1 Tweak To Massively Increase Customer Adoption
A True Story
At Pardot, we had an amazing implementation team. We offered a complimentary 90 day onboarding and implementation process with a dedicated resource. The team was super responsive, knowledgable, and positive — everything you want to get your customers off to a great start.
A year or two in, the workload started to accumulate. An implementation team member would have 15-20 active implementations and 10-15 more clients who were “on pause”, “not ready to start,” “one or two more open items,” or “hesitant to transition out of onboarding.”
As a new B2B Saas technology, these were high-touch, fairly technical implementations. It was stressful to a high performing team who wanted to move customers to action and value. It also started to create an internal bottleneck — the team needed to close the loop on older accounts to take on new customers.
🪄 ✨Then, something happened that changed everything. 🪄 ✨
We charged for implementations!
It wasn’t exorbitant – $2500 with a monthly software subscription of $1000 – a one-time charge of 2.5x a customer’s monthly cost. (Lots of fancy math on the O’Daily.)
It was enough that customers understood the value of the implementation. It created a sense of urgency and importance around those first 90 days. Customers wanted to get their money’s worth!
A priced implementation also provided a discounting vehicle for sales that didn’t impact recurring revenue. A sales rep could discount the implementation up to 50% without approval and up to 100% to get a deal over the finish line. Customers felt good about getting a high value item at a lower price. Pardot maintained the integrity of the monthly subscription fee – the most important long term revenue source.
Even when an implementation cost less because of a discount, the customer valued it more because of the price tag.
Put a price on the time and value delivered during implementation! Even if every implementation is complimentary or heavily discounted, include a dollar amount.
New customers will understand the value of what you’re offering and be highly motivated to make the most of their onboarding experience.
Build an Implementation One Pager to Share With Customers:
How your customer’s North Star metric will improve and other high-value outcomes to expect (e.g. send an email in <5 min)
What’s included with implementation (training hours, weekly calls, setting up integrations, creating materials, adding users, importing data)
Time estimates and dollar values for each of those line items
Note: Beware of customers asking for a la carte options to save money — it’s rarely in their (or your) best interest long term. Better to discount the full package than cut out important items.
The first few months are critical to long term retention and growth. If you don’t get traction early on, it’s hard to recover. Paid implementations create momentum and urgency out of the gate.
Not sure your market or users are ready?
Paid implementations don’t have to be all or nothing.
2 Ways To Get Started:
Include paid implementations with your next few sales proposals especially if the customer has custom or complex needs.
Add paid implementations into contracts and discount them fully.
Note: Be consistent with how you do this. Assume your customers are comparing quotes at the next industry happy hour. Because they are. 😉
See what the response is in the sales process. Track the customers through the onboarding process to measure the impact.
Iterate on the price, offering, and messaging as you learn what motivates and matters to your customers!
What other strategies have you seen work well to increase onboarding traction and adoption?