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Onboarding New Customers is Critical to SaaS Success

One reason for the success of the SaaS business model is that it shifts the risk from the customer to the provider of the SaaS product. Gone are the days of customers writing six-figure checks for your software after months of sales effort, evaluations, and pilot programs. Now a customer can often take a SaaS product for a spin with very low friction and minimal, if any, contact with sales.



However, easy come, easy go. The risk shifted to the software provider to deliver compelling value to capture the customer and hold onto them (and their recurring revenue stream) for as long as possible. This progressive view of continuous value delivery is important to instill across your company. Without attention to continuous value delivery, churn will likely steal away your hard-earned revenue.


One key process that is often underestimated and thought of after-the-fact is customer onboarding. A bad customer onboarding experience will convert prospects to customers poorly. Bad is friction in the process, lack of trustworthiness, setting expectations incorrectly, failure to make clear the outcome the prospect is looking for, and failure to deliver value very quickly.


In addition, as OpenView Partners points out in this useful guide about onboarding, the process begins as early as the ad the prospect clicked and the page they land on. A marketing promise that disconnected from value demonstrated in the first moments using the product is a common error. In fact, the promise of outcomes and expectation management begins at first touch, long before the user creates their own self-service account.

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