Why Your Onboarding Process is Crucial

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Ep. #576 - Why Your Onboarding Process is Crucial

In this episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey and Matt Watson are back for Part 13 of the “How to Start a Tech Company” podcast series. They discuss the onboarding process and why it is crucial for your business.

Covered In This Episode

Your onboarding process can make or break your company. This is why many organizations invest in making their process as efficient and smooth as possible. From onboarding clients, recruits, and even products, learn why your onboarding process is crucial to your company.

The Matts are back to share why every organization should pay attention to its onboarding process. The dynamic duo provides their experiences in running their businesses on how they tackle onboarding. They also remind listeners that onboarding is not only about the clients but also their recruitment and more.

Get Started with Full Scale

Listen in to learn more about the onboarding process in this Startup Hustle episode.

Missed the previous episode? Click here to listen to the 12th episode or dive into the complete “How to Start a Tech Company” series.

A Must-Listen Podcast for Entrepreneurs


  • Netreo acquired Matt Watson’s Stackify (0:39)
  • Success or failure hinges on how you onboard new clients (2:03)
  • The onboarding process should be more efficient (5:20)
  • The importance of onboarding for follow-up (11:50)
  • Lead qualification (14:00)
  • Onboarding should depend on what you are selling (16:23)
  • Onboarding is not all about clients (21:09)
  • When technology is intuitive (28:54)
  • Democating (33:10)
  • Onboarding is critical to your success (34:15)
  • Tech companies should start with onboarding (39:28)
  • Founder’s Freestyle (44:22)
  • Wrapping up (48:33)

Key Quotes

Ultimately, all this comes down to you’ve got to get the customer to an aha moment. It doesn’t matter what kind of service or product you’re offering. You got to get them as fast as possible to that moment when they try it out. And like, Aha, this is pretty cool. I can see why I need to invest more time in it. And you want to eliminate as much distraction as possible to get them exactly to that point.

Matt Watson

Just be honest. I mean, people are busy. That’s the point, right? Like, so when they’re trying your product like you got to get up, show them some value quickly. And a lot of them might come back later. But you got to be able to convince them to get them back once you lose them because they get distracted.

Matt Watson

So onboarding is not always about clients. It can be about items and things you sell, like all of that as a process. It’s like how do you induct anything into what you’re doing that could be products you sell and like, and that’s the thing is it like a business like urban necessities is a massive concern. It’s basically a giant consignment store. So if it’s hard to sell, and people don’t want to sell, they’re not going to do it.

Matt DeCoursey

Don’t assume that even your most sophisticated users really understand what you’ve built and what the benefit or use cases of that. So we’re democating. You know, I’ve invented that word that’s demonstrating and educating at the same time democation is powerful because they’re very in the very first step of this. I’m fully democating.

Matt DeCoursey

Sponsor Highlight

Make your onboarding more efficient with Gusto. Gusto is an HR platform that provides you with not only tools for onboarding but also recruitment, payroll, tax, and more. It is an intuitive and easy-to-use platform for your modern HR problems. What’s more, Startup Hustle listeners get a free three-month subscription. So, what are you waiting for? Sign up with Gusto today!

Also, visit our Startup Hustle partners to find affordable solutions for your business needs.

Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Matt DeCoursey 0:00
And we’re back. Back for another episode of Startup Hustle, Matt DeCoursey here with Matt Watson. Hi, Matt.

Matt Watson 0:07
What’s going on, man?

Matt DeCoursey 0:09
Well, you know, we had to take a break from the series because our series of how to start a tech company was interrupted with you selling a tech company. So welcome back to the show.

Matt Watson 0:22
You know, I can’t believe we exited this new company at like Part 12. I know you do.

Matt DeCoursey 0:27
And now I know. And that’s usually how it goes right? Now our company three months later, you sell it right

Matt Watson 0:36
now we’re like years later.

Matt DeCoursey 0:39
For those of you listening that want to know what the hell we’re talking about, you can go back and listen to the episodes there’s an acquisition announcement, which is you and I talking about Stackify being acquired by Huntington Beach based Netrio and then another one right after that, which is you i and jazz Young? Your new boss?

Matt Watson 1:01
That’s right.

Matt DeCoursey 1:02
Yep, I can’t. I can’t believe you got a job in the middle of our How to Start a Tech Company series. Yeah. That’s right. So speaking of which, you know, today’s episode of the show is brought to you by Gusto. Gusto is a simple online payroll and benefits platform built for small businesses. Gusto automatically files your payroll taxes and directly deposits your team pay plus, you can get all kinds of benefits 401 K health insurance workman’s comp, because you’re Startup Hustle listener, you get three free months, once you run your first payroll, go to gusto.com forward slash Startup Hustle, link in the show notes. Alright, so Matt, once again, congrats. But let’s get back to business brother. Here we are, in part 13. We’re talking about how to start a tech company. Today’s topic is one of those is like one of those things in a tech company that you might describe as boring. But I think it I think it has everything to do with whether or not you’re going to be successful in the state.

Matt Watson 2:02
Absolutely. Does it success or failure hinges on how well you onboard new clients? It’s everything.

Matt DeCoursey 2:10
How much do you think people ignore this?

