We are super excited to be co-hosting an event with Mikael Blaisdell, one of the pioneers of customer success management.
We consistently hear from our customers and prospects that they would like to meet other customer success management professionals so we decided to partner with Mikael and make this happen!
We will start in San Mateo/San Francisco Bay Area on Thursday evening, April 5th in San Mateo, CA from 7-8:30 PM.
The second event will be in the Boston, MA area in May, followed by another in Seattle, WA in July. Meetings in other cities are being scheduled.
What to expect? We look forward to mingle and discuss what will the future of customer success management look like? What will drive the customer success manager role to develop and mature? What do people see as best business practices in Customer Success Management? As teams and programs mature, what levels will be a part of the progression?
Mikael Blaisdell, Publisher of The HotLine Magazine, will also be presenting a visionary and provocative look at what the future might hold.
The sessions are free, and open to all CSM professionals and SaaS/Cloud company CxO’s. Advance registration is required, and space will be limited. To register, please click here or put the following in your browser: http://forumsf040512.eventbrite.com
The Future of Customer Success Management: A Look Ahead — SF Bay Area CSM Meetup
Mikael Blaisdell: The HotLine Magazine
Sponsored by: Totango Inc.
Thursday: April 5th 7-8:30
Auditorium; Keynote Systems Inc.
777 Mariners Island Blvd
San Mateo, CA
Advance registration for this FREE event is required, and space is limited.
Use this link to register: http://forumsf040512.eventbrite.com
7:00 Doors open for registered attendees; Refreshments & Networking
7:30 – 8:15 Mikael’s Presentation and Q&A
8:15 – 8:30 Totango Customer Engagement Tips
Come have a snack, meet your fellow CSM professionals, and stick around for some customer engagement tips from yours truly.
Congratulations, as a marketing professional you’ve successfully recruited a qualified customer base: people who audited your product and ultimately chose you above the competition. It’s no small feat, but there’s no time to rest on your laurels – you’re only halfway there.
As your prospects cross the threshold and transform into customers, they continue to demand a certain level of nurturing, attention and engagement, dictated by need and identified through usage. With an understanding of your customer’s lifecycle profile, product consumption and usage, you can launch the right Lifecycle Marketing programs to reach out and expand customer value across your entire customer base.
What is Lifecycle Marketing?
Lifecycle Marketing refers to marketing and sales campaigns that address your customer’s needs and requirements as they evolve over time.
These programs offer great rewards because of two simple marketing principles:
You can often generate more revenues from existing customers (as compared to prospective customers); and,
The revenues you generate come at a much lower investment cost (so you enjoy much more profitable revenues).
With these two principles at play, activating Lifecycle Marketing campaigns to an existing and continually growing customer base significantly increases your chances for generating more revenues, over time.
How to be successful with LIfecycle Marketing?
Your customers’ needs run the gamut: newbies have different needs than veterans; small businesses require different attention than enterprise. By using the knowledge you have about your customer’s profile you can launch Lifecycle Marketing campaigns that serve each client’s individual needs. If you engage a broad spectrum of client needs with generic emails, at best your success rate will be hit-and-miss, at worst, just miss. Directing marketing campaigns to specific users based on who they are (their profile) and where they are in the customer lifecycle (their actual usage of your product) will transform your marketing campaigns into meaningful and engaging initiatives. Whomever the customer may be – timely, topical and encouraging emails will help your clients use your product successfully, as needs and requirements change over time.
3 Steps to Lifecycle Marketing Success
Lifecycle Marketing relates to marketing programs that are anchored to your customer’s needs and usage. Here are some basic steps for conducting Lifecycle Marketing programs with your customers. The first two steps can be implemented immediately with your existing e-mail marketing or marketing automation system, whereas usage-based campaigns can be configured with Totango’s capabilities.
Step 1: Value Communication
First and foremost, communicate with your customers regularly about the value you are generating on their behalf. This form of communication not only acts as a testament to your company’s and product’s ongoing improvement, it also expresses your dedication to continually deliver value to your customers.
Value-based Lifecycle Marketing Campaigns could include:
New features you have added, improved or bugs you have fixed
New content you have generated such as presentations, videos, white papers
Events that you are organizing or attending where customers might meet you
Many companies roll-up all of this information in a weekly or monthly newsletter on behalf of the customer.
Step 2: Product-based Upselling
Upselling works best when you offer additional products that speak to your customer’s needs and usage. You can learn a lot about your clients, based on which product they have purchased and how long they have been paying customers.
Product-based Lifecycle Marketing Campaigns:
Focus upselling campaigns on customers who have already purchased at least one product; customers who have already purchased a product from you are more likely to purchase another.
Offer a special purchasing opportunity based on seniority to customers using a paid product for a prolonged period of time
Generate a special complimentary bundling offer for a purchased product with a product not yet purchased.
