Why Nailing Onboarding is a Must for Getting Customers to First Value

  • Written By:
    Ann Smarty
  • Published On:
    August 31st, 2021
  • Read Time:
    4 Mins
  • Category:

Generally, when building a marketing strategy, we tend to focus on conversions. In SaaS marketing though, a conversion is not the final step in the sales funnel.

When a customer invests in your SaaS product, they need to quickly decide whether they have made the right decision. In other words, once a visitor converts into a user, you need to quickly show them the value of your product, otherwise you may lose that account.

What is Time to First Value?

Time to First Value (usually shortened as TTFV) is an engagement metric many SaaS companies are using to measure the time needed for your new users to get actual value from your product.

In other words, TTFV is the amount of time between when a customer buys your product and when they are onboard with it.

TTFV is an important KPI to keep an eye on because it is the time between two key milestones: joining and the customer’s success.

Many SaaS companies have various ways they understand the “value” concept of TTV.

Generally speaking, Time to Value (TTV) is the amount of time your newly acquired customers need to start using your product in a meaningful way (i.e. when they start seeing value from investing into your product)

There are two types of TTV:

  • Time to basic value: The time it takes for your customer to realize they made the right choice. Obviously, the faster they understand that, the higher the odds are they will not cancel or ask for a refund.
  • Time to exceed value: The time it takes for your product or service to exceed your customer’s expectations. The shorter the time to exceed value, the easier it is for your marketing team to collect social proof and foster word of mouth marketing.

That being said, both of these metrics directly impact your bottom line:

  • They help combat churn
  • They drive word of mouth marketing

Achieving higher time to value is possible through creating an effective onboarding strategy.

Why is Onboarding Strategy So Important?

Customer onboarding is the process of showing your newly acquired customers the value of your platform or your product.

A well organized onboarding strategy confirms to your customers that they made the right choice. 

Combat Curn

On average, customers churn for two main reasons:

  • Your customers fail to understand your product. In fact, more than half (55%) of people admit they’ve asked for a refund because they didn’t quite understand how to use it.
  • Your customers fail to obtain any value from it. 

The goal of a customer onboarding strategy can solve both of these issues.

Build Loyalty (+ Average Customer’s Average Lifespan)

According to Wyzowl, the overwhelming majority (86%) of B2B customers claim they are more likely to stay loyal to a business that invests in a well organized onboarding strategy by welcoming and educating them after they’ve bought.

Onboarding helps you retain new customers, and build loyalty, and ultimately advocacy which means onboarding helps in acquisition too, in more than two ways.

Acquire New Customers

Onboarding can help with acquiring new customers as nearly two-thirds of B2B users say the level of post-sale support is an important consideration in their buying decisions.

Loyal customers can be the driving power of word of mouth, so with a well organized onboarding strategy in place, you are likely to see more referral traffic which often has the highest conversion rate.

“Nothing influences a person more than a recommendation from a trusted friend.”

– Mark Zuckerberg, CEO & Co-founder of Facebook

Customer Onboarding Examples

Here are a few ways to set up an effective onboarding strategy:

  • Set up a video course for your customers to get the full overview of your product and all its features. This is a great way to build Time to Exceed value. Here’s how to do that.
  • Assign a dedicated assistant to walk your higher-end clients through your product. This personalized approach will help your customers reach the “aha moment” by aligning their unique needs with your product solutions.
  • Set up on-site virtual tour for first-time visitors
  • Create a well-organized knowledge base to make it easy for your new users to find all the answers
  • Get organized with your workflow and automation tactics
  • Set up an online group or an on-site forum for new customers to get help from your established ones
  • Host regular webinars for your newer customers. PayKickstart offers a wide variety of webinar integrations
  • Create an email automation sequence (e.g. “one lesson a day”) to gradually introduce your customers to your product. Make sure you set up an email address on your own domain name to build up brand recognizability. You can use PayKickstart’s email marketing integrations for that
Use PayKickstart email integrations to add your email marketer provider. This will help you access your stats as well as create various segmentation rules for better results.

Your own onboarding strategy may include all of the above examples to cater to all kinds of users and decision makers within one company.

When it comes to improving your SaaS time to value metric, align your strategy with this 4-C approach:

  • Customer centricity: Give your customers what they need, not what you think they need
  • Consistency: Keep your sales and customer support team aligned and informed.
  • Clarity: Keep your product and onboarding resources concise and clear
  • Communication: Create an effective customer support strategy to maintain regular interactions with your new and established users

It is also a good idea to implement all kinds of surveying tactics to collect your customers’ feedback. This will allow you to adjust your onboarding strategy based on what your users found most helpful or redundant.


Nailing onboarding is important for many reasons, especially for increasing time to first value. The faster your new users realize the full value of your product, the quicker they become your loyal customers and vocal ambassadors.

By teaching customers how to make the most of your product, onboarding helps you retain them, and increase your customers’ average lifetime and combat churn.

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Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, as well as co-founder of Viral Content Bee. Ann has been into Internet Marketing for over a decade, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Ann is also the frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of a weekly Twitter chat #vcbuzz

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