Why onboarding isn’t about your product

Misalignment between company outputs and customer outcomes usually rears its head during onboarding. Effective onboarding is more about building a bridge to your customers desired outcomes than your product.

Stuart Balcombe

October 7, 2022

3 minutes

Misalignment between company outputs and customer outcomes usually rears its head during onboarding.

What we think customers need in onboarding:
❌ Detailed tooltip tours
❌ Every cool feature we offer
❌ An infinitely configurable adventure

Customers actually need:
✅ Validation the product matches their needs
✅ An experience that meets them where they are
✅ Contextual education to help them be successful
✅ A value realization (aha) moment with their first use case

Effective onboarding is more about building a bridge to your customers desired outcomes than your product.

How you introduce onboarding to customers matters…a lot.

Steal the email that helps me introduce the onboarding plan, align on customer outcomes, and help customers build momentum toward the value they signed up for.

Email to introduce onboarding

Instead of dumping a list of tasks in an email and overwhelming your excited new customer:

  1. Make sure you join the final sales call to introduce yourself and get a better understanding of what’s most important to your new customer.
  2. Reinforce the outcome you heard in discovery to get alignment on where you’re trying to accomplish during onboarding.
  3. Introduce “why” you’re introducing an onboarding plan and how it will make your customers life easier.
  4. Provide a clear first step - build momentum by ensuring this first task is a quick win and can be accomplished in less than 2 minutes - marking the task complete helps customers feel progress and positive about your plan.
  5. Handle common objections customers have to clicking a link from your email - nobody wants to remember yet another password!

Bonus: Make the first email a template in your CRM and save yourself the time of writing it from scratch for each customer.

Making a great first impression with your new customer helps:

  • validate their purchase decision
  • build trust in your process to reach their goals
  • reduce the chance you get ghosted later

The customer journey doesn't end when a deal is "closed won".

Here's how to use HubSpot Sales & Service hubs together to create a seamless customer experience beyond the initial sale.

1. Identify the stage in your sales pipeline (Sales Hub) where deals have a predictable path to close.

The earlier you can introduce the post-sale process and set expectations about what will be required the easier you’ll make life for your onboarding and success teams… … and the easier time you’ll have closing renewals and upsells.

2. Attach a customer facing plan using Arrows

Use an automated workflow to create and attach an Arrows plan

→ Providing a clear path to success and enabling customers to make progress themselves can accelerate time-to-close and time-to-value.

3. Use required properties to ensure consistency when closing deals The more context post-sale teams have about a customer and their goals, the more effectively they can create an experience that helps them succeed.

→ Use required properties for data that could help segment customers or personalize the post-sale experience

4. Create a new onboarding ticket (Service Hub) for closed won deals

When a deal moves to closed won:

→ Create a ticket and assign it to no one
→ Copy over any relevant deal properties to the new ticket

5. Setup our onboarding process for the new customer in a workflow

Branch this flow based on known customer attributes like plan or customer type:

→ Set a renewal data for the customer on the ticket
→ Assign an owner
→ Attach the customer facing Arrows plan from sales to this new ticket
→ Create and assign internal handoff and prep tasks
→ Add a catch all for newly closed deals with missing information

HubSpot might be best known for it’s marketing and sales software - but the more of the customer journey you can keep connected - the smoother the experience you’ll create for you customers.

In 2022 a connected customer experience isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a revenue accelerator.

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