The 'Onboarding Survey' among the most debated areas in any free trial experience. In one camp, we hear, “We need to learn more about our users. We need to ask more questions!” The other camp will worry, “Won’t adding more questions lead to a drop-off in this critical flow?”
Although we encourage product teams to test each question, we’ve found little evidence for a big drop-off at this phase in the user journey. We hypothesize that this is because users have already given up their email, and are excited to see the product. If they believe that providing additional information will help the product better meet their needs, they’re unlikely to quit now.
The most common signup questions we see successful PLG companies implement include asking about users’ primary jobs to be done, their role, and what technologies they already use.
Common Questions with Examples
Start with Simple questions
A great foundational question to ask, is one that determines which team or line of work the user is in. This is a helpful start to begin qualifying the user, and is easy for them to answer!
What best describes your job function?
What kind of work do you do?
What team are you on?
Which of these best describes you?
What do you do?
Alternatively, you may care more about the industry the user is in if your product serves a broad range of industries with different use cases.
Depending on your product, you may want/need to go more granular with understanding the specific role or seniority level of the user, to better qualify them
Goals and Where to Start
Ideally, after asking the user about their role/team/industry, you can then ask a goal based question which can be used to personalized their getting started experience (brownie points if you show options that are most relevant to a certain role, team or industry!).
What do you want to use X for?
What would you like to do first?
What's your main objective with X?
What can X help you with?
Which features are you most interested in?
Which of these goals is most important?
Often, users will need to integrate your product with their existing tech stack. If your product offers integrations, you should find a way to ask this question in the onboarding flow.
This is especially true if setting up an integration is a key activation milestone that needs to happen for a user to reach that 'aha' moment.
You can be direct and ask questions like:
Which CRM does your company use?
Which platform do you use?
Which of these apps does your business use?
Or, you can take an approach like Shopify does that is slightly more subtle:
Where is your existing audience/contacts/payments managed?
Where does X currently live?
If your platform is quite technical and has a lot of advanced use cases, it may also be helpful to understand how experienced users are with your type of tool so you can serve an aligned onboarding experience e.g more technical resources for those who are experiences and more basic getting started ones for beginners.
If you are running a product-led sales motion, it is important to ask a question that allows you to qualify how big of an opportunity the user/company could be based on your business model.
The most common question we see is 'What is your company size?' but for example if you have usage based pricing, even small companies can have lots of users or contacts, so it can be valuable to ask a question that is more tailored to how you price.
If license based
How big is your team?
How many employees need to be able to X?
How many contacts do you need to manage/message etc?
How many monthly active users access your product?
Including wide brackets and 'I'm not sure' options will be helpful if including more targeted questioning as users may not be sure.
Questions to experiment with
An interesting experiment to try could be to include a time-based question around “when” the user is looking to achieve X goal to better qualify their intent to purchase.
This can identify users who are the most 'serious' about buying a solution ‘as soon as possible’ & may be more likely to interact with you directly than be completely self-serve.
Another question to ask (and get more intel), could be around understanding if the user is starting from scratch or looking to move from an existing provider.
Tips & Tricks
Keep it simple and start with easy questions.
Be mindful of input field type - A number of our customers have found that changing input fields from a dropdown list to select cards, has been helpful at capturing a more diverse data set. (Turns out users often default to selecting the first option in the dropdown!).
Include helpful explainer text - “We’ll help you get set up based on your business needs.” This text reminds us of the value we (the user) will get from answering the question. Another example is reminding users they can change their choices later on, reducing fear of picking the wrong thing initially.
Include 'I'm not sure' or 'Other' as an answer choice where appropriate.
Show progress, not steps. Include a progress bar, but remove the step counts within sign-up flows. If the user perceives too many steps, it can cause drop-off.
Allow skips. If users aren’t ready to reveal themselves, let them plow ahead. You can de-emphasise this option so users don’t skip through.
Common room for improvement areas for Onboarding Flows:
Don't include too many questions per page (think 1-2)
Rephrase questions that benefit your team rather than benefit the user
It is common for onboarding flows to ‘slip in’ a marketing question like “How did you hear about us?” which is of course helpful for lead gen attribution purposes but it really doesn’t serve any value to an individual user. Ideally don't make it a full page question if you do want to include this!
Make sure to use data to then trigger personalized experiences in your product 🚀