B2B customer onboarding process involves friction even for the best optimized processes.
Things like connecting a social media service or adding a snippet of code on a website, can be a time consuming process, especially for larger companies.
It goes without saying that, until your app starts providing the benefit that it promised on the sales page, you can’t charge for that service.
The longer it takes to complete each step in your customer onboarding process, the lower your chances of fully onboarding a user.
Not only that but the user onboarding time has a direct impact on your bottom line.
What is your user onboarding time?
Giving an average answer to this question, for example, saying it takes around two hours, isn’t terribly helpful. If this is your average onboarding time, you need to know how many people are around it.
Questions to ask:
What is the longest time it takes for users to become onboarded?
What is the average onboarding time for the majority of users?
What's the tipping time point after which users take a lot of time?
Your B2B customer onboarding process probably has more than just one or two steps so it’s also very important to find out which steps delay user onboarding the most.
If you are to optimize the time users spend onboarding, those steps are your starting point.
Here is how InnerTrends reports on how long it takes to onboard new users:
Once you know your user onboarding time, how do you use it?
According to the above report, most people spent around 9 minutes onboarding while 20% of them spend more than 30 minutes.
By using the 30 minutes time reference you can start scheduling emails to help users who get stuck.
I like to use the escalating model, explained below by Peter Tanham:
We take an approach we call "escalating intensity" for when a user gets stuck at a certain step.
This means that the longer they're stuck at a certain step, the more we intensify the communications we send to them.
So first they get a gentle reminder email. If they're still here a day later we'll try motivate them (remind them of the value proposition).
If they're here another day later we'll send "how to" messaging.
A week after sign up we might send a discount code for 10% off. Then add them to a social retargeting campaign to get them back. Then a 20% off code.
The idea is that each engagement will bring more and more users through that friction point and to the next step, so eventually you'll only be messaging users who are very unlikely to complete onboarding of their own volition, so what have you got to lose with a discount offering?
You don't want to go too heavy too soon or you'll end up discounting (or just annoying) users who are being onboarded naturally by your product.