Ultimately, successful onboarding has “a rhythm of project management that’s tighter than usual,” Bickmore says. This can involve weekly team calls during the onboarding process, along with monthly check-ins with the client.
Anciaux recommends continued contact beyond the critical first 90 days as well. “Just because the contract is signed and the sale is closed, it doesn’t mean the onboarding is done,” he says. “You still need to dedicate time to the ‘soft’ side of onboarding, like taking donuts or stopping in to say hi. Onboarding never ends, as you’re always going to be competing against somebody walking in and trying to do it better than you do. This mindset is key.”
If you can get onboarding right, “it defines the reliability of the relationship before it even begins,” Anciaux continues, adding that it also offers the potential for future business. “Onboard correctly and you can get … referrals from those newly onboarded customers that are more likely to turn around than whatever you’re doing organically.”
It also helps MSPs prove their worth to new clients early on, according to Bickmore.
“It’s obvious that if you start a relationship off correctly, it’s much more likely to be successful,” he says. “Most of the time when you’re coming into a new client, there’s a lot of things that aren’t working quite right, and if your onboarding can fix those things, you’re going to be moving them from unprofitable service to profitable service, meaning they have fewer issues, so they’re happy and you’re happy.”