Customer Success: Key Recommendations
Whether you have a Software-as-a-Service, subscription or membership business or you sell one-off products or services and simply want to do business with your customer more than once, Customer Success should be your driving purpose.
When discussing customer success for SaaS startups, the conversation focuses mostly on retaining customers and reducing churn. These are two fantastic benefits with meaningful return-on-investment. But great customer success organizations can meaningfully impact another critical part of the customer lifecycle, customer acquisition, by catalyzing evangelists to refer new customers.
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This article will arm you with the knowledge and tools to start optimizing beyond the initial purchase conversion, and hopefully, to rack up some repeat purchases and referrals in the process.
While the outcomes of customer retention and loyalty are hard to measure, the long-term ROI is undeniable. Optimizing for customer loyalty is one of the most important things you can do, yet it’s also one of the most challenging.
Lemkin, now managing director of Storm Ventures and software as a service (SaaS) maven at SaaStr, speaks from first-hand experience. Before venture capital, Jason grew EchoSign from zero to one hundred million dollars in annual recurring revenue and heavily invested in customer success throughout his journey.
Customer Success is a Growth Engine. Investing in Customer Success-driven Growth is an efficient way to drive revenue and company valuation, and we need a metric that is designed to measure that growth. Introducing, Success Vector.
SaaS businesses develop intimate, long term relationships with their SaaS customers. Keeping that relationship positive and aligned over the years is a real challenge. In fact, many public SaaS companies have yet to turn a profit. If they don’t keep their customers around for years, then all that capital invested in customer acquisition will have gone to waste.
The modern SaaS startup asks marketing to fill the top of the funnel, sales to qualify and close leads, and customer success to retain customers. Conceptually, this trinity works in unison to grow a business rapidly.
More than anything Customer Success is a philosophy. Of course, there is an organisational element to it; real disciplines, applications, platforms, career paths. But more than anything else Customer Success is a mindset that focuses on ensuring customers achieve the maximum possible benefit from the solution or service offered.
Most SaaS companies don’t send nearly enough email after users sign up. I’ve co-founded three SaaS startups, and in each them, email marketing has been a huge driver in driving new trials and increasing trial to paid conversion rate.
At Gainsight’s Pulse Conference on Customer Success, Mike McKee of Rapid7 spoke about the structure of his customer success team. He projected a slide, which I’ve copied in the image above, that depicts the way Rapid7 sells a contract, deploys its software, engenders adoption and expands accounts. It’s the best visualization I’ve seen to describe the sales and customer success process and the inter-team collaboration required to be successful.
What is NPS? Hugely popularised by companies like Apple, the Net Promoter Score (NPS) has become adopted as an industry standard metric for benchmarking a company’s performance. It aims to measure customer sentiment towards a company and can be used as a leading indicator of growth.
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