Improving the time to value (TTV) for your customers should be a key focus for any business. After all, the sooner you can provide value to your customers, the more likely they are to stick around and become loyal advocates. This article will discuss how you can improve TTV through your people, processes, products, and tech stack. Let's get started!
What Is Time To Value?
The key to improving the customer onboarding experience is a concept called Time To Value (TTV). TTV measures the time it takes for customers to experience value from your product or service. A short time value means that new users can achieve the expected value from your product quickly. TTV is the north star of customer and user onboarding metrics as new users expect to receive value as soon as possible. A longer TTV can lead to poor customer experience, loss of trust, and thus greater customer churn.
Types Of TTV
- Time To Basic Value: Time to basic value is the time it takes a customer to get any kind of value from your product or service. The goal should be to show the customer that they made the right choice, even before fully utilizing your product or service.
- Long Time To Value: Some products take longer to deliver value. This is common in larger software-as-a-service (SaaS) implementations that require robust setup, configuration, or integration work. If your offering takes weeks or months to implement, you must look for ways to deliver basic value at every step of the way.
- Immediate Time To Value: Also known as short (and we mean very short) time to value. Short time to value is the ideal situation where customers get value from your product or service right away. Products with immediate time to value remove all barriers in order to help the user realize the value in the first minutes, even seconds, of the product experience.
- Time To Exceed Value: Time to exceed value is the time it takes for a customer to get more value from your product or service than initially expected. This point of value achievement most commonly manifests itself through a customer’s decision to buy more of your product and service before or at the time of renewal.
- Time To Emotional Value: Time to emotional value is the time it takes for a customer to feel positive about your product or service. Emotional value is important because it measures how a customer feels as a result of using your product in their workflow. The emotional value that your product generates is often what leads to strong word-of-mouth marketing.
Why Is Time To Value Vital For Success?
For starters, TTV is vital to success because if customers do not see the value in what you're offering quickly, they will likely lose trust in your product and service. Secondly, if it takes too long for customers to get value from your product or service, they may become frustrated and give up entirely. Third, a long time to value could indicate that your product or service is not meeting the needs of your target market. Finally, if customers do not see the value in what you're offering quickly, they are less likely to recommend your product or service to others. A short time to value goes a long way in achieving high customer satisfaction (CSAT) and net promoter scores (NPS)
How To Measure Time To Value
Before you measure time to value, it is important to understand what value is. As mentioned above, time to value can come in many shapes and sizes and can be experienced at different stages of the customer onboarding journey. Ensure that your value moments are defined through the lens of your customer and that your business objectives align with getting customers to those value moments as quickly as possible.
There are a few different ways to measure TTV. One simple way is through customer surveys. You can ask customers how long it took them to experience the value that they perceived in your product during the sales process. Another way to measure TTV is by analyzing your internal data. This analysis could include looking at product usage data: time to paid conversions from free trials, time to feature adoption, or overall time to onboarding completion.
Lastly, time to value can be measured by looking at the relationship with customer churn rates. The lower the time to value (regardless of the type of TTV), the less likely it is that customers will churn.
Improving Time To Value Through Your People
The people involved in the customer onboarding process are crucial to its success. You must ensure that everyone, from the sales team to the customer success team, is on the same page and knows their roles. It’s also important to clearly understand who your stakeholders are (both on your team and the customer team) along with their goals and objectives. By starting with the people behind the process, you can ensure that your customer and user onboarding process is properly aligned across all stakeholders, setting you up to deliver on your main goal: a fast time to value.
Get On The Same Page
Clearly understanding stakeholders and their objectives includes holding the customer accountable for their portion of onboarding tasks. A structured task list (or project plan) will help improve communication and collaboration between teams. At a minimum, task lists can be managed in spreadsheets and email.
Create An Onboarding "Specialist" Role
Another way to improve TTV through people is by creating a “specialist” role. For bigger companies, this role is more likely to be filled by an onboarding specialist, implementation manager, etc. For smaller companies, this role will likely be a good fit for customer success managers or project managers who have a more generalist role but can specialize in a differentiated customer onboarding experience.
Your “specialist” should be the go-to person for anything and everything related to onboarding. They should clearly understand the customer’s needs, objectives, and your company’s processes and products. A “specialist” role signals to your internal culture and your customer that you take the post-sale onboarding experience very seriously.
Increasing communication and collaboration with your team and customer is another way to improve time to value through people. Increased communication could be done by setting up regular check-ins (weekly or bi-weekly), creating a dedicated Slack channel, or even just having more informal conversations. This regularly scheduled communication ensures that everyone is on the same page and is held accountable for the common goal of providing value to the customer as quickly as possible.
