Client onboarding is an essential part of digital marketing and no one denies that. The question is what is client onboarding and why is it essential for your digital marketing strategy? In this blog, I am going to go through the meaning of client onboarding and how you can establish a strong and productive working relationship with new clients to ensure that you get the best from your marketing strategy.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
What is Client Onboarding?
The process of client onboarding involves the integration of new clients into a business and the establishment of a productive working relationship. This step is critical in the client-business relationship as it establishes the foundation for future interactions, builds trust, and promotes mutual understanding. Through this process, clients gain a comprehensive understanding of the product’s features and benefits.
The initial impression that you create on your clients is crucial. Onboarding provides you with the chance to establish clear expectations, prevent scope creep, standardize customer experiences that align with your brand, and enhance the client’s overall experience, thereby boosting profitability.
Why is Client Onboarding Important?
Client onboarding goes beyond just following up with clients in a series of meetings to ensure their satisfaction with their purchase. It is a crucial part of the purchasing decision that many customers take into consideration when signing a deal.
Ensuring customer engagement is vital to the success of your product. By helping customers clearly understand and experience the value they’ll receive from your product, they’ll be more likely to use it successfully and return to it time and time again.
Moreover, client onboarding plays a crucial role in improving trial conversions. When you offer a free or discounted product trial, the onboarding process is where your trial users get to experience the real value of your product. By demonstrating the actual benefits early on, you increase the likelihood of converting these trial users into paid customers.
A solid client onboarding strategy sets your customers up to receive immediate and continuous value from using your product. It ensures that they can reap the benefits of your product for as long as they continue using it.
What is the main issue with Client Onboarding?
Client onboarding is the process of getting new clients on board with your company, providing them with a positive experience, and ensuring that they are ready to work with you. As your business grows, so does your client base, and it can become a challenge to ensure that every client is onboarded in an effective way. This is an issue that many businesses face, and the process of client onboarding.
How to overcome this?
The solution is to streamline and automate new client communications with this series of messages designed to communicate the practical next steps and get them excited to work with you.
What are 5 steps of a client onboarding process?
1. Establish expectations regarding the deliverables.
It’s time to commemorate the weeks or months of effort that went into cultivating a prospect relationship, which has now resulted in them becoming a customer.
A comprehensive onboarding experience should achieve two goals:
Firstly, it should affirm to your customer that they made the correct decision in partnering with your agency.
Secondly, it should eliminate any uncertainty by explicitly defining what the client can expect from the relationship.
The first objective is usually accomplished by sending a token of appreciation to your new customer, which is enjoyable.
Although it may seem unnecessary, such acts of goodwill position you as a partner rather than just another vendor to new clients.
The second objective is best achieved through an introduction email that clearly outlines what the client can expect from your agency. This email should establish the client onboarding process, introduce your points of contact, provide a clear timeline of the upcoming steps, and offer a client onboarding checklist.
This level of transparency reassures your new clients that they have made a sound investment and bridges the gap between conversion and the onboarding process, so they don’t feel abandoned.
2. Create and send a questionnaire for client onboarding.
After conducting an initial assessment of the client to ensure compatibility during the sales process, it’s essential to delve deeper into their specific needs now that they’ve signed on. That’s where a client onboarding questionnaire can be beneficial.
An onboarding questionnaire is a vital component of a successful client onboarding process. Without a clear understanding of the client’s expectations and existing resources, you cannot meet, let alone exceed, their expectations. An onboarding questionnaire can help you uncover these critical details.
Depending on the product or service you provide, the questions in a customer onboarding questionnaire may vary. However, some questions that you could include are:
What are your overall goals for using our product/service?
Do you have any existing resources or assets that we can use to help you achieve your goals?
How would you like to allocate your budget?
3. Arrange a project kickoff meeting soon after the client onboarding
A project kickoff meeting is a crucial step in solidifying your working relationship with a new client. While you may have already had some introductory conversations, the client onboarding process is your chance to define how you will work together. During this meeting, it is important to:
- Introduce your team
- Determine preferred communication and delivery methods for the product or service
- Establish project scope and goals
- Outline the collaboration process, including delivery timelines and feedback mechanisms.
- Present your SLA.
- Provide important resources such as team contact information, project management tool access, and other relevant information for the new client.
The kickoff call should reinforce expectations established during the contracting and client onboarding process, setting the foundation for a productive relationship. This presents an opportunity to confirm alignment on strategy and service goals before delving into specific projects.
4. Arrange a follow-up internal meeting after the kickoff.
The internal meeting after the kickoff is an important opportunity to discuss key takeaways from the call, identify potential roadblocks, and address any questions that arise. This meeting serves to align your internal teams on the project, just as the kickoff meeting aligned your team with the client during the client onboarding process.
If you want to have a great onboarding process, this can be achieved by using this meeting to collaborate on strategies that leverage each team member’s skills, brief your internal team on the project scope and SLA, and assign tasks. Clarifying internal expectations and roles will enable your team to consistently deliver high-quality results to your client.
To facilitate this process, consider reviewing the deliverables required for each aspect of the project’s strategy. This will help identify the internal point of contact for each account and allow you to assign tasks to specific team members based on their strengths and preferences.
Ultimately, a well-coordinated and aligned team that is clear on expectations and deliverables will lead to positive client experiences and successful outcomes.
5. Don’t forget to follow up.
Effective communication with clients is crucial for building a healthy and productive relationship, especially during the client onboarding process. However, it’s important to ensure that these communications serve a clear purpose, whether that’s making the client’s life easier or adding value to the project.
To facilitate this, it’s recommended to schedule regular monthly client meetings as part of the onboarding process. These meetings provide an opportunity for your team to address any concerns upfront as you work together. It’s also a chance to update clients on strategy developments and report on service outcomes, thereby reinforcing the value you are delivering. By staying top of mind for your clients, you increase the likelihood of referrals, more opportunities for upsells, and ultimately more profits.
To ensure that everyone is consistent, it’s a good practice to send a follow-up email after each meeting summarizing what was discussed and highlighting any action items for each team. This way, the customer has a concrete takeaway from the meeting and can track the progress of the project more easily.
These updates not only keep the client informed but also provide an opportunity to address any questions or concerns they may have and get ahead of potential roadblocks for the coming week. Furthermore, these updates serve as a reminder of the value that your firm is delivering to the client.
If you want to improve your client onboarding process, you need to make sure you are clear and transparent. You want to make sure that all your clients know what they can expect from you and that they can trust you. It is all about communication and trust. If you are able to build that trust, you will have a client onboarding process that will allow you to ace every stage of your client relationships.
Thank you for reading!
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