Onboarding as its Own Function

The number one reason for churn is the customer’s time to value being too lengthy. The first step is actually simple: treat onboarding as its own function in your post-sale experience.


Joseph Loria

3/21/20242 min read

I’ve stated before that the number one reason for churn is the customer’s time to value being too lengthy. Every day you don’t ensure value from their investment is another day for your customer to question their decision. The longer that onboarding phase stretches out, the lower the probability of renewal.

While that’s easy to say, what should you actually do about it?

The first step is pretty simple: treat it as its own function in your post-sale experience.

First off, onboarding is truly different. Think about it. That first ninety days with your customer is vastly different than the remainder of your relationship. Think of all the things that have to happen right away (and likely only a single time) for your product or service to see some success inside their business:

  • Setup and configuration;

  • Data import and/or conversion;

  • Training and education;

  • Change management to ensure adoption.

If you’re anything like me, looking at those tasks makes your start thinking of their myriad sub-tasks and all the associated dependencies. You think, “project plan.” And once you start that, you’re then thinking, “project management.” And in the end, that’s exactly what onboarding mostly is: a project management exercise.

Thus, it makes sense to treat it as its own thing. Because it is.

You don’t necessarily need to staff it independently. But treating it as its own discipline elevates the importance of time to value inside your organization. And once you agree that something is important enough to be its own function, two things become necessary:

  • A dashboard for measuring performance;

  • A cadence for review, accountability, and problem-solving.

Your dashboard can be a simple spreadsheet to start, with columns that show:

  • Customer

  • Revenue

  • Sold Date

  • Days Since Sold (the ticking clock)

  • Status

  • Comments

Showing “Days Since Sold” on a dashboard allows the team to work to minimize the number of days it takes to complete the onboarding and therefore get to first value.

With a dashboard in place, you then need some accountability. And there’s no better method for that than a weekly team meeting. In growth companies, meeting time is precious and reserved for critical and important things, so holding a weekly meeting elevates the importance of time to value in the company. It sends the message that this is worth the effort to get right.

Create a simple dashboard and cadence and watch time to value shrink. Get started right away!