SaaS-onboarding

5 best practices for SaaS onboarding

So, you’ve just launched an amazing SaaS solution. You’re offering a free trial download because you just know that if people try it, they will definitely buy it. But if you’re not providing them with an easy and effective onboarding experience, they might find your product too confusing and decide not to purchase.

A SaaS onboarding process should never be an afterthought. It should be just as carefully planned and programmed into your solution as any other feature.

Here are 5 client onboarding best practices that will help convert free trials into long-term paid monthly subscriptions.

1.   Plan your onboarding process at the beginning stages of product development

As mentioned in the introduction, the onboarding process should never be an afterthought. It should be planned, discussed and developed throughout the entire development cycle.

The value of the product should be clear up front, as it is the first thing that will get people interested. As you add each new feature, it’s important to ask yourself how you will teach buyers to use it. This is where you plan and code helpful pop-ups on the page or add content to the Help or FAQs section of your site, or to relevant articles on your company’s blog. It’s useful to create an onboarding checklist template at this time and alter and edit it throughout development. Once the product launches, it’s a good idea to send out a carefully planned series of emails that walks users through each step, similar to the way Hootsuite handles its onboarding.

hootsuit onboarding

By thinking of the training and onboarding process through each step along the way, you may even discover new ways to make your product better and easier to use. This, along with a well-crafted onboarding experience, will ultimately lead to more sales and a higher adoption rate.

2.   Work closely with your sales team

Your sales team will be the ones out there talking to potential customers and convincing them how easy your product is to use. Therefore, they should be involved in every aspect of the onboarding development and implementation process.

In addition to having beta users go through the entire onboarding process during the QA and testing phase, you should also have your sales team do the same. They need to be able to understand and explain every little step to potential buyers and be able to answer any questions that might arise. This is true for customer services reps as well.

Make it easy for your sales team to pitch your product and then they can make it easy for people to buy your product.

3.   Hook buyers from the start

Your onboarding process should do two things extremely well: get users to sign up for a free trial and get them to start using your product the second they sign up. The entire client onboarding process flow should be quick, easy and seamless.

The marketing team will do the brunt of the work when it comes to selling the free trial, but once that happens, your onboarding experience must capture a user’s attention instantly.

The first of your onboarding screens is the most important. It should lay out exactly what the user can expect in terms of what’s next and how long it will take to complete the onboarding. By letting your users know exactly how many steps and how much time it will take, they are more apt to complete the entire process at one time and start actually using and benefiting from the product.

4.   Keep it quick and keep it simple

When it comes to the best SaaS onboarding examples, the popular team messaging and project management tool Slack is certainly at the top. Slack onboarding gets users up and running in as little as five minutes.

Users are guided through setup via the “Slackbot,” which uses a series of short messages and instructions. Users can ask the Slackbot questions as they move through the process. Colorful pop-up windows point out where everything is in the app and what each feature does.

slack onboarding

Providing the chatbot at the very beginning of the onboarding process gets users familiar with the option and confident that they will always be able to ask questions and get a quick response.

5.   Make your onboarding process scalable

The whole point of having a well-crafted onboarding process is to get people to buy and use your product. But are you prepared if your solution experiences massive growth in a short time frame? You build your product to scale, so you need to make sure your onboarding process can scale with it.

Uber developed its onboarding process the same way it developed its product, by starting with an MVP. The original Uber online onboarding experience was made up of 5 simple steps. However, as the company saw massive growth and expansion to many different states and countries, they realized that one onboarding process would not work, as laws and regulations are different in each. Uber had to re-think and rebuild its entire onboarding solution.

If you go back to the first best practice mentioned in this article, you’ll be reminded how important it is to incorporate onboarding from the very beginning and make plans to scale the process in the same way you plan to scale your business.

When launching a SaaS product or solution, it’s important to remember that no matter how amazing or revolutionary your app may be, if it’s not easy to use, it’s not going to be a success. This is why providing a seamless and painless onboarding experience is vital.

You’ve heard the saying that you only get one chance to make a good first impression. Your onboarding process is that chance. Make it good. Make it count.