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Updated: Jan 21, 2022

We take a look at Customer Onboarding Playbooks, what they are, the role they play in your Onboarding operation and what yours should contain (with an onboarding playbook template to help you craft your own).

Customer Onboarding Playbook is a term you will hear often in the world of complex SaaS products. In the simplest terms, it’s a repeatable process or customer onboarding framework that a team follows for every new customer, which delivers consistency and creates the ideal Customer Experience.

The goal is that your customer is set up and seeing value from the product in the shortest time possible.

That’s the simple version. We also asked a number of SaaS Customer Success Professionals how they saw the role of Playbooks in their onboarding process, and it’s clear that Playbooks are a lot more than a mere templated approach: rather they are absolutely key to a successful SaaS operation.

Here are a few different ways we heard Customer Onboarding Playbooks being referred to:-

“The backbone for scalability”
“A roadmap for individuals”
“A way to set expectations for success”


When you dig a little deeper into the topic and look at how SaaS businesses are really using Onboarding Playbooks to drive value today, the pattern is pretty clear: the role of these customer onboarding frameworks is threefold...


Let’s look at each in turn.

TRACK: A Playbook allows a much more effective approach to tracking the important metrics of any process. Once you have an expected baseline, you are in a position to quickly and effectively pinpoint an area where you might see underperformance against a timeframe for example, or any other outlier that requires attention. Use this data to set norms and build your strategy against them.

COACH: Consider your Playbook as a kind of instructional coach for your team. It’s a step-by-step guide to the best next steps in almost every scenario, plus a great way to reflect on what’s working and what needs to be improved. For this reason, customer onboarding frameworks are essential to the development of your workforce and offering.

SCALE: Playbooks are the repeatable processes that roll out at the click of a button. As soon as you close a new customer, everyone gets to know what their next step is. By getting these Playbooks down now, you’ve just gone a long way to mitigating the risks of depending on individuals who may be in high demand across multiple projects - and that’s the only way to scale.


Those are the high level concepts. What you may still want to know is, what is actually included in a SaaS Customer Onboarding Playbook?

Here’s an example Onboarding Playbook template. As you can see there are well-defined stages - the kind that you would expect in any project delivery process. It’s almost certain that your Onboarding process will currently follow some of the stages included above, even if you have slightly different names for them.

Of course, the specific steps in your Playbook will be unique to your product and service. Your individualized customer onboarding framework could include items such as kick-off calls, data discovery processes or questionnaires on your client's requirements and objectives.

One final recommendation... If you are not 100% sure what those unique steps are, can we recommend that you pin that down, agree and document this process ASAP.

Why document your customer onboarding framework?

"Having a framework on which to actually map out our work has forced us all to really take a hard look at streamlining what we're doing and making everything more efficient and more scalable." - Annabelle Tisher, Activation Director / SCOUT


What to know more about how to scale your SaaS business with

Customer Onboarding?

Broken down into 5 plays, this free guide is aimed at fast-growth SaaS businesses with aggressive targets, who want to see success faster.

Our Customer Onboarding Salesforce App, helps you to streamline your customer onboarding framework and kick-off relationships in the right way – book a demo today to learn more.

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