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aiim Customer Engagement customer success enterprise 2.0 Interview RC-SaaS Customer Engagement system of records totango User Engagement

Evolving from Document System to Engagement System

aiim Interview

Here is the additional interview promised from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference.
This time Jessie Wilkins, Director System Engagement for aiim speaks about how will the future of the enterprise information management will look like.

As mentioned a lot in this blog, nowadays the customers are kings, customer engagement is taking a royal place in web applications and the interaction between the business and the customers and between the customers themselves is highly important for any successful SaaS business.

Jessie mentions that for decades the world have been focused on “system of records” which is actually focusing on documents.
These days the focus is on conversation, interaction, Facebook “likes” and it’s called “System of Engagement” where individuals engage with each other, organizations engage with customers and partners try to develop more collaborate ways of working together.

To learn more about the System of Engagement, read the white paper by Geoffrey Moore: System of Engagement and the Future of Enterprise IT

Tomorrow I will upload an interview from the Sales 2.0 Conference. This time Darren Suomi, VP Sales at HootSuite will give a tip regarding social media channels in businesses.

To read the full transcription of the video, click here

 
 

Video Transcription:

“My name is Jessie Wilkins. I’m Director Systems of Engagement for Aiim. Aiim is a non profit trade association. We do market research, networking events, industry analysis, standards development and training. We did some research earlier this year, and to try and determine what the future of enterprising information management looked like.

And what we determined was that for decades we’ve been focused on systems of record, all of those databases, repositories, share points, et cetera – that every organization has. They’re focused on documents and now we are starting to focus more on conversations, interactions, Facebook likes – and so we call those systems of engagement.

Ways in which individuals engage with each other, organizations engage with their customers and their partners and try and develop more collaborative ways of working together. Our research and research from others including Mackenzie, Forrester and Gardner, all suggest that organizations that use these tools effectively are more profitable, their market leaders are gaining market share, they can streamline their processes, but too many organizations don’t know how to do that.

And so, we’re here to hopefully provide our strategies, processes and plans for how to do it more effectively.”

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Customer Engagement Customer Loyalty customer success Customer value free trial conversion free trial period freemium increase trial conversion rate low touch module User Engagement

How NOT to Sell in SaaS and Increase Paid Conversions

Offer Customer Value

So you have a product! you’ve worked so hard on making it the way you want (iteratively of course) and now you want to sell it – so how do you do that? The answer, as strange as it might sound, is that you don’t!

As I wrote in my previous post, two very common sales models which have recently evolved are the zero-touch and the low-touch models where there are no sales teams or a very small sales team respectively. Why have these models evolved? because they were needed! in the SaaS reality, where the Internet is flooded with information, customers prefer being the active searchers and find solutions for their specific problems. They tend to rely less on non-objective sales people to convince them why their product is good for them – they prefer to simply read or hear about a solution from someone else and if they feel a solution might help them, they can simply sign-up to it’s free trial period or free account (freemium) and try it themselves!

Come to think of it, it’s kind of a revolutionary state of mind where your customers want to be able to choose their products based on its true value! After choosing it, they’ll evaluate it and only then, if they find it really helpful for their needs, they’ll convert to paid users.

The key is not to sell the product but to give away value – if you honestly & utterly try to gain customer success and help other people with their existing needs, they will feel your pure intentions and stay for more. Once trying to sell, the whole focus will go in that direction and you risk loosing the audience loyalty.

This very much like Google organic search: if your website truly provides relevant and valuable content, it will be ranked high in Google and attract prospects. Similarly, if your product is truly relevant and provides value to customers, prospects will try it and convert into paying customers.  Your solution should of course solve a very common problem and preferably have a unique answer (and that is a subject to a whole different post).

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Best Practices cohort analysis conversion metrics customer driven Customer Engagement customer engagement funnel customer lifetime value customer success free trial freemium Interview metrics prevent churn RC-SaaS Customer Engagement saas business models SaaS sales sales model User Engagement zero touch model

3 Outright Strategies to Improve SaaS Customer Success

Outright Image

Totango is now (also) located in Mountain View, CA! Having a new Totango home in California is great and allows me to meet many cutting edge businesses with free trial or freemium business models while here. Today I caught up with Laura Messerschmitt, VP Marketing at Outright. Outright helps small businesses to organize their finances. Over 100,000 users worldwide are tracking the health of their businesses with Outright. Outright is a free service, with a premium product available for a monthly fee. The sales model for Outright is entirely customer driven: the sales process is self-service (zero-touch selling).

What struck me most about Outright is it’s commitment to customer success. Making existing customers successful is the highest priority for the company. In my blog on “customer engagement is key for SaaS” I have written about the importance of increasing customer lifetime value and preventing churn in SaaS business models.

