ZoomInfo’s Award-Winning Customer Onboarding Initiatives

At ZoomInfo, we’re dedicated to providing a seamless and effective onboarding experience for our customers. Over the years, as our products became more complex and our customers’ needs shifted, we recognized that our customer onboarding needed an overhaul. 

So our Customer Onboarding, Implementation, and Training team got to work, leveraging customer data, feedback, and industry best practices to rebuild our onboarding experience. The result: a fresh, consultative approach that places the customer squarely at the center of our operations. 

“Our investment in technology, resources, and the team’s ability to adapt has made us incredibly customer-focused,” says Mary Iapicca, senior director of Customer Onboarding, Implementation & Training.

This investment has been recognized with Rocketlane’s Golden Comet award for Best Customer Onboarding Team of 2024. Here are a few of the key initiatives we’ve implemented that have significantly enhanced our onboarding process. 

1. Personalized Onboarding Models

One of the most significant changes we made is the use of personalized onboarding models. Previously, every customer received the same onboarding experience, regardless of their level of investment or team size.

Under the old model, our Onboarding team assisted an average of 5,000 customers on a rolling 90-day basis, including new business acquisitions, renewals, and upsells, with each onboarding manager responsible for 150 customers. This one-size-fits-all model didn’t have much customization, and for customers that didn’t have time to spend on calls, it wasn’t always useful.

Now, we meet our customers where they are and cater to their specific needs and pace of learning. Our new experience models range from an autonomous to a highly personalized, one-to-one approach.  

2. Enhanced Self-Service Resources

Launching this new personalization and digital-focused experience meant that we needed to beef up our self-service resources as well. The Onboarding team worked closely with our product team to make sure that a more autonomous approach didn’t mean a compromise in quality resources. 

We now offer comprehensive, self-serviced educational resources, including videos and articles, that can be easily filtered and searched. Iapicca compares the new onboarding experience to shopping at Amazon versus a brick-and-mortar store that only keeps certain hours and has limited inventory. 

“Shopping at a little boutique can be a really cool experience, but you have to wait for one person to answer your questions, and they may not have what you’re looking for. But I can go to Amazon at 3 in the morning and find exactly what I need, because I already know what I want,” she says. “It’s about meeting the customer where they are and providing the experience that adds the most value.”

These improved resources ensure that customers have access to comprehensive and user-friendly materials to review and learn at any time.

3. Extended and Unified Support

To reduce customer confusion and improve support, we combined our customer onboarding and adoption functions into a single role. We also extended the onboarding period from 30 to 90 days. 

The 90-day period focuses on four key elements: planning, technical implementation, education, and adoption. In the first 30 days, customers focus on planning, technical setup, and education, setting the foundation for a successful onboarding journey. This initial stage includes a kickoff call, system integration led by Technical Implementation Managers, and tailored training sessions. 

The final 60 days are dedicated to driving product adoption, which is critical for value realization and customer retention. This structured approach ensures customers receive comprehensive support to maximize their investment and foster long-term success.

“Forrester data shows that the success of a customer and your ability to retain them is based on how well you onboard them, so we really wanted to give them that dedicated attention for 90 days,” Iapicca says. “And extending the onboarding period doesn’t mean there won’t be value quickly. It means that you have a dedicated rep that will help you for the entirety of your onboarding journey.” 

That Forrester report Iapicca references states that poor customer onboarding is the No. 1 reason for customer churn.  

4. Streamlined Handoffs and Collaboration

Improving internal collaboration and streamlining handoffs between ZoomInfo’s onboarding and customer success teams has been crucial in enhancing customer satisfaction. Historically, we had several teams responsible for separate parts of the onboarding process. When customers were handed off to other teams without clear communication and direction of who can address which issues and needs, confusion was bound to happen.

“We’ve added a lot more collaboration between the primary functions and worked with sales on our handoffs,” Iapicca says. “With these efforts, we’ve seen fewer escalations, which occurs when a customer issue can’t be resolved without manager intervention, and less customer confusion on where to go to get support.” 

5. Internal Buy-In

From executive leadership to the onboarding team and the sales team, internal support is what made this transition both possible and effective. 

“The investment that our company has put into customer onboarding is great,” Iapicca said. “I’ve had a pretty wide berth of doing what I think is best based on industry best practices, and it has been supported 100% of the way.” 

We also implemented an 18-week enablement program for our onboarding managers, an intensive course that teaches managers how to provide tailored advice and support. The team’s dedication to our customers was immediately evident. 

“It’s not about checking the box; it’s about the customer seeing value and being successful,” Iapicca says. 

6. Measuring Success

We’re thrilled with the changes that we made, but we needed hard evidence to ensure that we made the right decision for our customers. We track individual and team-based metrics that highlight efficiency and quality, and we’ve seen success in the following areas: 

  • Customer Satisfaction (CSAT): In the first six months of implementing our new program, we saw a 25% improvement in customer satisfaction. 
  • Time to Value: Kickoff calls are completed within 10 business days of the contract start date, meaning our customers are immediately shown the value of ZoomInfo. 
  • Customer Onboarding Health Score: Based on meeting vital onboarding milestones, pulse surveys results from the customer, and product adoption consistently exceeding 80%.

In addition to metrics, we greatly value customer feedback. That’s why the experiences of customers like Mark Hoxie, a principal consultant at Finomation, are so validating for the team.

“Our onboarding manager held a phenomenal kickoff call, and we’re really looking forward to working with her throughout onboarding,” Hoxie says. “As technology partners, we’ve been a part of countless kickoff calls, and these were great! We really appreciate the overall process so far, accolades to the folks designing the onboarding program as well.”

Continued Investment

Rocketlane, a leader in onboarding and professional services technology, recognized ZoomInfo for our innovative and effective onboarding practices. Iapicca, who has collaborated with Rocketlane at their annual conference for the past two years, is a big fan. 

“They transcend the role of mere vendor and instead become a strategic market partner and leader to their customers,“ Iapicca says. “Receiving this award underscores the exceptional volume and quality of onboarding we manage.” 

We’re proud that our dedication to refining the onboarding process has earned us this award, but more importantly, has strengthened our relationships with our customers. We’re excited to continue building on these improvements and look forward to delivering even greater value to our customers in the future.