How to Design Great Customer Onboarding with Webinars
I don’t know how about you, but I’m always anxious before using a new SaaS product. Why? Because I know myself. I’m like a goldfish. I have no time (okay, patience) to discover a platform.
Thank you, Facebook and Instagram, for diminishing my attention span. I didn’t mention TikTok because I’m too old for it … I’m a millennial, and I want to use my already tiny attention span to read the label on my wine bottle. ?
Anyway, as I said, I feel dread every time I have to try a new SaaS platform. I’m still trying to figure out Notion after a few months of using it. I even paid a year subscription for the wrong workspace on Notion!
I mean, is it just me, or are SaaS products scary? 👹
Whenever I’m connecting to a new platform, I just click on every single button, click skip on every single message (do you have to read them?), mumble a lot, feel stupid—a lot—and then leave.
So if you asked me what customer onboarding is, I’d give you the most straightforward definition ever: Customer onboarding refers to making your users feel less stupid. Period.
And if you haven’t worked on the way you’re onboarding your new users, then shame on you.
According to ProfitWell, “Those customers who perceived a company’s onboarding positively had between a 12% and 21% higher willingness to pay than the median. Those on the negative side had a 3% to 9% drop in willingness to pay, indicating that poor onboarding doesn’t necessarily detract too much, but can certainly miss out on some large willingness to pay gains.”
Customer onboarding and your churn rate
There are many reasons why your users will decide to stick with your brand. They may like your product or your company culture. They may even identify with your core values. And at least one initial user will stay loyal to your brand … because she’s your mother.
But most of the time, people will pay very close attention to your customer onboarding process.
As ProfitWell notes, “Retention is where things get really interesting. When comparing the first 60 days of customers with poor perceptions of onboarding to those with positive perceptions, those customers with positive perception have much less drop off in the first 21 days of being a customer.”
In other words, the customer onboarding experience has a direct impact on your churn rate numbers.
The same article concludes, “Data indicates that great onboarding is essential to engraining the value of a product within a customer or at the very least greases the skids of your customer to start to see the value in your product, accelerating their journey significantly.”
So if you want to reduce your churn rate and ensure that your clients will fully experience your platform’s value, you’ll want to drop that book on creating predictable revenue and get serious about the customer onboarding.
And if you’re wondering where you should start, let me tell you that I have the answer. 📍 Create and launch a series of customer onboarding webinars. These webinars can be both live and on-demand.
In both cases, you’ll be able to enjoy multiple wins.
Reasons why customer onboarding webinars will make your life easier
I’ll be honest: I’m part of a company that sells a webinar platform. So you may think that I’m writing this article to get you buy our product. However, that’s not the intention. I’m writing as a user, first and foremost, and then as a startup and SaaS employee veteran.
❇️ Give your customer support (CS) team a break
I’ve worked with plenty of SaaS companies, and let me tell you, the worst thing you can ever experience is to have an all-hands meeting and see how exhausted the customer support team is.
I’ve had countless talks with CS employees whom I don’t remember. Why don’t I remember them, you might be wondering? Because while we were talking, I couldn’t stop staring at them, because they looked like they were going to collapse from exhaustion right in front of me.
Some of the team members showed me their agendas, and let’s put it this way: I didn’t see any happy hours on them. Their agendas were filled with one onboarding meeting after another.
So if you decide to run customer onboarding webinars, you’ll do a great service to your CS team and make sure they won’t quit or burn out after a few months.
Just think about it: Your CS team will need to make an extra effort to put the webinars together. But then, they’ll simply streamline the process, which will lighten up their packed schedules. They’ll have preestablished days and hours when they’ll have to run the live webinars and answer people’s questions.
But they’ll also have enough time and energy to focus on other tasks, such as answering customers’ emails, ? helping them solve specific challenges, and fixing any problems that may occur.
❇️ Design a better customer onboarding experience for your users
If you don’t automatize your onboarding process, you may keep your new users waiting until they can meet with an account representative. If you have an all-in-one platform, your users may need different training sessions to be able to use your software to its full potential.
Or, if you have an easier-to-use product, you may create a series of tutorial articles, thinking that your users will read them.
But let’s not fool ourselves: Your written “Knowledge Base” will always look like a Moby Dick-length book to your users, and no one will want to spend their time reading it.
You may decide to go with a drip campaign and introduce one new product concept per email. But let’s not kid ourselves: Most people will probably simply mark your email as “read” and forget all about it. That’s what I do when I register for a new SaaS product.
What can you do, then?
To make your users’ lives easier and spare them any headaches, work on creating customer onboarding webinars. These live and on-demand videos will give your new users the option to watch them whenever they have time. Some may want to rewatch a webinar and learn from it, while others may want to register for a live webinar and be able to ask questions.
