In this consumer-centric world, customer experience is key and applies as much to B2B as it does to B2C. The B2B sales cycle is often longer and harder to close than in B2C. As a result, making sure you don’t lose those hard-won customers after winning the deal is vital.
In this blog, we have gathered 4 essential tips that will take your customer’s experience of your onboarding plan from ‘OK’ to ‘truly amazing’. Why have we done this? To help you exceed your customer’s expectations by making their lives easier, as well as increase your sales and customer retention.
“Across 20 industries, a modest increase in customer experience can generate additional revenues over three years of between $472 million and $824 million for every $1 billion in annual revenue.”ROI of Customer Experience, Temkin, Oct 2016
4 onboarding essentials
A large part of company resources goes to the first stages in the customer lifecycle. For instance: marketing, events, tradeshows, lead generation and sales. However, investing in a good onboarding process and building long-term loyal relationships with your customers after the first closed-won deal is equally important.
Here are our 4 key tips that will help you to start building an onboarding series for your B2B customers that is sure to succeed:
1. Know your customers
Successful B2B relationships are built on actionable insights about customer needs and expectations. But, do you understand your customers’ behaviour and motivations? Using sales and marketing CRM software to collect data will help you build this picture of your customer. You can then use this to personalise exactly how you welcome and onboard future customers.
2. Team alignment
Too often there is a disjointed approach between the sales team and other departments in a business. Sales reps set the customer expectations throughout the sales cycle and these expectations can sometimes conflict with reality. In addition, having bonus-driven sales teams can open the door to overpromising in order to close deals.
The rest of the business is often unable to live up to a customer’s expectations in those first weeks and months. As a result, new customers can become very easily disillusioned and dissatisfied with their experience, leading to a drop in the likelihood of keeping them as a customer in the long term.
Aligning your teams will make it easier to clarify what your product and service can actually deliver. By doing this, new customers will receive consistent messages from the get-go and will not be disappointed.
3. Understand customer needs
Following on from our last point, you can’t task one single team with the onboarding process and expect them to hold all knowledge about customers.
Your finance, sales, marketing, operations and support teams are all instrumental in determining what a new customer needs. By combining their knowledge with data gathered from your existing customers in CRM you can draw up a solid onboarding plan.
Why not ask those existing customers for feedback to find out where you could improve or look into support tickets and complaints? You may also discover that different users of your product have different needs. Join up all this knowledge in your CRM and you’re all set to deliver a next level onboarding experience. For example, you can use this gathered knowledge to create and send out truly personalised welcome emails that will engage your customer and make them feel valued.
4. Agree handover process
Define a clear handover process with your sales team and determine a point in your CRM where a closed-won deal will progress to a new customer ready to onboard. This could be as soon as the sale is made but may be after delivery of your product or service.
It is also important to ensure that your CRM can make this data actionable and is fully integrated with the marketing automation tool. This is so that any results and ROI are immediately visible and accessible.
So you’ve done all of that, now what?
B2B customer onboarding goals
Having a clear focus on performance in the first days or weeks of serving new customers can boost the lifetime value of your relationships. After all, onboarding is all about motivating customers, getting them excited about the value and power of your product or service they’ve just purchased.
- Educate – Explain some of the features or functionality of your product. Encourage best practices and make it easier for customers to get the most from your product or service.
- Build trust – Any relationship, even a B2B relationship, is based on trust. Helping customers make full use of their new service or product or service can ease that overwhelming feeling of getting started with something new.
- Increase loyalty – Creating a positive customer experience with your brand leads to long-term loyalty and customer advocacy. Happy customers not only purchase more products but will spread the word and attract new business for your organisation.
How Gold-Vision CRM can help
A great place to start with any B2B customer onboarding process is with a customer welcome series. This couldn’t be easier to set up when using a combination of Gold-Vision’s integrated email marketing (Connect) and marketing automation tools.
The first thing to remember is to keep it simple. Don’t try to fit all you have to say or offer into one massive email with multiple calls to action. In the example below, you will see a 3-email automated welcome series, followed by an automatically scheduled follow-up call.
- Welcome email
Send a personalised welcome or thank you word, signed by your MD. This is also an opportune moment to introduce a customer to their account manager, and get some admin tasks out of the way.
- Support or educational email
Advise a new customer on the best way of getting in touch with your support services. Think about this as an opportunity to share some tips and tricks about your product, and empower customers to help themselves.
- Event calendar email
Invite your new customers to join you at your next event or tradeshow, it’s always great to meet the people who purchase your product.
- Pick up the phone
Nothing beats a personalised check-in with your customer. Schedule a call with them after the first weeks post-purchase and ask them about their experience so far. You may pick up pain points or get an excellent recommendation from them. We’ve been asking our customers to leave a CRM review on Capterra or write a customer success story about using Gold-Vision which has been very successful for us.
Onboarding is a continuous process, as your product and customers evolve, so should your process to welcome new customers to your business.
Arrange a demo today and find out more about how Gold-Vision’s integrated sales & marketing CRM helps businesses do more.