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Answers to All Your Client Onboarding Questions

What is Client Onboarding?

Client onboarding is what happens next after a deal is closed. It’s the linchpin between when a SaaS solution provider earns a new client and when that client starts to use the solution. As a software solution provider brings a new client into their business fold, the onboarding experience welcomes the client and integrates the newly acquired solutions into the client’s business operations.

Consider the start of a customer relationship between a new client and an ERP provider. The client onboarding process involves:

  • Tracking down historical data that needs to be migrated over to the new system
  • The subsequent storage and migration of business data, with modifications and validations performed to ensure data fits into the new system and new processes
  • Configuration of the vendor solution to capture new processes & client’s data
  • All the communications happening throughout the implementation process

While the timeline of the customer onboarding process can vary based on the nature of the solution, the overarching goal of a B2B software implementation is to make the transition as seamless as possible and meet the client’s expectations.

Why is Effective Client Onboarding Important?

The successful client onboarding process shapes the foundation of the provider-client relationship — for better or for worse. A bad client onboarding process can feel like a bad date that steers clients away from your solution, while a good client onboarding process can make them feel like they’ve really found the right solution.

Here are some industry statistics that put this into perspective:

of potential customers will switch to other solutions if the onboarding process is complicated.1
of potential customers will remain loyal if onboarding and continuous education are provided.1
of software implementation projects fails.2
When a client onboarding process is well-executed, new clients will be engaged throughout the process — and the more engaged they are, the more likely they are to find value in the solution faster, advocate for its use, and remain long-term clients. This helps to explain why 84% of companies that worked to improve the customer experience saw their revenue increase.3

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Let’s dive a deeper into how the client onboarding experience affects your bottom line:

It is a matter of growth & monetization

A B2B software implementation that follows client onboarding best practices is directly linked to profitability. From the second a deal closes, the clock is ticking as to when your clients will realize the value and experience benefits of your solution  — and every moment that passes is a moment that money is left on the table, for new clients and software solution providers.

Considering the rapid growth of digital adoption all facets of our world, including how we do business, solution providers are in a good position to grow their business. But if your onboarding process is cumbersome, you won’t have the scalability you need to accommodate this growth and will lose out on opportunities to your competitors.


You need to stop the client churn

Did you know that poor onboarding is the third most common reason that customers churn? (The wrong product fit and a lack of engagement are the other two reasons.)

Statistics show that U.S. businesses lose $1.6 billion annually due to customer churn.4 In SaaS, the impact of client churn extends beyond the loss of subscription fees and accounts for the loss of upselling new products and services, while enduring the costs of acquiring new customers to replace the churn. These variables can undermine the profitability and sustainability of a SaaS company.


And there are other costs to your organization

When the client onboarding process is built around manual processes and tools that can be hidden cost-drivers, there is a tendency for onboarding processes to go beyond anticipated timelines and extend implementation costs. At the same time, the manual nature of the process can cause burnout for implementation teams that are left spending a ton of time hunting down data versus supporting business-critical tasks.

What Makes for a Good Client Onboarding Experience?

Over 90% of customers think that companies could do better when it comes to onboarding new customers.5

This client onboarding checklist offers SaaS providers a guide to ensure that all the necessary steps are taken in the customer onboarding process and critical elements of a B2B software implementation aren’t overlooked:

Have a clearly outlined strategy and process that supports the shared elements and stages of the client onboarding experience (i.e., gathering and verifying data)
Establish and monitor key SaaS customer onboarding metrics to manage the success of the client onboarding process
Identify the key stakeholders on both the client and solution provider’s side to streamline communication and minimize the chance of onboarding delays
Make the transition from sales to rollout seamless by establishing a clear customer management and client support ownership workflow
Gather as much information from the sales process as possible to support internal alignment with client commitments
Provide clients with transparency throughout the client onboarding process so they can track progress and also handle any outstanding tasks on their plate
Show empathy and support for the change management process by breaking down the onboarding into smaller chunks and speaking a relatable language
Collaboratively map out the transition to the client success or support organization early on to ensure clients have long-term follow-up and support
Automate as much of the client onboarding process as possible to ensure a smooth, scalable experience — all while refining processes to drive client monetization
Have a clearly outlined strategy and process that supports the shared elements and stages of the client onboarding experience (i.e., gathering and verifying data)

Wait, but my process is so unique for each customer, why would it eliminate my custom approach to each corporate client?

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How Do I Automate the Client Onboarding Process?

Modern B2B software implementations are complex. Using spreadsheets and project management tools to guide the client onboarding process only adds to this complexity with the need for manual processes that lack efficiency, visibility, standardization, and scalability.

Investing in an automated client onboarding solution for B2B software implementations accelerates the onboarding process through seamless collaboration and standardized workflows. While clients enjoy a smoother, more professional onboarding experience, businesses are able to efficiently onboard more clients without sacrificing the quality of their onboarding process or burdening administrative staff with an increasing workload.

Setuply is an all-in-one client onboarding solution that allows for faster B2B implementations with fewer resources. Our client onboarding technology features automated processes that eliminate manual steps that can leave customers feeling uninformed throughout the onboarding process as well as cause steps to be missed and costly delays to happen. The software helps onboarding reps gather data from their clients and reminds clients to share necessary data, allowing them to make better use of their team’s capacity and avoid budget, scope, and timeline overruns.

At the same time, the client onboarding software and automation tools support effective change management. Gamification of the client onboarding experience makes it a more enjoyable experience for new clients while delivering a guided process that reduces the learning curve around technology and sets clients up for success. Both of these factors are critical to the adoption of any new software or process.

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