Time to Value (TTV) is the time it takes a customer to realize value from your product or solution. 

Why it’s important

Shrinking your TTV means your customers get a return on the invested money, time, and effort faster so they will more likely stick with you than move to a competitor. Simply put, shorter TTV improves your chances of customer retention and account expansion. 

TTV has a big role to play in SaaS onboarding, given the renewal-led sales model as opposed to perpetual licenses that were the norm earlier. Today, if customers end up waiting too long to see value, they will simply pick a faster solution at the next renewal stage — without having to worry about sunk costs.  Low switching costs will have SaaS customers quickly move elsewhere to find what they need.

A short TTV is especially critical if you offer POCs or free trials since customers must see the value your product offers without either of you spending too much time in the process. 

The best time to prove your value is right at the start, during the onboarding process.

TTV 101

Defining TTV

It’s important to remember that TTV is the time it takes a customer to understand the value of your product and reach what’s commonly called their “aha moment”. This value is as they see it — not what your business, your sales teams, or your CSM think. 

Value is realized when your product matches your customer’s expectations. 

Measuring TTV

The exact TTV will depend on your product or service. Some products can even have zero TTV. For example, a security compliance scan can show you immediate value in the form of a security status report. On the other hand, chat software will need to run for a while before your customer can see a reduction in effort or time. 

TTV in customer onboarding: Time to First Value

Time to First Value (TTFV) is a useful metric to measure the efficiency of the customer onboarding process — since customers typically make progress on their timeline. But without a goal for them, you’ll never know how well your onboarding is working. 

Best practices

Here are some best practices we recommend to reduce TTV: 

  1. Design for maximum usability: Make sure your product is intuitively designed and offers a simple and straightforward user experience. Design a seamless user experience based on adequate user research and testing. 
  2. Simplify the initial scope: At the start, narrow your focus and aim for well-defined and realistic goals for Go-Live. Aim to deliver value right from the onboarding stage and add more features/functionalities over time.
  3. Complete prerequisites before onboarding:  In the world of SaaS, approvals, authorizations, security signoffs, etc., precede any actual tasks. Minimize TTV by understanding these and ticking them off your list before you begin onboarding. 
  4. Design the right onboarding experience: An easy-to-use functional product is useless if your users simply don’t get around to using it. With the right onboarding support, either through a dedicated CSM, product guides, drip emails, check-ins, or in-product nudges, decide exactly when to communicate, when to offer help, and when to nudge customers to take action.    
  5. Build a value delivery framework for onboarding: Build a value delivery framework that identifies key points of value realization for different time user profiles and ensure that the onboarding path for each of them is designed to lower the Time-to-First-Value. 
  6. Benchmark and track TTFV during onboarding: Set goals for time to value and benchmark your performance. It could look like this: [users in this department] will achieve [first value] in [X] weeks. 
  7. Identify the right stakeholders and decision-makers:  To ensure that there are no unanticipated delays, identify key stakeholders and proactively ensure their availability for key milestones that require their inputs or approvals. 
  8. Focus on documentation: Build iterative processes so your documentation evolves based on customers’ feedback and usage patterns. 
  9. Ensure transparent and consistent communication: Provide timely inputs either within the product, as part of the documentation, or through any other channels or tools that you use. 
  10. Adopt integrated tools and technology: Make the most of platforms that can make the customer onboarding process as smooth as possible. Pick tools that are custom-built to maximize visibility for the customer, ensure smoother communication and collaboration, and demonstrate progress.  

The easier customer onboarding is, the faster your customers will see value, and the more likely they will be to stay. Check out how Rocketlane can help your customer onboarding and implementation teams shorten TTV for your customers.

Related terms

Move your customer onboarding onto the fast lane