Improving Time To Value Through Your Processes
There are a few key areas to focus on when improving the processes that surround your product’s time to value.
Process Improvement One: Create An Onboarding Checklist
One way to improve time to value is by creating a checklist for customer onboarding. This checklist can be used by the sales team, customer success team, the customer, and anyone else involved in the process. It should include all the tasks and milestones that need to be completed to successfully onboard a customer.
The checklist can be kept track of in a shared environment, such as Status, to help to improve communication and collaboration between you and the customer. Having a central location for all tasks as your team goes through the onboarding process will ensure that nothing falls through the cracks.
Creating a checklist ensures everyone is on the same page and working towards the common goal of providing value to the customer as quickly as possible. For more information about creating an onboarding checklist that fits your company's needs, check out this article.
Process improvement Two: Nail The Sales To Customer Success Handoff
Nailing your sales to customer success handoff is a big part of improving your time to value. The customer success handoff should be planned and rehearsed, so everyone knows their roles and responsibilities.
The sales team should clearly understand the customer’s needs and objectives. They should record the products and services the customer has purchased so that customer onboarding and success teams can easily get started. The customer success team (or onboarding specialist) should be prepared to take over the account and provide your customer with a path to meet the expectations that were given to them during the sale.
Your customer should perceive the sales to customer success handoff as one that is smooth and well-planned. This ensures that the customer has a support level that is as high, if not higher, than the support and attention they received in the sales process. A smooth transition will help reduce the time it takes to onboard a new customer, which will build trust between your company and the customer.
Process Improvement Three: Hold A Kickoff Call
A great kickoff call is the key to success for any customer onboarding process and will improve your TTV. A project kickoff meeting will get everyone – the project team, client, and other stakeholders – on the same page by having a shared understanding of what the new project will entail.
The most crucial portion of your kickoff call will likely be the agenda that will identify and help team members decide what to discuss and what key information is needed to complete a project. Prepare for the call by creating an agenda for the call and sharing it with the customer beforehand. Depending on your process, kickoff calls are usually 30-60 minutes long. Don’t be afraid to invite your sales teams to these calls to better assist your customer in a smooth transition.
Process Improvement Four: Train Users
To improve time to value, you must train users on how to use your product. Training users can be done in a number of ways, such as through live training sessions or by providing documentation (such as videos or how-to articles) that provide a clear path to enable your new users to get to value from your product. You can even include tips and tricks about your product that your users would enjoy taking advantage of early in their usage.
Live training sessions or remote meetings are a great way to get face-to-face with your users and answer any questions they may have. Inviting your users to share their screens and simulate portions of their workflows will expedite their understanding of your product and shorten their time to value. They can also help build relationships with your users, leading to more loyalty and advocacy.
Documentation and videos are great ways to train users if you don’t have the resources for live training sessions. They can be accessed anytime, making them convenient for users. Plus, they can be used as a reference tool long after the initial training session is over.
Process Improvement Five: Report On What Matters To Understand Success
To improve your time to value, tracking the right metrics is crucial. Customer onboarding metrics can vary depending on your company and what’s important to you. However, a few key metrics are essential to track to measure the success of your customer onboarding process.
Some of the most critical customer onboarding metrics include:
- Time to Value (TTV): Obviously. TTV is why you’re here reading this article. It’s still worth calling out again – nothing matters more than time to value in your customer onboarding process. Measure it if you want to improve it.
- Onboarding Completion Time: Onboarding completion time is the amount of time it takes to complete the implementation project and get the customer fully onboarded. While time to value can measure certain moments throughout the customer onboarding process, onboarding completion time is the summary level metric that tells a higher-level story. Similarly, you may also track the
- Onboarding Process Completion Rate – the percentage of customers who complete the entire onboarding process. This metric is important to track because it will help you understand the relationship between your onboarding process and customer churn.
- Customer Churn: Customer churn is the number of paying customers who stop using your product or cancel their relationship with your company. It’s important to understand churn behaviors as early in the onboarding process as possible. As stated before, nothing can influence your churn rate more than the customer onboarding experience.
- Onboarding Revenue: Onboarding Revenue is the revenue generated from customers during their first 90 days. This metric is especially critical to companies that can’t recognize revenue until a customer is fully onboarded. It is also a crucial metric for companies that price based on the customer’s product usage. By tracking onboarding revenue in those early stages, teams can find ways to accelerate their customer onboarding process and ensure that company financials are not adversely affected.
