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How Product Teams Can Onboard Customer Data 90% Faster

Accelerate customer data onboarding to save resources and help clients derive value from your software right away.

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Importing data is one of the first meaningful interactions your customer has with your product – setting the tone for the user experience with your product. But still, product teams often overlook the issues in data onboarding, considering them inevitable. The inefficiencies frustrate internal teams and clients, hindering them from receiving value from the software.  

According to a survey conducted by consulting firm Aptitude 8, 45% of respondents list data migration as the biggest challenge they face when implementing CRM. Is it any wonder that data onboarding and migration lead to bottlenecks when many companies still rely on spreadsheet templates, error-prone manual data formatting, or custom data validation and import scripts?

A poor data onboarding experience limits your growth potential and has a lot of unintended knock-on effects such as decreased customer satisfaction, negative word-of-mouth, diminished ROI, and missed upselling opportunities. Ultimately, it can become a bottleneck for company growth, especially when significant internal resources are required to onboard customers' data.

In this article, we'll highlight the key problems faced by product teams during customer data onboarding. We'll also provide insights on how to streamline your processes and deliver a quick and seamless data onboarding experience, allowing your clients to experience the value of your software right away. Ready? Let’s go. 

What are the Main Challenges Product Teams Face When Onboarding Customer Data? 

Let’s first have a look at the common approaches to customer data onboarding.

Data onboarding templates can quickly become overly complex, burdening customers with extensive manual reformatting. Additionally, they cause ongoing frustration for Customer Success and Support teams, who must handle incorrect data formats from customers unable to meet the requirements.

Custom data validation and import scripts may seem like automated solutions, however, creating them in-house often keeps your Engineering teams occupied, diverting their focus from further developing and enhancing the core functionalities of your product.

Data implementation services are often considered the most convenient approach, especially by established B2B software providers. However, this option requires customers to make a significant investment in additional services.

These approaches are labour-intensive, and potentially lead to various issues. Let's take a closer look at what you should be cautious about.

Data collection challenges

Obtaining the correct data from customers or suppliers is more difficult than it appears at first. External data rarely comes in a format compatible with your software product, leading to messy spreadsheets that cause headaches for the internal teams and frustrate the client. 

Poor data quality

"Garbage in, garbage out." Without proper cleaning and validation, data entering the target system can result in significant quality issues. This hampers team operations and data-driven decision-making. 

Limited scalability

Handling large amounts of data manually across multiple departments is not a scalable solution. The manual reformatting of data or building custom scripts requires substantial investments in human resources, which is typically slow and costly to scale.

Data privacy concerns

Sending confidential data back and forth through an email ping pong poses unnecessary risks of unauthorized access and breaches. If you need to import sensitive customer, employee, or supplier data, such as billing information or social security numbers, ensure that your data onboarding process is secure and watertight. Failing to protect this data not only damages your reputation but also exposes your organization to potential violations of data privacy and protection measures like GDPR.

How Expensive Inefficient Data Onboarding Really is? 

Labour-intensive data onboarding processes aren’t scalable and quickly become a bottleneck for company growth. Let’s calculate together.

Imagine a SaaS scale-up in HR management with 80 clients that is manually onboarding their clients’ data. With an average monthly growth rate of 7%, the company would onboard around 6 new clients each month, the number of new clients steadily increasing over time.

Upon receiving client’s data from the legacy system, internal teams review and prepare the data for import. This involves mapping the data to your schema, cleaning it, and validating the data. The process often requires multiple iterations, including clarifying errors and requesting missing data from clients. Depending on the complexity of the data set, the timeframe ranges from a few days to several months. For our calculation, let’s use a moderate data set, where around 24 man-hours are spent within a two-week period.

Over the course of a year, the SaaS scale-up will have a total of 180 clients. At that point, the company would have invested 4,320 man-hours in onboarding clients’ data. Assuming an hourly rate of €30, this amounts to €130k spent on a time-consuming and error-prone process

These resources, both time and money, could have been allocated towards enhancing the core product or supporting clients with other topics. 

As the company grows, data imports become increasingly complex. Each new client introduces a potential edge case, and expanding into new segments introduces different data formats and structures. Therefore, it is crucial to establish a scalable data import process that supports your business's needs.

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The cost of manual data onboarding

Cargonexx found themselves in a situation where they heavily relied on their development resources to onboard external data from their clients and suppliers to their Transport Management Platform.The data arrived in diverse formats, resulting in an overwhelming number of customer import scripts. To address this issue, they adopted nuvo's Data Importer, which effectively handles even the most complex edge cases.

So, bearing all that in mind, let’s look at some ways you can speed up and optimize your data imports.  

Strategies for Accelerating Customer Data Onboarding

Building reliable, fast customer data onboarding processes injects ease into daily operations and allows you to show your product’s value to your customers instantly.

Let us share some strategies to speed up your customer data onboarding.

Streamline data collection

Streamlining your data collection makes it more efficient and effective, saving you hours of work and frustration. But how do you do this? 

  • Define clear objectives from the start. When you know the purpose and goals of your data, it can focus your efforts, and you avoid collecting unnecessary data. 
  • Integrate with automation tools to clean and validate the data before it enters your system.
  • Use APIs to ensure an efficient way to access and retrieve data from external sources.
  • Rethink the whole process. Does it even make sense that you collect the data from your clients or should you skip the step altogether and empower them to onboard their data through a self-service import interface?

Ensure data integrity 

To make smart, data-driven decisions, you need a dataset you can rely on. To maintain accuracy and consistency throughout your data’s life cycle, you should:

  • Validate your data to check for inconsistencies, errors, missing values, or outliers.
  • Clean data to remove duplicates, normalize data and handle missing values.
  • Standardize data to ensure consistent formats, structures, and definitions across your organization.

Leverage no-code solutions

Different stakeholders have varying skills and abilities. With no-code solutions, you make it easy for everyone to contribute to great data onboarding practices. With user-friendly interfaces, no-code tools make handling data workflows easy and less daunting for non-technical colleagues. Easy-to-use, flexible, scalable, and fast, no-code solutions empower product teams and help them feel confident that data onboarding is being managed correctly. 

Empower Your Team and Customers with Fast, Flexible Data Onboarding

It may not feel like the most urgent task, but getting your customer data onboarding right lays the foundation for success. Efficient customer data onboarding not only saves internal resources but also enables your clients to quickly derive value from your software.

According to Markus Schünemann, Founder and CTO of Lano, "AI-powered customer data onboarding and data cleaning are a must to stay competitive in the upcoming years. nuvo solves even the most complex edge cases for us."

The same research mentioned earlier demonstrates a clear link between efficient implementation and the perceived value of a new system. Those who are most satisfied with the implementation process also tend to view the new software as highly effective. Why would you compromise on that?

By using nuvo, you can easily implement the strategies we've outlined and unlock the benefits of efficient customer data onboarding. Sounds good? Then talk to our team today. 

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