Matt Watson 2:14
A lot. And, and it of course, we should start with how you onboard a client is totally different based on the type of product you’re selling, right, and, take GigaBook, take Giga book as example somebody signs up, and it’s 20 bucks a month or something like that, you don’t exactly have time to talk to them and walk them through the process, right. So the software’s got to work and hold their hand. And it’s all got to be like super automated. But let’s say Full Scale, signs up a new client, like you’re going to talk to them on the phone, it’s more you know, consultative, and you know, you’re holding their hand or whatever. So point is, it really depends on if it’s more of an enterprise sale, we’re talking a lot with a customer, you’re doing demos to them, you’re doing a POC, you know, versus like somebody went your website and click the button or downloaded your app, and you’re just expecting to buy, like, depending on the type of app and process, you’ve got, how you do onboarding is very different. But it’s got to be very smooth.

Matt DeCoursey 3:11
Yeah, and I think that, you know, looking back is five years ago, when I created a process, that Giga book that we called Smart Start, and it was for all the reasons that you just mentioned, because at $15 a month, it was eight bucks a month, at that point. And now 15, but if you know, we, we were spending a lot of time getting people set up. And when anytime you have, you know people want to go in to try and something by actually trying not by spending an hour and a half learning where buttons are where settings are. And then when you have a product like in Giga books case, it’s it’s built to be customizable, which is a huge strength and a huge weakness at the same time. Because the more something that can be customized, the more bells, whistles, switches, settings, labels, all of it. So we had to figure out, you know, and as the as the platform grew, the number one thing that would come into my head, I was like, Well, what would happen if we would sign up like five to 10 accounts a day. And then we had someone that was spending their whole day pretty much talking to people and helping them get set up, and I couldn’t help I’m like, so if we sign up 100 people a day, then I’m gonna have to ten people doing this. And when you start doing the math on it, you never get out in front of that cost, which means your business isn’t scalable. So now, five years ago, onboarding and the the push and the press and the importance of it maybe wasn’t as pronounced like a lot of software products, you sign up and you just go into this blank dashboard. You know, and it’s like I

Matt Watson 4:49
don’t know what to do with it. What do I do with this?

Matt DeCoursey 4:53
Is that Is that how Stackify was years ago?

Matt Watson 4:56
Well, so let’s you Stackify is a good example of this right like Our goal all along was to make the product easy to sign up for free trial, you can install it and get started. But we need them to do stuff like it just because they started the trial, we actually need them to download some software and install it on another computer somewhere. And

Matt DeCoursey 5:18
That’s even harder. That’s, even harder.

Matt Watson 5:20
I mean, only about a third of people are actually going to do it. So for those of you who are listening, it ain’t gonna be everybody. I mean, you think about a funnel, right? You get people at the top of the funnel and only a certain number, and we’re going to take the next step, right? So what you have to do is, is reduced the amount of friction to get them to the next step. And you got to you got to very carefully point them to the step you want them to go, right? So that was Stackify. When they signed up, we didn’t just dump them on our software and be like, Hey, here’s 100 dashboards have no data in it. Good luck. Nope, they went to a page that says next step, download, and you couldn’t go anywhere else you had to download, right? Like you’ve got to control what they’re doing. Because ultimately, all this comes down to you’ve got to get the customer to an aha moment. Doesn’t matter what kind of service or product you’re offering, you got to get them as fast as possible to that moment where they they try it out. And like, Aha, this is pretty cool. I can see why I need to invest more time in it. And you want to eliminate as much distraction as possible to get them exactly to that point.

Matt DeCoursey 6:23
Yes, I remember in the for building that process and Giga buck, we were somewhat terrified that, you know, oh, man, because you know, you wanted to effort at the time, the school of thought was, you know, you get people in the platform as quickly as possible, just get them in. So you’re asking the minimum amount of stuff. And yeah, we had kind of, we have like a setup checklist in the dashboard. And we realized no one is really using it. So we went ahead and created this process. And then, and at the very first version, it had an escape button, like you could skip the onboarding and go, like, go just go straight to the dashboard. And we watched that carefully. it for three months before removing that option, because we learned very quickly that 0% of people that skipped the onboarding or the setup that that initial setup process converted to users, paying users zero, literally 0% No one made it out alive. And it was for that reason, it was because you know, you get into a dashboard. And now all of a sudden, you’d have to go to 10 different things. So in order to create effective data setup, and the reason we call it smart start as we call it, intelligent onboarding. So like, and we’ll just we can just use a practical example. So gigabit takes appointments for groups, for services or for things. And they all have different needs. Yeah, definitely. Like, if you take if you’re going to take a booking for something that has multiple attendees, then that’s a different approach than a phone call. And that and a phone call and a group are different than, than like a room. There’s just different questions. So that’s where we first started and said, What do you want to do, and then whatever the user picked, we would add or subtract the following steps that went with it. I think it is important with onboarding, though is you can’t make it ridiculously long. So that’s the that’s the balancing act, it has to end and that was kind of tough. So yeah, it took and then another thing too, that for those of you considering how to set this up, is and I’ve used this example a lot so and the zip code is a beautiful example, because it’s the last it’s the last box on a form of for a business’s address or anything now, so we’re used to entering it last which becomes the logical thing to ask last, if you ask someone their zip code first, you can fit you can make a half a dozen other assumptions, you know, their state, you know, their city, you know, their timezone, you know, their currency, you know, a whole lot of different stuff. And you can therefore, fill out other things too. So when you’re building your onboarding, always consider that and that’s why we say it’s smart because it’ll just fill in a whole bunch of other stuff because 99% of the time those assumptions are fair. Yeah, and make it easy for them to change it if not but fill it fill stuff out and automate it when and where possible.

