Customer wants to buy product but isn't interested in onboarding.

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Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
First Comment

Hello GGR community -

What do you have in place (if anything) when a prospect wants to buy your product but isn't interested in any kind of onboarding?

The customer's reason to the sales rep is " I've been through onboardings before and I don't feel like it's an efficient use of anyone's time- either you or my staff. I'd imagine the software is fairly user friendly. The only way for me to learn is to dive in and do it. I understand that you guys feel the onboarding process is the best path for long term retention, but I can tell you from experience that is not the case with my company. Our hope is that you can turn us loose on the software, save on some resources with your onboarding team, and if it doesn't work out it isn't too painful on either end. Let me know your thoughts."

? ?? ?

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  • Brian Hartley
    Brian Hartley Member Posts: 184 Expert
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    edited November 2020
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    Yikes.  "Good luck customer"....?!

    If it is available perhaps sharing data or collateral about adoption and engagement rates when customers go through the onboarding process?
  • Andrew Schneider
    Andrew Schneider Member Posts: 6 Contributor
    edited November 2020
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    2 thoughts.

    1) It could be that the customer doesn't see the value in onboarding, or has gone through onboardings in the past that haven't provided enough value for them. This is an opportunity to really differentiate your onboarding...it's not just the technology, it's the business processes, the change management education...whatever it may be with your product. 
    2) If you know that they're going to end up coming back and either blowing up your Support team or asking for services eventually, can you put together a package of consulting hours or other open-ended hours that get attached to the initial purchase. Is there a service package that isn't onboarding, but would significantly shorten their time to value once they do feel they self-implemented? 

    Good luck!
  • Jarren Pinchuck
    Jarren Pinchuck Member Posts: 38 Expert
    edited November 2020
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    Hi Yanira,

    A few questions;
    • Do you (sales) charge additionally for onboarding/implementation?
    • How long is the average onboarding time for your product?
    • Do you have help docs or good tutorials?
    • Do you have any data on customers who have been onboarded "well" and their overall retention (success rates)?
    You may need to ask the customer a few more questions, take time to get to know him/her. Ask about previous experience or products they've used and why the experience didn't work for them.
    What is the desired outcome for implementing IngeniousIO? You may find that part of the customer's desired outcome is a simple product with simple, self-onboarding.

    We shouldn't forget as CSMs a big part of our job is to help the customer achieve success in a way that works for them. Lincoln Murphy calls this appropriate experience. 
    You never know, you may be able to build out a basic "self-learning" plan for this customer as a basic starting point. You could meet them halfway by creating something like an Ingenious 101 course. Let them give themselves the beginner training and you jump in for a few sessions to answer questions and give some best practice advice.

    Best of luck, let us know how you go.
  • Thomas Hussenet
    Thomas Hussenet Member Posts: 9 Contributor
    edited November 2020
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    Hello Janita

    One thought: Might be a way to negotiate from your client - if your on-boarding has a cost - as he/she will very likely know you want him/her to go through that step anyway. He/she perceives an important part of the on-boarding value is also for you and your team as mentioned by Andrew (point 2)

    One advice: I would ask reference/testimony of the quality and value of your on-boarding to an existing client.
    Good opportunity to prepare a use case about "the value of on-boarding" to highlight how it helped one client in the past and why they would advocate it. That document being then part of sales team collaterals.

    Cheers
    Thomas
  • Russell Bourne
    Russell Bourne Member Posts: 61 Expert
    GGR Blogger 2023 GGR Blogger 2021 First Anniversary
    edited November 2020
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    @Yanira , since this is still a prospect, you have the opportunity to decide whether their proposal is consistent with your operating model and how you want to scale.

    Imagine if you agree to this deal as they described it - they pay you for software and get absolutely no touch.  

    In a year, are they churning?  If so, what reason code do you use?  Would it be "sold to wrong customer"?
  • Russell Bourne
    Russell Bourne Member Posts: 61 Expert
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    edited November 2020
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    @Yanira replying twice because there is another way you could try to work with this prospect.

    You could basically say, "This is a good opportunity for us to experiment with how we would scale with a low-touch model.  It would potentially help us see if customers can self-guide using only our user guides and knowledge base, and how their outcomes compare to customers we work with closely.  We'll agree to your level of engagement, on the condition that you create a joint success plan with us up front, and do periodic reviews on how you're performing against it."

    This could be a great way to cement expectations, avoid scope creep, and it genuinely would be a learning experience for your organization.
  • Tom Mollerus
    Tom Mollerus Member Posts: 3 Navigator
    edited November 2020
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    It's helpful that the customer has told you exactly what their concern is: that the onboarding process won't be a good use of their time. To lessen their worry and gain their trust, you could acknowledging the concern and present a plan that adapts to the customer's needs. For instance, could you give them a checklist of what they need to do to start using your product? Could you get the customer to agree to a series of meetings to check their progress where you both have a chance to re-evaluate the need for onboarding assistance?
  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
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    edited November 2020
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    Hi Brian, that's a great idea. I will be working on gathering these case studies that highlight onboarding value for our customers moving forward.
  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
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    edited November 2020
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    HI @Andrew Schneider, thanks for sharing. In my past roles I have offered consulting hour packages so this is something I can explore at my new company as well. This package doesn't exist here yet but I can develop it. Thank you.
  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
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    edited November 2020
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    @Jarren Pinchuck thanks for taking the time to share your insights with me.

    • Do you (sales) charge additionally for onboarding/implementation? yes 
    • How long is the average onboarding time for your product? 6 weeks 
    • Do you have help docs or good tutorials? yes
    • Do you have any data on customers who have been onboarded "well" and their overall retention (success rates)? not yet, working on it.

    I do see the prospect reaching for what you propose which is a " basic "self-learning" plan for this customer as a basic starting point" and I like the idea of a 101 course. I will explore this option. Thanks again.
  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
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    edited November 2020
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    Thank you @Thomas Hussenet, this shows me that even as a new startup, we can't afford to waste any time gathering those  references.
  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
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    edited November 2020
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    @Russell Bourne I appreciate you sharing your insights, we are looking to launch a low-touch model and this is a great opportunity to decide on our positioning. And I like asking the question of my sales rep to be sure, "In a year, are they churning?  If so, what reason code do you use?  Would it be "sold to wrong customer"?"
  • Yanira "Janita" Sesniak
    Yanira "Janita" Sesniak Member Posts: 52 Expert
    First Comment
    edited November 2020
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    Thanks @Tom Mollerus, both of these ideas are helpful as we figure out a new low-touch model: "a checklist of what they need to do to start using your product and "agree to a series of meetings to check their progress where you both have a chance to re-evaluate the need for onboarding assistance". We do have an onboarding checklist that's new in our app so I will be utilizing that in our conversation to show that these steps will set them up for self-onboarding success.
  • Donna Weber
    Donna Weber Member Posts: 7 Contributor
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    edited November 2020
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    I worked at a company where every customer was a 'special snowflake." Customers insisted their teams were technical and didn't need our help.
    However, they still got into trouble. 

    I would emphasize the value onboarding provides customers rather than the method. I like how others have suggested ways to to tailor your onboarding to meet their needs. However, I would still make onboarding required.

    Cheers,
    Donna
  • Alex Thebert
    Alex Thebert Member Posts: 9 Contributor
    GGR Blogger 2020
    edited December 2020
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    In addition to the great ideas already mentioned, here are some things I've done that have increased onboarding: 

    - Join Sales calls when there's a 80-90% likelihood of closing so outline the resources provided during onboarding and offer customized recommendations based on that customer's use case. 

    - Have a slide that could be called "Skip onboarding at your own peril" that shares both the story and the data on how customers achieve more value long term. 

    - Share your onboarding CSAT scores with potential customers so they know other customers have vouched for the experience and didn't think it was a waste of time.

    - Make sure your onboarding journey fits your customer's needs. I found that we were offering too much to smaller customers. They were happier when we spent less time on communication planning (not as needed for smaller places) and increased the availability and flexibility of our product trainings.

    Hope this helps!

  • Donna Weber
    Donna Weber Member Posts: 7 Contributor
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    edited December 2020
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    Alex, thanks for sharing.
    I love the "skip onboarding at your own peril," and sharing the impact onboarding has with new customers.
  • David Ellin
    David Ellin Member Posts: 170 Expert
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    edited December 2020
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    @Yanira , it sounds like the customer has never met an onboarding program that's brought value to them. I'd ask about their experience with prior onboarding efforts and what they didn't like about them. If yours is different, highlight the differences. Some products are pretty intuitive and don't need a long onboarding process. I'm using a CRM where the onboarding process was about an hour. I've had other, more complex products where onboarding took several weeks. 

    I'd also find out how the onboarding process is being discussed with your customers during the sales process. Perhaps Sales is downplaying onboarding and telling the customer the product is more simple than it is (in an effort to close a sale). That could be setting the customer up for failure and churn.

    Lastly, see if you have any testimonials about the value other customers have derived from your onboarding process or even better, see if one or two other customers would be willing to share their onboarding experience (and the value received) on a short call with the new customer.

    Hope this helps,

    David

    David Ellin
    Senior Customer Success Consultant, Centric Leadership Strategies