How To SaaS Onboarding vs. Non-SaaS Onboarding


SaaS showing in the tablet with coffee, notebook and pen in the table

What’s the difference between SaaS vs. non-SaaS onboarding? How do their onboarding processes differ? Let’s start with some definitions.

What is SaaS Onboarding?

According to CloudShare, “SaaS onboarding is the process of helping new users set up and use a piece of cloud-based software – ‘Software as a Service’ – so that the users will realize its benefits. SaaS solutions are becoming the de facto way that companies operate.”

SaaS onboarding is the education and implementation process that proceeds with purchasing the software-as-a-service. 

At GUIDEcx, we cater to SaaS companies, but also, more specifically,

What is Non-SaaS Onboarding?

Because SaaS is software, non-SaaS onboarding is onboarding a product or service that’s not software. 

Pretty simple, right? 

For example, say you’re a restaurant supply company selling a high-tech oven to a new customer. The onboarding process would include the process of delivering, installing, and educating your new customers on the basic mechanics. When does it need maintenance? How often? How do you know? How do you connect it to your restaurant database system?

I won’t pretend I know a lot about ovens, but the onboarding process likely also includes education about the oven so it’s used to its fullest potential. 

Why and How They Should Be Treated Differently?

Understanding that SaaS and non-SaaS onboarding is so different, there is a lot of room for creative onboarding for both. One guideline to consider when building out that onboarding plan is that 65 percent of people are visual learners, so clearly outlined steps, illustrations, and videos might be effective.

With SaaS, customers are usually using computers. With non-SaaS, customers can use anything else. 

This means non-SaaS customers require more instruction and direction from hands-on examples. Whether this is with video or in-person, they’re more likely to work with physical objects besides a computer. Try the following:

  • An instruction manual with diagrams
  • Indstructional videos
  • In-person training and experience

However, with SaaS customers, it can be easier to experience the right product at their fingertips. Here are ways you can make sure your customers are getting the onboarding they need:

  • Interactive modules 
  • Instructional videos 
  • Zoom calls 

Usually, onboardings involve more than this, though. SaaS and non-SaaS onboardings have papers to be signed and goals to be aligned. It’s also important for project managers to make sure these goals are being met. 

Whether you’re onboarding SaaS or non-SaaS customers, you must provide a reliable experience. A process that can be customizable but improved upon as you onboard more customers will ensure success.

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