Matt Watson 9:29
Well and then you have solutions like clear bid and this they’re don’t sponsors or anything but we we’ve used their product before where for example, maybe the first thing you ask is the email address and you put in depot at FullScale.io and you paint clear but and Clearbit immediately says okay, he is the CEO at Full Scale Full Scale is at this address there in this industry. Baba Baba Baba knows everything about you all from your email address. Right?

Matt DeCoursey 9:55
Never even heard of that. Is that is that is that a plugin or a platform that exists? Yes, for that very reason.

Matt Watson 10:01
Yep. That’s what it’s for.

Matt DeCoursey 10:03
Hmm, interesting. Yeah. So that was Yeah. And then and then there are other things too. Now, when it comes to building software, from a product manager or owner standpoint, I have rule one, which and rule one is, is answering the question, is this annoying? If the answer is yes, or even, maybe you haven’t done a good job. So that’s another thing too, when you’re bringing people on, I’ll give you an example. It’s like, okay, so the business is open from 10 to six. And if you have to every single person that you enter along the way, you have to stop and entertain the sex, for the for the, you know, the hours or whatever, by the time you get five people in that platform that’s 25 different actions that someone has to do. And you know, there’s just a whole variety of different things. And then other stuff that so we built our onboarding platform, and then a lot of times onboarding is there, and then it’s not, you know, like you walk through it, and then you never see it. Again, the problem with something that sets up settings is you’ve now you’ve now set the client or the users expectations, on being able to control those from that environment. So you got to make some decisions about whether or not you’re going to let people go back to your onboarding. Now, one of the biggest problems we had a gig book is then we then had two different places in the platform that could control settings. Yeah. And that was a problem. Because if you turn the dial on and another spot, and then you go back to the onboarding later, it needs to be on or off. And we kind of narrowed that down along the way. And then there were certain spots where you would have a setting in the onboarding. And there were more details where you didn’t want to give like 10 different rows or options. So that’s stuff that you’ve got to get through. But yeah,

Matt Watson 11:50
That’s like Windows 10. These days, there’s like the new settings for Windows. And then there’s the old control panel, and some of them all overlap, and who the hell knows what does what. But I think one of the key things you have to remember, depending on the type of product that you’re selling, is sometimes people are very casually and very quickly checking out what you do, right? Like, I have 30 minutes between meetings, I’ve been thinking about finding some kind of solution to solve problem X, I do a quick Google search, I checked out the website, it looks kind of cool. I’ve got a few minutes left, I’m gonna sign up for a trial and play with it for a few minutes. You got like five minutes, and then I’m on to my next meeting. And then it’s the weekend and I totally forgot you exist, right? And there are a lot of people that go through this sort of scenario, right? They sign up for different tools, they get an email, they see an ad, whatever it is, and you’ve got just like a few minutes of time. And this is also why it’s important to have good onboarding for follow up. Right? Like they didn’t complete the process. How do you follow up with them and get them to finish the process? If they didn’t do it very via that first few minutes? And maybe they don’t even know why they signed up for your tool. They may not even remember, they made me remember what it is that you do. Exactly. So you got it in your emails and stuff like that. Remind them of the value proposition of why they’re even signing up for this thing, and why they need to take the next step and why you know, how you can help offer them to help right? Can we schedule a call tomorrow, I’ll walk you through it. Right, depending on what you’re offering, but the thing is, you got to remember people have just like a few minutes. And they’re like jumping through a million things like I spent all damn week this week dealing with acquisition, I had like 45 minutes today on my own, and a block where I didn’t have something to do and I decide to eat lunch or poop or check email. And I was just busy.

Matt DeCoursey 13:39
Where did you go? What did you go with

Matt Watson 13:41
all three. And I mean, it’s just be honest, I mean, people are busy. That’s the point, right? Like, so when they’re trying your product, like you got to get up, show them some value quickly. And a lot of them might come back later. But you got to be able to convince them to get them back once you lose them, because they get distracted.

Matt DeCoursey 14:00
So one of the things you were you mentioned at the top of the show was different types of businesses, products and and platforms have different onboarding new, totally different levels. And we compared Full Scale because it, you know, I’m just a huge advocate of all all things onboarding at this point. But at Full Scale, we we build our own management platform that operates that has different environments, one for management and other for clients and another one for employees. And they all have different onboarding processes, but we created are on onboarding for all applicants that apply. The same with the whole process of like their interviews and recording all that information and centralizing it and that way when we do decide to hire someone, we’re now just a couple clicks of a button away from creating an employee profile form that we can share for other people and tied it all together. But one of the big things is we we require all of our clients to fill out What legit takes two minutes to fill out. And it’s a basic Client Onboarding form. It’s so we can give them access to that platform. But the main thing is, is to gain a better understanding of the users needs. So questions like, Who, which of the following do you have on your team right now, a lead developer, a project manager, a product owner, all three, you know, or multiples? We ask other questions to like it Full Scale. It’s, we’re curious if you’ve worked with offshore teams before? And if so, where were they at? Why? Because there are certain there are certain experiences that people have had with offshore teams from some locations that I usually find haven’t been pleasant for them. And if they say that, if they’re inquiring about our services, and they click that box, then I understand that they’re coming and talking to us not because they were happy with what they had before, they’d still be using it. And I then know, most likely what the complaints and the problems are usually centered around communication and timing.

