How to improve customer onboarding with CRM

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If your goal is to have happy customers, then making the sale is not the only thing you should be concerned with. Once your customers have the product, they need to be able to use it properly. Facilitating that is also a part of your job, one called customer onboarding. Depending on what exactly you’re selling, the customer onboarding process can look very different for different businesses. But quality CRM software will help you smooth out the wrinkles either way because virtually every business can improve customer onboarding with CRM. So if you don’t have an onboarding strategy or need a better one, start taking notes now.

What is customer onboarding and why does it matter?

Customer onboarding is the process of introducing your customers to your product and teaching them how to use it, improving their success rates with it. It is a particularly common process in the IT industry where software companies need to guide their clients on how to use the new program. While it is not, strictly speaking, necessary, customer onboarding is a good strategy to implement if you want to improve customer satisfaction. Since the majority of companies in the industry are providing onboarding, doing the same will make you more competitive. And your customers will certainly appreciate it, especially if the software you sell is more complicated.

Woman working on a computer with three screens.
When you improve customer onboarding with CRM, you also improve customer experience.

How can you improve customer onboarding with CRM?

There are many things you can do to help with customer onboarding. Designing an intuitive interface, providing detailed instructions, and even hosting group training are all potential alternatives. But what if you could automate the process with CRM to make it easier?

Make the most of free trials

Offering a free trial of your software is a great way to intrigue people about it. Potential customers will get to try out your program and see for themselves how it can benefit them. In theory, this should make conversion easier. And yet, many companies struggle to turn free trial downloads into actual sales. You can avoid becoming one of them with the help of CRM.

The first thing you can do to improve the onboarding process with CRM is to send automatic emails. Greet everyone who downloads a free trial with a welcome email that includes instructions on how to use the software. Then, send a follow-up email or two with some tips just to keep your business fresh in the customers’ minds. Finally, remind them to purchase the software toward the end of the trial period.

Person downloading something on their phone.
Free trials benefit both you and your customers.

The other thing you can do to help convert free trials into sales using CRM is to collect data about the users’ behavior. How do they interact with the software? How often are they actually using it? Did they read the instructions or watch a video tutorial? Are they visiting FAQ pages frequently? If you notice that an individual user is struggling, you can reach out to them. Or you can use all the information you gather to improve your onboarding strategy in general.

Get better at cross-selling

If you have multiple programs to sell, odds are that some of them go well together. So why not offer them in tandem? By relying on CRM to collect information about your users’ behavior, you can predict which products they’re going to be interested in. You can take advantage of this in two ways. Firstly, if a sales representative is working one-on-one with a potential customer, they can access that customer’s profile in your system and find out more about their interests and previous experiences with your business. Secondly, you can track which products tend to be bought together and make suggestions to new customers based on statistics.

You can apply the same logic to any additional features that aren’t included in the basic software. By making the right recommendations at the right time, you’re meeting all of your customers’ needs at once and expanding the functionality of the software you’re selling at the same time. This is more likely to keep your users coming back.

Follow up on sales

Most businesses, especially in their early years, focus solely on making the sale. This is, after all, where the profits come from. But making the initial sale should really only be the first step; after it, you still need to build relationships with your customers. This will increase your retention rates and serve as free marketing because satisfied customers help spread the word about your business. For small businesses, these relationships can make a huge difference. So use CRM to send automated emails to new customers, especially in the early days of onboarding. Greet them with tips, links, and useful resources about your software. You can even offer them help and include your contact information. Finally, ask for their feedback. What did they think of your software? What did they think of your onboarding process? Their comments will help you improve your offer in the future.

Person working on their laptop.
Sending a few emails can make a huge difference for new customers.

Offer quality support

No matter how hard you try, some people will always struggle with using your software in the beginning. So be ready to offer extra support for those who need it. Teach your representatives the key customer service skills and make sure they all know how to answer the most common questions about your software. To assist them in their work, use CRM to keep a database of relevant information on all customers. Any previous history they have with your business should be there for your customer service agents to access. They can then use that information to provide effective and personalized assistance that your new customers will love.

Why should you improve customer onboarding with CRM?

CRM doesn’t have to be your only option when it comes to onboarding strategies. You can and actually should offer a variety of options to make onboarding as easy as possible for as many customers as possible. But CRM has many advantages. It’s a great way to automate the process, which saves you a lot of time and effort. That is why many small businesses choose to improve customer onboarding with CRM specifically – when resources are scarce, working smart is better than working hard.

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