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14 SaaS Onboarding Software Tools To Boost User Activation

You got only one onboarding goal: for users to experience the value of your software as quickly as possible so they don’t abandon your app. 

Unless you can, you’ll end up like the statistic below.

8 in 10 users have deleted an app they can’t figure out, while 55% report refunding a product they didn’t understand.

Solution? A smooth SaaS onboarding

But in reality, it’s more complicated than it sounds. 

If you want to help your users hit this goal, you’ll need to invest in onboarding tools to show them what to do after they sign up for your app.

Today, we’re introducing you to 14 SaaS onboarding software tools that will help you do just this. No fluff or fancy promises. Just practical reviews.

Ready? Let’s start with a few basics!

What is SaaS onboarding software?

A SaaS onboarding software is a cloud-based tool designed to guide users during their first experience with your app. 

For instance, a welcome email is one of the most common first messages a SaaS company delivers during onboarding, and this is ideally automated by an email automation software like Encharge.

But Enchage is just one of the many tools for helping with onboarding.

Onboarding software aids users in quickly grasping the value of the app through product tours, native checklists, emails, or in-app messages. These tools create a smooth and intuitive journey from sign-up to meaningful engagement that will keep them coming back to your app regularly, if not daily.  

What a good onboarding software will give you?

SaaS onboarding software are tools for adopting and using SaaS products quickly. It should be clear that we’re talking about onboarding after signup here.

If we refer to this flow, it should be along the “start phase.”

If you want to see onboarding experiences of every touchpoint, check out: 15 Best Onboarding Experiences to Increase Your MRR. 

Now that we’re on the same page let’s move forward.

Every new user is a potential long-term customer. It’s essential to build a relationship with each of them.

Let’s look at how SaaS onboarding software makes the initial experience more pleasant, enhancing the chances of a positive (and lasting) first impression.

1. It introduces your SaaS smoothly, reducing early churn

When users don’t know what to do inside your app, they leave. To avoid this, onboarding tools show users what to do when they first log into your app. From the first step to the automated workflows and personalized messaging, the right tools make the process less overwhelming — and more valuable — for users.  

2. It’s like a personal coach to each user’s unique needs and preferences

What works for one group may not work for another, and your onboarding should reflect that. Most onboarding tools let you create personalized onboarding journeys tailored to individual users’ needs, roles, and preferences. 

Here’s how VideoAsk does that — they ask this ‘sorting’ question during onboarding.

3. It’s a virtual tour guide (one that’s not annoying)

Getting users to adopt your platform faster can be as simple as showcasing its best parts and the benefits users get. With onboarding software, you’ll create interactive tutorials and product tours highlighting your tool’s strengths. The virtual tours offer step-by-step guidance with an on-demand option, so they’re less intrusive.

4. It engages users directly within your SaaS platform

Whether it’s through in-app messages, chatbots, or pop-up notifications, you can deliver important updates, tips, and personalized assistance to users right when they need it. This real-time communication builds a sense of support, reduces friction, and keeps users feeling guided instead of lost.

Look at how Playbook communicates through a pop-up welcome. And also, a chat button is there, too, for other real-time inquiries!

5. It lets you scale without sacrificing the onboarding quality

If you have a growing base of users signing up for your service, it will take too much time to onboard them one by one. Onboarding software will scale this without hiring more people in your customer support team. The tools can automate the process.

6. It gives detailed analytics and insights into user behavior

Okay, I’ll be honest. Not all onboarding software can, but some have powerful analytics and reporting capabilities. Indulge in data to decode user behavior. This reveals areas for improvement, identifies bottlenecks in the onboarding process, and helps you optimize the overall user experience.

7. It makes onboarding a memorable experience

With so many SaaS providers on the market, giving customers a remarkable onboarding experience is a powerful differentiator.

You can beat competitors with poor onboarding processes by using SaaS onboarding software to create a seamless, personalized, and enjoyable experience during onboarding.

The types of onboarding software you’d need

Enhancing your onboarding process offers various options to choose from, much like a buffet catered to your preferences. However, certain factors must be considered when selecting a specific type of onboarding software, as elaborated in the following sections. 

First, let’s talk about the different kinds of SaaS onboarding software you should have in your tech stack.

Behavior-based email automation 

Automating onboarding emails ensures you send the right message to the right people at the right time. Behavior-based email onboarding software keeps your email messaging timely and relevant. Through these tools, you can trigger personalized emails based on user activities, like feature usage or completion of specific milestones.

Interactive walkthroughs 

It’s time to move on from boring, chunky help articles. Interactive walkthrough software brings your onboarding process to life by popping out interactive, step-by-step guides right within your product. The goal is to avoid friction points, highlight key features, and demonstrate how to easily navigate your platform. 