Matt Watson 16:12
And so some of what you’re describing is like really, almost lead qualification, right? It’s, when you’re new to industry, it’s kind of lead qualification. So you know, you know how to follow up with them.

Matt DeCoursey 16:23
What it is, and it’s also, it’s also leading to a scoring system that we’re creating. Now we use that. So onboard, it’s all around us now. And one of the one of the platforms that I just absolutely love, and we put in the Full Scale blog first. So for those of you that that haven’t checked it out before, go to full scale.io. And look at our blog, because we’ve published about 400 articles at this point and get, oh, I don’t know about 35,000 unique visitors a month to the site, and that blog as a huge form of lead gen for us. And we use type form. And type form is, is a plugin, it’s like 50 bucks a month. And you can build little widgets, and it does an onboarding for you. It’s kind of an enhanced contact form. And you can build it and set it up and do different steps. And you can put all kinds of clever things into it all the way from file uploads to attaching images and a whole bunch of other stuff. And because it keeps it moving. Now, when it comes to onboarding and forms and stuff like that, I don’t like them. Do you ever open up a big page? And you’re like, Yeah, I’m not doing that.

Matt Watson 17:33
I’m out. Yeah. It’s like when they send you a survey, or like, please answer this three minute survey, and then you open it up, you’re like, No,

Matt DeCoursey 17:40
and it’s like, it’s like, and it might only be like, 10 questions long now, if so one of the tricks with this is don’t present that all on one page, because it’s overwhelming to the eyes to the brain, whatever. So you wonder two things. A couple things like in Giga book, I mentioned that we asked you six questions, and you say yes or no. And that determines the next one. So like, no matter what, no matter who you are, everyone has an account user, we already got your name and your email when you signed up. And we assume that’s you? Is this you? Yes. Do you provide these services? Click Click, click Yeah. Are you the owner? And then we ask, Are you the only employee or user and the account? That was one of the first questions if you said, No, we know we got to ask you about more people. If you say yes, then we’re on to the next thing. And so but the thing is, is if the page is too long, if the questions are too long, it confuses the person. And you also it’s like you said, a lot of these people are only they have five minutes, and they’re like, yeah, so now that when it comes to some of this stuff, now, Twitter is known for the world’s shortest onboarding, because it’s like a name. I mean, it was like just much like a tweet. You know, they platforms like that. They just want your name and your email and boom, you’re in and there’s not a whole lot to do in there. You sure you can put your picture and you can put your location, you can write a bio, and you can do some stuff like that. But yeah, I mean, I think when it comes to growing and scaling your business, you’re not gonna get too far down the road, especially with modern tech if you don’t have great onboarding. So speaking of growing and scaling your company taking care of employees has never been more important. And for years, gusto has been helping more than 100,000 small business owners run payroll, offer benefits onboard new employees and more. It’s kind of interesting. They have onboarding in there Hmm. They call it the people platform and it doesn’t just look nice, it works. Its payroll taxes, file deductions calculated your team gets paid. They even offer health insurance. 401k is three months free on your first payroll when you go to gusto comm forward slash Startup Hustle. There’s a link in the show notes but once again gussto.com forward slash Startup Hustle. And by the way, make sure you put the forward slash start posle on there, so they keep paying us,

Matt Watson 20:03
they have 100,000 customers.

Matt DeCoursey 20:05
Crazy, right?

Matt Watson 20:06
I bet. They must know what they’re doing.

Matt DeCoursey 20:09
They have good onboarding,

Matt Watson 20:10
they must know what they’re doing and have good onboarding. So, okay, I got a couple other examples for you. So take Metro as an example, which is the company that acquired stock fi, and their average customer pays like 10s of 1000s of dollars a year, or even hundreds of 1000s of dollars a year. And when you sign up for it, you get professional services that help you install it, and they walk you through it and kind of babysit it for the first month or so. That’s totally different. Right? And, and that was my point earlier, it depends on what you’re selling. And the more, the more money you charge for something, the more you can afford to provide that level of support as well. And probably the more complex it is, and you’re dealing with an Enterprise Client that expects that level of service, right? And so Netro is onboarding process is not very good. You know, it’s not, it’s not super streamlined, right? But it’s okay.

