SaaS Tattler Issue 56

September 9, 2015 Paul Philp

Issue 56 – Getting to Wow

Onboarding is the key lifecycle stage for all SaaS companies—and we share the collective responsibility of knowing that the ‘Wow’ experience is a critical pivot point for every new user. This week’s Tattler rounds up some of the best onboarding clippings from around the web.

Extensive SaaS Onboarding Checklist

From the SaaSAddict, Omri Erel shares a comprehensive onboarding checklist, complete with instructions on how to create a welcoming email with a single, simple call to action (CTA). It’s a great reminder that successful conversion from a trial to the paid version is one of the most effective ways to reduce onboarding time.

For most software firms and SaaS vendors, the process of onboarding customers remains a daunting and challenging task. This process, unfortunately, is often misunderstood; a good number of SaaS software firms and SaaS vendors overlook the importance of making the customers feel comfortable. It is crucial to help users begin on the right foot. That way they can derive value in the software in the first week of using it. A good SaaS onboarding process is what software firms and Saas vendors need to help them convert customers from the trial to the paid version of their offering, and employers can reduce the time spent on bringing internal users on board.

Rules-based outreach is also touted here—with pre-programmed events triggering email to customers at the exact moment it is needed. Tailored messages for segmented groups or individuals can also be pre-set; ensuring that the onboarding process continues to move forward.

The Secret to Successful Customer Onboarding

From low touch, self-service SaaS companies to enterprise, high touch organizations, the main culprit in drop-off is always the onboarding process. Lincoln Murphy does a good job explaining the difference between “functional” onboarding and equating onboarding with a value delivery milestone.

…there’s still no universal definition of a customer that is fully onboard; it’s simply different for every company. And for SaaS vendors – where customers can start small and expand their use of the product (ideally) over time – the notion of “onboarded” as a status is even harder to nail down than it was with traditional Enterprise software. So, since it’s hard to nail it down and there’s no universal definition for it, I prefer to consider a customer “onboarded” once they’ve achieved “initial success” with your product (consider this First Value Delivered – FVD).

There’s Only One SaaS Sales Strategy You Really Need

Garrett Moon has some great examples of the onboarding process and customer care—including sending random cakes to customers (à la Freshbooks). Learn from Zendesk and Media Temple to successfully onboard new customers.


When our number one goal is to help our customers succeed, we may have already designed all of the sales strategy we really need.

7 Habits of Successful SaaS Startups

There’s so much meat in this piece, it’s definitely worth the read. One of my favourites from the list of 7 habits is #2: Rally around a cause; and Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce, certainly declared his: to change the way enterprise software is delivered.

We owe credit to Salesforce for coining the term Customer Success Manager, who defined the job title after realizing that SaaS required more than traditional customer support.

Benioff understood that SaaS required more than a traditional customer support team and defined a new role in the company: Customer Success Manager (CSM). Access to a CSM would be available to customers willing to invest in a higher-priced plan; in exchange, the CSM would analyze customers’ use of Salesforce and proactively suggest best practices. CSMs would frequently chat with customers and provide “quarterly scorecards” to highlight features or add-ons for the service.

Marketing the success of your customers is another Salesforce credo. I remember turning over a Salesforce business card many years ago and seeing a customer testimonial printed on the back. Brilliant.

Interesting SaaS Vendors of the Week

OntraPort – All-in-one business automation for small businesses and entrepreneurs

GenomeNext – Automated genomic analysis in the cloud

HubStaff – Time tracking app for remote teams

Parim – Workforce management software

Additional Reading

Sales organizations grapple with the same onboarding challenges that SaaS companies do.You’re losing hundreds of thousands of dollars because of poor sales onboarding.

Getting new employees up to speed is classic onboarding. Borrow tips and tricks from How to build an onboarding plan for a new hire.

5 Onboarding techniques to convert trials into paying customers offers practical tips like A/B testing, “foot in the door” techniques, and creating a sense of urgency to move the conversion needle.

The importance of customized correspondence is the key take-away in 3 Lessons learned from testing hundreds of onboarding emails.

Once onboard, you’re on the clock to demonstrate first value to your customer. Ten Minutes to WOW. That’s Customer Success! will help you shortcut that process.

The SaaS 2.0 Tattler is a hand-curated newsletter compiled weekly to bring you interesting insights on the SaaS and customer success industry. If you enjoy what you read here, please consider forwarding it to others. New reader? Subscribe.

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SaaS Tattler Getting to Wow - w/ articles by @SaasAddict @LincolnMurphy @Kissmetrics and more!
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