For this session of Implementation Stories, we had Katie Clark, Onboarding Manager at PartnerStack, talk about customer onboarding metrics and why they are key to making data-driven decisions.
PartnerStack is the world’s only partnerships platform built for B2B SaaS that supports affiliate, referral, and reseller channel partners to drive recurring revenue. Since 2015, PartnerStack has helped 400+ B2B SaaS companies transform partnerships into one of their most valued acquisition channels.
As the first onboarding team hire at PartnerStack, Katie created better systems and processes to cater to the organization’s growing customer base—ranging from SMBs to enterprises—while helping grow a specialized team of 19 people.
In this session Katie talked about:
In this post, we share key takeaways from the session.
Both the CSM and Onboarding Consultant are introduced by the sales team at the start of onboarding. Onboarding typically takes 30-45 days, starting with a kickoff call led by the Onboarding Consultant and ending with a ‘graduation’ – after which the account is handed over to the CSM.
The stage where a customer is able to join a program, refer, and earn a reward on their platform is set as the hard stop that marks the graduation, i.e., the end of onboarding.
The roles within the onboarding team include:
Two critical calls that guide the onboarding journey include the:
While this depends on the customer segment, at the very least, every onboarding project has kickoff, integration scoping, and module discussion calls. On average, the team conducts 4-10 calls in every 45-day onboarding journey.
This initial phase relies more on intuition given that there is no data to go by. However, asking the right questions at this stage can help advance your journey to the next stage. Here are a few questions to consider:
This stage relies on at least clean reporting for 3-6 months and focuses on identifying the:
A key step in this phase is sharing (and discussing) data with other teams such as Product, Sales, CS, etc.
This phase, which relies on the presence of clean reporting/data for 1-2 years, is characterized by the ability to:
Understand that clean and accurate data takes time. Start early and be patient.
Earlier, the team relied on manually tracking: looking into emails, Slack channels, etc. They tracked:
They also captured the onboarding CSAT and the number of vendors currently being onboarded.
However, the team found themselves unable to make any definitive statements and answer questions on why and where things were going wrong.
Though the team still uses spreadsheets (Google Sheets) for tracking, there is ownership over processes, documents, and other tools feeding in and out of these spreadsheets.
Additionally, they developed a set of metrics that they closely track, such as:
This has helped them:
Besides showing the value the onboarding team drives and acting as motivation to the team, data provides a solid foundation for conversations with Product, Sales, and CS.
For instance, it can help the CS team identify customers who had a sub-optimal onboarding experience, so CSMs can give these accounts the additional attention and support they need. In other cases, it could also help identify product gaps that are impacting onboarding.
The PartnerStack team uses a combination of Google Sheets and Looker to create customized dashboards for the team.
Make a note of every single step needed to complete onboarding. Figure out where each step sits and how long it takes. Use this to create milestones and modules that you can tweak or move around.
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