How to Create a Successful SaaS Onboarding
Strategy—The Ultimate Guide

SaaS Onboarding Strategy


The SaaS customer onboarding process is one of the most important steps in convincing a customer to switch from traditional software to a SaaS solution. The customer onboarding strategy should be tailored to the specific needs of the customer and should include a clear SaaS product walkthrough to introduce new customers to your app.

It is also important to provide customer support during the product tour to ensure that customers have access to resources related to your SaaS tool.

In this article, we will walk you through some of the best practices when it comes to SaaS customer onboarding, and how to execute a successful onboarding journey for new and existing users of your app. But before that, let’s first discuss the importance of user onboarding.


What is User Onboarding in SaaS?


User onboarding is the process of introducing new users to a software application and helping them get started with using it. In the case of SaaS (Software as a Service), user onboarding typically happens when a new user signs up for an account and starts using the software.

The goal of user onboarding is to help new users quickly become familiar with the features and functionality of the software, so that they can start using it effectively and achieve their goals.

User onboarding typically involves a combination of educational materials (such as tutorials, an ultimate guide, and documentation), in-app guidance (such as tooltips and walkthroughs), and customer support. Done well, user onboarding can help to ensure that new users have a positive experience with your software and are more likely to become long-term customers.

Another goal of user onboarding is to reduce the likelihood that new users will abandon the product. To achieve this, user onboarding typically involves providing new users with an overview of the product’s features and functionality, as well as guidance on how to use the product most effectively.

In many cases, user onboarding will also involve delivering targeted content and tutorials to new users based on their specific needs and interests. By providing new users with a smooth and positive experience from the start, user onboarding can help to encourage long-term engagement and customer loyalty.

In most SaaS companies, the user onboarding process is the responsibility of the customer success team. They are usually handled by a customer success manager who leads the team. The customer success team’s goal is to help new users get the most out of the product, and they are typically responsible for developing and managing the onboarding process.

In some cases, the product team may also be involved in onboarding, as they can provide valuable insights into how best to use the product. However, it is usually the Customer Success team that takes on the primary responsibility tp ensure onboarding success.

User onboarding can be divided into three stages: User onboarding journey, integration and configuration.

  • In the first stage, users are guided through the system and familiarized with it.
  • In the second stage, users can start using the system.
  • In the third stage, users can begin taking full advantage of the system and are able to customize it. 

There are a few key steps that should be included in your onboarding strategy. The first is to make sure that the solution is aligned with your business goals. You’ll also need to map out the user journey, and identify which processes need to be automated.  

Moreover, you need to think about what tasks or goals new users should be able to accomplish in their first few days or weeks with the software. Then, you need to create a plan for guiding them through those tasks or goals. This can include providing clear instructions, videos, or other resources. 

It’s also important to make sure that your SaaS onboarding process is easy to use. The steps should be straightforward and easy to follow. 

Furthermore, you need to have a plan for training your users. This can include both formal training as well as on-the-job training. You’ll also need to create documentation and support materials that can help users get up and running quickly.

There are several things to consider when creating a SaaS onboarding strategy.


Why Do You Need a SaaS Onboarding Strategy?


When it comes to SaaS, proper onboarding is key to a successful, long-term relationship with your customers. Here are some benefits of implementing a solid SaaS onboarding strategy:


Improved Customer Satisfaction and Loyalty


A SaaS company’s onboarding system is the first and often only chance to make a good impression on a customer. It is therefore essential that the onboarding process is designed to deliver an enjoyable and positive experience that sets the tone for the customer’s future interactions with the company. A well-executed onboarding process can result in improved customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as increased retention rates. In addition, a satisfied customer is more likely to recommend the company’s products or services to others, which can lead to new business opportunities.

Therefore, investing in an onboarding system is an important step for any SaaS company that is looking to improve its customer relationships.


Reduced Customer Churn Rates


SaaS companies can often find it difficult to keep their customers happy and retain them for long periods of time. According to Sixteenventures, 47% of users churn within the first 90 days of using a SaaS product.

This is where an onboarding system can be extremely beneficial, as it can help to reduce customer churn rates. By providing a smooth and easy way for customers to get started with using the application, onboarding systems can help to reduce frustration and ensure that customers are able to get the most out of the SaaS application. In addition, an onboarding system can also provide valuable insights into customer usage patterns, which can help SaaS companies to improve their products and services. As a result, an onboarding system can be a powerful tool for SaaS companies that are looking to reduce customer churn rates.