Furthermore, entire teams may connect to your live webinars and engage with your content, and learn how to take advantage of your product. Apart from that, compared to written content, your users will be able to actually see how to use your product and then reproduce all of your actions.
Having this in mind, let’s continue by analyzing the steps you can take to design a better customer onboarding process with webinars.
Create a greater customer onboarding experience today 💌
The best part of working on your customer onboarding webinars is that you’ll be able to involve your entire CS team, get their insights, and create a superior and evergreen asset you can use over and over again.
So if you’re wondering where you should start with onboarding webinars, here’s a list of steps that will help:
✍️ Step 1: Prepare a logical and easy-to-follow script
The entire idea of customer onboarding webinars is to automatize your CS team’s workload. That’s why the first step is to come up with a script (or a series of scripts, depending on how many webinars you’ll be running) that can be replicated and adapted by all of your CS team members.
✅ If Annabelle runs the live event using the script today, John should be able to take the same script, tailor it to his style, and use it for his webinar tomorrow (on the same exact topic, obviously).
But how do you start? How do you create your script?
Let me share my experience and what we did while I was working for an event management tech company. We all gathered together. And by “all,” I mean the customer support, sales, and marketing teams.
We discussed what the onboarding webinars should look like, the end goal, and how could we make it easier for our users. We invited the sales team because no one knew our customers better than they did. They knew exactly what our clients needed, what their common software-related questions were, and their concerns and doubts.
So we had a work session
We walked through the product and highlighted the steps we wanted to present. The marketing team (aka, me) took notes. Once the meeting ended, I took the information we all agreed upon and secluded myself in my writing cave. I poured myself some wine, and started to draft the script for the webinar the CS team would run.
You might be wondering why I was the one writing the script. Well, because CS team members might not always have the right words or a flair for writing.
No judgment—maybe you have a Bukowski on the team—but most of the time, if you have a content creator, ask him or her to create the script for the webinar.
A person who doesn’t know how scripts work might create a document that looks good on paper, but it sounds awful when spoken. For example, when it comes to video and webinars, you want to keep your sentences as short as possible. And that's something your CS team can't know.
Once the script was ready, I shared it with the CS team, and we improved it together. Then we uploaded the document to our server so that anyone could open it and use it for the webinar.
✍️ Step 2: Segment your webinars depending on the roles of your users
When it comes to customer onboarding webinars, you can always create more assets, depending on your target group. Subsequently, you can segment your webinars into categories.
One category could be the different types of roles your users have. Obviously, this only works if your product can be used by a wide variety of profiles.
As you can see below, Slack creates onboarding webinars for all sorts of users. Some of them are sales professionals, owners and admins, security officers, and technology professionals.
Also, you can segment your customer onboarding webinars per industry or level of expertise.
For example, monday.com uses industry segmentation. One of the industries it focuses on is construction.
Asana, on the other hand, is focused on expertise levels: Asana Basics and Asana Advanced.
Airtable has the same approach, offering basic and advanced onboarding webinars for different solutions.
By segmenting your customer onboarding webinars, you’ll encompass all of your user profiles and customize the experience itself. After all, if you have a complex platform, different users or industries may have totally opposite interests and needs.
So one way to make your onboarding webinars as personal as possible is to look at the list of your users, see what segmentation fits best, and then start creating your assets.
✅ What can you do if you have, for example, different user profiles, but you don’t have the resources to create segmented webinars? In that case, look at your accounts, look for the dominant profile of your existing users, and start by creating an onboarding webinar for them.
✍️ Step 3: Create different webinars for different solutions you’re offering
Another way to segment your customer onboarding webinars is to create one asset per solution. But this will only work if you have a complex or an all-in-one type of platform.
As I mentioned above, I was working for an event tech company and we had developed multiple planning solutions. Apart from the logistics software, we also had a B2B matchmaking system, an event mobile app, and an exhibition platform.
Obviously, you can’t explain all these features or solutions in one onboarding webinar. (Well, you can, if you want your users to hate you.)
After all, no one has the ability to learn so much information in a short period of time or put up with a four-hour onboarding webinar. So our obvious choice was to segment our onboarding webinars by solution.
And that’s something I’d recommend you do, too.
If you have multiple solutions, don’t confuse your users and create separate webinars for each of them. That’s a common practice, and you can see companies such as monday.com do it.
✍️ Step 4: Set a specific schedule for your customer onboarding webinars
When running customer onboarding webinars, frequency is crucial. Don’t just run one webinar and that’s it. (Well, you can, but only if your mother is your only customer.)
If you have a busy pipeline, you’ll need to make these webinars frequent. You can start by having one or two webinars per week, and then, if things are going well in terms of new users (and you’re on your way to buying that yacht ⛵), you should definitely run daily webinars.
