How to Make B2B Onboarding a More Frictionless Experience

UXProduct designRetentionOnboarding
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Abe Storey

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Published on 2022-04-20

Consumer app onboarding is a beast of its own, and one that is well discussed. When it comes to consumer apps though, the process is generally much more simple, and involves fewer stakeholders. B2B onboarding on the other hand, is a whole different animal.

When you have a user going through your setup process in a B2B app, it’s important to remember that you’re not tailoring an experience just for this one user. Multiple other stakeholders may be involved in the account setup, and that takes some careful engineering.

Reducing friction, and as a byproduct, user drop-off, in a B2B app requires the UX, if anything, to do even more heavy lifting than a B2C app would.

In all reality, you tackle it in much the same way, but with a UI and content journey that supports a team user rather than an individual, and an onboarding flow that creates as continuous of an experience as possible.

Here are a few ways to improve retention and activation for B2B app users, and allow for stronger product adoption that’s less dependent on your human-powered (and ultimately costly) support teams.

Use Passwordless Authentication

As a general rule, single-sign on (SSO) with multi-factor authentication (MFA) are best practices from both a security and a user experience standpoint. There’s a good chance that the technical stakeholders in your users’ teams are looking for this functionality, and an even better chance that including it will reduce drop-off both during onboarding and sign-in.

In mobile users, 43% drop out of a user experience simply due to authentication issues. Passwordless registration and sign on allow for greater access control from company account administrators, and can ensure that your users spend more time setting up their accounts, and less time trying to simply logging in.

Depend On Less Text, More UI

Less is more when it comes to UX copy. At the end of the day, an intuitive UI hand over fist performs better than the best UX copy, because that’s what a UI is meant to do: make use intuitive. Onboarding prompts should be no more than a few words. Where more context is needed, animations and short explainer videos may be more consumable than a big block of text for your users.

Automate Manual Configuration Whenever Possible

Any user flow that depends on a series of steps to complete onboarding rather than an automated sequence of commands is incredibly vulnerable to high rates of drop off. If setup or integration is required, keeping the user within your application is essential to increasing product adoption.

DNS configuration is a perfect example. This process not only takes users out of products, but it also often requires credentialed access or cooperation with a technical stakeholder within the company, furthering delays in the user’s progress. Automated DNS configuration is very new, but has been proven to be very successful at preventing this particular onboarding pitfall for platform providers.

Learn More About Automatic DNS Configuration

Keep It Short

The more succinct your onboarding flow is, the more likely your users are to complete it. Keep it down to the essentials. For applications where onboarding is inescapably lengthy and complex, make progress easily trackable, and use plenty of re-engagement tactics, such as email campaigns and push notifications, to keep your users engaged.

Send Emails That Support the User Journey

If the revenue part of your funnel is post user acquisition, it can be tempting to assemble a battery of promotional emails to start pushing your users to become paying customers. However, take care to tailor your campaigns to where your users are within your flows – a user who hasn’t been onboarded is likely to only be frustrated by these emails.

Instead, structure these email campaigns to support user adoption by linking to knowledgebase articles and videos. Your marketing team should work in tandem with your product team to establish segmentation methods that assign users to custom messaging that supports them throughout the onboarding process.

Measure, Optimize, and Repeat

Onboarding is an essential and unavoidable part of product setup in some cases. It’s also fair to say that it’s probably your users’ least favorite part of your product. Pay attention to the analytics here, and aim to be in a perpetual state of optimization. A path analysis should tell you where friction points are in your onboarding, so that your team can troubleshoot and improve those areas.

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