Speed to Market


SaaS companies have to move fast to be successful. They need to get their products to market quickly and efficiently to stay ahead of the competition. One of the benefits of having an onboarding system in a SaaS application is that it can help speed up the process of getting new users set up and using the product. By automating some of the tasks involved in onboarding, such as account creation and user provisioning, SaaS companies can reduce the amount of time it takes to get new customers up and running.

This can help them to get their products to market faster and to better meet the needs of their customers. In addition, an onboarding system can also help SaaS companies to improve their customer retention rates by providing a better experience for new users.


Increased Efficiency


SaaS companies have long understood the importance of an efficient onboarding process. By automating key tasks and providing a streamlined experience for users, SaaS applications can help to improve adoption rates and reduce churn. Onboarding systems can also help to improve efficiency by reducing the need for manual intervention.

For example, an onboarding system can automatically provision new accounts and send welcome emails. In addition, an onboarding system can keep track of user progress and provide customized support based on individual needs. As a result, SaaS companies that invest in an onboarding system can reap significant rewards in terms of increased efficiency and reduced costs.


Reduced Costs 


SaaS (software as a service) applications have become increasingly popular in recent years, due in part to their pay-as-you-go pricing model and ease of use. For SaaS companies, one of the key challenges is ensuring that customers are able to get the most out of the product. This is where an onboarding system can be extremely beneficial.

By providing customers with a guided tour of the product, and clear instructions on how to use it, an onboarding system can help SaaS companies reduce costs by reducing the need for customer support. In addition, an onboarding system can also help SaaS companies save other expenses, such as training costs and lost productivity due to user error.

Easier Scalability


SaaS companies can often find themselves in a difficult position when it comes to scalability. They may have a great product that is in high demand, but without an efficient way to onboard new users, they may struggle to keep up with demand. An onboarding system can help to solve this problem by providing a streamlined process for new users to follow. This not only makes it easier for SaaS companies to scale their operations, but also helps to improve the user experience. As a result, implementing an onboarding system is an effective way for SaaS companies to improve their scalability by being able to accept new users easily and reduce their support costs.


Improved ROI


SaaS onboarding strategy can improve your SaaS company’s ROI in a few ways. First, a good onboarding strategy will ensure that new users are quickly and efficiently brought up to speed on how to use your SaaS product.

This means they’ll be able to start getting value from it sooner, which will lead to more satisfied customers and longer-term customer retention. As a result, this will have a positive impact on your SaaS company’s customer lifetime value since a happy customer will stay subscribed to your app for a long time.

Additionally, a good onboarding strategy can help you better understand how users are using your product, so you can continue to optimize and improve it over time. By improving ROI in these ways, a SaaS onboarding strategy can help your business grow and be more successful.


Types of SaaS Onboarding


Traditional Onboarding


SaaS onboarding is the process of getting new SaaS customers set up and using the company’s software products.

The goal of SaaS onboarding is to help new customers get the most value out of the company’s products as quickly and easily as possible. The traditional SaaS onboarding system typically include a mix of automated and human elements.

Automated elements may include things like welcome emails, web-based product tutorials, and in-app messages. Human elements may include things like live chat support, personal phone calls, and in-person training sessions. The key to successful SaaS onboarding is finding the right mix of automated and human elements that works for your company and your customers.

This typically includes walking them through the SaaS product’s features and how they can be used to achieve specific goals. SaaS companies often provide training materials such as videos or tutorials to help new customers become familiar with the product as quickly as possible.


Progressive Onboarding 


Progressive onboarding can be summed up as a series of steps that helps to smoothly introduce a new user to your SaaS product. The overall goal is to reduce the amount of time and effort it takes for someone to be productive when using your software.

There are many different ways to approach progressive onboarding, but the most common method is to break down the process into a series of tasks or goals. Each step should be designed to teach the user about one specific feature or use case.

It’s important to keep in mind that everyone learns differently, so it’s important to cater to different types of learners. Some people prefer visual aids while others prefer written instructions. You may also want to consider using interactive tutorials, which allow users to experiment with the software while they learn.

It’s wise to get customer feedback from new users about their onboarding experience so you’re aware of what to improve in your onboarding flow.


Cohort-Based Onboarding


Cohort-based onboarding is a SaaS onboarding strategy that focuses on getting new users up to speed by grouping them into cohorts and providing targeted training and support. This approach helps reduce the time it takes for new users to be productive, and can be especially useful for complex or high-risk applications.

