Over the years I’ve analyzed hundreds of tools to see how they will help businesses. From this experience, I’ve developed a sense of what B2B buyers need to be successful with a product.
I hope you’ll see these things from a customer’s point of view and they will help you preemptively reduce churn.
Let’s get started…
Help Me Succeed Quickly (Time to WOW)
I purchased your tool to solve a problem I have. You should do this as quickly as possible. I’ll accept that you need details to personalize my account if you present a profile form, but this should feed into providing me with a better experience, not just helping your additional business goals. When I reach success with your tool, I’ll be satisfied with my purchase and likely to be a loyal customer. Appcues did a post about shortening your time to WOW where they also talked about the importance of this idea. How to do this: Answer these two questions and then work with your developers to make success a primary goal in your tool.
- What is the goal?
- How quickly can we help the user accomplish the first steps to this goal?
For a CRM I need to be organized. I need to import all of my information quickly, and if your platform automates any features such as highlighting opportunities for sales, that should be accessible on my dashboard. A SaaS Doing This Right: Contentmarketer.io (a former tool by Sujan Patel) immediately lets you enter a blog post to see who has shared a link. Very quickly I see how the tool works and what it does for me, now I can use this information for my business.
Concise & Immediate Onboarding
Layovers or onboarding wizards should be simple and point out the few things I need to know to get started. Onboarding should be short, the user wants to get started. At most offer 2-4 slides in a wizard and let them be done.
Do not give me a walkthrough of every feature you offer, this is not the time for that. A new user needs to see the promise you’ve offered in action as quickly as possible to seed their interest for future usage.
A SaaS Doing This Right: Ramen.is
Ramen quickly surveys the new user and directs them to the important aspects of their product. I would recommend using a wizard from Chameleon and making a slide of each section of the onboarding process.
Simple and Thoughtful Navigation
While onboarding should offer the initial information a user needs to get started, navigation also plays a major role.
For instance, don’t use fancy descriptions (like you see in Contactually’s teardown) for starting a project or task, use language that makes sense.
A SaaS Doing This Well: Close.io
Close brings users to an initial/example message from CEO Steli Efti and they immediately understand what they are looking at.
By looking at the screen a user quickly acclimates to the language on the platform and gets to work, because it makes sense. You can learn more about Close in my site teardown of their marketing.
Delayed and Useful Onboarding
Instead use in-app tools like Ramen or Pendo.io (whose marketing I recently analyzed) to share those features with me through in-app messaging.
It’s great if the user can easily make their way around the tool, but let’s be honest, they will also need messages about not-so-obvious features.
Onboarding should last up to a couple of weeks. This doesn’t necessarily require a daily email but keep reminding people of the opportunities to fix their pain by using your tool, especially if there is a free trial.
Regularly, over several weeks of time, you can also offer features that haven’t used or optimized. A decent installation of Mixpanel with an integration of Intercom will make this easy. However, keep personas in mind when arranging these workflows so that users get highly personalized and relevant information.
A SaaS Doing This Right: Quuu.co Is a tool that automatically shares hand curated content to your social media accounts, helping you stay relevant without a lot of time invested into finding pieces to read.
Three days after signing up the following email is sent. This is a great example of timely email onboarding where they include tips on the best way to use Buffer with Quuu’s curation.
Make Sure Your Users' Expectations Are Met
Reliability, Uptime & Speed
As a customer of paid tools, features should work flawlessly (unless you are in beta). When problems do arise users expect an apology and estimate of downtime so they can schedule accordingly.
In general, paid beta users are a bit more patient but a product should always offer realistic uptimes. A post by StatusCast helps you see how this can cause reputation damage with customers.
Updates mean more value for users so they are usually acceptable, but it’s good to offer a heads-up about upcoming maintenance. Additionally, give people in-depth information about how to use new features, so they can optimize their performance.
A SaaS Doing This Right: Trello does this beautifully on their blog with an in-app tool tip. The notification is easy to see, yet non-intrusive and adequate information is always available.
Another Example: Hotjar
Below is an email from the VP of Marketing at Hotjar. This shows how they are improving their product to continually help users understand their customers (a goal of the product).
Accessible Tutorials & Knowledgebase
Users should have access to a library of tool resources. This includes videos, guides, tutorials, and a knowledge base. It’s best to have access to everything but feel free to remind me of the popular reasons to visit. Interestingly, Nuance study revealed that 67% of the people surveyed would rather use self-support options instead of talking to someone to get help.
They have a support knowledge base with several topics to help you get started.
People are on the go and need access to the tool everywhere. During email onboaring remind users about apps for other devices.
It’s nice to offer integrations they can use with the tool, as well. And if you have a browser extension make that known so people can get the most of their investment.
Buffer almost immediately introduces a new user to their browser extension. Installing the extension makes people more likely to become long time users of an app, and initiates the Hook model by Nir Eyal.
While they do this via email, an in-app message could be more effective. Here is their email about the extension.
Customer Support & Success
Highly important in today’s Customer Success Era you’ll want to ensure the success and useful support of every user. Obviously, a paid user should get preference in the support queue.
You should also have a system in place that allows for quick support answers, like Groove. Realistically, people want responses in minutes, but it is understandable to take up to a business day.
HubSpot does a great job of responding to support very quickly. At inbound.org many community members shared their support expectations from HubSpot. They put the bar high, and their users definitely appreciate it.
By better understanding what is expected of SaaS users you can provide solutions for their biggest pain points and offer customer success that surpasses others on the market.
Let me analyze your tool and marketing to help you better align your product and message with buyers’ needs and expectations, order your analysis today.