Matt DeCoursey 21:09
It can’t end because the ends justify the means, in fact, and Full Scale is the same way. So like, I mean, we don’t have clients spend less than five grand a month. And, and so the thing is, is I can afford to have Cooper, our sales guy, or even myself, and we’re highly consultative now that, here’s the thing is, we get over three to five leads a day. You know, it and that’s not insane for us to keep up with, but, but it’s trending in a way that we’re having to look at. And that’s why I said, that’s why we’re developing a scoring system. And you know, some of those things, some of those questions are like, well, I’ll give you an example. We won’t sign up for a client, if you don’t have a lead a local lead developer, a project manager, or a troop or like a product owner with some experience. And so an example would be if you don’t have any of those, you’re going to that’s going to deprecate that score to a pretty low number. And other things, too, is like because of the volatility. So we’re very particular with the quote, day one startups that we bring in, because those are the most volatile, inexperienced, underresourced clients that you can find. And then they don’t. Sometimes, yeah, sometimes they don’t. And that’s, that’s another thing too. So those scoring factors can go in now as we scale and grow and like so we have 200 employees at Full Scale that we will have that have started before June, which is our third birthday. And we’re trending to 18 months from now. So we right now we add about 10 to 15 new people, new employees a month. Now, that’s a lot. That’s a lot that’s 120 to 180 new people a year. So therefore, onboarding is critical for our employee process to Yep, we had 250 people apply for jobs at Full Scale, just in our Cebu branch in March. So that’s another thing too, it’s like so we’ve built that onboarding to actually it does some scoring of candidates scoring, sorting, keeping up with and one of the things that’s that is important, and depending on what your platform does, is you need to put your you can put the burden of data entry on the customer, the client and the user. So and we can talk about this because normally, we don’t talk too much about our clients. Let’s talk about urban necessities for a minute. So that’s one of our clients. It’s a sneaker resale operation out of Vegas, awesome company, awesome, awesome. Store, does lots of cool stuff. But I had I invented and built their whole system for them over the last five years. And they’re a great example of this actually, that because they weren’t doing on, they didn’t have their own proprietary system. And that industry is not so large and sophisticated, that there was a plugin or anything to do it. So we had to build it from scratch, but people were showing up to sell their shoes. And they would have to fill out a piece of paper. And that worked when they were doing like $25,000 a month in volume. And then all of a sudden they were doing 100,000 And then they were doing a million a month and it broke everything. And it just because they weren’t scalable. So we had to go in and the thing was is the users wanted so they would these lines would form of people waiting to sell their stuff. And I was sitting there watching people waiting forever. I was like I’d never wait in this line. I wouldn’t, and so we created a system that let people enter all their stuff into the system before they got there. It printed out a sheet of paper and then it was just simply up to the person at the counter. To check them in, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then the label printer fired off, and they label them and everything went, you know, went in. And that line was never a thing again at the store. And people immediately were coming up to the counter, and they’re saying, Thank you for building this. Yeah, thank you for building this. And thank you for making it easy for me to do business for you. And the thing was, is they have been paying someone to enter that shit by hand and to doing other things. So the efficiency for the business right there, coupled with the fact that more people were selling stuff was a huge win, because they could take that person and get them busy doing something else at this scale. It couldn’t at all it was It wasn’t even close. And Maddie got it got bad too, because you know, with that stuff, and, and they, that’s a product, that’s things, sales that are driven by hype, and no one wants to wait two weeks to buy the shit that was super popular two weeks ago. Yep. And the sellers don’t want to wait to sell it because the prices are usually down the market saturated, the demands lower and it’s about doing it quickly. Now, I learned the importance of that because I Well, much like yourself spent time working in the event ticket business. And I understand the importance of getting your shit for sale as quickly as possible. Yep. And then that was that was a big thing. So onboarding, is not always about it can be about items and things you sell like all of that as a process. It’s like how do how do you how do you induct anything into what you’re doing that could be products you sell and like, and that’s the thing is it like a business like urban necessities is a massive concern. It’s a basically a giant consignment store. So if it’s hard to sell, and people don’t want to sell, they’re not going to do it. I mean, I think eBay is a perfect example of an early marketplace that pegged the the onboarding of the inducting your product into their platform. And not every item was the same. So like if you wanted to sell a used iPod, that was way different than selling a shirt, or a money gun, which I still regret not being able to find?

Matt Watson 27:23
Well, and so I mean, part of what you’re talking about here is, it’s one thing to get the customer signed up. But then you have issues of supporting them or, you know, ramping up other parts of the business, right that are important in and actually Netro is a good example of this. So I mentioned it’s an enterprise sale, there used to be more of a high touch process, which is fine. But all of a sudden, their businesses booming because of the solar wind tack. And so they compete with solar winds, which was involved in this big IT security, heck, and so business is booming. And the issue they’re having now is support. It’s like, hey, we sign people up, but supporting them as a challenge, because we’re signing up so many more clients that they need help getting installed. And then we find out like, well, we need to improve how we do docks and fix little bugs in the software. And it’s like now all of a sudden, we’re trying to figure out, like, basically how do we get like 1% better every day. So over the course of time, we need less support people, we have happier customers, the more self sufficient, because it just isn’t going to scale this way. We’re gonna have to hire so many people to answer all these common questions over and over again, all these common problems, that we got to make things more self self service, right. And, you know, it’s not necessarily an issue with onboarding the clients like we’ve got them signed up, they’re giving us money. But man, just facilitating the service is a problem, we got it, we got to improve that part of it, right, which was part of what happened with the shoe store, you’re talking about, like they had lots of customers, but they just couldn’t get their stuff for sale fast enough. It’s just optimization of the business too.