One of the benefits of cohort-based onboarding is that it allows you to focus on specific areas where new users need help. You can also use cohorts to track user progress and identify any problems that need to be addressed.

Cohort-based onboarding can be implemented in a number of ways, depending on your needs. For example, you can group new users into cohorts based on their job function, level of experience, or company size. You can also create different cohorts for beta testers and paying customers.


Task-Based Onboarding


Task-based onboarding is a SaaS onboarding strategy that focuses on getting new users to complete a specific task as quickly and easily as possible. It usually involves an “Onboarding checklist”, which is a list of tasks that the user will do themselves, with in-app guides to make sure they get it done right.

This type of onboarding strategy can be especially helpful for software that has a lot of features that are used by people with different levels of expertise. By focusing on one task at a time, task-based onboarding helps new users get comfortable with the software and start using it effectively right from the beginning.


Automated Onboarding


When you sign up for a new account with a SaaS application, you’re usually asked to provide some personal information like your name and email address. You then have to wait for someone on the customer support team to review your account and manually activate it. This process is called “manual onboarding.”

With automated onboarding, the process is handled by computer algorithms instead of human customer service representatives. Your account is automatically activated as soon as you provide the required information, and you can start using the application right away.

Automated onboarding can save customer service teams time and money, since they don’t have to manually review and activate every new account. It also makes the sign-up process faster for users, since they don’t have to wait for someone to activate their account.


What Are the Key Components of a Successful SaaS Onboarding Strategy?


Onboarding is an important process for new users. It can be the deciding factor in whether or not someone uses your SaaS application in the long term. 

There are five key components of a successful SaaS onboarding strategy which must be considered when designing an onboarding strategy. If one component is missing or not implemented properly, it can leave a bad first impression to the target audience that you wanted to impress. They are as follows:


The Importance of A Great User Experience 


A great user experience is a key component of a successful SaaS onboarding strategy because it can help reduce the amount of time it takes for new users to be productive. If the customer experience is frustrating or difficult, users are likely to give up and not use the software. This can lead to lost revenue and decreased productivity.

A good user experience should be easy to navigate and understand. The interface should be intuitive and logical, with clear instructions and prompts. The layout should be simple and organized, with buttons and icons that are easy to identify. The software should also be responsive, meaning that it responds quickly to user input.

Additionally, the support system for customer success should be robust and available 24/7. If users have questions or problems, they need somewhere to turn for help. The customer success team should be knowledgeable about the software and able to solve problems quickly.


Personalization and Customization


A personalized and customized SaaS customer onboarding experience can make all the difference for a successful implementation. By taking into account the unique needs of each customer, a company can ensure that the new software is setup in a way that makes sense for them and their business.

This not only helps to get users up and running quickly, but also encourages product adoption and long-term engagement.

There are several key reasons why customization is important in SaaS onboarding. Every organization has different workflows and processes, so it’s essential to configure the software in a way that fits with how they already operate.

Users need time to adjust to any new system, and having a personalized product tour will help them feel more comfortable using the software right from the start.


Onboarding Tutorials


Onboarding new customers is critical to the success of any SaaS company. However, onboarding can be a tricky process, especially for companies with a complex product.

The goal of any successful onboarding strategy is to get new customers up and running as quickly and easily as possible. This can be accomplished through a combination of helpful tutorials and well-designed user interfaces.

One way to improve the onboarding process is by providing tutorials that help new users understand how your product works. These tutorials can be in the form of videos, text, or infographics.

They should walk users through the basics of your product and show them how to use it effectively. Well-designed tutorials can make a big difference in the success of your onboarding process.


Integrating with Other Tools 


A successful SaaS onboarding strategy understands that a big part of the user experience is integration with other tools they are already using. This might include importing contacts, syncing calendars, or simply having an easy way to import data from the old tool into the new one. If it’s not easy for users to get started, they may not stick around.

Making sure that your tool integrates well with others is key to a successful onboarding strategy. Provide clear instructions on how to do this, and make sure your support team is ready to help users with any problems they encounter.

By taking care of the integration early on, you’ll make it easy for users to get started and see the value in your tool.




There are many reasons why the automation component is important to a successful SaaS onboarding strategy. Perhaps the most obvious reason is that automation can help to speed up the process.

