Building Product Activity-Based Onboarding with Segment Events

With this recipe, you’ll learn how to use Segment events to build a product activity-based onboarding journey for your users.

Made by Dave Rigotti

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  • Inflection.io

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To quote Ramili John from his book Product-Led Onboarding,

“You can’t afford to neglect your user onboarding experience; your product’s success depends on it.”

This sentiment resonates profoundly in the current end-user era; crafting an exceptional onboarding experience has evolved from a strategic imperative.

Traditional onboarding methods that revolved around rigid time-based frameworks are giving way to a more responsive and user-centric approach – product activity-based onboarding.

While a time-based onboarding experience might have its merits, it is inefficient for many reasons. A basic onboarding journey might help you get started and gather intelligence on user experience to optimize but, the old way has to go. Embracing the shift to product activity-based onboarding was a game-changer for Inflection.

Like most early-stage startups, we built an onboarding experience from scratch with limited feedback while our product was still evolving. Being the only B2B marketing automation tool that’s built for product-led growth companies, our initial goal with onboarding was to provide comprehensive education about the product and its use cases for any B2B SaaS business - PLG or not. However, as we gained insights and user engagement data, a realization struck – the one-size-fits-all approach wasn't enough because:

  • We had a diverse user base with varying levels of experience, expertise, and familiarity with marketing automation. Some of them are pure PLG whereas others are not. Trying to feed the same information at the same pace didn’t help.

  • A pre-set schedule in the fast-paced tech world might cost in terms of opportunity. When you are not showing value quickly, you are risking an opportunity.

  • Users need a tailored journey that speaks to their specific needs aiding faster product adoption and better engagement.

In this recipe, we will walk you through building a product activity-based onboarding journey leveraging Segment integration with Inflection’s own journey of switching from time-based to product activity-based onboarding as the example.

You can choose any customer communications platform available on Segment’s sources catalog that supports embedding product events as workflow triggers to achieve similar results.

This recipe assumes you have a Segment account and an Inflection account and they are integrated. For connecting other sources, refer to the Segment Sources catalog.

Step 1: Connect Segment to Inflection as a Source

  1. Login to Inflection go to Connections> Data Connections and select Segment. If you are not an Inflection user, contact us to set up an Inflection account.

  2. Choose Source and Destination as the Segment Source Type from the drop-down menu.

  3. Copy the Segment as Source key and keep it handy.

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  To start receiving product data via Segment, you must add Inflection as a destination.

4. Login to your account and choose a workspace for this exercise.

5. Navigate to Connections > Destinations. Search and select Inflection from the available destinations.

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6. Select the source from which you need to get your product activity data. This may be your website, application, data warehouse, etc

7. Name the connection and click connect, you can see the Inflection as a destination in the flow.

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8. The destination is disabled by default. Navigate to the Destination Settings and click the toggle button to enable the destination. Enter the API key when prompted.

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Step 2: Building the Onboarding Workflow

The first thing we did was to identify product actions that drove customers to their "aha!" moment. Inflection is a B2B SaaS marketing automation platform built for product-led companies and use cases. For new users to find value through Inflection, they need to connect product data via data warehouses like Snowflake or CDPs like Segment and CRMs like Salesforce with our system. This allows them to build journeys using Inflection that personalizes communication based on their user’s product activity, CRM, and marketing activity data. We find out the product event and CRM sources of our customers during sign up. The Product activity Source is a field where we save the relevant information and use it to personalize the instructions our customers receive.

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So, each customer received specific integration instructions for the tools they were using and not a generic email pointing to all available resources.

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We also pre-set the exit criteria for that nested journey to make sure the customer does NOT receive integration instructions if they have already made that connection. We use the product event from Segment to check whether the customer connected their product activity source before sending any communication.

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When an Inflection customer adds a new team member to their account, the new user does not have to go through the setup steps, but they are encouraged to build their first campaign. Having a dynamic filter that checks for the account’s history with our product and sending them through a separate path in the onboarding journey is how we keep onboarding relevant to the user.

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This is not the only onboarding journey for all our customers. We segmented our customers based on their role in the product and if the account is familiar. Meaning, a net new user with admin status goes through a different onboarding journey with essential set-up resources and a timeline than a new user added to an existing customer account. We also set up internal alerts to notify the assigned CSM (gathered from Salesforce CRM) if the user missed any of the crucial steps during their onboarding. Having a wholesome mix of product events flowing in from Segment and CRM data from Salesforce helped us forge an onboarding flow that is hyper-personalized to each of our customers. The secret ingredient for a successful onboarding experience is to keep measuring the results, gathering customer feedback, and constantly optimizing.

Wrapping up

Here’s what we’ve done in this recipe:

  • Connected product activity data from Segment to Inflection.

  • Demonstrated how personalized onboarding workflows can be implemented based on product event triggers.

You can learn more about Inflection and Segment here.

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