Wednesday, June 15, 2016

How to automate, track and optimize SaaS user onboarding

This is a step-by-step introduction how to create an automated user onboarding overview inSignupLab - a sales tool for SaaS companies. When properly implemented, it can look for example like this:

This view has the following key elements:
  • User tracking with geolocation. User's activity levels are exposed with different colors on calendar.
  • Sign-up process steps: "Signed up", "Evaluating" and "Active". When these steps are completed, user can be converted to a customer (or trial ends to churn).
  • Automated tasks and emails: In this example the task "Lead analysis" is assigned to a sales manager. Also sales emails sent to user can be automated with SignupLab, if not preferred to integrate with other tools such as MailChimp.
  • Activity feed (contains mostly notifications from Sales-bot - SignupLab's own sales automation robot) exposes a help desk ticket opened on Zendesk. Sales manager Brian Johansson made an internal comment to it.
So, this is how the view is generated:

1) User tracking

To start tracking your users you need to add a JavaScript code snippet into your app (just ask from your developers, they know ;). The key in this integration is to define action descriptions so that you can follow in details what steps users have been taking inside your app. Every time when user takes a step or loads a page, action is logged to SignupLab for analysis. You can find the code snippet and forward it to your developers as soon as you sign up to SignupLab:

Our code fetches automatically some information from user's browser, including current location. Geolocation is based on user's IP address.

2) Sign-up process steps

These steps help sales to analyze how far the sign-up has been progressing. It's part of your sales funnel; after sign-up, before converting to a customer. Steps can be defined under setup:


Note that these steps have API IDs. This means that you can set triggers with the tracking code snippet, which was explained earlier. Simply add one more parameter to code snippet when user takes a step "Evaluating" or "Active" (find out more from Setup / API reference; parameter "signup-status" in "action" method). If needed you can always change the step manually as well - for example if you called to the user and want to define him as "Active" after having a conversation - everything in SignupLab is editable just like in a regular sales CRM app.

3) Automation rules

Onboarding process has three different perspectives: 1) User's steps inside your app, 2) Onboarding emails sent to your user and 3) Sales activities that are not directly visible to your user, such as lead analysis. In successful SaaS companies these actions are smoothly connected to each other as a one seamless process.
What happens inside your app is typically managed with your application's own logic and tools such as Intercom.io. For onboarding sales letters and sales team's activities you can set automated rules with SignupLab (under Signups main view):


You may create different rules for A/B testing based on user's selections or actions during sign-up process. SignupLab matches the rule with simple filtering:
User's activity rule can be changed later to another based on user's behavior - for example if user is "Activated" and you want to provide him more detailed information about your app's features. If you want to learn more, SignupLab's behavior based emailing is covered in the blog post Behavior based SaaS onboarding emails - a step-by-step guide.

4) Combine data from other apps, such as Zendesk

Connections to other apps are easy to create with Zapier. In SignupLab select Setup, Integrations and Zapier. There you can find the link to SignupLab Zapier app. After you have added SignupLab to your Zapier apps, you can use it like this:

In this example a note can be added under user's profile by using the email address as an identifier. You may also use other actions as you wish - all methods in SignupLab API are made available in Zapier.
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That's it! Automated sales elements of your onboarding process are now defined. Now it's your time to start learning and optimizing. Test with different email templates, share users' activity information with your developers and discuss how to convert these sign-ups more effectively into customers. Follow the conversion rates from SaaS metrics reports inside SignupLab. Invite your colleagues to collaborate on SignupLab!
If you don't have a SignupLab account yet, create one today - we provide a free plan to get started with. SignupLab provides also tools for subscription management and recurring sales reporting, but that's another story!