Targeted in-app messaging

When we asked marketers how they improved their free trial conversions, a few said they communicated with users better. And one way to do this is through in-app messaging. There is software that can help you send messages like tips, welcome notes, or nudges to complete important tasks. 

Product analytics 

Understanding how users interact with your SaaS platform is key to optimizing your onboarding strategy. Product analytics software primarily analyzes and measures user behavior within a product. They provide insights into how users interact with various features, their engagement, and friction points.

User behavior understanding 

Unlike analytics software, this type emphasizes comprehending user behavior and intent from a bird’s eye view. It goes beyond tracking interactions within the product and focuses on analyzing user behavior across different touchpoints and channels. That’s a deeper understanding of why users engage with your product, their motivations, and preferences.

14 SaaS onboarding software tools to unlock user activation

Now, let’s get into the meat of it all. Check out these 14 onboarding tools, broken down into different types. 

Behavior-triggered email automation

1. Encharge

Starting with Encharge. Encharge helps SaaS businesses streamline onboarding through personalized behavior-based user journeys. With Encharge, you can create automated visual workflows that trigger onboarding emails based on specific user events, like when a customer opens the welcome email, activates a feature, or reaches a certain milestone of features. Thus, you’ll deliver tailored messages to your users keeping them engaged throughout their journey.

But wait up! 

Encharge is more than just a tool for automating emails. Encharge is the perfect marketing automation platform for startups, especially SaaS teams. It has powerful features like user segmentation, lead scoring, and real-time website tracking. And it also integrates with a lot of your favorite tools like Zapier, HubSpot, Salesforce, and Stripe.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Send behavior-based onboarding emailsLacks in-app messaging
Advanced user segmentation for SaaS based on data coming from your sales and marketing stack
A visual drag-and-drop editor for customized email automation workflows.
Integrates with other marketing stacks
Reasonable pricing for startups and SMBs
Custom objects and company profiles
Deep integrations with SaaS billing tools like Stripe and Chargebee

2. Intercom

Intercom is a widely-used onboarding software focusing on customer messaging and communication. One of its standout features is its behavior in-app messaging. You can send targeted and personalized messages based on specific actions to a precise group of users. 

Overall, it’s a comprehensive platform that allows businesses to engage with customers across multiple channels. Its live chat and in-app messaging enable you to have real-time conversations with your users, addressing any questions and concerns they may have immediately.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Allows multi-channel communication, including live chat on websites, in-app messaging, and emailPricing structure can be unclear and relatively high for smaller businesses or startups with limited budgets
Gives visibility to all of the chats and emailsHas a steep learning curve for advanced features
Has product tours, help guides, and even chatbots

3. Customer.io

If you’re looking to send emails based on user behavior, Customer.io is an onboarding software tool that can help. 

It lets you segment your customers based on their behavior and then send them targeted messages that resonate with their recent actions. Whether it’s welcoming new sign-ups, guiding users through onboarding steps, or re-engaging inactive customers.

The platform also makes it easy to track customer engagement and measure the success of your campaigns. You can set specific onboarding goals, see the user profile, and pinpoint how they behave to find out what works best.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Lets you create behavior-triggered email campaigns, SMS messages, and push notificationsSuitable for tech-savvy marketers only
Segments based on customer attributes, events, and actionsLacks native integrations with CRMs and other platforms
Supports other communication channels like SMS and push notifications

Interactive walkthroughs or product tours

4. Userpilot

Userpilot helps improve how users interact with your software through engaging product tours. With this SaaS onboarding software, you can create step-by-step walkthroughs, tooltips, onboarding checklists, and feature announcements to guide users when exploring your software. 

If you hope your users get started immediately and simultaneously want to highlight your product’s benefits, this onboarding software must be on your list.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Lets you create interactive, step-by-step product tours, contextual hints, and tipsNot extremely intuitive for beginners
Segment users based on persona and in-app behaviorLimitations in terms of customization
Provides robust analytics and tracking capabilities of your onboarding activities

5. Chameleon

Chameleon is a good choice if you’re into personalized product tours that continuously help your users master your app fast. 

This software has a visual editor that lets you make product tours, tooltips, and modals (like banners, lightboxes, or slideouts) to show features or help users out. It also lets you customize your color palette and fonts so the tours feel native and match your brand’s UX.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Intuitive editor for building interactive product tours, tooltips, and modalsRequires coding to set up desired advanced triggers
Customizable in-app guides to match your brandInterface might feel a bit clunky in some parts of the app
Good segmentation and targeting capabilities

6. Pendo

Pendo is an onboarding software that helps customers learn your app fast using in-app guides. It also provides smart insights about each user’s behavior inside the app. 