Step 3: Usage-based Programs
If you know exactly how customers are using your product in relation to their usage cycle, you know exactly when to send them what message in regards to content, events, features or other offers. Totango monitors this type of product and feature usage and can trigger e-mail marketing campaigns to optimize your Lifecycle Marketing.
Usage-based Lifecycle Marketing campaigns:
Trials phase: customers who registered for a free trial but never logged in should receive a different value e-mail than those who are actively engaged during the trial. Those that started a trial and abruptly left should receive yet another message. By seeing exactly where a trial user gets stuck you can send helpful tips to move the prospect along. Very active trial users could receive content related to pricing or purchasing of paid licenses.
Onboarding: Regardless of how user friendly your product is, every user feels like “the new guy” when they start using your product. Some of your users may have trouble getting acquainted with your feature set, while others may not understand the best ways to the get the most value from your product. You can always stay one step ahead and recommend the next best action for your customer. If you pickup where new users are getting stuck you can e-mail helpful tips and assistance before distress signals are sent out.
Land & Expand: upselling campaigns are more successful if you can send the right offer at the right time. If you monitor how actively a customer is using particular features or the product as a whole you could identify the best time to initiate the conversation about additional purchases.
Customer success: identify a decline in usage as a preemptive measure for alerting you of customers at risk of abandoning your product. Use this knowledge to reach out and proactively retain your customer base.
Rallying in your customers and generating a customer base is more than half the battle. Once they’re in your domain, Lifecycle Marketing programs help you optimize revenue potential by engaging customers as their relationship with your product builds over time. Start with the basics of value communication and build up your programs to product and usage-based initiatives. Your customers will feel that you’re catering to their needs, and your business will reap the rewards.
I was at the SaaS University conference in Austin this week organized by Rick Chapman from Softletter. This is really one of the only conferences in the United States that focuses on the business side of running Software-as-a-Service and cloud application companies.
These are my six favorite quotes on the sales and marketing of cloud applications and what I learnt from them:
1. “Software-as-a-Service is about Service (not Product)”
In the cloud you are selling a service, not a product. What does this mean? It’s often the best practices and business process around the code that matter most to clients. Chuck DeVita from the Growth Process Group shared how adding a design review methodology and implementation with conventional software products allowed one vendor to lift pricing from $15,000 to $100,000 per customer. The best practices and business processes were worth more than 5x the code itself.
2. “Products are evaluated, services are experienced”
Moving from a product to a service has implications for your marketing strategy as well. Ken Rutsky, an independent marketing consultant who used to run Marketing at Netscape and Secure Computing, pointed out that: “products are evaluated, services are experienced”. So for your marketing, forget about white papers and instead focus on creating experiences such as self-service demos and a self-service trial which give prospects a taste of your service experience.
3. “The CRM system of the future is your website (CRM is dead)”
Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite CEO said in his keynote: “the CRM system of the future is your website”. I would like the quote even better if it wasn’t so self-serving but there is still a lot of truth in his statement. The SaaS service itself is becoming the primary platform for communications with the customer. Rick Chapman added that a SaaS service should also embed community elements and become the primary channel for communications for customers amongst themselves.
4. “Product management is dead”
A surprisingly large percentage (about half according to an upcoming study by Softletter) of SaaS companies have integrated requirements management into their service: this means that customers can submit feature requests from within the application. Patrick Fetterman shared that Plex Systems has taken this one step further: they give customers a “budget” which can be used to “buy features”. Beyond the assigned budget, customers can also pay extra to get even more features. There are no product managers at Plex, just developers and community managers.
5. “Your customers know more about your solution than your sales guys”
This is another quote from Ken Rutsky. With so much information available on the web, propsects now have more knowledge and expertise about your product (and your competitor’s) than your sales guys. So why not get out of the way and create a friction less sales model? Most SaaS companies are moving towards a self-service discovery and self-service delivery model. In Softletter’s 2012 SaaS Report 51% of SaaS companies report to use a direct sales force. It is still high but down from 60% last year. Indirect (zero touch) selling on the other hand jumped to 25%.
6. “Don’t get people to buy, get them to use your app”
It is much easier to sell if prospects already love your service. The imperative to drive usage and adoption doesn’t stop after the initial sale. Most SaaS companies now use a “land and expand” sales strategy. In Softletter’s survey, the dollar-based renewal rate for SaaS companies ranges from 70% to 140%. Larry Cates from KeyStone On Demand, an online training application, analyzed the main reasons why customers cancel: low organization adoption, not enough customer stakeholders or the app is not utilized properly to gain full potential. These all relate to “lack of usage”. App reliability, competition or budget were reported much less frequently.
The way that enterprise products are being bought and sold is changing rapidly. Customers are increasingly demanding instant access to all information about your product, including pricing and a Freemium or free trial version of your application. We call this trend the consumerization of B2B sales.
Totango recently conducted a research studying the Freemium, free trial and pricing practices of 550 Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies.