Why Software Onboarding Is Key To Strong Performance

Why Software Onboarding Is Key To Strong Performance
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Summary: The onboarding process and the time between rollout and when a client can successfully begin to use a product, is particularly crucial for software publishers. This is true for employees as well. Here is why.

Software Onboarding: The Key To Employee Performance And Customer Retention

If you do not correctly explain software to a client, they will not use the tool to its full capacity and it is a sure bet that they will not renew their contract. This is also true of internal use: employees need to have a perfect command of the product if they want to effectively interact with clients. Maximizing product understanding both internally and externally is a top priority for software publishers. Digital learning plays a fundamental role in this process.

eBook Release: Outstanding Software Training – How To Turn Online Training Into A Competitive Advantage At Each Step Of The Customer Journey
eBook Release
Outstanding Software Training – How To Turn Online Training Into A Competitive Advantage At Each Step Of The Customer Journey
Discover how to develop a scalable training structure and stand out from competitors.

Successful Software Onboarding Guarantees Performance

Retaining a customer is times cheaper than acquiring a new one[1]. For software publishers, this metric is often seen as a business model – maximizing customer retention should be a strategic priority to increase profit margins. Software is often sold as a license, simply believing that clients will automatically renew each year is a mistake. This is especially true when you consider that most software publishers are forced to absorb acquisition costs over the course of several years of a contract in order to remain competitive. Onboarding is, therefore, a critical step for trainers.

Once the product has been sold, the client and their team(s) need training to help them effectively use the product and operationally put into practice the benefits discussed during the sales process. Software publishers that have understood the challenge and importance of training often will not deploy their tool internally until users have been independently certified (the first step towards customer retention)[2].

Since software publishers work with particularly complex products, employee onboarding is just as important as customer onboarding. How can you support a client if you yourself are not perfectly at ease with all aspects of the product? How can you prove that your product is the best on the market if employees have not mastered all features? Considering the market, employee onboarding and training is as important as client onboarding to the success of your company and should be carried out with the same requirements.

Traditional Training Methods Are No Longer Adapted

To onboard customers and employees, companies need to create a training department to help them manage this significant workload (that will increase as the company grows). This growth must happen on two fronts. First, create a training department capable of managing both client and employee onboarding. Then, expand the Customer Success and Support teams to answer questions that clients will inevitably have.

However, one quickly realizes that traditional solutions (that mix in-person training and LMS SCORM) are not adapted to the specific challenges of the software publishing industry. Why is that? Because we are talking about platforms that are extremely difficult to master on an operational level. Creating a training course on these platforms requires advanced web development and IT skills to create complex content. You must also learn to navigate interfaces inherited from 90s-era design that are not user-friendly. Combined with the slow process of creating and launching new content and you are left with an extremely rigid process. Keeping in mind the strong growth we are seeing in the software industry (five times faster than the rest of the economy[3]), these methods quickly reach their financial and human limitations.

How can you effectively train employees when you are recruiting on a weekly basis? This question is all the more important considering that growth often means geographical expansion. It is already a challenge to rapidly and effectively train employees with face-to-face training when they are in the same country, it seems impossible for software publishers to support this on an international level.

Additionally, traditional in-person training takes too long to train new customers. Once the product has been sold, training teams (often large) must travel to teach new clients how to use the tool. When seeing rapid growth, this quickly becomes impossible. These delays and rigid structure are all potential obstacles for companies to adopt your tool and can negatively impact contract renewals.

Digital Training Meets Both Internal And External Needs

This is where the true power of digital training can be felt. Once training content has been created, it can be reused indefinitely for both customers and employees. This is the very definition of a scalable solution that allows companies to honor new contracts without increasing costs.

However, it is not enough to simply create digital training courses, you must also choose the best tool. Classic eLearning tools have an average learner engagement rate of just 20%. In other words, out of 100 people who have the possibility to follow a course on an eLearning platform, only 20 will actually take it. Tools that put learner engagement at the heart of their strategy can obtain completion rates of 80% or more. The stakes for correctly choosing your digital learning tool are high.

The implementation of new software often coincides with deeper transformations taking place within a company. To efficiently implement change, internal practices must rapidly evolve. Engaging digital training with robust social features allow expert trainers to quickly mobilize learners and help them successfully use the new tool.

In the digital economy, a company's ability to regularly reinvent and transform itself represents a strong, long-term competitive advantage. Giving businesses, through digital training, the necessary tools to understand and apply change quickly is an unparalleled selling point for software publishers.

Furthermore, by integrating the platform into their training offer, companies can provide excellent experiences for their customers. It would be a shame for businesses that focus on user experience to not also provide an exemplary learning experience, as this will impact their image. Digital learning can also prove to be an extremely powerful selling point as it allows you to provide training at a lower price than traditional face-to-face training. Publishers can choose to offer several packages to customers and adapt them based on client preferences and budgets: 100% online training for self-sufficient clients or a Blended learning offer for those who prefer more comprehensive support.

Thanks to its agile nature, digital training allows you to continuously improve the training experience you offer clients. You can track and analyze learner behavior and regularly modify content to provide more engaging and efficient training programs. This knowledge also provides crucial insight and understanding as to how clients are using the product. It can even provide early indications of problems, allowing you to proactively adapt your strategy to avoid missing out on a contract renewal a few months down the line.

Consequently, clients are efficiently onboarded and learn to use the software at their own pace. This allows training and support teams to intervene only when necessary and address issues specific to each client – providing more added value and strengthening the relationship between the client and software publisher.

Finally, software publishers should do everything in their power to create and develop a strong community around their product. This is particularly valuable for guiding users and answering their questions. The Salesforce community is a perfect example. Members of the Salesforce community are highly active and help clients learn how to use the platform on a voluntary basis. The development of this community, which today serves as a competitive advantage, was made possible thanks to heavy investment from Salesforce. In addition to providing certifying eLearning courses on their platform, Salesforce also set up a process for selecting Trailblazers – people responsible for representing and promoting the community worldwide.

If you want to learn more about why software onboarding is critical, download the eBook Outstanding Software Training - How To Turn Online Training Into A Competitive Advantage At Each Step Of The Customer Journey.


[1] Ryan Law, 50 Surprising Saas Statistics That Will Blow Your Mind, Cobloom.com, 2016

[2] Kissmetrics, Customer Onboarding: Your Secret Sauce to Reducing SaaS Churn, Blog.kissmetrics.com

[3] Rick Wartzman, 25 Million New Jobs Coming to America, Thanks to Technology, Fortune Magazine, 2016

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