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Why Onboarding is Critical for Converting Prospects to Successful Customers


The software sales process typically follows distinct phases, from initial problem awareness to purchase decision and onboarding. Onboarding sits at a critical juncture where the customer transitions from buying into the potential value of a solution to actually realizing that value. An effective onboarding process is key for ensuring new customers achieve success quickly.


The Phases of Software Sales:

  1. Problem Awareness - The prospect realizes they have a business issue that needs solving, like managing a department with spreadsheets.
  2. Solution Awareness - The prospect researches and identifies possible solutions to their problem. This is where they may encounter your product.
  3. Evaluation - The prospect evaluates your solution by learning more, seeing demos, and determining fit.
  4. Decision - The prospect decides your product offers the potential value they need and makes the purchase commitment.
  5. Onboarding - You help the customer implement the software and integrate it into their systems and processes.
  6. Value Realization - The customer utilizes the solution and achieves the expected results and impact.

The Importance of Onboarding:

Onboarding is the bridge between the customer seeing potential value and actually realizing value from the software. It can make or break their experience.

For example, a customer purchasing new HR software has bought into the potential for streamlining recruiting and better employee management. But if the onboarding process is poor, they may never achieve the promised results. Difficult setup, lack of training, and insufficient configuration can prevent adoption.

On the other hand, effective onboarding delivers on expectations and gets the customer to value faster. This leads to higher utilization, customer satisfaction and retention.

Best Practices for Onboarding:

  • Start pre-onboarding with access to resources before purchase
  • Have dedicated onboarding staff
  • Collaborate with customers on the onboarding plan
  • Automate aspects of onboarding for better scale
  • Create milestones and measure progress
  • Don't treat onboarding as one-and-done
  • Use it to establish the customer relationship
  • Continuously improve the onboarding experience


Onboarding is a critical step in transitioning promising prospects into successful customers. By executing onboarding effectively, you can delight customers and deliver on the expected value of your software.

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Topics from this blog: Onboarding