Matt DeCoursey 28:54
So that’s why you have to think onboarding, you have to think it, look at everything you do. And everything you walk someone through as onboarding like it’s a walk through, and you will use Giga Buck again. So we created something there. So being super customizable, there’s a zillion different things you might want to use your gig abuk widget for and, and, you know, you used to have to go into like widget builder and like do a bunch of different stuff. And then it wasn’t inherently easy to do. So we created a whole environment just to share in like a sharing app promote a promo tool. And it does the same thing is a good onboarding system is intuitive. So Matt, when when when technology is intuitive, what does that mean?

Matt Watson 29:41
It’s just common sense, easy to use, like you can just look at it and figure out what you need to do, you know, like I signed up

Matt DeCoursey 29:48
or or an orange or an inherently it’s smart and it knows what you’re likely to want to select right.

Matt Watson 29:55
And like I just like we I used to use Slack. It’s backfire. But Netro uses a thing called RingCentral, which has a similar similar sort of stuff. And for example, I can see a list of teams, which are kind of like channels and slack. And I can add a team. Literally no way to see which teams already exist. No button for that, like, that’s not intuitive at all. It’s stupid. It’s buried somewhere else in the user interface, you have to like randomly go find it. And I mean, those are the kinds of things that as a new user, you just scratch your head, and you’re like, What I don’t understand. And those are, that approach is still everywhere, like it’s the little things

Matt DeCoursey 30:35
worse, from from the software and technology world is still in the infancy of effective onboarding. And you know, that’s one of the things, you talk about problems we’re solving, I am shocked that there isn’t a major platform somewhere that is literally like, for just for people to put it for onboarding people into software platforms, like how was no one built that yet, and connected it to something else, like I’m sure that there are things similar to it. Now let’s for a second, let’s talk about that I want to talk about like the, you know, the example of being intuitive. So I’m on the page and Giga book that is built for the sharing tools, and it just literally, as a white page. On the left side, it says what would you like to do, and then they take appointments from my website, take bookings online. Those are different, by the way, collect payments for outstanding invoices, add a contact form to my site, link to a page that has my booking options, share my booking options through social media, add a quote, schedule appointment, link to my emails, or conduct surveys through my website. Now, if you click one of those, so we’ll say take appointments from my website, it will now be said okay, what do you what services? Do you want to display options for all calls, meetings, videos, partner calls, and then you pick one, and now I see my widget on the side, I see what it’s going to look like, get a little wizard different the different options. Now, look, I don’t understand why this isn’t in everything everywhere all the time. But it’s a little harder than you would think it would be. But overall, this is going to walk me through it. So if I select all services, now it’s going to say, Okay, now I just want to show them for me, just for me. So now it’s changed. And I see a an embeddable widget, it’s got all of my options down below. And then it said, would you want to create a link to this? Or do you want to embed it on your website, and if you click embed, it opens up and it’s got the code, therefore, you click a button and copy the code. And if you select the other, all this lets you go forward and back. Now that’s intuitive. Yep, that’s intuitive. Because there are really only two things that you’re going to want to do with this at the end, you’re going to either want to link to it, or embedded, there’s no other choices. So that, but the

Matt Watson 33:05
user also doesn’t even know what that means, right? Like, you got to focus on the what is the problem you’re trying to solve?

Matt DeCoursey 33:11
Don’t assume that even your most sophisticated users really understand what you’ve built, what the benefit or use cases of that. So we’re democating. You know, I’ve invented that word that’s demonstrating and educating at the same time democation is powerful, because they’re very in the very first step of this. I’m fully democating. All the things you can use get a book for appointments, group bookings, payment collection, contact forms, people guaranteed look at this, and they go, Oh, I didn’t even know I could do that. That’s a great idea. And so you’re not only showing people what they can do, you’re showing them examples of how one of these and that leads to a healthier, better thing. All right. So Matt, what is any business worse off with effective onboarding?

Matt Watson 34:15
Now, I mean, it’s critical to your success. And, and if you think about most businesses, you’re like, Okay, I sign up X number of leads, I need to convert a certain percentage of them, right. And most of the time, if you can increase that percentage by 1%, or 2%, or whatever, it’s a big deal. And a lot of times, it all comes down to improving your onboarding, and also your follow up process from your sales team, right? It’s how you follow up and making the tool easy to use that can make the difference about one or 2% or whatever that can be the difference between success and failure.

Matt DeCoursey 34:47
You know, the thing that that I forgot to mention earlier that was that was crucial as when we added when we launched the first version of SmartStart on Giga book The next day, starting the next day, our or are in our support inquiries went down by 90%.

Matt Watson 35:05
Yep, there you go.

Matt DeCoursey 35:07
Because most of it was like, where it how do I change the setting? And by the way, we did another thing. So we did a second version of it that was improved the comparing the same number of inquiries, they went down 96%. And, I mean, overall, it really made the platform. There’s no one, there’s no one that makes phone outs ever. Again. We don’t do it. Don’t take phone calls. Well, no, we don’t make them. We don’t call them out. We don’t need to everything’s all inclusive. You can walk through it. And then on some levels, and this sounds terrible. But if you can’t figure out how to set up Giga book after SmartStart, I don’t know if I want you as a user. Yeah, there you go. I’m being serious, like I am being 100% fucking serious. If you don’t know how to use the platform, after the very well thought out onboarding, you’re probably not going to be a user, because you probably just don’t get how computers work. It’s that simple.

Matt Watson 36:08
And those people exist.

