Customer on-boarding: it’s all about first impressions

In my experience as a marketing professional, potential customers almost never just decide to walk away from a purchase - unless given sufficient reason to do so. And, if you’re wondering how a promising list of leads managed to slip through your fingers, it might be time to refocus on the basics of your on-boarding strategy. 

While there isn’t a definite methodology for conducting 100% watertight on-boarding strategies, certain fundamentals exist that should remain top of mind during this seminal stage of your hopefully long and prosperous relationship with your customer. So, here are a few back-to-basics considerations if your leads and sales funnels are dwindling.

Is my offering correctly aligned to my market?

If your sales, marketing and product teams look to each other for the answer to this question, there’s a problem. Product alignment is the first – if not most crucial - step to a successful onboarding game plan. You see, regardless of the marketing spend behind a great product, conversions will be slim-to-none if a product doesn’t speak to the persona’s pain-points. As Peter Drucker famously asserted, “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well that the product or service fits him and sells itself.” Well, yes, but as marketers we all know that no product really sells itself. Instead, it’s when a company really believes in what it has to offer, and takes the necessary time and effort to know its market, that great things happen. For me, Uber is a perfect example of a company that was acutely aware of the crowded market space it was entering, but understood the pain-points so well that their execution and delivery resulted in a disruptive business model that will have its ripples felt far and wide – and for some time to come. Here’s an insightful case study  on how the company turned the transportation industry on its head.

Are my customer metrics doing my onboarding strategy justice?

Once product alignment is achieved, it’s time to collect as much information about your leads as possible. Why? Because companies who “know and understand the customer” are perfectly positioned to pre-empt any “push-back” on committing to the purchase. And, if your acquisition strategy has made enough of an impression on your leads for them to engage with your brand, be sure that they expect the same level of interaction throughout the on-boarding stage. Industry analysts Forrester Research put it into context quite succinctly: “It’s not enough to have a world-class digital capability for acquiring new customers. Empowered customers expect the same type of seamless experience, improved efficiency, and heightened responsiveness in all subsequent interactions with your brand.But to be efficient and responsive, you need the right customer insights – and the tools to share them with relevant departments – to build an on-boarding strategy that can speak to the unique and varied customer concerns that exist within their respective segments.

Is your onboarding strategy adapting to changing times?

It’s no secret that market spaces are becoming increasingly competitive and that consumers are enjoying a power-shift that is steadily tilting in their favour. These developments bring with them both challenges and opportunities to differentiate oneself amongst competition who are equally eager to do the same. This makes the acquisition and onboarding stages so central to building a customer base that remains loyal in times when loyalty can at best be described as fleeting. As we strive to know more about our customers, we’ll increasingly look to our data to bridge the divide and make those all-important first impressions that can so easily make or break our relationships with our customers.

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