Onboarding is Your Product’s Résumé: Maria Thomas of Insightly

Published Jun 20, 2018

What do you put on your résumé? Ideally, it includes not only the highlights of your past achievements but also what you’re capable of. That’s why your product’s onboarding sequence is like your résumé, says Maria Thomas, VP of Products at Insightly. Good onboarding showcases everything your product is great at doing – it’s putting the best foot forward and making an excellent first impression.

The Perils of the Persona-based Approach

Maria is a product leader who is passionate about good onboarding, but she warns that too often these days, our obsession with personalization has actually created too much focus on personas, and too little on actual personalization.  In onboarding, as in many other elements of product experience, one size does not fit all. Some product teams, she says, are almost overdoing onboarding by being too prescriptive. Best intentions aside, you want to let users explore your product, choose-your-own-adventure style. That doesn’t mean you should let them figure everything out on their own, but instead, strive to create an environment that fosters exploration when they first come into your product.

The Dark Side of Complexity

“Product complexity is the evil twin of product success,” Maria says. One of the things she says is a challenge to any growing company is: How do we stay true to our vision? As your product evolves, you might become a victim of your own success – how can you circumvent that? How do you keep up with that growth?

We also talked about what Maria looks for in a product team, how to make B2B tools less boring, and why storytelling is a guiding principle for product.