Matt DeCoursey 36:11
They do, but they’re not there. But they’re not are not your customer. They’re not your, or is that person I just described at any point ever a work ever a client at stackup? I know. No. And Advent solutions. That might have been a little demo, but they did sell cars. Right, right. So that, will it let’s kind of round this out. But so between VinSolutions which you guys were on the cusp of so many, like Hub and Spoke cloud integration things? And you know, like, it’s so how was your onboarding different than, as you were you get started that in 2003? Right?

Matt Watson 36:55
Yeah, a long time ago.

Matt DeCoursey 36:57
Did Yeah. So onboarding?

Matt Watson 36:59
Um, I think it was probably some of it. So for example, event solutions, one of the most important things is we’d have to get their inventory from their basically we’ll call it accounting system. So we had to have like a one on one conversation with them and figure out, okay, what system you use, and help us get access to it. And it was all bunch of manual crap. And then once we got their inventory, then we had to figure out where do they want to send it, like, oh, we want to send it to auto trader cars.com, or my website, or whatever. And those are all manual steps, like, Okay, we have to contact your cars.com rep and tell them, we want to set this up. And we need this account number or whatever. It was a lot of manual bullshit. But it was just kind of it was kind of what it was like, there wasn’t actually a lot you could do about it. But the thing that killed us at VinSolutions was when we went to providing a CRM system and websites, because we did websites, you know, you got to write a website, you got to design them. There is no like, easy button for that, right? Like, you got to get him to pick a style and a color and then go back and forth about all the stuff and whatever. And that was a nightmare. And the same thing with importing data from a CRM, because now you’re gonna import the data and you got to clean it, and you got to have them look at it and make sure it looks like you have the right number of customers and how you d dupe the data and all this other bull crap that’s complicated. That all everything about all of that that, um, all sucked, it was terrible. And we were growing so fast that that was a huge bottleneck in the company, like the sales team could sell stuff way faster than we could even get it installed. Because you can only create custom website designs for so many things, you’re going to import CRM data for so many things at a time, there was a lot of manual labor there just wasn’t super scalable. And you get to a point where your customers are all pissed off, because they signed up like 90 days ago, and they’re still not installed. So now your sales team takes phone calls all day from angry customers that aren’t installed yet. And it’s just not a fun place to be. And how you onboard all these scenarios, what we’re talking about right is you have to optimize all this. And sometimes it takes people you got to scale up the team. But if you don’t have you know and have investment dollars, you’re always behind. And that was probably how to VinSolutions is when you hire somebody new to help but they’re not really useful for 90 days or six months like it all train. So it’s just you’re always way behind and you just can’t keep up but you just keep if

Matt DeCoursey 39:28
I had to start, if I started a news, any software business at all, like if I started anything from scratch at this point, and for the rest of my life, I would begin designing the whole thing starting with the onboarding. I mean, it makes other otherwise you have to go back and reattach it to everything else. Like it’s actually the logical place to start if you’re starting a tech company,

Matt Watson 39:51
especially if it’s a low touch, especially if it’s a low touch product product right where you’re gonna everything’s gonna

Matt DeCoursey 39:57
be low touch everything wants to know there’s no Gotta be a no touch anything in 10 years. Or well, am I?

Matt Watson 40:05
I mean, I’m having my roof replaced and that’s not low touch.

Matt DeCoursey 40:10
True, true, but I guarantee I guarantee you there are I could probably without needing to know much about roofing design a pretty effective onboarding flow for a roofing company. Sure. I mean for real and loading and everything. All of it like everything. Name, address, phone number, when are you available? When can we come by? What kind of roof material is it made? When’s the last time you had your roof replaced? Have you talked to anybody else about this? How soon do you want to get started? Do you have hail damage? Do you have tornado damage? Do you even have a roof? There you go. I don’t know shit about roofing. I really don’t. So all right, you know who does know something about something gussto. And once again, here’s today’s episode sponsor. And if you want to run a startup, you got to try gusto, payroll, deposit, pay, deposit, paychecks and file payroll taxes automatically. Plus get employee health insurance, onboarding expert HR and more three free months gussto.com Ford slash Startup Hustle, you run your first payroll, they’re gonna give it to you for free for three months. Hey, if your business is going to scale, I think we’ve talked so much in the past about companies like gusto. Like, I want to get back to work building an amazing onboarding program, but it sounds like they’ve already got one for your new employees, which is just more things that take up time we mentioned earlier, onboarding is everywhere, and it matters. So you know, Matt, we like to close with the founders freestyle. And I usually say my episodes but our episodes we do that and I say our episodes Matt We’re not the only hosts of the show. No got Andrew and Lauren man they’re out doing work. Tuesday’s join Andrew Morgans the CEO and founder of Mark Knology talks about e commerce and Amazon Lauren is the founder of innovate her and a really amazing person who most people don’t know has a pet possum. Did you know that Lauren has a pet possum and then quarter that she found a possum a baby Possum is raised it as her own. Many people didn’t know that. You know what some people that listen to the show, so know about it. Startup Hustle TV. Let’s back. Did you enjoy the episode we put together that covered six months worth of timeline updates for your acquisition?

