Mark Mitchell

Successful Transitions from Sales to Onboarding: What it Looks Like

There’s a lot of information out there focusing on the sale. You need to attract new clients, but once you close a deal that’s actually not the end of the road—it’s just the beginning. What you do next will determine whether you set the client up for success in the long run. Getting the sales-to-onboarding handoff right can help you build lifelong relationships with customers, improving retention because your clients immediately see the value of the software they purchased and are able to achieve their desired outcome. 

 

Step 1: Communicate

One of the most common client complaints is a lack of communication about the next steps. They won’t be working with a sales rep anymore, but they don’t hear from anyone else right away. Your team might be working hard behind the scenes to get ready for onboarding, but without proper communication, the client feels like they’ve been forgotten. To avoid missing this step, automate the process with a welcome email that has information about what they can expect, as well as contact information for the onboarding lead. Sales reps should make a clean break and let onboarding take over all communications.

 

Step 2: Gather Information

Your onboarding team needs as much information as possible about what the client hopes to achieve by using your software. You might be able to get some of that from your sales team. GuideCX integrates with SalesForce and Hubspot so information can be easily passed from sales to the implementation team. Whatever tools you use, make sure you have a good handoff protocol and internal data sharing software to facilitate this transfer so you’re not asking the client the same questions over and over. You can also ask the client in a short, simple onboarding questionnaire.

 

Step 3: Set Realistic Expectations

Your sales team likely made some promises during the process, so knowing what the client expects here is important to fulfill their needs. Equally important is setting realistic expectations and timelines for what’s involved in onboarding and when it will be complete. Creating a schedule in your client onboarding software that shows each step (with deadlines and assigned responsibilities) can help you avoid overpromising and underdelivering.

 

Step 4: Provide the Right Resources

During the sales process, your new client probably saw a demo and may have a short free trial where they could use the product. These are beneficial but often fall short of an in-depth user experience. Onboarding is the time to walk them through the software step by step, providing proper training and resources catered to their needs, so they can see how they will be able to achieve their goals with the new product. Avoid the most common mistakes by: 

  • Taking plenty of time during training to get through all the features that will benefit your clients so they can achieve a shorter time-to-value (TTV)
  • Customizing your training for each client’s specific needs so they only get the information they need, and not a lot of useless information or training
  • Sending out carefully planned and well-timed emails with the resources to walk your client through each step, not drowning them in training documentation and knowledgebase articles all at once

 

Streamline Your Onboarding

The right onboarding software can help you achieve a smooth sales-to-onboarding handoff with simple templates that outline all the steps, automated emails for communication, and more. Find out how GuideCX is changing client onboarding and try out our free 14-day trial now!

After the Sale: Key First Steps for Onboarding

As the ink is drying on that new contract, your sales team is preparing to hand over a new client to the onboarding team. This is actually one of the most important transitions in the entire process, and unfortunately, it’s also a time when many companies drop the ball. Even companies that have a decent onboarding process can miss key first steps that will set you up for success and build a relationship for the future.

In a 2018 survey by HubSpot, almost half of companies (43%) responded that they don’t have enough time to focus on “administrative tasks,” which includes client onboarding. Fortunately, with the right tools, including the right client onboarding software, the process can be smooth and simple. Here are some key first steps to get on the path to onboarding success.

 

1: Introduce Yourself and Your Team

Many of the tasks that occur during client onboarding will be internal but it’s important that you don’t leave clients in the dark during this process. One of the biggest mistakes companies make is to have only limited contact between the onboarding team and the client. Instead of feeling valued, the client sees a black hole where they signed a contract and are paying money for something that isn’t providing a benefit. Start by introducing your team, and providing a key point of contact they can use during the entire onboarding process.

When you use GuideCX onboarding software, you can provide clients with a login to see the entire onboarding schedule, including all the tasks and the current progress, so they never feel like they’re left in the dark.

 

2: Start by Listening

Clients have specific needs, and they bought your software hoping it can meet those needs. Even if you have specific onboarding steps that everyone needs to take, the best thing you can do is meet with clients and listen to their needs before the process is underway. Your sales team may be able to provide some information they gathered during the sales process, and you can also solicit information with a short, simple questionnaire. This helps you create an onboarding process that shortens the time-to-value for each client.

 

3: Start with a Bang, and Stay in Touch

There are a lot of tips and best practices for client onboarding, and one of the most common is to start with a kickoff meeting, but your “big bang” kickoff should not be the last communication from your team. GuideCX makes it easy to stay in touch with clients from the start on onboarding without changing your team’s workflow at all. Clients can see every task, including items they need to provide or complete, to keep the onboarding process moving forward.