With the right tools in place, you can automate tasks such as creating user accounts, assigning roles and permissions, and adding users to groups. This can save your team a lot of time and ensure a smooth and efficient onboarding process for your new customers. For example, you can send an onboarding email after a new user signs up with helpful links to your documentation and tutorial videos.

Another reason automation is important is because it can help to ensure consistent results. When tasks are automated, they are done the same way each time, which helps to avoid errors and inconsistencies.

This can be especially important when it comes to onboarding new customers, as you want to make sure that their experience is as smooth and trouble-free as possible.


How Do You Execute Your SaaS Onboarding Strategy?


Your SaaS onboarding strategy needs to be well-planned and executed flawlessly in order to ensure a successful launch for your product. There are a few key things to keep in mind when creating your SaaS onboarding strategy as follows:


Define Your Goals 


When you’re onboarding a new customer to your SaaS product, it’s important to have a plan. Defining your goals for the onboarding process will help you ensure that each step you take is moving the customer closer to becoming a paying user. 

There are many factors to consider when defining your onboarding goals. Some of the most important include: 

  • What are the key steps in the sign-up process? 
  • What features or functionality do you want the customer to start using immediately? 
  • What are your conversion goals? i.e. what percentage of customers should be converting to paid users after X number of days/weeks/months? 
  • How can you measure whether or not the customer is successfully using your product?


Research Your Audience


One of the most important aspects of a successful SaaS onboarding strategy is understanding your audience. Without knowing who you’re targeting, it can be difficult to determine what information and steps are necessary to get them up and running on your platform.

This means doing your research; studying your users’ demographics, needs, and pain points. And if you’re not sure where to start, there are plenty of resources available online and in libraries that can help 

Once you have a good understanding of who your users are, you can begin creating targeted onboarding content and flows that speak to their individual needs. This will help reduce friction during the sign-up process and increase the likelihood of conversion.


Plan Your Content 


Your SaaS onboarding strategy is only as good as your content plan. Without a plan, you’ll likely end up creating a lot of content that’s not cohesive or effective. Here are four tips for creating a content plan that will help you execute your onboarding strategy effectively:

  • Know your audience. Who are you targeting with your onboarding content? Knowing your audience is key to creating relevant and effective content.
  • Create a storyboard. A storyboard can help you map out the flow of your onboarding content, ensuring that it’s cohesive and easy to follow.
  • Plan for different stages of the funnel. Not all of your onboarding content will be aimed at converting new users into paying customers.
  • Make sure you have content planned for all stages of the funnel, from attracting new users to retaining current ones.


Create a Workflow 


When you’re implementing a SaaS onboarding strategy, it’s important to create a workflow. This will help ensure that your process is smooth and efficient. By creating a workflow, you’ll be able to track each step of the process and make sure that everything is done in a timely manner.  

A workflow will also help you identify any potential problems that may occur during the onboarding process. By addressing these issues early on, you can prevent them from causing delays or disrupting the flow of your onboarding strategy. 

Ultimately, a well-designed workflow will help you ensure that your SaaS onboarding strategy is successful.


Test and Iterate


It’s no secret that a successful SaaS onboarding strategy is key to retaining customers and driving growth. But what many companies don’t realize is that this process requires constant testing and iteration in order to find the right formula for each individual business.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to SaaS onboarding, as each company’s customers will have different needs and expectations. What works for one business might not work for another, so it’s important to constantly test different approaches and see what resonates with your customer base. 

Another critical factor to keep in mind is that SaaS onboarding should be constantly evolving in order to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of technology. What worked a year ago may not be effective today, so businesses need to be prepared to adapt their onboarding strategy as needed.


Measure Success


When it comes to your SaaS onboarding strategy, you need to be measuring success in order to know if you’re on the right track. There are a few key metrics you should be keeping an eye on.

For one, how long is the typical user taking to get up and running? If they’re not productive within the first few days or weeks, there’s a good chance they’ll churn.

You also want to track how many users are getting up and running on their own, without any help from customer support. This indicates that your onboarding program is clear and easy to follow.

Another important metric is customer satisfaction. You can track this by sending customer journey surveys after users have been through the onboarding process. Are they happy with the experience? Would they recommend your product to a friend?


Final Thoughts 


Having a well-planned onboarding strategy is critical to a successful SaaS implementation. By following the customer onboarding checklist outlined in this article, you can ensure that your new users get the most out of your software and are productive from day one. If you need more help in growing your SaaS business, don’t forget to check our blog for more tips and best practices.

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Ken Moo