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4 Quick Ways To Prep For Your First Customer Onboarding
Yay!! You have your first customer! Congrats!!
You’re on cloud nine until you realize…what does onboarding look like? how do I make sure we do it correctly and professionally so that we keep them as a happy customer??
If you are just getting started with your first customers — or maybe you’re on customer #100 but have been winging it thus far (totally normal btw) — here are 3 simple steps to prep before you kickoff your first onboarding!
Next week, we’ll dig into specific best practices for the onboarding itself.
1. Review What You Know
What information have you already collected about the customer? Go over it holistically so that you’re prepared.
Who are the buyers and users? (LinkedIn profiles, job titles, names, emails, personal details, etc. ZinniaAI can prep this for you!)
What tools are they already using?
What are the main goals or initiatives going on that made them purchase?
What does the company do?
What internal quirks or challenges do they have?
Put all the information you gather in a single place — Google Doc, Slack channel for each customer, Notion. This is the very beginning of your official or unofficial CRM!
It can be messy right now. Don’t overthink it. You’ll hire a customer success person later who will chastise you and fix it up 😂
2. Identify Their Goals & Your Goals (hint: they’re different)
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. You must be able to answer:
It is *NOT* usage of your product.
What is the thing your power user is measured on and gets promoted for?
There are probably specific initiatives that your buyer is talking about — “we need to launch an AI feature set” — but underlying that specific project is the larger goal of generate revenue, improve customer retention, increase product stickiness.
THAT IS THE NORTH STAR!
Once you identify your customer’s North Star…
What milestones will support their North Star?
What are the goals they’ve mentioned?
Can you show the impact to their North Star within the product? (probably not — something to work towards over time!)
From your perspective, what will a successful implementation look like?
What are you hoping to learn or optimize for with this first customer?
What is the #1 metric or outcome that will indicate you’ve crushed it??
Jot down the “end goal” of what it looks like when this customer is successful. What are the things that need to happen to get the customer there? Make a list. It’s probably a combination of training, product setup, and planning. Put it in “order of operations” and remove any non-essential items.
Focus 100% on the steps to get your customer to the first win as fast as possible.
This list becomes your first onboarding checklist!
3. Draft a Timeline & Checklist
Even the most simple outline will help a ton to set expectations, make you seem professional and prepared, and prevent miscommunications!
Does it take 1 week or 1 month to get up and running?
What items does a customer need to prepare? What can you do for them?
Do any trainings need to be scheduled?
What needs to be done first to unlock next steps?
Use your list of items from #2, add some loose dates or time ranges (e.g. 1 week before launch), put a logo on it (yours and the customer’s to really wow them 🤯) and you have an onboarding document!
Use this as a “starting place” or a “framework.” Explain that it’s not set in stone and you can iterate based on the customer’s schedule and needs.
It’s helpful to have something on paper but you don’t want them to hyperfocus or nitpick.
And everything will be different than how you planned!
4. Have Benchmarks Ready
One of the most common customer questions:
What is everyone else doing? What is the norm? What does “good” look like?
I know what you’re thinking…it’s my first customer. How do I know any of that stuff??
Here’s the thing:
You know more than you think. You’ve been researching and building and talking to other companies with their same problems!
In their mind, you’re an expert. They are counting on you to guide them.
You don’t need perfect data to provide a helpful answer. It’s really about a starting point and helping people feel “okay” about what and how they’re doing it.
Here’s some phrases to use to help with benchmarking and establish credibility.
“Most companies like you do xyz.”
“A typical implementation is 6 weeks but every customer is different.”
“An industry benchmark is x% but it can be as high as y% and low as z%. Improvement over time is the most important metric.”
“The most recent report from <IndustryNews> has x as the average. What I’m seeing on the ground is that that may be underreported.”
Take 60 minutes (or less) to do these 4 things before your first customer onboarding kickoff and you’ll be ahead of most onboarding experiences out there!
Want even more real world advice about customer onboarding???
PLUS — more tips for your first customer onboarding next week!
What was the most helpful tip for your first customer onboarding? What lessons did you learn?