When a company has achieved Product/Market fit and is refining its sales approach, the next test is the customer onboarding experience. This boils down to a three-part question:

How easy is for a customer to:

  1. sign up for the service,
  2. start using it, and
  3. reap the benefits?

Obviously, the less friction, the better. Not only does onboarding represent a fairly typical sales objection for a customer (“we’re too busy to change our process right now”), it’s also a practical operational challenge on the other side of the table. No startup wants its growth limited by an onboarding bottleneck.

In all likelihood, for an early-stage company, most of the effort to date has been focused on longer-term product use. Less consideration has typically been given to both the product development and process components on the initial customer experience.

For more complicated use cases, these can be quite a challenge. Using a new product requires an investment of time and effort in process re-engineering; users must learn not just new software, but often also a new workflow.

So, if it’s too hard or takes too long to learn the new software and start using it, customers will conclude that it’s just not worth the effort: any efficiencies for the customer achieved in the long-term must be weighed against the here-and-now costs of implementation.

Some of this can be mitigated through thoughtful product design: by integrating the lessons from deep customer discovery with best practices of modern software design, good software can often require minimal (or no) training.

At Gain, we take great pride that customers receive near-immediate benefit: not only do we improve results from the outset, but we also offer a net reduction in time spent (even accounting for process re-engineering and software use).

Just as with the milestones of validating a product/market fit and proving a repeatable sales process, efficient onboarding is a prerequisite to scaling.

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