How to Save Time with Client Onboarding Workflows

Building Relationships / January 28, 2021 / admin

An effective onboarding process is key to building strong relationships with your clients. Fail to make a positive impression and your clients may consider other alternatives.

A clunky onboarding process will only frustrate your clients. Fortunately, you can bring clients up to speed and deliver positive experiences with onboarding workflows.

Here we’ll take an in-depth look at what client onboarding is, why it’s important, and how to build an effective process.

Client onboarding checklist

What is client onboarding?

Client onboarding is a crucial first step for any business relationship. It’s the process of introducing new clients to your company and defining long-term objectives.

Not to mention, it will greatly help you save time as an entrepreneur or business owner and is one of my top productivity hacks. 

The onboarding process starts when a new lead becomes a customer. By the end, clients should have a firm understanding of what to expect and feel confident that your business will help them achieve desired outcomes.

Here’s an example of an onboarding workflow that Buzzsprout outlines for those learning how to make a podcast:

How to Start a Podcast

Concept → Format → Equipment & Software → Recording → Editing & Uploading → Artwork & Categories → Get Listed → Launch

how to start a podcast step by step guide
(Image Source)

There’s no specific time frame here. The client onboarding process can last 60 to 90 days or even longer depending on the complexity of the project.

With the right tools in place, you can streamline the entire onboarding process and provide value to your clients sooner rather than later.

Now let’s look at why the client onboarding process is so crucial.

The importance of client onboarding

The key to long-term business relationships is making a strong first impression. This may be stating the obvious, but it’s worth mentioning.

Here are some reasons why client onboarding is important.

Reduces churn rates

A poor onboarding process leads to a negative client experience. If that happens, clients may doubt your ability and even consider going to a competitor.

Churn refers to the percentage of clients who stop doing business with you. Percentages vary across different industries, but high churn rates have a negative impact on your bottom line. 

Setting expectations is a good way to reduce churn. Customers hate long drawn-out sign up forms. 

Here is an example of a client onboarding checklist for a wealth management firm or advisor:

There’s no specific time frame here. The client onboarding process can last 60 to 90 days or even longer depending on the complexity of the project.

With the right tools in place, you can streamline the entire onboarding process and provide value to your clients sooner rather than later.

Now let’s look at why the client onboarding process is so crucial.

The importance of client onboarding

The key to long-term business relationships is making a strong first impression. This may be stating the obvious, but it’s worth mentioning.

Here are some reasons why client onboarding is important.

Reduces churn rates

A poor onboarding process leads to a negative client experience. If that happens, clients may doubt your ability and even consider going to a competitor.

Churn refers to the percentage of clients who stop doing business with you. Percentages vary across different industries, but high churn rates have a negative impact on your bottom line. 

Setting expectations is a good way to reduce churn. Customers hate long drawn-out sign up forms. 

Here is an example of a client onboarding checklist for a wealth management firm or advisor:

wealth management client onboarding checklist
(Image Source)

A good onboarding process helps you retain more of your clients.

Saves time

Your clients chose to work with you for a reason — they’re looking to improve some facet of their life or business and ultimately grow their bottom line. But fail to demonstrate value early on and your clients may consider other options. At the end of the day, it comes down to performance

Even life insurance companies like True Blue Life Insurance understand the importance of smooth client onboarding and offer life insurance without a physical to make buying insurance faster and easier.

Clearly defined onboarding workflows save time and improve your time to value metric — the time it takes for clients to generate value from your business.

Generates more referrals

Finally, an effective client onboarding process generates more revenue. Onboarding clients properly and delivering a positive experience leads to more referrals and repeat business.

While you want to prove your value with new clients as quickly as possible, it’s important that you don’t overwhelm them from the start. For example, getting people to start a new diet is far from easy. Yet Ketoned Bodies found a way to break down their onboarding process into just 3 steps — decide on a menu, check out, and enjoy!

Having systems in place is key to building trust with your clients and developing long-term relationships.

How client onboarding workflows bridge the gap

Let’s say that you’re a marketing agency (or any client-focused business). You just landed a new client, but you don’t have a system in place to onboard them — you’re not sure what steps they’ve completed and your notes are all over the place.

