According to a Bain and Company report, 80% of businesses believe they are delivering superior services to their customers, while only 8% of customers agree. When it comes to customer-related project management, whether you are delivering a service, onboarding new customers, or training new hires, the speed of your delivery is mission-critical.
Project managers responsible for these onboarding processes often find themselves caught in the web of inefficient handoffs, manual processes, disparate technologies, and disjointed workflows. Different teams across the business are using different tools to manage day-to-day tasks and there are no standardized or documented best practices. Both people resources and processes aren’t in alignment causing unnecessary friction, miscommunication, and project delays.
During the sales cycle, prospects are prioritized by the organization. Prospects will reach a peak in value delivery just before a signed contract, and the impact of a poor customer onboarding experience. Sentiment drops and customers are left wondering if they made the right choice in vendor. If not corrected early, a business will jeopardize the health of that customer account and significantly limit the long-term growth potential of that customer. Below is an illustration of how the buyer journey is perceived by a customer who is subject to these types of inefficiencies.
The Ripple Effect of Customer Onboarding Inefficiency:
Customer onboarding delays don’t merely translate into a hiccup in your project timeline; they have two significant negative impacts on your business.
First, the cost per project escalates quickly. More time, resources, and variable costs are added to the mix to compensate for the delays, affecting your bottom line. I’ll liken project delivery to running a marathon. The longer you are out on the course, the more time there is for something to go wrong. You could pull a muscle, run out of food or water, it could start raining — the list goes on.
The faster you can complete the project the higher the likelihood of a successful outcome for both you and your customer. The customer will be happier and your profit per project will be much higher.
Second, missed project milestones and deadlines can create buyer’s remorse with new customers. The perceived value of your systems and solutions diminishes, jeopardizing overall customer satisfaction. You may have the premier solution in the market, but if your onboarding process and experience don’t match the value you deliver with your product and service, the customer is going to have second thoughts about their long-term loyalty.
For most software as a service (SaaS) businesses that sell a recurring revenue model, the long tail relationship is where the real revenue is earned. You need to be delivering recurring impact and value at every stage of the customer’s journey. The onboarding process is always the customer’s first experience with your teams. Every business is at a different stage of their onboarding maturity. Are you living up to your value promise in the sales cycle? You can take TaskRay’s onboarding maturity quiz here to get a better understanding of where there are areas for improvement.
If the value isn’t there on day one, you’re playing a dangerous game with your renewal and upsell potential right from the start of that customer relationship.
How can businesses use Salesforce CRM to speed up customer onboarding best practices?
Picture this scenario. Your sales team has been working on a big deal for 9 months. Hundreds of hours of work building demos, trials, meetings with end users and executive buyers to build a bulletproof success plan. The ROI looks good, IT has approved the data and security models, and procurement has approved the investment. Everyone is excited about the next steps. They sign on the dotted line and it’s crickets for 2 or 3 weeks while sales “transitions” the customer relationship to an understaffed and overwhelmed customer onboarding team.
Imagine how that customer must feel. Their journey goes from 9 months of strategic communications with what feels like a fully invested partner to being left in the dark with no communication.
Sound familiar? You’re not alone.
The handoff between sales and service teams becomes a precarious journey, laden with gaps in communication, visibility, and accountability. Siloed operations and the use of disparate project management tools further compound the issue, leading to unnecessary delays in project delivery.
Related Article -> How to avoid the 5 biggest mistakes of project management
Too many systems, too little unified process.
While most sales-led organizations will use a CRM like Salesforce to manage the entirety of their pre-sales motion. Unfortunately, these organizations will look beyond Salesforce to manage their customer onboarding process.
Salesforce Native work management eliminates a lot of the unnecessary technology and adoption hurdles. Users don’t need to learn a new interface. There aren’t any complicated integrations to manage and maintain. Sales teams can convert opportunities to wins in CRM and project kickoff workflows are automatically assigned to onboarding teams. These teams can choose from libraries of historical project templates, manage resources and staff capacities, and review project performance all natively within Salesforce. If projects stall out, Sales has direct access to project statuses and performance.
Additionally, having post-sale motions within Salesforce will organically fuel greater adoption from go-to-market teams. Streamlining both the presales motion and the post-sale motion for onboarding can increase kickoff velocity by 20-35% and has been proven to drive customer satisfaction scores up by 15%. By adopting shared customer onboarding best practices outlined above, delivery teams can drive significant improvements in time to value.
The ultimate goal is to minimize the amount of change your team’s need to embrace to improve their overall performance.
Customer Onboarding Best Practices start with eliminating silos
So, where should a business start? Implementation and onboarding leaders hold the key to overcoming these challenges. It’s about creating processes that seamlessly integrate with daily workflows, making Salesforce a tool that helps teams “get the work done” rather than creating additional burdens.
- Reduce your tech debt across the business
Tech debt, also known as having invested in too many different tools that do the same thing, can drastically slow down projects and lead to siloed information and processes. Salesforce native solutions provide a unified platform for planning projects, automating kickoffs and stages, managing resources and staff capacity, and measuring real-time project performance. Instead of relying on off-platform tools that require complex integrations and heavy IT support, opt for a cohesive system that serves all teams equally and efficiently.
- Standardize project management process across departments
A centralized and standardized process streamlines project management by bringing all departments onto a single platform. Project templates and workflow best practices can be shared more universally across teams, helping elevate the success of each project. When everyone works within the same system, information flows more freely, and teams can operate more synergistically.
- Empower better collaboration and visibility
The key to breaking down silos is increasing the ability of teams to collaborate—not only with each other but also with customers. Extend the partnership fostered during the sales process into the customer onboarding experience. Use tools that offer visibility into each stage of a project, enabling both internal teams and customers to track progress and communicate effectively. This transparency ensures that all stakeholders are aligned and can contribute to the project’s success.
- Have a change management strategy
Implementing a change management strategy is essential, especially when introducing new tools or processes that aim to dismantle silos. Change can be challenging, so it’s crucial to have buy-in from all levels of the organization. Successful digital transformation starts at the top and requires clear communication, training, and support as teams adapt to new ways of working.
- Require adoption of this new process from the top down
Leadership sets the tone for organizational change and culture adoption. Leadership teams that do not review customer implementation or adoption reports create risk. If you are seeking to lead a performance-based culture, you need to empower employees with the solutions, processes, and a vision that creates transformation. When leaders actively engage in collaboration and model the behaviors they expect from their teams, it creates a powerful example. By demonstrating a commitment to collaboration, leaders can inspire their teams to follow suit, effectively eliminating silos.
Eliminating silos in customer onboarding is a strategic imperative that requires careful planning and execution. By reducing tech debt, centralizing processes, enhancing collaboration, managing change effectively, and fostering leadership that champions teamwork, organizations can overcome the barriers of silos. These are the foundational elements of customer onboarding best practices.
This holistic approach not only streamlines project management but also cultivates a culture of unity and shared purpose, driving the business toward greater success.
To learn more about TaskRay’s Salesforce-Native Work Management Solution contact a work management specialist on our web chat or request to see a demo here.