Customer Enablement Guide: Help customers help themselves

The Dock Team
Published
June 22, 2023
Updated
June 14, 2024
TABLE OF CONTENTs
TABLE OF CONTENT

Your best revenue driver is your customer. And how well they get onboarded to your product will dictate their lifetime value.

Therefore, revenue leaders should focus on empowering their customers with the resources they need to become power users and lifelong brand advocates. 

Failing to provide the right tools and resources that help them make the most out of your offering can lead to lost revenue, decreased satisfaction rates, and even lost adoption.

You can only make this happen with a strong customer enablement strategy.

In this guide, we'll tell why customer enablement is worth your time. Then we’ll share tips for how to implement it successfully to achieve faster time-to-value.

What is customer enablement?

Customer enablement is the process of providing customers with the tools, knowledge, and resources needed to achieve their goals with your product or service.

Just like buyer enablement focuses on helping buyers buy and sales enablement makes it easier for sellers to sell, customer enablement helps customers get started with a product or service.

In SaaS, customer enablement typically includes training, documentation, and support to help customers become more proficient in using the software and achieving their goals. 

Common examples include:

  • Video tutorials
  • In-app onboarding guides and checklists
  • Live support
  • Training webinars
  • Knowledge bases

Customer enablement vs. customer success

Customer enablement is a subset of customer success. Success is a more comprehensive concept that, alongside enablement, includes a range of activities like support, business reviews, and renewals aimed at boosting customer satisfaction, retention, and growth.

Consider customer enablement as the "how-to" guide for your customers to more quickly realize value. You provide them with tools and resources. They become more self-sufficient with your product.

On the other hand, customer success is more of a big-picture approach. It's about ensuring your customers aren't just using your product but also becoming loyal, long-term customers. Your team works with the customer to set goals, track their progress, and provide customer support where needed. 

Why customer enablement is having a moment

There are two big drivers of the need for customer enablement right now.

1. Product-led growth depends on it

With PLG, your product is your trusted sidekick to acquire and retain customers. Slack users, for example, don’t need a sales rep to show them how instant messaging could benefit their organization. They simply tried the tool for free and signed up for a suitable paid plan.

But the difference between being a free and paid user comes from realizing value. Enabling your customers to notice your product’s value is what drives your growth.

By effectively onboarding customers and providing the necessary training and support, you ensure all customers can use and derive value in a reduced time span, leading to increased usage, retention, and advocacy.

That said, customer enablement happens outside your product too.

Provide your customers with hands-on, practical guidance through automated email sequences, in-app chat support, and resource hubs to help them use your product. 

For example, at Dock, we offer a free proof of concept pilot program to help customers build their first sales or onboarding workspaces.

2. Tighter B2B budgets require a shift to retention

In an uncertain economic climate, prospects might start to dry up and your customers will look to cut costs wherever they can. This means your revenue team’s focus will shift from acquisition to customer renewals and expansion.

Thorough and successful onboarding is a key aspect of this process, but your customer still needs to see progressive value at every stage of their lifecycle. This will help you foster deeper relationships, leading to boosted retention and revenue growth.

Customer enablement also drives brand trust.

By allowing customers to see value faster, you create an emotional connection between them and your brand, making 61% of customers more likely to advocate for it. Not only does this drive organic growth, but also facilitates new customer acquisition.

Who is responsible for customer enablement at an organization?

Contrary to popular belief, customer enablement isn’t the responsibility of only one team. 

Instead, it’s a collective effort that requires revenue teams to cooperate and coordinate with each other to achieve success.

Customer Success

Customer success is primarily responsible for building a customer enablement program, as their main goal is to help customers achieve desired outcomes and reduce time to value.

They interact with customers daily, which not only deepens their understanding of customers' needs and pain points but also allows them to identify areas where customers may be struggling.

However, customer success cannot do effective customer enablement alone. They also need support from other teams. 

Sales

Focusing on your sales process allows you to lay the foundation for successful customer enablement.

A standard sales process has three crucial aspects—thorough discovery, targeted solutioning, and an in-depth understanding of customer needs—and they’re all interconnected.

Good discovery allows salespeople to better understand the customer’s needs and pain points and accordingly offer suitable solutions. During handoff, your sales team can pass on this information to customer success, who can provide streamlined customer onboarding experiences using it.

Each element plays a crucial role to enhance the brand experience by equipping your sales and customer success teams with a better understanding of every customer and their individual use cases.

Product Marketing

Product marketing can step in to create assets and product releases that help customers better understand and use your product. 

For instance, giving customers product-related demos, user guides, and tutorials that demonstrate how to use your product based on specific use cases. You can also do internal training sessions with customer success on new products, messaging, etc.

Revenue Operations

Revenue operations also plays a crucial role in customer enablement, either through a customer operations role within RevOps or a centralized RevOps team.

They ensure all customer enablement aligns with the overall business objectives, as well as identify KPIs and metrics to measure customer enablement success.

RevOps reps also assist in developing processes and systems to standardize customer enablement across your organization. This can include tasks like creating and managing customer feedback loops, customer onboarding automation, and developing customer success metrics.

In a nutshell, customer enablement is a shared responsibility. While customer success owns the overall strategy, sales, product marketing, and revenue operations also play key roles in fully enabling your customers.