Failing in the onboarding process can significantly hurt your company by setting clients up to feel like they are not a priority. That first impression is critical to keeping clients for the long term, and GuideCX can make it easy for you and your team. Find out how by scheduling a demo of our client onboarding software today.

Best Practices for Improving B2B Customer Experience in Onboarding

There are essentially two kinds of SaaS companies out there: those that cater to end-user customers (B2C) and those that cater to businesses as their end-user (B2B). In the case of the latter, chances are your software is part of a larger contract and your clients could be using it for many years to come—many companies engage with SaaS companies because they need to outsource a portion of their business that is too expensive, resource-heavy, or specialized to provide effectively in-house.

While a sales process gives them an idea of how the product could potentially meet their needs, the onboarding process is their first real engagement and interaction with the people and products at your company. If your current onboarding process is difficult, time-consuming, or just plain non-existent, here are some best practices to take it to the next level.

 

Start with Structure

One of the most important things you can do is have a structured and consistent onboarding process for everyone. Even small startups (or perhaps especially if you’re small and have limited resources) with just a one- or two-person team in your onboarding department should have a streamlined and consistent onboarding. That begins with your onboarding software, which should provide templates to reduce manual work that can be customized to meet the specific needs of each client.

 

Map Your Successful Customer Journey

You should be aware of the things that must happen for your customers to achieve success with your product, including a deep understanding of the “time-to-value” (TTV), or the average time it takes for someone to get to the “aha” moment when they realize how much your software can help. Map out that journey with your team and then build an onboarding process around the customer’s journey with the goal of getting them to that TTV as quickly as possible.

 

Use Multiple Tools and Learning Styles

Everyone learns a little differently, which is why it’s important to cater your knowledge base trainings and materials to a variety of learning styles, including:

  • Written materials (blog posts, help center articles)
  • Visual materials (how-to videos, webinars)
  • Hands-on experiences (in-person trainings or DIY online tutorials)
  • Live help center (phone, email, or chat)

 

Keep Customers Informed

Too often the onboarding process—especially a B2B one that is long or involved—can seem like a black hole to the customers. They get passed from sales to onboarding, have a kickoff meeting, and then don’t hear anything for weeks or months. Keeping customers informed along the way by showing them exactly what’s happening, how far into the process you are, and what the next steps are, allows them to feel confident in the work your onboarding team is doing. A platform like GuideCX also allows you to assign certain tasks to the clients so they don’t hold up the process and then get frustrated when they perceive nothing is happening.

Get Started with GuideCX

A better B2B onboarding process starts with the right client onboarding software. Find out more about how GuideCX can help by scheduling a demo today.

Breaking it Down – Why Simplicity Wins in Client Onboarding – Part 2

In part one of this blog post we talked about simplifying things for your clients during onboarding by opening up better communication channels and improving accountability. Now we’ll talk about why (and how) to simplify things for your team.

Onboarding processes can be complicated, long, and messy, and without a plan in place you could fall into common traps like going way past a deadline or failing to get clients to their “first win” quick enough for them to see the value. Having a plan is critical to streamline the process, and the right project management software can take that plan to the next level.

 

The Project View

The first step to an onboarding process is to create the project. If your PM software requires that you do it from scratch every time, you’re wasting valuable time at the start of the project. Creating a template, then having the ability to customize for individual clients’ needs, will jump-start your onboarding. Another key feature in project management software is the ability to see the entire project from start to finish, plus how far along you are with each step, so team members stay on task and the entire onboarding stays on track.

 

Communication & Reminders

Traditional project management software usually has internal communication tools, but leaves the clients out of the loop. Someone from your team has to manually reach out via email or by phone to keep them informed and to request specific information throughout the process. GuideCX actually integrates client communication—they get usernames and passwords and can even login if they would like. You can set up automated reminders and assign tasks that clients need to complete so they get a notification when something is due. They can view and complete tasks through email without ever logging in, so clients who are less tech-savvy or who just don’t want to have another software program to manage can still be accountable and stay on track. Plus you’ll never need to answer an email or call from clients asking “where are we at with onboarding?”

 

The Roadmap

Everyone who is part of a project can also see the “roadmap”, which shows every step of onboarding, who is assigned (on the client-side and your company side), and the projected date for completion. When everyone knows where you’re going, it’s much easier to get there. Progress bars show when someone’s working on a task, when it’s complete, and how far along you are with each step.

Plus you can see an entire birds-eye view of all your projects, including a timeline view, so you can balance your team’s workload appropriately when you have new clients come on, and set expectations that are achievable.

Simplicity is about helping your team and your clients achieve the outcomes for onboarding by maximizing efficiency and minimizing frustration along the way. The simpler you can make it for everyone, the more likely you can retain great clients and great team members. Find out how GuideCX has taken a traditionally broken and complex onboarding process and simplified it for you and your clients by scheduling a demo today.

Breaking it Down – Why Simplicity Wins in Client Onboarding – Part 1

The onboarding process for many companies is not a simple one—it involves a lot of team members taking a new client from 0 to 100 so they can effectively use your software or service. Project management, especially for onboarding with complex software or services, can be a difficult and messy process. It would be wise for companies to think about onboarding from the perspective of Albert Einstein:

“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

There are actually two sides to each onboarding process—the client-side and your internal onboarding—and each should be as simple as possible to maximize time-to-value and set the stage for a long and beneficial relationship.

 

Simplifying the Client Side

During the onboarding process, clients basically have three questions:

  • What product did we purchase?
  • Where are we at with onboarding?
  • Who has the ball (who needs to take the next step)?

The problem with most project management software is that it doesn’t have any visibility for the clients. Your team may be diligently working on getting all the pieces in place, but the client has no idea what’s going on.

 

What product did we purchase?

Does it surprise you to hear that clients have this question during onboarding? Many people assume that when your sales team hands off a client they already know what they are getting and how they will use it. But in many companies, the decision-maker who signs the contract with sales is a completely different person from the one who will actually implement and use the software or product each day.

Your onboarding process should be treated like a second sales process to:

  • Reinforce key features
  • Showcase simplicity and ease of use
  • Focus on the things that the client needs or wants
  • Answer any questions that come up from the people who will use the product

 

Where are we at with onboarding?

Most project management has internal communication tools but fails to keep the clients looped into everything that is happening. That leaves clients completely in the dark wondering if anything is going on, or creates a string of endless “reply all” emails that are impossible to follow for everyone involved.

 

Who has the ball?

Without good communication, clients also have no idea who needs to take the next step. When there is little visibility and no accountability, your team may be waiting for a client to take the next step, and the client has no idea they are holding up the project. Once you all figure it out, everyone is frustrated by the delays.

GuideCX is the first onboarding software that actually allows clients to see an overview of the project, timelines, and assignments so they know exactly what is going on and who is responsible. That keeps everyone accountable, and virtually eliminates calls and emails from your client asking for status updates.

In part two of this blog, we’ll talk about simplifying things on the internal side for your team. In the meantime, contact us to schedule a demo and see how our software can improve your onboarding.

Why You Should be Capturing Client Onboarding Information Digitally

A lot of things have gone digital, and in most cases capturing information digitally is an easier and more efficient way versus paper documents. Client onboarding is no different, and the ability to capture a lot of the information you need from clients digitally can reduce onboarding time and may even help improve financial companies’ risk and compliance management as well.

 

KYC, CDD, & AML in Client Onboarding

During client onboarding, there are several different things that your company is required to do to ensure that the person or entity you are working with is legitimate and that they don’t pose a risk for money laundering or other illegal activities.

  • Know Your Customer (KYC)
  • Anti-Money Laundering (AML)
  • Customer Due Diligence (CDD) and Enhanced Due Diligence (EDD)

These are essential during the onboarding process, but they don’t end once your client is onboarded fully. You need to continue monitoring clients, regularly reviewing their finances to ensure that there are no red flags for risk or compliance issues. Beyond just the legal requirements to monitor this information, ongoing reviews also allow you to expand your existing relationships by inviting them to try new products and services.

When you capture the information you need for your client digitally, you can comply with all the requirements and laws during the onboarding process, and also store that information for the future. Once your onboarding team completes the process, they can easily hand off the necessary information to your monitoring team as well as your sales team. It turns your onboarding process into a tool for managing clients’ lifetime value instead of just a one-time effort to check off a box when you’re done.

 

Better Automation

Right now many companies that work in the financial services industry don’t have the right tools to automate much of the onboarding process. That means they are still processing a lot of information manually, which slows down onboarding and leads to frustration on the client-side as well as the onboarding company side. Moving these things to a secure online platform can be a differentiator in the onboarding process that leads to higher levels of client satisfaction. Digital transfer of information also allows you to automate more of the processes in onboarding, saving on staffing costs and overhead for more people to process things manually.

 

Set Yourself Apart

Financial institutions today are aware of the significant market forces that require innovation—competition, regulatory scrutiny, cost of overhead—but onboarding offers an opportunity to set yourself apart from the beginning, creating a better client relationship and helping you overcome challenges. The more you can offer online tools that make onboarding easier for clients (and your team), the happier everyone will be.

Find out how the GuideCX client onboarding platform is changing the game for financial institutions to allow a smoother onboarding process and better data management.

Understanding Lifecycle Management in Client Onboarding

For many companies, client onboarding and client lifecycle management (CLM) are two separate and distinct processes–where onboarding is viewed as a process to get the client’s information, perform KYC checks, verify information, and get a person set up with an account login. But effective CLM should actually be just an extension of client onboarding, with the two tied together to create an opportunity for managing an overall client relationship in the long term and not just getting them set up with the right logins.

 

The Importance of CLM

Client lifecycle management is one of the most critical components of a financial relationship. It centers around the idea of having a comprehensive and requirements for the future as well. When this is viewed as a completely separate function from onboarding, you’re not taking advantage of an opportunity to use information you have about your clients to optimize their experience with your products and services from the very beginning.

A better understanding of CLM and its integration into your client onboarding process also allows you to use information about where your clients want to go to advance your product, creating more and better features or offerings to meet those needs.

 

Using Onboarding to Improve CLM

During your onboarding process for new financial clients, you are required to conduct certain checks and reviews:

  • KYC – Know Your Customer
  • CDD – Customer Due Diligence
  • EDD – Enhanced Due Diligence
  • AML – Anti-Money Laundering

These checks can actually provide a lot of insight into your clients, and allow you to open up new discussions about what they want and need from your products. Many of these processes can be automated and integrated into your onboarding with the GuideCX platform, but it’s important not to let the information you gather go to waste and to use it effectively beyond the onboarding process.

The more information you have available, the better you can conduct ongoing data refreshes, due diligence, and upselling or cross-selling opportunities in the future. You can also use this information when new regulatory requirements come up in the future. The more your information is tied together, the better you can provide intelligence and insight to other members of your team with continuous onboarding.

Having the right tools to enable you to integrate your ongoing CLM with onboarding is essential to provide a better client experience initially and into the future. Find out more from GuideCX by scheduling a demo.

Personalize Your Client Experience to Build Long-term Relationships

In 1998 when Amazon was still just an online bookstore, owner Jeff Bezos told the Washington Post, “If we have 4.5 million customers, we shouldn’t have one store. We should have 4.5 million stores.” Today, Bezos is the richest man in the world thanks to Amazon, which has expanded to sell basically everything you can imagine and accounts for about 50 cents of every dollar spent online. One of the biggest factors behind the success of Amazon is how personalized it is—the company uses information on everything you search and buy to create a better user experience next time.

For companies that are working with new clients, personalization should be one of your highest priorities. A cookie-cutter approach to the onboarding process can lead to a poor experience and could be the reason you’re experiencing high levels of churn. Personalization creates a lasting relationship and makes every client feel valued, increasing retention, upselling potential, and revenue, but it goes beyond just putting a person’s first name in your auto-generated welcome emails.

 

Use Data You Have

Your team (whether during the sales process or during the kickoff process for your onboarding) is probably collecting a lot of data about your clients, including their role in the company, goals, and more. Use this information to personalize the things you send them. For example, if you know that the CFO is getting weekly reports on the progress of onboarding, include information about the return on investment, or other critical financial data.

 

Cater Your Communications to Their Goals

Every onboarding blog out there has instructions on getting information up front about your clients’ goals. When you get this information, it shouldn’t just get stored somewhere in the software, it should be at the forefront of how you work with each client. Catering your communications to show how every step of the onboarding process is getting them closer to achieving their stated goals reinforces your value over and over.

 

Create Custom Templates

Every onboarding process might have a similar structure, but each client will be different, which means you should customize their onboarding templates and tasks to make sure you’re meeting their specific needs. You may even have a series of templates that you can pull from that allow you to create a truly unique experience for each new client based on behavior, goals, industry, and more.

 

Provide the Right Help

If you have a knowledgebase, use your onboarding process as a time to send them specific information that will help them make the most of your product. Don’t just send a blanket link to the landing page of your knowledgebase, create custom training and link to the most valuable pieces of information.

Personalization is one of the most critical parts of your onboarding, and it’s not always easy to do if you don’t have the right tools. GuideCX can help you create a completely unique experience for your clients while streamlining the backend processes so you can work efficiently.