It won’t be long before your client realizes that something is amiss. In contrast, utilizing onboarding workflows keeps everything organized and saves you time by not having to do everything from scratch each time.

With Daylite, you can create onboarding checklists with Activity Sets and ensure you don’t miss anything. Then once you have workflows in place, you’ll save even more time as you can apply them to future clients.

Check out this customer story of how Andrew Arnold, CEO of Centerline Wealth Advisors, uses Daylite to create checklists and successfully onboard new clients.

Now let’s move on to how you can onboard new clients with ease.

5 steps for a successful client onboarding process

Hopefully by now you’re convinced of the value of your client onboarding process. But you could use some help in this area to keep things moving in the right direction.

Follow these steps to successfully onboard clients.

1. Proposal, contract, and invoice

Before diving in, there are a few matters to take care of. 

The first is officially onboarding the new client which includes having a signed contract from the client that stipulates exactly what they get and what they don’t. Otherwise, clients could very well change their mind after you’ve already put in a ton of time into a project.

But before you get to the contract phase, you will want to create and send over a proposal to ensure logistics are aligned. Then once it’s accepted, send over a contract for your client to review and sign. Next, begin working on the project and surpassing your client’s expectations.  Finally, send an invoice with your preferred invoicing software like Billings Pro that integrates with Daylite.

2. Client onboarding questionnaire

An onboarding questionnaire allows you to gather key information from your client that you’ll need to kickstart a project.

Use assessment or questionnaire software to create a questionnaire to send your clients. The questions you’ll ask largely depend on your business, but here are some to get you started:

  • What is your business information?
  • Who is the main point of contact?
  • What is your preferred method of communication?
  • Do you have any marketing materials to share?
  • Who is your target audience?
  • Who are your top competitors?
  • What are your short and long-term goals?

Adapt these questions accordingly. Have questionnaire templates ready to “plug and play” for new clients to save time. With Daylite, you can also save the questionnaire answers to the client and project in order to be accessed by other team members using forms

As you learn about your new client, you’ll want to reciprocate. Help new customers become more familiar with your company through a series of onboarding emails.

3. Launch project internally

Now that you have a contract signed and information from your client, you’re ready to launch the project. Here you’ll want to use some type of project management software or related tool to help you manage a project.

Daylite lets you manage projects and keep track of every detail. Having everything in one place makes it easier for you to plan accordingly. 

Daylite project pipeline

You can also use Daylite to assign tasks and set reminders for your team. This helps align your team internally and set expectations early on. 

4. Client kickoff call

The worst thing you can do is leave your clients in the dark. The kickoff call is your opportunity  to set expectations and build trust with your client.

Here are some key areas to cover in a kickoff meeting:

  • Team introductions
  • Project objectives
  • Deliverables and timelines
  • Roles and responsibilities 
  • Client challenges

New clients that have just signed on with your business are eager to see what you can do for them. Make sure to hold the kickoff call as early as possible and use templates to improve efficiency.

5. Client checkup or offboarding

Clients are more likely to churn in the early stages of a business relationship. Make sure to regularly check up with your clients and communicate progress. The checkup call is also a good opportunity to obtain additional documentation and clarify key details. 

Next comes offboarding — the process of finalizing a project. But things don’t end once you hand everything over to a client.

Ask clients to provide feedback and share it with your team. If the client had a positive experience and enjoyed working with you, don’t hesitate to ask for testimonials and referrals to spread the word. 

Build time-saving client onboarding workflows with Daylite

Having a structured onboarding process is key to making a lasting impression. It allows you to build stronger relationships with your clients and improves overall efficiency.

Use a tool like Daylite to easily create client onboarding checklists and organize everything in one place. Get started today with a free 30-day trial.

About the author:

Dustin Howes owns an affiliate marketing agency that is dedicated to helping companies maximize their affiliate marketing efforts. Through group coaching and private consulting, Dustin teaches program managers how to recruit the right affiliates, optimize working hours, and how to take the growth of the program to the next level. Learn more affiliate marketing tips at dustinhowes.com.

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