What should we do to reduce customer churn during onboarding in a B2B SaaS business?


This is probably one of the most important questions any SaaS company can ask itself. Unit economics and more specifically CAC and LTV are the lifeblood of a Saas business. By having a clear understanding of key drivers for both of those metrics you will be able to test, iterate and optimize them (down for CAC and up for LTV) over time.

The first step in being able to improve the performance of your customer onboarding funnel is to have robust analytics in place so you can actually understand it. These days, you can get this setup pretty quickly by using a tool like MixPanel, Amplitude, Kochava, Google Analytics, adjust, AppsFlyer, etc (or one of the many others on the market today) and potentially something like Hotjar or Inspectlet. I’d suggest erring on the side of over tracking at first- so even if you don’t think a particular user action or button click is important, track it anyway.

Once you’ve implemented an initial analytics system, you will no longer be totally blind about what is going on and won’t need to rely only on qualitative feedback to make decisions on how to improve your funnel. Speaking of which, you’ll want to combine your usage of analytics with UI/UX user testing to more thoroughly understand what is going wrong and experiment with solutions.

That brings us to user testing. You should be constantly user testing new onboarding funnel ideas with your target audience by taking advantage of interactive design tools like Invision. This will allow you to get feedback on new flows and funnels prior to necessarily investing the time or money into building them. I’d suggest creating a structured and consistent format for your user tests to ensure you are asking the same questions, avoiding bias and most importantly allocating time on a regular basis to conduct them.

Implementing analytics and creating a user testing plan and pipeline is a big chunk of the battle in terms of laying a strong foundation for reducing customer churn during onboarding. It will give you visibility into what is wrong and insights into how to fix it. From here (or even before implementing anything), I’d suggest deciding on a framework that you like best. I personally don’t think it’s too important whether you opt to adhere to the AARM concept (Acquire, activate, retain, monetize), some kind of “flywheel” or another method. It depends on the type of business you have. It is very important to think about your onboarding flow the lens of a framework because it will help structure your thoughts and provide guidance about what KPIs to use for benchmarks and how/where you’ll want to create UI/UX experiments.

Lastly, don’t forget that onboarding doesn’t need to be 100% digital. Depending on the economics of your product, sometimes a friendly person on the other end of a new customer does wonders.

Former US President made the phrase “trust but verify” famous in the 80s. He probably didn’t intend for this wisdom to be applied to new customer onboarding, but here we are. You should use your quantitative analytics to verify or reject the feedback customers and potential customers give during user testing sessions. At the end of the day, you want a set of people to have a more intuitive and positive interaction with your product. The most practical way to go about that is to ask them and see if what they say intersects with what they do. Then go from there.

All things startup and technology. Founder of https://www.scrumlaunch.com— A product development studio for high growth startups and leading brands.

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