Donna Weber is a leading expert on customer onboarding, and partners with high-growth companies to transform new customers into loyal champions.
Donna typically works with startups around the globe, including the US, UK, Finland, Hungary, Romania, and Israel. We sat down with Donna to unlock her expertise around accelerating time to value, diving into:
- When your team should revisit the post-sales timeline
- How organizations can optimize customer engagement
- Why building a trusted relationship is essential to growth
Proven Tactics for Optimal Customer Engagement
Donna typically works with organizations that are growing quickly. Often they’ve received an influx of funding that goes into the sales and marketing engine. From there, they typically see a massive increase in new customers.
Organizations that previously provided a high-touch, individualized white-glove treatment for their customers have difficulty handling the volume; they know they need a new workflow to scale their post-sales operations.
In Donna’s words, growth is a constant, and what got you here won’t get you to the next level.
As the first step in working with new clients, Donna starts with discovery of the current state, so she can build an optimized onboarding process to drive customers to value at scale.
For Donna, onboarding does not equal implementation. Donna highlights that “Onboarding is a much greater process when organizations should focus on relationship building, creating a foundation of trust, and partnering with their customers for success.”
Donna’s Tips on Delivering Outsized Value
After providing an initial assessment of an organization’s onboarding procedures, Donna recommends that organizations analyze two key areas to provide time to value:
- The length of time to deploy the product
- Ways to deliver value to customers as quickly as possible
Before an organization focuses on the technology and implementation, which can be complex with API connections, data migration, and customizations and branding; Donna advocates for organizations to drive value for customers through recommendations and human connection, if possible.
Organizations who’ve developed software in a particular space likely have the expertise to share thought leadership on best practices, with their customers.
One organization Donna worked with delivered strategic coaching, thought leadership, and exclusive resources within week one so customers would immediately get new learnings and value. This knowledge sharing happened while their product was being tailored, integrated, and migrated before it went live; all behind the scenes.
Of course, when implementation projects are complex and reasonably require months of technical work, value can still be conveyed early through thoughtful planning, and crystal-clear communication of task ownership, related dependencies, important deadlines and significant milestones.
How to Build Growth-Oriented Teams
Success can look different for every organization, so Donna works to understand the leading and lagging indicators teams can work to improve upon.
Donna shares that typically the shorter your sales cycle, the faster you need to deliver value. “If the sales cycle is three weeks, you’ll need to deliver value extremely soon — but if it’s six months, customers are more understanding that it could take longer for them to see the value.”
Donna advised a company that was struggling with frustrated customers who paused and canceled their licenses to move their Customer Success Manager (CSM) outreach to week one. That doesn’t mean the CSM does more work with the customer but they’re engaged sooner to deliver value for customers.
Driving Adoption by Improving Onboarding
In the age where businesses want to create customers for life, Donna Weber brings unique expertise as the world’s leading customer onboarding expert. She works directly with teams to help upgrade product adoption timelines, ultimately driving stronger renewal rates and revenue growth.
Donna is a world-renowned expert on a range of topics, including:
- How to engage with users when they’re first using your product
- Actionable tactics to maximize sales and increase product adoption
- Improving internal processes and alignment to optimize user experiences
Donna likes to differentiate between account onboarding versus user onboarding. Account onboarding equates to the product going live, while user onboarding is a necessity that requires a thoughtful approach in terms of in-product guidance in addition to other resources.
Donna finds that companies need to truly understand what each persona is looking to accomplish to direct specific behaviors that will drive value for that persona, rather than delivering a high level walkthrough. That just doesn’t meet the users’ needs.
“Just because you have a product doesn’t mean people know what to do with it. Organizations need to consider how they are addressing user onboarding.”
Cohesive Teams Lead to Outsized Value
When product adoption isn’t going well, Donna comes in with a clear plan. She typically works with the CCO (Chief Customer Officer) and VPs of Customer Success, Customer Enablement, and Onboarding to get a full view of what the pain points are and when they occur.
She notes that this typically requires breaking internal silos so everyone is prepared to work with a customer cohesively – ultimately delivering even value.
Donna works with teams to build out a very defined process where every stage has a trigger or success outcome, which aligns with specific roles and responsibilities. She emphasized that every step in this process is about delivering customer value.
When customers are not using a product, organizations not only lose the opportunity to get a renewal, they miss out on valuable expansion and referrals. To turn these challenges around, it’s important to take customer onboarding seriously.