Here are a couple of things Outright is doing to align it’s entire company with it’s customer success (and thus customer lifetime value):

1. Define a customer engagement funnel

Key to customer success is realizing that not all customers are created equal. When a visitor to your website first signs up to your service, you have not yet won a new customer. In fact, a large percentage of sign-ups may never activate the service. I discussed this phenomena in my blog on “3 ways to do cohort analysis on SaaS churn“. In the case of Outright, they have explicitly modeled the different stages in what you might call the “customer engagement funnel”:

Stage 1: Sign-up, user has registered
Stage 2: Activation, in the case of Outright has started using the product
Stage 3: Use, in the case of Outright has continued to use the product over time

While you can get a lot more fancy with this and define further actions and life cycle stages (including those that include up selling and expansion opportunities), just recognizing the difference between a sign-up, an activated user and a truly active user is a huge step in the right direction.

2. Make customer success metrics central to the business

You cannot manage what you cannot measure so the next step for Outright was to develop a dashboard that shows sign-ups, activated users and active users and the conversion ratio between each of these stages. Outright is looking at this on a daily, weekly and monthly basis via cohort analysis to see how the service value which is delivering customers is improving over time. If you want your company to be customer driven, you have to give everybody in the company access to these metrics . Only if you make the customer success metrics central to all your management meetings, will the entire team be laser focused on improving customer success.

3. A customer driven organization chart

The most innovative thing Outright has done is to align their entire organization chart with the different stages in the customer engagement funnel. There is a dedicated team, including product managers, developers and designers, focused on improving the product for those users who have just started using the product. The focus is on making it easier and easier for these customers to help themselves and get more value out of the product. Automated e-mails are sent with helpful tips to help customers along the way. Then there is a separate team, also with its own product managers, developers and designers to improve the value in the service for those customers who are already active.

Thanks so much to Laura for sharing. I am looking forward to check in with Outright again in a couple of months to see how their customer driven organization chart has impacted the key conversion metrics of their customer engagement funnel.

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Best Practices Business Insights cancellation rate cohort analysis conversion rate Customer Engagement Customer Retention & Churn customer satisfaction inbound marketing RC-SaaS Customer Retention Response saas churn saas metrics time to cancel time to convert trial conversion user behavior User Engagement

3 Ways to do Cohort Analysis on SaaS Churn

Ways to do Cohort Analysis on SaaS Churn

Last week, Jason Cohen wrote a very comprehensive blog on software-as-a-service churn: Deep Dive – Cancellation Rate in SaaS Business Models. I required everybody at Totango to read this blog and recommend that you do the same. Jason looks at many different definitions for the SaaS Cancellation Rate metric.

Eventually, Jason recommends performing cohort analysis when looking at cancellation rates. He suggests to divide customers in segments based on their “time to cancel” (i.e. cancelled after 30 days vs. cancelled after more than 30 days) and, for all intends and purposes, he recommends focusing in the long-term users who have greater business revenue potential and cancellation reasons which can be addressed and resolved more easily.

This is indeed an interesting way to look at it, and very analogous to the importance of the “time to convert” metric when it comes to inbound marketing and trial conversion. However, I argue that this is not the only, and maybe not always the best, way to do cohort analysis on SaaS churn.

Let’s take for example an email service application. If 2 users have signed up at the same time:

  • One of them is using the service more frequently, creating many accounts, visits almost all application features and cancels after 10 days
  • The other accesses the service 3 times a week but just checking very limited features and cancels after 31 days

Who should be given more weight?

If I’d measure by Jason, I would focus my efforts on the second user, but if I weigh my analysis with user behavior altogether, then my most valuable customer to understand is the first one.

So this leaves us with three promising ways to segment customers for cohort analysis:

  1. Traditional way: create cohorts based on the week or month in which they signed up for the service. This will allow you to analyze the effect of changes you made to your product or service over time.
  2. Jason’s way: to create cohorts based on the “time to cancel” (or the “time to convert” for that matter). This will allow you to focus on long-time users of your product and sift out those who signed up in error.
  3. The customer engagement way: to create cohorts based on the “engagement level” with the product or service. This will allow you to focus on frequent users of your products, independent on how long it took them to cancel, but still sift out those who signed up in error (and never started to use the product).

Of course, in all cases, measurement is just the first phase of the process and the complementary phase must be to prioritize the changes needed in the service which would ultimately lead to increase customer satisfaction and customer engagement.

What about you? What is your definition for cohort analysis?

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Best Practices Business Insights customer acquisition cost Customer Engagement customer lifetime value customer success key metrics most important metrics for saas RC-SaaS Best Practices RC-SaaS Customer Analytics saas executive saas metrics track saas business User Engagement

Survey Results: Which Metrics are Key to SaaS Executives?

Pie Image

As part of my effort to create the SaaS Executive Dashboard, which helps executives to put together their business metrics for SaaS on a single page and track them, I’ve online surveyed 522 executives at SaaS companies. The survey compiles the list of metrics that matter most to SaaS Executive.

We aimed to get an industry perspective on questions such as:

  • Which metrics are most important for SaaS executives?
  • How satisfied are they with the tools & methodology their organization uses to monitor metrics?

