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How I Built A One-Click Client Onboarding System

small business client onboarding

Client Onboarding Doesn’t Have To Be Complex


Even though I’m all about automation, I have to admit that my onboarding system for new clients was terrible. To create a proposal, and get a new client up and running, there were myriad steps, most of which had to be done manually, myself. As I started to have an influx of new clients (a good problem to have, right?), my system just wasn’t holding up. 


That’s why I went back to the automation drawing-board and designed a one-click client onboarding process. Here’s how it works:



1. The Potential Client


Using Calendly, a potential client books an Automation Strategy Call with me or my team. Behind the scenes, there’s already a lot happening here. First, we get pinged with a Slack notification that an appointment has been booked (who doesn’t like a little dopamine hit from knowing the marketing machine is working), and an automation pushes the new lead into ActiveCampaign, both as a contact and a deal. 



At the same time, a Clearbit integration is gathering data about the company and person and pushing it into ActiveCampaign, which triggers a series of of automations to communicate with the potential client about the upcoming call and answering FAQs along the way.


2. The Call


Of course, the next part is never automated, and is the most important element of the process. We have our call with the potential client, and it goes one of two ways – either we decide to move forward with a proposal, or part ways at that point if we’re not the right fit. Either way, it’s just one click to move the lead into their next stage. 



If it’s a ‘no’, the deal in ActiveCampaign is marked as lost, and there are no further actions. If it’s a ‘yes’, we move the deal into a Proposal stage, and proposal is emailed (this is the one click).


3. The Proposal 


The proposal is the simple part. It’s just an online form, built in Jotform. Using variables that we’ve already gathered in the first step, we pre-fill the form automatically with the new client’s name, company, email, etc. The rest of the proposal is templated, and the pricing is our standard ‘productised’ pricing model. That said, using logic on the form, it would be possible to personalise it even further with conditionally shown sections.



To accept, all the client needs to do is sign off on the form, and make payment. The payment is processed via a secure Stripe hosted payment page. Once the form is complete, the new client is redirected to a Calendly booking page to book their onboarding call with the Agility Automation team.



4. The Onboarding

As soon as the proposal is accepted, a zap is triggered that automatically:



  • Sends a welcome email to the new client with details for next steps
  • Pushes a message to Slack so the team knows we have a brand new client 🎉 
  • Marks the deal as won in ActiveCampaign
  • Creates and sends a Xero invoice (marked as paid)
  • Sends a physical ‘Welcome’ card via Cardly
  • Initiates a Process Street workflow for the team
The Process Street workflow is a checklist for one of our team members to create a client portal in Airtable (which I’ll give some more details on in a future article).


The last step in the onboarding process is a call with the new client to discuss and define their new projects. This is the most exciting part for me, and made all the better by having a simple process in place to get to the point of having a new client on board. 



In closing- a quick note on the apps I use, and whether you need to use the same ones to replicate this system. The short answer is no – you could just as easily use a system like Airtable instead of ActiveCampaign, and pretty much any other modern form building app (in conjunction with Zapier, to bring all of the pieces together). Added extras like Cardly are nice-to-haves, but add a special touch to a new client’s journey.


If you’re stuck on how to build your small business client onboarding automation, book a free strategy call with me and my team to brainstorm some ideas, and come up with a solid plan for your own onboarding automation.