Preflight Conversations

Data and metrics to track for post-sale processes

Snippets from the conversations at Preflight Huddle - San Francisco.
October 5, 2022
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The Preflight Huddle in San Francisco was our inaugural in-person event in the United States. We hosted Sabina M. Pons, who moderated a panel of leaders in the customer onboarding and CS space, including Amanda Berger, ​Bianca Garcia, ​Mary Poppen, and Tanya Strauss

The panel discussed customer onboarding and other post-sales metrics to track during the customer journey—including the internal and external measures of success. 

In this session, Sabina posed the following questions:

  1. How is the success of a customer onboarding journey is measured?
  2. How frequently should we be internally reviewing our onboarding processes and frameworks?
  3. What is the role of your customer in the joint success plan? To what extent would it be realistic to expect the customer to contribute to the success of your onboarding?
  4. Who is responsible for customer onboarding? What are their KPIs?
  5. How is your onboarding process adding to the customer health scorecard?

How the success of a customer onboarding journey is measured

Mary Poppen, Chief Strategy and Customer Officer @

When it comes to customer onboarding, there are two kinds of success indicators you need to focus on: 

  1. Internal - Metrics you define for your company. You know what is expected of you and your role. Internal success metrics for onboarding answer questions like 1. How quickly can you get customers onboarded? 2. Can we scale the onboarding journey to a more extensive customer base? 
  1. External- External measures of success are success criteria defined with the customer, hearing out what success looks like to them, and defining what would be an onboarding win for them. 

Now we have a macro perspective, and it is time to dig deeper. Find out the measures to these success criteria and discuss whom to hold accountable for each measure. 

Defining external customer onboarding success criteria might be a tedious process to start with. Still, the fruits of your labor will be rewarded with easier adoption and excellent reviews from your customer. 

What happens when you neglect the external measures for customer onboarding success? 

There is a misalignment between incentives for your services teams and what success means to your customers, particularly when your internal measures push your team to get customers up and running as early as possible. 

While you might think that you have achieved scale, this has a long-term impact on churn. This correlation between faster time to value and churn impacts your overall performance as a company. It’s best to be proactive in setting suitable external measures to measure the success of your customer onboarding journey. 

How frequently should we be internally reviewing our customer onboarding processes and frameworks?

Tanya Strauss,  Director of Customer Success @ Druva

You should look at your processes annually. Reducing time to value is one of the top goals for a customer onboarding organization. Delivering quality time to value to customers is vital too. 

Bringing in an external member to your onboarding reviews, such as your CSM or any external organization to review your processes, helps bring fresh and evolving perspectives. The iterative process shouldn't just be the call of an individual in a leadership role. It should be diverse and inclusive to bring about the changes an onboarding team themselves might miss.

Amanda Berger, Chief Customer Officer @ HackerOne

We have taken the implementations off the hand of the CSM and built a small team to take complete ownership of the implementations. Their KPIs include time to value, improvements, and iterations as and when required for the customer onboarding process. 

When the onboarding and implementation are handed to a lean team solely responsible for ensuring you get the onboarding right, they are more likely to get it right. 

They answer questions like:

  1. How to ask the customer the right questions at the right time
  2. Demonstrate and define time to value
  3. Define value itself and establish what that is to the customer.

What is the role of your customer in the joint success plan? To what extent would it be realistic to expect the customer to contribute to the success of your onboarding?

Amanda Berger Chief Customer Officer @ HackerOne

One of the hardest things about joint success is that after-sales sell to the economic buyer; the account gets passed on to the customer success team. Then the initiative is no longer driven by the economic buyer. 

What success means to the economic buyer might be hugely different from how it is defined by the teams that would be the end users of your product. Here are a few tips to help you from getting caught in the web of mismatched expectations: 

  1. Get CS involved towards the end of the sales cycle, so they already have a connection and introduction to the economic buyer
  2. Make sure you have a compelling enough kickoff process to get to a level of engagement that will, in turn, help you get the sign-off from everyone else on what success looks like!

Bianca Garcia,  Lead- CSM @

Having a CSM embedded within the sales or pre-sales process allows the CSM to get inputs into the discovery phase and reiterate value through the use cases used by the sales team. It drives additional value to establish a relationship with the customer and stay embedded throughout the onboarding journey. 

Who is responsible for customer onboarding? What are their KPIs?

Tanya Strauss, Director of Customer Success @ Druva

We have a professional services team who are technical experts. This team handles specific implementations and parts of the project. As far as the onboarding project management goes, CSMs are responsible for executing the process. 

The measures of success for those who are responsible for onboarding project management are time to first value, time to value (TTV), time to appointment  - the time it takes for the CSM to get the customer on call, and time to adoption.

Bianca Garcia,  Lead- CSM @

When CSMs work as project managers, they manage the relationship all the way from the pre-sale conversation with the economic buyer to the renewal phase. When you have a one-person CSMs army, managing all of the work from post-sales to success, the individual acts as a consultant to internal teams. 

Mary Poppen, Chief Strategy and Customer Officer @

During the customer journey mapping, however, as the onboarding evolves, it is essential to lay out the roles, responsibilities, and measures of success for each so that there is clarity on multiple aspects of the journey. Whether one person is doing all of it or there are four different people in four different roles: a technical person, a project manager, and someone offering training to other members, it is essential to define all the roles and responsibilities. 

How is your customer onboarding process adding to the customer health scorecard?

Bianca Garcia, Lead- CSM @

Taking the prescriptive approach to customer onboarding and being proactive could be a game changer for an onboarding manager. Understanding the key levers driving your pain points and working with the customers to devise a solution for them will help your team show positive results on the customer scorecard.

Mary Poppen, Chief Strategy and Customer Officer @

Looking at where the customer expects to be in the journey and where we expect to help puts things in perspective. You are the expert in understanding their business needs, and helping the customer with your solution by being consultative goes a long way throughout the customer journey. 

More resources

  1. Top customer onboarding metrics to track
  2. Establishing successful KPIs for implementation
  3. Leveraging customer intelligence for customer onboarding success

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Usha Kalva
Community & Partnerships @ Rocketlane

Usha is a Community Manager at Preflight. She's been an EIR, runs a successful restaurant, and is inclined toward the social sciences. In a parallel universe, she'd have been a wildlife photographer.

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