Some of the things we found:

  • Following metrics related to customer-acquisition is a common practice by SaaS executives, with growing demand for life-time value (LTV) measurement
  • As it pertains to CAC, most SaaS organization have a clear view of what and how to measure metrics (practices & tools). But for LTV, there is less industry knowledge.
  • Similarly, there is a lack of quality tools for “LTV measurements”, whereas most SaaS executives feel CAC related metrics are well covered with existing tools

Survey Results Screenshot

While many executives rely on metrics, most also struggle with the in-house implementation of monitoring systems and find that there is a general lack of off-the-shelve tools:

Survey Results Screenshot

The results of the survey overall were pretty insightful and we’ve learned a lot about things like:

  • The specific metrics people use to track their SaaS Business
  • How often executives review SaaS metrics
  • Differences in the use of metrics between start-ups and mature businesses

We hope this research is helpful to you as well.

We plan to continue and follow these trends by running a quarterly updated survey.

 

How does it compare to the use of metrics in your SaaS or online business? We would love to hear from you.

 

Download Survey Results

 

For the complete results of the survey download the report here.

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Business Insights cohort analysis Customer Engagement customer success Product updates saas best practices saas churn rate saas dashboard saas metrics survey User Engagement

The SaaS Executive Dashboard

Today, the Totango team is excited to announce a brand new “SaaS Executive Dashboard”.
The Totango SaaS Executive Dashboard is an extension of the Totango online platform which allows SaaS teams to gain full visibility into the level of customer engagement in their business.

The SaaS Executive Dashboard allows SaaS executives to track and plan to improve key SaaS performance indicators and contains features such as Cohort Analysis. From the dashboard you can also drill down and instantly see specific account details.

The simplest way to learn about the SaaS Executive Dashboard is to watch this intro movie.

Totango SaaS Executive Dashboard from Totango on Vimeo.

We’ve chosen the metrics included in the SaaS Executive Dashboard based on discussions with many SaaS companies at various maturity levels. Many of these conversations started from our  SaaS Metrics Survey through which we aimed to capture an even wider view of the industry.

We’ve learned that most companies are struggling with homegrown monitoring solutions and still lack the visibility into important metrics needed to make strategic and tactical decisions for their company.

You can download the full survey to learn more. However, bottom line, most SaaS companies start with nothing, then as they grow they realize they need metrics to measure their business and start building home grown solutions which eventually gets out of control in terms of complexity and budget.

Totango SaaS Executive Dashboard captures the current SaaS best practices around monitoring customer engagement and customer success and tracks visitors, signups, activations, conversions and your SaaS churn rate. You can monitor against your business objectives and plans, diagnose problems and identify areas for improvement. The Totango SaaS Executive dashboard is the best way to focus your SaaS organization around customer engagement and customer success.

 

Availability

The Dashboard is available to existing Totango customers and will be available for new registrations within a couple of weeks. You can go ahead and pre-register to get access when it’s released.

The SaaS Exec Dashboard will always have a free tier, so SaaS startups that are just starting their business can take advantage of industry best practices with limited effort.

View our Trial Conversion Webinar!

 

To learn more about how to measure key metrics
view our 40 minute webinar: “Best Practices on Trial Conversion

 

About TOTANGO:
TOTANGO analyzes in real time customer engagement and intention within SaaS applications to help you grow your business

 

Get a high level view of your business!
Try TOTANGO free for 30 days
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Measuring User Engagement in Web Applications

I came across “What is user engagement” article by Jordan Willms of Work at Play. In this post, Jordan defines a good engagement metric as the number of user actions divided by the number of content items. The example provided is of blog posts comments divided by the number of posts per month.

This is certainly a very interesting metric. It made me think, does this also make sense to web application usage?

Following the same logic, in web applications (as opposed to a content site) we would count features and divide those by the number of user actions. I’ll use Google Docs as a simple example:

Say the features are: New, Save, Print and Share document. Total of four features.
For each user the engagement metric would be the number of activities divided by four.

Let’s see the score of two users over a week of usage

Activity User A User B
New 10 2
Save 10 2
Print 10 2
Share 2 22
Score 32/4 = 8 28/4=7

User A scored 8 while user B scored 7. By this engagement metric user A explores more the feature set of Google Docs and is more engaged.
On the other hand user B uses a more competitive feature of Google Docs, which is Share Document, hence might be a more valuable user of Google Docs.

Although this engagement calculation method isn’t perfect I’m convinced that this it is better measurement of user engagement then by just counting “number of logins” which is what most application owners do.

What do you think?

SaaS Executive Dashboard

Do you know how to measure your Customer Engagement?
Our SaaS Dashboard can easily do that for you!
Try it now for FREE

 

About TOTANGO:
TOTANGO analyzes in real time customer engagement and intention within SaaS applications to help you grow your business

 

Increase user engagement now!
Try TOTANGO free for 30 days
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