• Andy Mahood

CUSTOMER ONBOARDING ON SALESFORCE...

Updated: Apr 27

...GETS EVEN SMARTER



Little bit of background. This time last year I wrote a post for the Taskfeed website called Smarter Customer Onboarding on Salesforce. Back then I was the CEO of Taskfeed. Now we’ve merged with Precursive, where I am the CTO, and Taskfeed is now called Precursive Onboarding Experience (PrecursiveOBX).


One thing that hasn’t changed though is the key message, and that’s for high-growth sales teams, Salesforce is the absolute best choice.

Why?

In short, when it comes to handing off new customers into Onboarding, Salesforce allows your team to work in a smarter, more collaborative way.

So why am I posting again on the same topic, just one year later? Well, because since last February there’s been a wider shift in the market. High-growth businesses still want smart solutions for managing their customers from Sales to Onboarding, but increasingly they want to manage their ongoing services delivery to those onboarded customers in the same place - Salesforce.

Keeping it all in Salesforce just makes more sense than ever. To explain why, I need to recap on the last time I wrote on the topic, as it’s all still 100% relevant today.


Firstly, you still don’t necessarily need a specialist Onboarding app to do smarter Customer Onboarding on the Salesforce platform.


There are a number of pretty basic steps you can take now in your standard Salesforce instance that will put you in a much better position than you would be in, relying on emails and spreadsheets.


For example…

  • Add your Customer Success and Onboarding Services teams onto Salesforce. Simple. Just doing this one thing alone will mean that everyone is going to be looking at the same Customer Contacts and Account, along with other relevant stored in Chatter, Comments, Notes and Attachments. If you think this will be too expensive in terms of licence costs, think again - Platform licences are almost certainly all you need and they are a fraction of the cost of the full licence costs you will no doubt be paying for the Sales team.

  • My next recommendation is to add in an expected kick-off date to Opportunities. Suddenly, your Opportunity pipeline report can be grouped on this date, Expected Kick-Off, and now you have a view of your upcoming, anticipated workload. Take it a step further by combining information with your win/loss ratios and you now have a future forecast.

If you do nothing else, then do these two things and you have given your team a considerable advantage.


However, my prediction would be that once you’ve seen the benefit of these simple changes, then you will realise that there are so many additional ways that you can make your Customer Onboarding on Salesforce even smarter. The tools for better reporting, collaboration and rolling out a repeatable process are all there, and if you are serious about Onboarding customers well, then it's time to get seriously smart.


Salesforce is smarter because it works in conjunction with real customer data


One question that comes up regularly is why Salesforce outperforms a standalone project management app. The answer is that Salesforce is the home for your customer metrics and if you are not evaluating your onboarding against these measures, then quite simply, you are not getting any smarter.


While the most popular PM solutions provide fixed view and tables of information, Salesforce is effectively a reporting engine, cross tabulating your Onboarding efforts against outcomes to provide you with the insight you need to see success faster with your customers. For example:-

  • Onboarding Success vs. Customer Lifetime Value

  • Time-to-value by customer segment or industry

Once you have critical data like this at your fingertips, then you get to spend less time pushing data around in different formats and more time to make better decisions about how you onboard your customers.

There’s a lot more that you can manage too. If you do decide to go for an Onboarding solution like Precursive OBX, then you can see exactly how much time you spend on each stage of your onboarding, where you have capacity and who is working on what part of the plan. You can forget integrating and syncing from different systems, it’s not just not going to happen. Instead, put it all in one Onboarding dashboard and you have every critical KPI right there, where you need it.

OK, great. So why is Salesforce smarter still for Customer Onboarding?


The fact that since I last wrote this post, Taskfeed became part of Precursive, is relevant. Customer Onboarding is maturing and we need to service the full customer lifecycle with the same data-driven customer-centric approach. We see it clearly from our Customer Onboarding Benchmarking Survey 2019: just getting a new customer up and running is no longer enough - subscription-based business models now need to get seriously smart about optimising their initial touchpoint with multiple new customers if they want to see an optimum Lifetime Value.


As great Onboarding experience has increasingly become a differentiator in crowded markets, businesses need to use complex data to work smarter and deliver more, faster. Some of the ways we see that teams are working smarter include:-

  • Sharing and collaborating over Onboarding plans with customer in real-time

  • Create Onboarding plans from tailored Playbooks automatically from an Account or Opportunity all within Salesforce

  • Using a 360 degree view of every tier of a programme of work to intervene sooner when things don’t go to plan

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Customers are using Salesforce + Precursive to manage a huge variety of business operations, often bringing in third-party apps e.g.

  • Integrating survey tools to record Customer satisfaction data and tie back to Customer Onboarding

  • Using Zapier to trigger a Slack notification when a project is created.


That’s where the Taskfeed merger with Precursive comes in. The point is that bringing these two businesses together is a perfect analogy for the future of Customer Onboarding on Salesforce. You see, Customer Onboarding is never the end of your journey with the customer, it’s just the start. Complex B2B products typically need the ongoing input of expert services from the vendor to allow them to drive value from their licence. Now you can manage the hand off not just from Sales to Onboarding, but now the next stage, from Onboarding to Services, with Precursive Professional Services and Resources Automation platform.


And with the Salesforce platform underpinning the whole process with real customer data, the opportunity to work smarter throughout the whole customer lifecycle is now not only real, it’s table stakes for the SaaS business.


ARE YOU READY TO GET SMARTER?


If you are still managing your processes on disconnected apps such as Asana, Wrike, Basecamp, Smartsheet, Trello, Jira or the thousands of others then I would recommend exploring Precursive OBX.


If you are new to Salesforce, get in touch and we can talk to you about what solution would best get you to the Onboarding and Customer delivery outcomes you need. Our experience in this area is really wide-ranging and we would love to take the time to understand your use case and look at the solutions available.


To learn more book a session with a member of the team here and see what’s the best approach for your business.

Andy founded Taskfeed to enable Customer Success-oriented businesses to improve high-touch Customer Onboarding through a scalable, repeatable process. As one of the UK’s first Salesforce Technical Architects, Andy is a big advocate of the power of a single platform approach. He is now the CTO of Precursive.