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Time-to-Value: the #1 metric to focus on for reducing customer onboarding time

In this article, we will discuss why you should reduce your customer onboarding time, what time-to-value is, and how you can start out with it.
Written by
Suay Çakırca
Published on
February 22, 2023

A well-structured, strong onboarding process is just like building a piece of furniture. Once you have the correct tools, relevant processes, and accurate metrics to track, you can easily reduce the customer onboarding time and enable your customers to see your product's potential faster.

In other words, you can reduce the TTV for them.

Without further ado, let's talk about the Time-to-Value - the #1 metric to focus on for reducing customer onboarding time.


Why Should You Reduce the Customer Onboarding Time?

For SaaS companies, the TTV is a key indicator that helps you achieve the dream - making customers drive maximum value from your products in the shortest time possible.

It's an obvious fact that a customer is highly unlikely to be willing to spend hours trying to use your product if another company is serving them instantly.

This is the number one reason you should want to keep the process of getting value from your services as shortest as possible.

But there's still more to it than just that.

The practice of onboarding people faster has numerous benefits for your business. Here are some of them:

✅ Better Sales Velocity

Sales velocity is a key indicator that informs you about how smoothly your business is running and how quickly it's making 💰.

Naturally, it's one of the first things to get affected by a reduced customer onboarding time; because they both have the same purpose - quicker results.

With better sales velocity, you can have a clearer idea of how much money you can hope to make in a single day or over a particular period. With a perspective like this, it will be much easier for you to develop an accurate and more relevant business strategy and planning.

Remember, the faster you sell, the better - and reducing your TTV allows you to do just that.

✅ More Revenue

By now, we have discussed the importance of reducing the customer onboarding time and how it's linked to your business's overall success demonstrated in numbers.

Normally, with better sales velocity and a dramatic increase in conversions -see below- more revenue will come in the long run for your business. The reduced customer onboarding time helps significantly to achieve this goal since it's the number one factor in encouraging the users to take action and appreciate the value faster - and become paying customers that just LOVE your services.

✅ Increase in Conversions

Again, the faster the customer can see your product's potential, the easier an increase occurs in customer trust - meaning an increase in customer conversion.

There are a bunch of things you can do to achieve an increase in your conversions, like coming up with good marketing campaigns, enhancing the website experience you offer, optimizing the mobile experience in the meantime, etc. But essentially, it all comes down to ease the process of making a customer see your product's true potential and discover what it can do for them as quickly as possible.

✅ A Boost in Customer Engagement

A reduced customer onboarding time will make sure you keep your customers interested and allow them to love and start using your product as fast as possible.

This will result in happy customers that are as far away from churning as possible. Easing the pain of dealing with infinite processes and documentation for the customer onboarding experience that takes forever to complete, the reduced TTV will naturally boost engagement and dramatically contribute to your overall success.


👉🏼A Side Note

It seems important to me to mention the fact that decreasing the amount of onboarding content cannot actually help you reduce the onboarding time itself.

Let's read that again.

Instead, what you should focus more on is getting users to particular value points faster, which ultimately means reducing the total time it takes them to get to value your product - aka TTV. What you need, again, is not less content but smarter content that focuses on guiding your users more effectively.

Having said that, let's move on to the detailed definition of Time-to-Value.


What is Time-to-Value?

As the name suggests, the Time-to-Value is the amount of time it takes for one of your customers to realize your product's true potential and start appreciating it. The faster your services offer a solution, the better the customer experience becomes, and the more money you generate from this interaction.

Naturally, customers who fail to realize how they can drive value out of your product are highly unlikely to become permanent visitors. This is why you should always aim for a shorter TTV to ensure you gain long-term and loyal customers.

Over time, there will be times when you have to work toward decreasing this essential indicator, so here's how you will do that.

Identifying, Tracking, and Measuring TTV

Before deciding to measure your time to value, you need to identify what ''value'' is first. The value point must be defined according to what your customers recognize as value. At this point, you need to have a good understanding of your customer's business aims and how your product can help them achieve those goals.

Once you make sure that you and your customer are on the same page regarding this matter, it then becomes possible for you to actually think about tracking, measuring, and improving this metric.

You can then easily determine the optimal time in which your customers are supposed to achieve the identified value. Here are some quick indicators through which you can have an idea about your TTV statistics:

  • Customer Onboarding Time
  • Time of Adoption of New Features
  • The Time to Upgrade from Free to Paid
  • The Time to Achieve the Aimed ROI


5 Ways to Reduce Customer Onboarding Time


1- Create a head start.

Everything starts with communication and good understanding. Once you know what your customers want to achieve, ensure that they also understand and have relevant expectations regarding how your services will get them where they want to be.

It usually is a mistake to start a customer journey with assumptions - don't make the mistake of thinking that your customers will automatically know and understand how you will work, and your process will unravel.

Providing a preview of what the customer onboarding process will feel like and how it operates will create relevant expectations regarding your services.

This overview can be in the form of a simple educative video, a personal call, or a step-by-step walkthrough. These are all great ways to create an overview that demonstrates each and every step of the onboarding process, so there won't be any surprises along the way.

Starting your new customer's effective onboarding process by providing AND receiving as much information as possible will naturally create a beautiful head start that saves both time and effort.


2- Save time. Go for Automation.

Once the onboarding process starts, the complexity begins for your customers. What you need to do is reduce the complexity level as much as you can. Sending out a bunch of task-regarding onboarding emails could feel overwhelming for your customers while also causing you to spend an entire day reaching out.

It would be a game changer for you if you found an onboarding solution that will automate all your communication channels and marketing strategies.

This way, you will not need to take the time to send out information, and none of your customers will need to sit around and wait for it.

And with all the time you now have, you can create strong connections with your customers and within your customer success teams. This is one of the most impactful ways that guarantee a reduced TTV.

3- Help your customers keep up.

Similarly, helping your customers know where their project stands within your onboarding flow helps improve their overall experience and provides them with visibility.

It would be best if they didn't need to call or e-mail you once in a while to check up on their project updates. Instead, you can provide them with the relevant information and allow them to have access whenever and however they like.

This can be through your website, via e-mail, or through your mobile app implementations. Also, with you providing more visibility, it will become a lot easier for your sales team to identify any issues or delays and start working on them instantly.


4- Use Checklists.

Losing a sense of direction during your first interaction with a brand-new product is not uncommon.

This is why you need an onboarding checklistto give your customers an informative plan they can follow along the way.

An onboarding checklist is a list full of tasks that the user has to complete and mark off the items in it as they keep going. They're extremely flexible tools that ensure the customer doesn't miss out on anything and track their own progress as a means of motivation.

5- Keep In Touch.

Once you get everything up and running, make sure to keep yourself involved in the process. Check in regularly with your customers to see how things are working out and how they can be better from your customer's perspective.

Make sure to ask them if they're receiving the service they were expecting. Is there anything they think should be fixed or improved? Are they still on the same page as you regarding their definition of success and their goals? The answers to these questions will help you eliminate tiny errors and perfect the overall outline of your process. And, of course, reduce the overall TTV.

Wrapping Up ✏️

A reduced TTV is a solid indicator of business growth and impactful business performance. Tracking and focusing on this metric will help you offer a more valuable experience for your users, identify issues right away, improve the customer journey, reduce customer churn rate, lower acquisition costs, and mainly understand how well you're in doing in terms of marketing, sales, and growth.

Helping your customers achieve their goals with your product is the very first step in succeeding as a business, and that's why it's linked to your overall growth and becomes a win-win for everybody involved. Don't wait another day to try and see what a reduced customer onboarding time can do for you!



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