There are several other customer onboarding metrics that you can track, but these four are essential to understanding the success of your customer onboarding process. And yes, a successful user onboarding process will support the improvement of TTV.
Process Improvement Five: Capture Customer Feedback, Then Improve
Throughout your onboarding process, it is essential to capture feedback from your customer and then improve in the ways the feedback suggests. Doing so will, again, help improve your time to value.
One way to collect feedback is through customer satisfaction surveys (CSAT). CSAT surveys allow customers to rate their experience with your product on a scale of one to ten. This feedback can help you identify areas of your customer onboarding process that need improvement.
Another way to collect feedback is through net promoter score (NPS) surveys. NPS surveys ask customers how likely they are to recommend your product to others. This type of feedback can help you understand how satisfied your customers are with your product and identify areas that need improvement.
You can also collect general customer feedback by asking them open-ended questions in calls or emails. There is no wrong way to ask for feedback.
No matter which method you choose, we suggest capturing this feedback at the end of each critical milestone in the onboarding process. This ensures that your team has no surprises along the way and fosters a strong relationship with your new customer.
Improving Time To Value Through Your Product
To improve TTV, it is important to not only focus on your people and processes but also to invest in improving your product’s overall usability. The modern buyer is quickly becoming accustomed to achieving at least a portion of their goals in your product without any human intervention from your team. Your goal should be to narrow the perceived value of your product vs. the experienced value of your product. Companies will often do this by allowing free trials early in the sales process or free signups on the website without having to talk to sales.
Through a longer-term investment, address the areas in your product that act as barriers that may be preventing users from achieving first-time value. Implementing in-app tutorials, tool tips, or templates can all be ways to scalably ensure that new users reach critical value moments as early as possible in your product experience.
Another way to use your product to achieve faster time to value is to monitor early customer usage trends. Use these usage logs to better understand your funnel to user activation. The more data you have, the more you can improve your product to optimize for important actions that lead to strong customer retention.
Now, of course, we recognize that improving your product’s ability to deliver on a faster time to value requires a long-term partnership with product, engineering, design, and customer teams. These are not immediate improvements that can be made in a day, but if invested in can provide exponential benefits to the sustainability of your business and reduce customer churn.
Improving Time To Value Through Your Tech Stack
With people, processes, and products in place, you can now think about how the right technology can help you do more with less and scale your efforts. How? Automation and consistency.
Many customer onboarding software solutions offer automation capabilities, one of them being Status. Automation can help you improve TTV by reducing the time it takes to complete tasks and increasing efficiency.
Automating repetitive and time-consuming tasks is extremely beneficial if you're looking to improve your time to value. Doing so will allow you to focus on what matters and help your team scale its efforts.
Automating tasks is easy when using customer onboarding software like Status. For example, you can automate the creation of a new onboarding project once a deal closes in CRM. That project is based on a project plan template you can house and customize in Status, ensuring your team doesn’t waste time on project setup as your company onboards more and more customers each month.
Templatizing and automating the onboarding project setup process can save dozens of hours each month. As onboarding projects are in progress, software like Status can also help automate those pesky follow-up reminders to stakeholders on past-due tasks and more. Through a more collaborative onboarding experience with the customer, Status is helping teams onboard customers faster.
When it comes to customer onboarding, consistency is key. Consistency in onboarding means that each customer should receive the same high-quality onboarding experience. How is a consistent onboarding process best achieved? By using technology to standardize and streamline your workflow.
Technology can help you achieve consistency by providing your team with a platform that templatizes the customer onboarding process. Using a reliable onboarding platform will help ensure that each customer receives the same high-quality user onboarding experience.
When you use customer onboarding software like Status, you can to manage post-sale workflows easily, onboard customers faster, and improve your time to value. Standardizing your workflows in a platform like Status also allows for more effective management of your team’s workload.
Interested in what Status has to offer? Learn more about Status here and get started on the path to smoother and more successful customer onboarding with a free trial today!
Now that you understand how to align your people, process, product, and tech stack around an accelerated time to value, start today by making small and simple improvements to your customer onboarding process. Finding ways to offer more value to your customers faster is not an easy task, but investments in improving your time to value will have outsized returns to your business.
We at Status are committed to helping customer onboarding and success teams everywhere achieve a short time to value. We would love to learn about your process and offer our insight and industry best practices! Sign up for time with us here to learn more or simply trade notes on best practices. Also, make sure you read this post to learn about client onboarding best practices that you can implement today that improve your customer time to value.