Five Tips to Customer Love

Customer Success

When you’re in the Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business, you should think of how to attract your users to your application in a way they’d be more successful due to it and therefore happier. If you think about selling, chances are it won’t going to happen… especially when your sales model contains a trial period or freemium, where users check up your app before deciding they need it. Also, you should think of your existing customers – you want them to renew their service, right? They’re all seeking the added value to reach success.

In my last article: 5 Tips for Creating and Maintaining Customer Loyalty, published in Mashable lately, I gave 5 tips for customer success, here is their summary (read the full article here)

1. Make Customers Love Your Product

Make sure your application is adding tremendous value to your users, making them happy and successful with what you offer. Also, your users should go through an enjoyable experience while in your app and receive great support, resources and help.
It’s not easy, but Customer Engagement can help. By listening to your customers, understanding them and engaging to fulfill their needs you will get customer love. It’s really that simple.

2. A Customer Success Team

Assign an executive on your team to be responsible for customer success. That would help you understand the value your users subscribed for, guide new customers through training steps, and monitor for any signs of unhappiness.
Customer success is key to your growth – successful customers stay longer, increasing your revenue.

3. Create a Customer Health Score

To help customers succeed, you need to find out who’s doing well and who’s struggling to get value from your application. The only way to do that systematically is to define a consistent health benchmark for your paying customers, then track each account to see who needs help. Here are some example benchmarks:

  • Good Health: Successfully using the application
  • Average Health: Using the application, but not at the level of a successful customer
  • Poor Health: Not using the application; unsuccessful

What defines a healthy customer depends on your service, but be sure to define, track, and monitor it on an ongoing basis.

4. Nurture Your Paying Customers

Lifecycle marketing is the discipline of marketing to your existing customers, based on the status of the relationship. There are two important lessons here.

  1. Don’t stop selling once customers sign up for the paid service.
  2. Don’t treat all customers equally. That means you should communicate very differently with a customer in poor health than with a customer in good health.

5. Learn From Churn

Consider creating a churn database. This would be a place where you store information about cancelled customers. It should contain the following:

  • Reason: Why did the customer leave?
  • Membership Length: How long were they customers before cancelling?
  • Engagement Trends: How engaged were they throughout their subscription?

See if you can identify and mitigate trends. Your goal should be to improve the experience for current and future customers. Customer success should be a pillar of your business. Happy customers help generate new leads and business. Unsatisfied ones create PR nightmares. In our connected world, customer success is your most important marketing asset.

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View presentation: Tips for Customer Success:

B2B Sales Predictions for 2012

Computer Mouse Shopping Cart

Lately there is an obvious increasing demand for user friendly cloud based apps and a tendency to prefer low touch and zero touch sales approaches, where there are as little sales involvement as possible.

In my latest article: 8 ways digital will improve b2b sales in 2012, published in Mashable lately, I tried to predict what would be the customizations that B2B sales would need to embrace in order to survive in this competitive and evolving market:

  1. Social Selling Will Go Mainstream – Sales executives will substitute the cold calls with nibbling into the social media networks follow by conducting warm introductions
  2. Companies Will use Facebook as a Sales Channel – Facebook ceased to be perceived as a personal communication channel only and more and more sales people will start using it as a sales tool
  3. Sales Executives Will Adopt Big Data – Wide funnel could increase leads volume, allowing your researches on users behavior and performance during the trial period in order to later focus on the most profitable ones
  4. Customer Engagement Becomes a Top Priority – Since customers nowadays can choose their service on a subscription basis, customer engagement and customer success become a key player in this game
  5. Outside Sales Rep Will Use iPads – Tablets will become a vital working tool as outside sales reps can start using them for shipping, product documentation, demonstration, capture leads at trade shows and quickly research a prospect before a meeting
  6. Most Sales Tools Will Move to the Cloud – The average sales organization is using more than 24 software tools to complete a sales process – most of these services will be available in the cloud in 2012 and that will increase the sales process fluency
  7. Sales and Marketing Will Converge – The boundaries between those roles is becoming obscure as outside sales are becoming inside sales and inside sales is being replaced with self serving website resources
  8. More Companies Will Offer Free Trials – this way the customers could evaluate the service before they decide to purchase and that will also produce more word-of-mouth referrals which are much cheaper than live touch points