Time to Value: What it is and How to Improve it

Written by Vanja Maganjic


When clients sign up for your services, they want to reap the rewards as soon as possible. That’s why so many brands promise instant results. This is where a phrase known as time to value comes in. Maybe you haven’t heard of it, but reducing your time to value helps you retain more customers and in turn increase your revenue. 

In this article, we’ll show you how to measure your time to value, why it’s important to reduce it and how to do it efficiently. 

What is Time to Value (TTV)?

Time to value (TTV) is the amount of time it takes new customers to extract value from your service. Obviously, you want your TTV to be as short as possible, while still maintaining a good level of the value you bring to your customers. 

Depending on the type of service, there is somewhat of an industry-standard as to the average time to value. Not everyone is selling Nutella and can give their customers an immediate value upon purchasing. 

TTV is one of the most overlooked marketing and sales metrics, especially in SaaS, which is why a lot of companies are struggling with a large churn rate. It’s important to know your TTV because the better you understand all aspects of the value you’re bringing to your customers, the better you can shape your services to attract new clients. 

how perceived value changes over time
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5 Types of Time to Value Metrics

Your time to value can be measured in 5 different ways. Only by understanding each type can you truly reevaluate your software and better your client’s experiences. 

Time to Basic Value

Time to basic value is the time it takes your customers to see any amount of value from your product or service. This metric focuses on short-term goals, for example, using Better Proposals to quickly create a great business proposal

Your life is already easier and you haven’t even discovered all of our allure. 

The same goes for any platform that offers tier packages because the scope of the services a client is using doesn’t matter. Time to basic value is a good metric to focus on if you have a high churn rate. 

The way to lower this metric is to reduce the number of steps it takes to sign up for your service and let the client experience benefits of your service quicker. 

Time to Exceeded Value

The time to exceeded value is measured by the amount of time it takes your client to realize that the value you brought to them exceeded their expectation. If you offer a free trial, you’ll want your client to feel this way once their trial is up so that they will sign up for a paid version of your service. 

In other cases, it could lead to a contract renewal or a client switching from a lower tier to a higher one. 

Long Time to Value

Unlike the metrics we mentioned earlier, long time to value can only be interpreted over time. This metric is most relevant in cases where services take longer to onboard new clients. The time to onboard could be based on the type of industry, the lifecycle of your product or service, customization and more. 

The reason it takes a while for this metric to be observed is that certain products and services need to be implemented over time, instead of all at once. 

how perceived value should change over time
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The way to achieve a shorter long time to value is to keep communicating with your clients and explain all the aspects of your service as well as the benefits they’ll get in the long run. 

Short Time to Value

There are services that have a very short time to value. These would be taxi services, dry cleaners and such. In those examples, it’s evident that the customer experiences a tangible value so it doesn’t have to be measured in order to be counted. 

On a larger scale, this leads to competitors trying to shorten the time it takes them to provide clients with value or bringing down their prices to appeal more desirable to their target audience. 

In this case, shortening the time to value means getting them onboard quicker, having an amazing product or service demo, and showing your customers the value you bring them as soon as possible. 

Immediate Time to Value

As the name suggests, immediate time to value is a metric used when a service provider offers instant feedback. This is used in types of services that show an immediate return of an investment. 

For example, this could be an online document converter that converts your files for you. They are quick and reliable, which is why people go back to them. 

How to measure Time to Value?

The formula for measuring your time to value in basic situations goes like this:

 ƒ Count(Duration Between Product Selection Date and Initial Value Realization Date)

In simpler terms, if you offer a service and a client signs up today and completes the onboarding process the next day and by then they get to reap the benefits of your service, that means that your time to value is one day. 

In the B2B world, the time to value will usually be longer. For example, a manager purchases a new app for their team to use, such as employee onboarding software. The time to value will often be measured in months since it takes time for employees to familiarize themselves with the software. 

There could also be a long time to value period because it takes time to upload all the data, segment it and test it. 

accelerating time to value
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If your line of business has a long time to value, you should try to engage your customers during the onboarding process. You need to nurture the relationship and give the clients a reason to keep coming back. Here are a few ways specific ways to measure TTV.

Measure the time it takes to upgrade 

Companies that offer free trials, should measure how long it takes customers to upgrade. The industry standard may be to offer a 14-day free trial. However, that doesn’t mean that your clients will switch to the paid version right away. 

They will do it once they receive the value they expected and decide to pay for access to more features, customer service and such. 

Measure the onboarding time

Is your product or service easy to use or does it require a training process, followed up by a longer onboarding process? If the latter is the case, then your TTV is longer than expected, which is why you should create a quick onboarding process. 

Once you help your clients onboard faster, you can take the average time it takes teams to finish this process as your TTV.  

Measure the time of adoption for your new features

As you roll out new features, do your customers jump on them straight away, or do they hesitate? If your clients aren’t quick to adopt new features with every release, it may mean that those novelties aren’t bringing any additional value. 

Measure the time of ROI

This measure only works if you have a close relationship with your clients. Knowing how much time it takes them to experience ROI is the ultimate way to measure TTV. It’s just a question of whether the ROI be clearly measured.

That could be especially difficult if you offer customizable solutions for your clients, in which case you need to decide how to measure ROI on a client-to-client basis. 

long time to value
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How to reduce Time to Value?

Once you find the best measurements for your TTV, the way to decrease it will be evident. That means that by the time you start working on decreasing your TTV, you’ve already done a sizable portion of the heavy lifting. 

Quicker onboarding process

A popular method of increasing TTV is speeding up the client onboarding process. This could be done through tutorials, video guides, proactive customer service, content marketing, and such.  

Every platform has a different onboarding process and includes a different approach. The best way to speed up your onboarding process is to have a person dedicated to it in your company. 

That way, you’ll have someone working with clients immediately and the more they immerse themselves in the job, the better ideas they’ll have of bettering it. 

An easy way to speed up your client onboarding process is to automate your proposal writing and sending process. This is easily achievable with Better Proposals. You no longer need to create business proposals from scratch, since our templates help you create beautiful and high converting proposals in no time. 

Work with user expectations

Unless you have input suggesting that your clients want changes, don’t implement them. If your clients just figured out your platform and are starting to use features they didn’t before, don’t shake things up. 

You shouldn’t focus on solving problems your clients aren’t experiencing. Make sure to tap into your customers’ expectations and focus on them as you create new features and services. 

One way to keep dissatisfied users happy is by rewarding them on a regular basis. You can reward them with customer 3d printed gifts. A good 3d printing tool can help you make custom artifacts personalized especially for your users.

Limit your free trial

Offering a long or even unlimited free trial doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll have a high number of clients upgrading to a paid version of your service. Limiting the time your clients have to test out your service gives them the incentive to do more than they would otherwise. 

Trying out more features leads to a quicker realization of the value you bring them. 

Key Takeaways

Although time to value seems to be an overlooked metric, it can help you not just diagnose a problem with your service, but also give you a quick solution. That’s why you need to know how to measure it and ultimately how to improve it. 

Automating a part of your business is a good way to go about it. That’s why we urge you to try out our free trial and see how easy and quick it is to create, send and receive signed business proposals. 

About Vanja Maganjic

Vanja Maganjić is an experienced writer with a unique passion for creating content that helps brands connect with their customers. She believes in brands that stand up to the man and thinks that storytelling is an essential part of what makes us human. Her long term goal is to become the cool auntie that gives out family-sized Kit Kats on Halloween.
Categories: Sales Tips