It’s estimated that 73% of companies are using all or mostly Saas solutions. What does this mean for the average employee in terms of getting things done? That depends on how big the company is. Organizations with 250+ employees use more than 100 SaaS apps and those with up to 50 employees use between 25-50 SaaS solutions, on average.
Great news for SaaS firms, right? Well, yes – and no. There’s no question that subscription, cloud-based (or “Software as a Service”) solutions have become the preferred means of improving business automation due to their flexibility, security and ease of use. But with the proliferation of so many tools and solutions comes an overwhelming number of competitors fighting for your audience. It’s not enough to sell your solution into a company – they could leave you for another if they become dissatisfied. You need to “hold their hand” so they can get maximum value from it and therefore remain loyal.
You’re In The Door, Now What?
Closing a sale is exciting and impacts the bottom line, but the real value comes when you can turn new customers into loyal ones that continue to use your solution. Your customers must often navigate a learning curve to derive value from a newly purchased software product, just as they would from a hardware device.
This is where the correlation between customer education, onboarding, and customer health becomes pivotal, especially in the competitive SaaS market. An effective customer education and onboarding program can significantly impact customer engagement, retention, and churn.
A new, more comprehensive framework is now available for building customer onboarding programs, including segmenting users and transforming them into long-term customers through knowledge and education.
What is Customer Onboarding?
The traditional definition of onboarding involves incorporating new employees into a team or organization. It has to do with the skills internal audiences need to succeed in their jobs. However, in the age of SaaS businesses, this explanation has expanded to include external audiences as well.
Your customers’ comfort and familiarity with your company’s technology are also part of the onboarding process. HubSpot explains, “Customer onboarding is the nurturing process that gets new users and customers acquainted and comfortable with your product. An exceptional customer onboarding program involves step-by-step tutorials, unlimited guidance and support, and milestone celebrations when a customer achieves success through your solution.”
Your SaaS product may be a game-changer, but if the end-user doesn’t know how to take advantage of its features, you will struggle to drive usage and adoption.
Customer education and onboarding allow users to engage effectively with your product over the long term. Customers include first-time users as well as existing users who need training on new feature integrations or wish to up their level of understanding of how your solution can make their job easier. Can your CRM do that?
When the CRM Is Not Enough
According to a survey of Customer Success (CS) teams conducted by Gainsight (a Skilljar customer), whether a CS team is focused on the customer, product, or revenue, their number one charter by a very wide margin was driving product adoption.
Customer relationship management (CRM) platforms centralize your customer data, but they do not help you educate your clients for greater product usage or adoption. Long-term product adoption depends on a low time-to-value (TTV). Providing ongoing onboarding and customer education opportunities will ensure a sustainable relationship and build loyalty over time.
How Can Customer Onboarding Programs Create Value?
According to HubSpot, the top two reasons customers churn are 1) they don’t understand your product, and 2) they don’t obtain any value from it. Customer onboarding can solve both of these issues.
Investing in a customer onboarding program can have a positive impact over time:
- Users are more likely to purchase and stay with your product if they find value quickly. Keeping TTV rates low is essential to an effective onboarding program.
- An onboarding program continues to improve user adoption by progressing in line with the product’s maturity and user’s comfort level.
- Engagement and adoption levels for products set the stage for a long-term relationship or, as in this case, client renewal and/or expansion.
- The lifetime value of your products depends on active, engaged users who understand and experience how your product is valuable.
Overall, an enhanced onboarding program does more than increase TTV – it also increases product usage and renewal rates, and decreases churn.
Implementing Customer Onboarding Programs Takes More Than An LMS
Typically, an LMS software application provides a central location for the management and delivery of educational resources. However, most of these are aimed at training internal users on company policies and procedures. SaaS companies need a different model aimed at external users – the customers who buy their solutions. They need a customer education platform that provides extra features such as the ability to track and report learner activities and integrate customer education data with other business systems like your CRM, marketing automation platform, and help desk system.
With a cloud-based education solution geared specifically for customers, you can create multiple training modules to target each group of users individually. Onboarding can be streamlined and automated using a platform that houses on-demand, online courses, videos, slideshows, quizzes, and other types of content. Your customer success managers’ time frees up to focus on in-depth questions and customer needs, significantly reducing the administrative burden associated with customer onboarding.
In case something isn’t working, these systems are flexible enough so that you can keep iterating. You must adapt your program to your users’ changing needs, just as you adapt your product.
During the onboarding process, external education systems allow you to analyze your users’ actions to help drive sharable results, such as:
- How many people have completed a course or curriculum?
- How many people registered for a course but did not complete it? How far did they get before stopping?
- Which content types do your users prefer?
- What did people think of the onboarding (if you have a post-training survey)?
Product adoption is one of the most challenging aspects of the customer journey. Still, you can shift your customer education and onboarding strategy from static to strategic with the right partner.
Skilljar is a leading LMS designed specifically for customer training. It’s a no-brainer for SaaS companies that are looking to build a foundation for enterprise-grade customer engagement and partner enablement. Drive adoption and scale resources so all of your customers can appreciate the value of your product and continue to grow with you.
Are you ready to move beyond a traditional LMS for customer education to increase adoption of your Saas solution?