Matt Watson 42:33
Yeah, the acquisition. Episode 10 was great about acquisitions. And then 10.1, which was more about just my acquisition, or both awesome. They were they were really worth watching. So

Matt DeCoursey 42:45
yeah, and you know, it’s I saw someone made a comment this morning that said, man, he looks tired. Do you remember me telling you that recently? I was like I was watching him? You can? You can. So we for Startup Hustle TV, which you find it on YouTube? We have been answering regularly topical questions and then when and where we have timelines which by the way, it takes a little while to put together we couldn’t nine women couldn’t have made that baby for you in one month. No. So but yeah, that was a really interesting process. EPS. 10.0 is about what is a startup acquisition and then because we use software version numbers 10.1 was an improvement and and a feature about maths specific one which is 98%. You I think I’m in there twice. It was kind of interesting, because we actually that right after the intro start with me. months ago, going yeah, I’m getting ready to record a podcast and I’m gonna go talk to Matt Watson. Then he says he’s got someone that might want to acquire stack five. I’m gonna go see what that’s about. That was in November. Yeah. That’s that was recorded. Yeah, it wasn’t it was a waste of what was ago. So yeah, that’s fun. And I’m glad I’m glad that I nagged you to do that, Matt.

Matt Watson 44:05
Thank you. It was it was very awesome.

Matt DeCoursey 44:07
I kept for those of you listening, I kept telling Matt, I’m like, Dude, you’re gonna regret it. If you don’t do it, just do your up, do an update, and we’ll look back at that. It’d be funny. So back to today’s episode and onboarding, man. I mean, what’s your best advice? What’s your freestyle and this one?

Matt Watson 44:22
Well, I think, like I said earlier, it depends a lot on your type of business. And, you know, I can definitely tell you from like sacrifice experience, right? Only about a third of the people that signed up for free trial would actually ever do anything. And so you got to be realistic, you’re not going to get 50% or 100% of people that sign up for a trial to actually configure something or do something or input data or any of that stuff, right? But what you’ve got to do is figure out for your type of product, which things increase the likelihood that they will buy and so for example, at stack phi A big one was, did they add more another user to the account? Right, so they signed up, did they invite somebody else? And so you know what we did, we changed our onboarding. So the first step after you signed up was, hey, invite more users, right? You got to figure out the little details that make all the difference. And slowly add those to the onboarding process. Because if you can increase your conversion rate by 1% 2% 3%, makes all the difference. So

Matt DeCoursey 45:24
you know, one of the things you said during the show that really stuck out was the wanting to get 1% better. So that was a great daily goal. By the way, I actually wrote about that. And my book balance may because 1% doesn’t sound like a sexy improvement. But if 1% better than yesterday, compounded on that day is 1%. All the way up the line, in just a year, you are exponentially. Oh yeah, better and more improved. And it’s a very palatable and easy thing to wrap your arms around it, it feels

Matt Watson 45:55
like you’re not getting anything accomplished. But you are right, you’re getting a little bit that

Matt DeCoursey 46:00
elephant one bite at a time. Yeah, you gotta eat one bite at a time, there’s no way there’s no other way to do it. And, you know, really in business. And so the thing is, is if you, you know, one of the things I talked about and balanced me that was really important to have is, is breaking the negative slide. Like, if you’re not improving, you’re actually getting worse. So just try to make little incremental improvements every day. And it, it will cure that sharp drop that happens when things in in around our lives and businesses trend downward. Now, in regards to onboarding, if you haven’t started a tech platform, yet, I really would start with the onboarding. Like, just draw it up, make it simple, because the thing is, is it’s for a lot of people, they want to start building software in the tech right away, and then they worry about onboarding later, I’m just going to tell you from multiple times experience, it’s harder to build the onboarding. Now, you don’t have to be complex with it. You know, when you’re building that, like MVP, onboarding, maybe it’s just name, address, email, something like that, that provision for it and think about it. And always be willing and wanting to build onto it and improve it. The best software the best everything, it onboard you quickly, it walks you through setting up and adding on and improving and all of it, it’s all a walk through. And I think that you’re best to treat it as if you’re talking to a small child or like a Labrador Retriever or something. And you know, people are whizzed through it. Now, on the flip side of that Matt mentioned, all the things that are important, only ask the things that are really crucial, like that matter. And if it’s a maybe you can put that in at another time, or make an assumption or do a lot of things don’t over ask. So there’s there’s a real happy balance. But if you start really simple, and then hear that echo, you look and see where people are out or what they’re asking like in Giga buck, if they were getting in and they were all asking, Well, how do I add my services? Okay, that’s something we should be asking, you know, or whatever. But overall, if your onboarding sucks, I think that you have a 0% chance of being big, it just

Matt Watson 48:14
when you very first start your business, you know, it’s easier, like I’m like, Hey, Matt, I made this new thing where you try it out, and you know, you’re willing to put up with the bullshit, right? You know, it doesn’t have to be a super streamlined onboarding. But once you get past that kind of basic MVP, and you’re ready to go scale, you’ve got to have it together.

Matt DeCoursey 48:33
Yep. All right now. All right. Go and sign up. Run my payroll. I’m tired of running that myself.

Matt Watson 48:43
I gotta go get 1% better at Netrio every day. We are growing like crazy.

Matt DeCoursey 48:48
I like it. I’ll see you next week.

Matt Watson 48:49
See you.