Onboarding: is it a good idea to get to first value a.s.a.p.?

Hello everyone!

I’m here today to bust a myth: that driving users to finish the onboarding process as fast as possible will bring in more paying customers. Wrong!

The onboarding myth

There are a lot of companies out there that are trying to invest a lot of resources to decrease as much as possible the time it takes to get users to first value.

There is a lot of advice on the Internet that tells you that you need to get people as quickly as possible to first value.

And it makes a lot of sense, right? You get a lot of people – you get more people and you get them faster to first value, which means you have higher chances of converting them.

But we are data-driven and we wanted to back that with data.

We talked with a couple of our customers and we asked them to let us investigate the correlation between the time it takes to get onboarded, to get to first value, and conversion and retention rates.

Busting the myth

So, what we did was to calculate the time difference between the moment of signing up to the moment of being onboarded, or getting to first value.

We did that for all the users in the last 90 days.

We then ranked all users and got a distribution that looks pretty much like this.

As you can see, most users finished the onboarding process in a short amount of time, but then there is a long tail of users that took much longer to finish the onboarding process, or get to first value.

Now, what we’d expect from the advice we have on the Internet, is that those who get through the onboarding faster are much more likely to convert into paying customers and would have higher conversion rates, while the users from the long tail would have lower conversion rates and lower retention rates.

Well, surprise! The users that took much longer to finish the onboarding process, for five different companies which we analyzed, had much higher conversion rates and much higher retention rates, sometimes even doubled.

So, myth busted!

Don’t rush users during onboarding

The conclusion is not that you need to get people to spend more in the onboarding process.

That wouldn’t be wise! Just as it’s not wise to force them or persuade them to finish the onboarding process in a shorter time.

The point is to get people to finish the onboarding process, or to get to first value, in the time that they expected to be.

Do you want to know what that time is for you?

Simply analyse the correlation between time intervals and retention and conversion rates.

If you need help with that, let’s get in touch!

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Author: Claudiu Murariu

InnerTrends' founder and lead analyst Claudiu Murariu is also the author of DataDiary, a newsletter about and for companies that use data in their business decision making process. You can follow him on Twitter @cllaudiu.