With it, it’s easier to see how your users use your product while ensuring that the helpful messages are seen quickly and easily to accelerate user activation.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Customize different styles of In-app guidesLimited customization
Track the usage of your app and the adoption of featuresLimited integrations
Feedback gathering like NPS and surveysEnterprise custom pricing between starting at $10,000+ a year 


7. Appcues

Appcues is a SaaS onboarding software that specializes in user onboarding and personalized in-app user engagement. It’s like a friendly guide that shows your users around your app and helps them understand how everything works. 

You’ll love how user-friendly it is to create walkthroughs and tutorials for every user. You can even personalize each experience with its granular segmentation.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
No-code builder of onboarding tours and checklists
Hard to track feature adoption
Allows segmentation by persona, lifecycle stage, or even plan tierLittle confusing to have a holistic view of live in-app guides 
Intuitive interface for non-techies

8. Whatfix

Have you ever felt confused when using a new software application? Whatfix helps your users avoid that and just understand the features of your SaaS with personalized guidance that includes embedded learn-by-doing techniques. 

This in-app tool ensures end-users use your application properly and delights them so user activation comes early. It’s also easy to use — even for those with little to no coding experience.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Easily design interactive product tours, Screen size is not consistent on different resolutions
Onboarding checklists and contextual guidanceNo chatbox function
Support for user-level segmentation
Seamless navigation of the app’s features

Product analytics

9. Usermaven

Usermaven is a product analytics software for understanding product users and your website visitors’ general behavior. 

It’s simple, intuitive, and visually appealing, making data analysis a pleasant experience. With this tool, it’s easy to see who uses your key features and how often they use them. 

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Track key metrics to see how customers are interacting with your productNew product analytics tool, so some features like advanced funnels are still lacking compared to bigger tools like Mixpanel
Get detailed reports of feature adoption
Easy to set up and use

10. Mixpanel

With Mixpanel, you can get feedback from thousands of actions people perform within your product. 

It’s an analytics tool that helps SaaS businesses understand how people use your product. With it, you’ll be able to identify areas for improvement, especially during the onboarding phase. It’s easy to extract insights using Mixpanel to improve user experience and grow your app usage.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Advanced reports for user journey analysisNo live chat support
Quick-start templatesComplicated filters
Uncomplicated and intuitive designExpensive for large userbase products

11. Segment

Scattered customer data across different channels? Twilio’s Segment is the solution to collect, unify, and analyze customer data from various sources. This software is the centralized source to help you collect data to understand customers better.

Segment offers many native integrations to hook into existing customer data sources allowing you to pull together information like user interactions on your website, mobile app usage, email interactions, and much more.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Centralized platform for collecting and routing dataInitial developer work required
Personalized campaigns across all customer touchpointsQuite pricey for startups, especially if you track your anonymous site visitors
400+ out-of-the-box integrations
Can save a lot of development time down the line

Pro tip: Check out Encharge’s integration with Segment

User behavior recording

12. Hotjar

Hotjar is the software to help you understand how and why people behave and interact with your app. 

You may consider it your “third eye” that watches and captures how users navigate your website. It gives you videos showing where users click, move their mouse, and scroll (or stop) the most, providing insights into what catches their attention or prevents them from using your tool consistently.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Heatmaps that visually represent user clicks, taps, and scrolling behaviorCould potentially slow down the website’s loading time
Recording of real user sessionsNew increased pricing
Funnels analysis to find and fix conversion barriers

13. Fullstory

FullStory not only gives you user session replays. It also quantifies user experience through journey mapping, dashboards, and other digital experience data.

So when used as a SaaS onboarding software support, it gives you an in-depth perspective of how customers interact with your product. This helps you make faster decisions on how to improve your product. 

And with the user information you have, you’ll know about any issues or problems they encounter during onboarding that would otherwise have been missed. Also, FullStory’s dedication to user privacy lets you use the app worry free and only collect the data you need.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Autocapture to help identify actual user experiencesQuite expensive for its feature set
Heatmaps to understand user engagementSome of the more advanced functionalities may have a steeper learning curve
Privacy settings to maintain compliance with GDPR and other regulations

14. Usertesting

Usertesting untangles so much customer data and analytics about a product’s performance and user interaction.  It does it with real-time feedback from real customers. 

Hearing real assessments from real people is essential before launching any product or feature, as it can help you validate the prototypes of new products and features before you even start developing them.

Key Features and FunctionalitiesLess Favorable Characteristics
Define the tasks and scenarios you want Pretty pricey in general
Users to perform on your website or appeasy to recruit participantsLimited participant/contributor base from other countries
Verbal feedback from the recorded screen and audio of selected participants

Key criteria for choosing the right onboarding software

When choosing the right onboarding software for your business, consider the following key criteria:

Onboarding goals

It’s important to think about your specific goals when choosing an onboarding software. Identify what you want to achieve during the onboarding process. Do you want to show the best parts of the software? Give a full tour? Have customer support on standby to help out?

