onboarding replacing training

Can Customer Onboarding Replace the Training process?

What a lot of people don’t understand is the difference between onboarding and training, because they are not the same thing. Let’s answer some questions like are onboarding and training synonyms? Do customers need both? What should come first? Is ‘Onboarding vs Training’ a conversation worth having?

Customer Onboarding Template

Onboarding vs Training

Although both the above words come out as synonyms, but they’re actually not. Onboarding is a very important activity. Why is the customer purchasing your product? Breaking it down into use cases. Figuring out what data that needs to be brought and configured in the system?

Pro tip: Check out the Customer Onboarding Framework to get an action plan for designing your B2B SaaS Onboarding process.

Training is essentially a bunch of “how-tos.”
In fact, one of the best-kept secrets has been that you need to onboard your customers much before you train all the users. 

Onboarding is an activity that is usually done with either the admin or the superuser. It could also be the functional manager of the problem that your product is solving. Or the SPOC was given the responsibility of configuring the system. It might involve integration, disintegration might be technical and all sorts of details

Whereas, training is usually a much simpler activity. In fact, parts of training can also be automated, especially if your product is used across a wide range of audiences, even in the b2b case. 

Read about the secrets to successful onboarding.

Who is responsible fo Customer Onboarding ?

Generally in SaaS, the Customer Onboarding can be done by a customer success manager (CSM), an onboarding specialist or some other department (sales, support etc) depending on the specific requirements.
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Do customers need both?

Although companies are aware of the importance of onboarding and training, not many are aware of how important it is to have both for customer success. It is absolutely essential to integrate training into the onboarding process rather than making them two separate entities. Without proper training and learning, your employees will be left to figure out how things and work themselves. Without onboarding, you’ll continue to see a long-term problem at your organization. If you want to learn more about onboarding an employee, check out how to create a successful employee onboarding strategy.

Suggested Read: The ultimate guide to customer onboarding


So there you go. Onboarding is not training. Training is not onboarding. What do you think, is there a better way to describe the difference? Have you used them interchangeably at times, how your practice is using onboarding and training? We would love to know.

P.S. – The main image has been taken from pexels.com

Swagata is Head of Marketing at CustomerSuccessBox. Advocate for great customer experience. She is an avid traveler and when she is not working always on the lookout for new places to explore.