access.
  4. Automation. HubSpot workflows help remove tedious and repetitive onboarding tasks from your team’s already overflowing plate.
  5. Data. Your CRM has all your customer contact records in one place and is usually integrated with the rest of your tech stack as a source of truth for all customer data.

Now that we’ve discussed the benefits of using a pipeline for customer onboarding in the first place, let’s talk about why using a ticket pipeline in HubSpot Service Hub might be the best option for you.

Why Choose HubSpot Tickets Over Deals For Customer Onboarding

When it comes to running customer onboarding in HubSpot, a key decision is whether to use tickets, deals, or custom objects to manage the process.

For teams who have an existing Service Hub subscription (or are open to upgrading), tickets often emerge as the more suitable choice for onboarding processes, especially when compared to sales-focused deals.

Before we get into the specific benefits of tickets – it’s important to note that using a separate pipeline for each stage of the customer journey, for example sales and onboarding is always recommended.

Intermingling stages of the customer lifecycle in the same pipeline make it more difficult to run effective reporting, more difficult to understand who owns the customer and process at any particular moment in time, ultimately making it much harder to run a repeatable process.

3 questions to determine if tickets are right for your onboarding process
  1. Does your post-sale team want their own space? Give your teams clear lines of responsibility in your CRM with their own area, their own ability to customize properties, and everything about their pipelines in a way that has zero interference with other teams.
  2. Do you want to connect onboarding status with your customer communication? With the new Help Desk Workspace in Service Hub you can now consolidate different aspects of your customer interactions in a single view by combining your Tickets and Inbox.
  3. Do you have additional post-sale use cases beyond onboarding? Service Hub has a suite of tools that can help justify the investment in adding tickets to your existing HubSpot subscription, like surveys, knowledge base, and help desk.

Now you’ve decided HubSpot Tickets are right for you (or if you need to dive deeper we compared deals, tickets, and custom objects in this post), let’s get into how you can actually implement an onboarding pipeline in your account.

How To Set Up Your HubSpot Ticket Pipeline For Customer Onboarding

Pipelines are for process and not just for use by your sales team.

The ticket pipelines feature in your HubSpot account are a great place to run any process to achieve a defined outcome – perfect for customer onboarding.

Here's how to define a pipeline for onboarding:

Step 1. In HubSpot, go to Settings → Tickets → Pipelines  and create a new ticket pipeline for onboarding.

Step 2. Define the stages of your process using a specific ticket status for each step.

For example:

  • Ready for Onboarding
  • Kickoff Scheduled
  • Account Setup
  • Go Live
  • Onboarding Complete
  • Onboarding Failed

The status Ready for Onboarding is used as a holding stage to make sure everything is ready, this is especially important if you’re planning to automate your sales handoffs.

The statuses for Kickoff Scheduled, Account Setup, and Go Live are the main phases our customers go through for onboarding. Each of those phases has a set of tasks that need completing before a customer is ready for the next phase.

Finally, it's important to break out the statuses for Onboarding Complete and Onboarding Failed to appropriately report on the outcomes of the customer onboarding process.

Once you’ve updated your status names and created your new pipeline for onboarding, you can use the “board view” to get an overview of all the onboarding tickets in that part of the journey.

Below is an example pipeline based on the stages we set above:

HubSpot Ticket Pipeline for Customer Onboarding


Bonus: Step 3.
Add required properties to each stage to track dependencies

The most important goal of any onboarding or implementation process, is to remove any dependencies that will prevent the customer from reaching the results they signed up to achieve.

We can use required properties to effectively define and track dependencies in our ticket pipeline.

→ Start by identify the inputs you need from your team or your customers and define them in HubSpot properties. Be sure to also encode the format of input you need in the property type. eg plain text, select, file etc

→ From your pipeline settings page, click edit properties on any specific status and select any properties you need (ensuring you check the box to require them).

You can then ensure all the information you required and tasks that need to be completed before moving to the next step in the process are accounted for.

Setup HubSpot Ticket Required Properties

How to Add Automation To Your Onboarding Process in HubSpot Tickets

Automation is a key component in scaling customer onboarding processes efficiently. HubSpot’s workflows and Arrows’ integration offer powerful ways to reduce manual work for your team and deliver a smooth customer experience.

HubSpot Workflow Automations: These workflows can automate tasks such as sales handoffs, sending welcome emails, scheduling onboarding sessions, and creating follow-up tasks.

Kick off a successful sales-to-onboarding handoff in HubSpot

Reducing the time between deal closed and onboarding kicked off helps build momentum with customers. We can use a workflow to make sure we have everything we need for a successful onboarding (and future renewal) without doing any manual lifting.
‍‍

Handoff Deals from Sales To An Onboarding Ticket Pipeline


This automation ensures that each step in the onboarding process is executed at the right time, enhancing the overall efficiency and effectiveness of the process.

Set up Slack alerts to notify teams about customer progress

This automation created by HungryHungry provides an effective method of managing the communication between customer-facing team members using Slack and HubSpot.

Setup Slack Notifications in HubSpot


Task Level Automation with Arrows: When customers engage with your Arrows onboarding plan, the connected HubSpot ticket record is enriched with 35+ data points about the status of the plan, what tasks have been completed, who is taking action, and what remains to be done.