Customer enablement best practices

Here are seven proven best practices to convert your customers into brand advocates:

1. Provide multi-channel support

People learn in different ways. So give your customers lots of options for how they can learn about your product. Some prefer self-service options like a knowledge base, while others prefer direct emails or phone calls with executives.

Customer enablement involves catering to both preferences. 

Build an omnichannel support strategy that allows customers to access customer service through multiple channels. Take ActiveCampaign, for example. This company provides customers prompt and efficient support through their preferred channel, be it on-call, email, or a knowledge base. 

Free online training is also available for users wanting to become an expert in its marketing and sales automation capabilities.

ActiveCampaign's contact page lets you choose your own adventure

2. Provide personalized onboarding

An airtight customer onboarding process is the best way to increase adoption and reduce churn.

If you can, offer one-on-one onboarding with a customer success manager (CSM). The CSM can work closely with the prospect to provide personalized support and guidance, helping them derive product value faster.

But even if you have high customer volume with a low-touch engagement model, you can still personalize onboarding. Segmenting onboarding by customer use case, for example, lets you provide more relevant onboarding content and resources to specific groups of customers, based on their individual needs and business cases.

Airtable’s onboarding, for example, segments users based on use case to suggest more personalized onboarding content and templates.

Airtable customizes its in-product onboarding based on your use case

Userpilot did a nice teardown of Airtable’s segmented onboarding.

3. Use implementation plans and onboarding checklists

Simplify onboarding for the customer by offering onboarding checklists and implementation plans.

Customers get a clear roadmap of next steps and what they need to make the most of their new purchase.

The problem is that most companies use spreadsheets or project management tools to make these plans and checklists. While this gets the job done, it makes things super messy and confusing for the customer. 

They have to hunt down different documents and attachments, keep track of different Google Docs, and log into your project management tool. Even though the goal was to make their lives easier, you’ve actually introduced more work for them.

Dock gives you a much better alternative to Google Docs and spreadsheets. With Dock, you can create a single workspace for collaboration with your client. 

You can embed and organize all implementation and onboarding resources—like onboarding checklists or implementation guides—all in one place. And your client doesn’t have to log in or manage another tool.

It’s the ultimate win-win situation for both you and your client.

4. Offer in-product templates to reduce time to value

Immediately after signing up for your product, your customer experiences what’s known as the “blank page“ problem. 

They don’t know what to do, where to start, or how to use your product. They're still finding their way around your product. The number of available features and options may overwhelm them, leading to dropped engagement or even product abandonment.

Instead of giving customers a blank page, give them in-product templates to help them get started and avoid frustration.

For example, at Dock, we offer various templates to help speed up time-to-value for our users. Some of our most popular templates include:

Miro, Notion, and Airtable are other great examples of PLG template libraries.

5. Create educational content

Knowledge hubs are the best way to educate customers at scale.

From visual resources like product demos and videos to written support documentation like in-depth guides and step-by-step blogs, customers need educational content to fully understand and use your product.

Slite’s Help Center is a great example of an easy-to-navigate resource for customers:

Check out Slite’s Help Center

6. Systematize content delivery

It’s risky to put the burden on your customer to find the relevant content they need to get up to speed on your product.

Dock allows you to embed any relevant content, such as deliverables, implementation plans, and onboarding templates directly into the shared workspace, which the customer can also access. The platform also serves as a communication channel, allowing customers to directly comment on individual items contained within the dock space.

Dock's onboarding workspaces help consolidate the onboarding experience for both sides

There’s more—with Dock, you can also stage content delivery throughout the customer journey to ensure customers receive the necessary information when they need it, instead of all at once.

For example, instead of sending all onboarding content to a customer at once which may overwhelm them, you can share content in small chunks based on their current customer lifecycle stage or milestone. This will help them fully absorb and apply the information, leading to a better customer experience.

Aside from systematized content delivery, you can also consider product update emails to inform customers about new product updates and features to drive engagement and adoption.

7. Collect and implement customer feedback

Customer feedback is a goldmine of valuable insights that helps you understand how customers are using your product, what they like and dislike, and where they're experiencing pain points.

The following are some of the most common methods of collecting feedback:

  • Surveys to collect feedback from a large number of customers in a relatively short time frame
  • Interviews to learn in-depth feedback, where you can also ask follow-up questions and delve deeper into specific areas of concern
  • Customer feedback portal for real-time feedback and suggestions

Use the gathered feedback to iterate and enhance your customer enablement process, ensuring it meets customer needs and delivers positive customer experiences.

Additionally, make feedback implementation a consistent and ongoing effort. Doing this will ensure you and your team are always meeting the unique needs of your customers, putting your company in a better position to retain customers and drive revenue growth.

Enable your customers with Dock

If you're looking to simplify customer enablement for high-touch onboarding scenarios, give Dock a try.

Dock Workspaces keep all of your project-related information in one place, including deliverables, meeting notes, business reviews, and project timelines. This makes it easy for your customers to stay on top of their progress and access the information they need.

And Dock’s Content Management makes it easy for sales and customer success reps to find and share client-facing content, such as guides, videos, and support documentation. This ensures that your customers have access to the most up-to-date and relevant information to get the most out of your product without having to navigate away from the product.

To learn how Dock can help enable your customers, start your free trial or get a demo today.

The Dock Team