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  • Writer's pictureYogesh Jain

6 Best Practices: Your Ultimate Guide to SaaS Customer Onboarding

Updated: Mar 27

SaaS marketing book

Do you know what differentiates a successful enterprise in a crowded marketplace? Successful companies have a deeper relationship with their customers. They ensure that their customers have the best experience right from onboarding them to the ultimate point of retaining their loyalty. 

Intercom states that 40 - 60% of users who registered for a free trial barely used the product. Such users may never convert into paying customers if we don't practice appropriate customer onboarding strategies in SaaS businesses.

saas customer onboarding

SaaS Customer Onboarding Best Practices

We should always aim customer onboarding at lessening our user’s time (to value it as much as possible). Many SaaS businesses recognize the importance of building a great onboarding experience, and here are a few best practices that you can draw inspiration from.

1. Sign-up process

A survey of 79 SaaS companies conducted by Heap found that the average conversion rate for their sign-up process was 36.2%. Consider keeping your sign-up process as short as possible. If you need lots of information from your customers when they sign up, make it feel less by splitting it across multiple pages. Twilio’s sign-up page is a splendid example of a short sign-up process with scrambled bullet points that remind customers of the value they get when they sign up.

sign up as the first step in onboarding process

2. Welcome Email

After a customer signs up, the next step is to send a welcome email. This email should ideally direct them to their product so they can start using it and get value from it. Consider sending a thank-you message to let them know you value them. You should also include resources like product tour videos, links to help centers, FAQs, etc., to help them get started. Look at DocSend’s welcome email, which includes just one prominent CTA (call-to-action) and shares three steps that will help the customer get started.

saas customer onboarding - welcome email

3. First log-in

The first time that a customer logs in is the first real impression that they get of your product. At this stage, give your customers quick wins and milestones that let them know they are in the right direction. This could be as simple as a product walkthrough or inviting a colleague to collaborate. ClearBrain’s first log in gives a clear overview of the entire setup process with a positively engaging CTA that motivates the customers to get started.

saas customer onboarding

4. Integrations, invitations, and data imports

Now that your product is a part of the customer’s technology stack, it cannot exist in isolation. Your customer may need to set up integrations with other tools they use or import data from other sources, or even invite their team. Therefore, automate as much of this process as possible. What’s more is that you should have a dedicated onboarding team that can help new customers get set up, making it easy for your customers to contact support if they need to. Look at's user invite below. The SaaS company enables customers to experience much more value while using it with their team. 

using data for saas customer onboarding

5. Product demo & walkthrough

A demo or a product walkthrough makes it easy for your customer to take the important steps and complete tasks within your product. There is a possibility that your new customer may already be familiar with your product, which is why you should enable them to skip all or part of the walkthrough. Additionally, you should also make it easy for new customers to come back to your product walkthrough at a later date. One outstanding example is Ninox. Ninox gives a walkthrough of their main dashboard in just five steps. They give their customers a task that helps them understand the value proposition.

product walkthrough

6. Follow-up emails

The ultimate goal of your customer onboarding process is to keep your customers engaged so that the process does not end after your customer has logged in the first time. You can consider sending additional follow-up emails, offering tips and pointers to help your customers make use of your product, prompting them to log back in. Here’s an example of a perfect follow-up email by Zaiper. Zaiper’s follow-up email adds a video to engage with customers, along with links to the help documentation.

zapier as example of successful saas customer onboarding

The goal of your customer onboarding process is to set your customers for long-term success with your product from the very start. The right way to measure the success of your customer onboarding process is to track whether your customers log back into your product in the days, weeks, and months after that first use.

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