Having a new source of real-time onboarding data inside HubSpot allows for the automation of email task reminders, pipeline updates, health scoring, and escalations.

Move customers through your onboarding pipeline in HubSpot

Using a HubSpot workflow we can updating the pipeline our internal team uses to manage onboarding as the customer completes tasks in our collaborative action plan.

Automatically move customers through your HubSpot pipeline


You can also use HubSpot data inside of your Arrows onboarding plan to dynamically branch the onboarding experience for a specific customer. This level of automation is particularly valuable for maintaining momentum throughout the onboarding process without requiring your team to be involved to unblock the customer at every step.

Onboarding 2.0: How to enable customer collaboration with HubSpot + Arrows

Operationalizing your customer onboarding by defining your process in a ticket pipeline will absolutely help build a more repeatable and scalable motion for your team.

But there are two common challenges onboarding teams face, especially as they grow:

1. Enabling customers to maintain momentum and take the action required to achieve the outcomes they signed up for in the sales process.

2. Keeping the progress and status of customers in the onboarding process up to date.

Many teams rely on long email threads, spreadsheets, or project management tools to communicate onboarding tasks, but they quickly become overwhelming to customers and don’t connect data about what progress is being made to your CRM in a reportable way.

Create a clear path to the outcomes customers want

One of the most effective ways to solve both of these challenges is to use a collaborative Arrows action plan with customers that is tightly integrated with your internal data and processes in HubSpot.

Arrows collaborative action plan

Mutual action plans created in Arrows become the customer-facing extension of your internal onboarding pipeline, keeping customers in the loop as to what is next.

Adding a collaborative action plan to your HubSpot ticket pipeline enables you to:

  • Keep track of who is responsible for the next step in the onboarding journey - whether your team or the customer.
  • Provide a shared space for collaboration to align on the best path to success.
  • Have a standardized record of what has been done and what is left to do.
  • Enable customers to take action on the tasks that will move them from point A to point B in any phase of the journey to success.
  • Set clear expectations about when steps must be completed to hit target dates and communicate the impact of delays.
  • Manage the onboarding process without leaving your CRM or creating further data silos.
  • Enrich your HubSpot data and leverage reports, dashboards, and workflow automations to evaluate, optimize, AND scale your process.

Enable customers to take action on what’s next

The customer journey likely has many moving parts as a prospect goes from demo to closed won to onboarding and beyond.

While all of those handoffs and processes likely have internal documentation and playbooks, your customers don’t need to know the entire story happening behind the scenes.

Arrows plans are intended to keep customers focused on what is expected of them and what’s next.

Collecting information in an Arrows task

In addition to communicating clear next steps for customers, you can also drive action and ensure customers don’t lose momentum and get stuck by using task actions directly inside Arrows plans to:

  • Collect information in forms that can be synced to HubSpot properties
  • Capture file uploads and attach them to the relevant onboarding record in HubSpot
  • Schedule meetings using popular tools like HubSpot Meetings, Calendly, and Chilli Piper
  • Securely request signatures via PandaDoc, DocuSign, and many others
  • Embed 1000s of 3rd party tools to keep customers engaged without opening new tabs

Keeping the actions customers need to take in the same place you are communicating the work they need to do not only improves the onboarding experience but also makes it possible to keep track of the progress every customer in your HubSpot ticket pipeline is making in real-time.

Enhance Visibility and Reporting in Customer Onboarding

Visibility and reporting are crucial elements in the customer onboarding process, especially for larger teams and businesses. They provide insights into each customer's journey, enabling teams to make data-driven decisions and personalize the onboarding experience.

Building centralized onboarding dashboards in HubSpot

Being able to see the status of any onboarding directly inside HubSpot makes it easy for everyone to quickly understand where the customer is in their journey and support them being successful.

HubSpot Customer Onboarding Report
Breaking down process performance in Arrows

Reporting on your onboarding process inside HubSpot is a great way to increase visibility and high-level awareness of how onboarding is performing.

But there's one huge problem we see over and over: companies often don’t know specifically where their customers get stuck.

The best onboarding teams know that iterating their process using data about how customers engage is the fastest path to improving adoption and retention.

But...so often that data either isn't being captured at all or requires hours of manual work to extract and format to be useful.

Arrows template insights provide a more granular view of how customers are engaging with your onboarding plans and which tasks inside of your HubSpot pipeline statuses are causing issues.

Invest in the process: onboarding never ends

With these principles in mind, you can develop a scalable approach to customer onboarding using HubSpot Service Hub and Arrows that is both efficient for your team and engaging for customers.

Arrows collaborative customer onboarding tool is the most installed customer success app in the HubSpot marketplace.

Combining HubSpot and Arrows for customer onboarding is enabling business growth for customers like HungryHungry who reduced early churn by 90% and RBP who went from onboarding 3 customers per month, to more than 40 per month with Arrows.

If you'd like to stop digging through spreadsheets and and deliver an engaging customer experience you can easily report on, schedule a demo or create a free account to try it for yourself.

Remember, every interaction with customers is an opportunity to help them realize the value you provide. As customers realize that value, they are inclined to invest more and for longer.

The first impressions made during onboarding leave a lasting impression on your customers. The better the impression, the longer the relationship and the greater the ROI on your investment in customer onboarding.

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