This way, you’ll keep up with the demand and attend to the needs of all of your new users. For example, monday.com runs daily webinars (except the weekends).
Proposify runs customer onboarding webinars every Wednesday, while PandaDoc hosts them on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
Finally, our friends from ActiveCampaign run accelerated onboarding webinars in three sessions, offered weekly.
So as you can see, the frequency will depend on the demand and your resources.
✅ What’s important to remember is that customer onboarding webinars should be run consistently, so that you’re always engaging with your new users in real-time and answering their questions.
✍️ Step 5: Offer your customer onboarding webinars in different languages
If you have the resources and are covering different geographical areas, you should look into creating onboarding webinars in different languages.
Although this seems like a quick, easy tip, it’ll really help you strengthen your connection with your non-English speaking users and show them that you’re present in their market.
That’s the only way you can truly compete with the local SaaS companies that offer the same solutions. Below are some interesting examples from monday.com and Atlassian.
✍️Step 6: Dedicate a big part of the webinar to answering questions
How do you structure these customer onboarding webinars? What's the right lenght of your webinar? How long should you engage with your users? Although you’ll want to spend time going over your platform or features to your audience, always try to leave a big chunk of time for the Q&A session.
When it comes to onboarding, users will always have questions. Or, they'll want you to adapt one of your features to a very specific need.
Successful customer onboarding webinars is not about presenting your platform once and that’s it. On the contrary, it’s 100% about your engagement with your users.
So encouraging them to ask you questions, going in-depth, and showcasing specific elements, and having a proactive line of communication with your audience is key to having a truly impactful and memorable session.
This is the best way to ensure that your users understand your product and are interested in incorporating it into their workflow.
✍️ Step 7: Launch a recurring webinar series to communicate your platform updates
Running customer onboarding webinars is only part of the deal. Think about it: Onboarding is great, but it won’t help your users take full advantage of your platform and keep up with the new elements you’ll be adding over time.
So apart from running onboarding webinars, you can also create other webinars to keep your community involved, build meaningful conversations, and present what’s new and fancy about your product.
For example, Mixpanel has a beautiful webinar series called “Doing More with Mixpanel.”
These webinars share the latest product and company updates, focusing on helping customers build better products. Monday.com does the same thing by sharing best practices of the platform use with its customers.
Finally, Confluent is running “What’s New in Confluent Platform 5.5” webinars.
The team uses these webinars to share their latest updates and make sure that their customers are taking the best advantage of the platform.
✅ I encourage you to look beyond customer onboarding webinars and prepare a less frequent webinar series that discusses best practices, the freshest tips and tricks, and the latest product updates. This way, you’ll keep be interacting with your users regularly.Also, you'll help them bebetter equipped to achieve their goals with your product.
Bonus tip. Streamline the collaboration between your sales and customer support teams
You’re not working on a NASA top-secret project ? where you have to keep your teams compartmentalized.
✅ You need to keep the knowledge flowing and make sure that your teams are on good terms and communicating on a daily basis. This will reinforce the quality of your customer onboarding webinars and expand their outreach.
For example, if your sales team runs a demo session with a potential client, they can always redirect him or her to an onboarding webinar session to evaluate the value of your product.
They can also invite the entire team to follow the onboarding webinar and assess the learning curve and value proposition of your software.
The point is that collaboration between your teams is necessary to create truly successful customer onboarding webinars and make sure that everyone gets the most out of these content assets.
If you thought that webinars are just for educational purposes or demos, I really hope that this article changed your mind. The potential of customer onboarding webinars is so big that it would be a shame not to explore it.
But if I’ve managed to convince and inspire you to get started with your own onboarding webinars, let’s recap your first steps:
Always prepare a webinar script for your customer support team. Make sure that anyone from your company can access this script and adapt it to their personal voice.
To cover a bigger spectrum of users, personalize your webinars. Segment them accordingly, depending on your customers’ profiles, industry, or level of expertise.
If you’ve developed a complex or all-in-one platform, segment your webinars based on the solutions or the features you’re providing. The rule is: one customer onboarding webinar per feature or solution.
The entire essence of customer onboarding webinars is their frequency. Don’t just run one webinar and offer it on-demand forever. Set a schedule, and be available to interact with your customers during these webinars.
If you have an international outreach and the resources to do it, offer your onboarding webinars in different languages. This will keep you relevant and help you have a chance against local SaaS companies that offer the same product.
Launch a series of webinars to communicate the latest product updates and best practices your users can deploy. This way, you’ll keep nurturing your customers and show your commitment to their success.
Awesome! We’re done for the moment! I really hope you’ll do it and launch your onboarding webinars! And if you do, please, let us know! Meanwhile, I’ll go try and increase my attention span by watching a few webinars.