Ensure that the software you pick aligns with those goals. Selecting software that supports your primary goals is key, whether you want to drive user activation, reduce churn, or increase engagement.

Your SaaS

Different SaaS apps call for different onboarding tools. If your SaaS is super simple, does one thing well, and is easy to navigate, then you might not need product tours. Now, when you’re SaaS is an all-in-one kind of tool with multiple features, you’ll need guides to navigate new users. Understand the user’s knowledge gap and pick out the software that could fill that gap.

Scalability

As your business grows, your onboarding software should be able to scale with you. Assess whether the software can accommodate your growing user base and handle increased user interactions without compromising performance. A scalable solution ensures that your onboarding processes effectively scale with you.

Pricing

Evaluate the onboarding software’s pricing structure and ensure it offers good perks for your money based on your specific needs. The value you expect from the software should be discussed beforehand, keeping your budget in mind. Some software may offer tiered plans based on features or team members, so choose a plan that suits your present (and growing) requirements. Most of these software tools are based on monthly active users, and they get pretty expensive, really fast.

Integration capabilities

Onboarding software doesn’t function independently. Check how well the tool  connects with the rest of your stack. It should seamlessly integrate with your existing tools, like your email automation tool, chatbot, CRM, payment processing software, analytics tools, and other relevant platforms. Integration ensures smooth data flow and a holistic view of user interactions.

Customization options

Look for onboarding software that provides customization options to align with your identity and user experience. Onboarding software with customizable templates, colors, and messaging will allow you to create a personalized onboarding journey that reflects well with your target audience and reflects your brand identity.

Workflow automation

Your onboarding process is unique, so the selected software should be able to adapt to your specific workflow. Review the level of workflow automation offered by the onboarding software. It should help simplify the onboarding process and make it easy to define the steps in each workflow and the order in which they occur. Its purpose is simply to streamline onboarding so manual work gets cut down.

4 quick tips when building your SaaS onboarding tech stack

If you want to provide a smooth user experience, your best bet to make it happen is to have a reliable and efficient tech stack for your onboarding process. 

So we’d like to share four quick tips to help you build the right SaaS onboarding tech stack. 

Tip #1 Focus on user-centricity

The user experience should always be a top priority when building your onboarding tech stack. But still, many struggle with understanding their users’ pain points, preferences, and desired outcomes. 

To address this, adopt a user-centric approach. Conduct thorough user research to gain insights into your target audience. Gather feedback through surveys, feedback emails, user interviews, and usability testing to understand your users’ needs and expectations. When you help users with what they really need (instead of what you think they need), you’ll boost engagement, increase activation, and foster long-term customer loyalty.

Leverage tools that enable personalization, such as behavior-based emails from Encharge. It tailors your onboarding process to address user events and guide them using relevant emails to achieve their desired outcomes. 

Tip #2 Simplify the onboarding journey

When building your SaaS onboarding tech stack, prioritize simplicity and efficiency. Too many checklists for customers who just signed up is a big turn-off. Choose the tools to simplify the onboarding journey by eliminating unnecessary steps and complexities. 

Tip #3 Leverage onboarding tools to continuously measure and optimize

It’s not enough to just design an onboarding flow and hope it works. You need to measure and optimize your onboarding strategy continuously.

Implement tools that measure performance to make data-driven decisions to optimize your onboarding process further. Go for onboarding tools that use data to help you understand your current onboarding process. Also, continuously test and experiment with different approaches using A/B testing to optimize your onboarding flows.

Tip #4 Assess the flexibility of the tools

Your business is likely to grow (or shrink if you’re not careful), and you must ensure that your onboarding tech stack will accommodate that change.

Consider the pricing flexibility of the tools you choose for your onboarding tech stack. As your onboarding requirements evolve, you also want to ensure your tools can accommodate those changes. Look for solutions that can keep pace with your business, offer customizable features, and provide flexibility in adapting to future needs.

Boost user activation with onboarding software

SaaS onboarding sets the stage for successful user activation. And it involves guiding new users through the initial steps of getting started with your application, familiarizing them with its features, and helping them achieve their optimum results.

The use of SaaS onboarding software can assist you in achieving this objective.  Some categories of tools to research include:

  • behavior-triggered email automation
  • interactive product tours
  • comprehensive product analytics
  • deep user-behavior understanding.

With the right onboarding tools, you can streamline and personalize your onboarding process. Yet, when considering the optimal choice for email onboarding, Encharge stands out as a powerful solution. Its behavior-triggered email automation empowers you to deliver personalized onboarding experiences that are in tune with your users. 

Get started with Encharge today, and you’ll be on your way to a successful onboarding journey that boosts user activation.

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“Encharge helped us visually redesign our onboarding flow resulting in a 10% increase in our trial activation rate."

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