How to ensure customers realize value from your SaaS platform

SaaS Article - How to ensure customers realize value from your SaaS platform (source: SaaS Industry)

At a Glance

Getting customers up and running on your SaaS platform is easier when compared to ensuring they realize value from it. Customers’ success would help SaaS vendors grow new revenue streams and boost their bottom line

New customer logos may be the lifeblood of top-line revenue growth and the focus of sales and marketing teams. However, renewals have emerged in the last few years as a key growth driver for SaaS companies. A recent McKinsey study indicated that existing customers could drive between a third and a half of new revenue growth, even in startups. It is said that customer acquisition costs five times more than customer retention.

Today, many companies target a 100 percent Net Retention Rate (NRR) to protect and enhance their bottom-line earnings. Existing customers are more likely to buy from you again and try new products than new customers are to sign their first sales contract. For these reasons, customer success has come under the spotlight in the modern SaaS ecosystem.

Turning customers into satisfied champions who will renew their contracts on your platform and upgrade to new services does not happen on its own. It takes a coordinated effort to ensure that they are not just satisfied but turn successful. This will pave the way for them to solve more problems using your platform, ultimately becoming your customer advocates.

Here are some key steps to guide your customers along the journey to success:

Engaging Early

Ensuring customers’ success begins at deal closure or earlier. Your sales team closes the deal, the customer signs the contract and then moves on to be handled by the customer success team. 

The next step is to create an implementation roadmap, establishing trust with the customer. It can include onboarding and training, user acceptance testing (UAT), the setting of a project plan and a solution description depicting a successful customer implementation.

Building Momentum

Getting customers up and running on your platform is the easy part. Ensuring that they realize value from your platform is the challenging part. Akin to other business initiatives, you need to have the right data and the ability to analyze it to comprehend whether customers realize the value and successfully use your product.

To begin with, you need to understand how your customers use your product, the features or functions they use the most and the business processes they manage using it. This data is the key to understanding your customers’ state of mind. 

Do your customers encounter incidents where they struggled to use your product the way they wanted? In the early stages of customer implementation, such incidents are a common occurrence. But they are relatively easier to prevent from occurring in the future. Ultimately, it is about the way you recover and learn that counts. Additionally, having data on customer usage helps you spot this, constantly measure and review how customer success is on your platform.

Providing your customers a high-touch experience, especially in the early stages, is essential. Assigning a dedicated customer success manager who follows a consistent, seamless and personalized approach for each customer is also crucial.

Communicating Constantly

Quarterly business reviews are essential. You need to understand whether your software meets your customers’ expectations and help them set an individual product roadmap for future adoption. Customers should also understand potential updates in your product roadmap to discern when they would receive a game-changing feature they desperately need.

Customers’ usage data does not provide all the details on their success. Here are some questions that you can ask your customers to understand better, how your platform works for them – 

  • How much time do you save on our platform when compared to your previous one?
  • Are you able to use less staff than before?
  • Have you stopped using any other software tools after utilizing ours?
  • Are you able to solve problems and get to the root cause of issues faster than before?

However, you must understand that customers will not always have data on how their previous systems worked. Therefore, some of the aforementioned points may be anecdotal. Despite that, asking these questions could help customers realize the value they receive from your platform and help them see the goals they would like to accomplish by leveraging your platform. 

Churning from one SaaS product to another is a relatively easy task from a customer’s perspective. Customers that fail to take advantage of a SaaS platform’s capabilities take their problems elsewhere.

Most importantly, hearing customers’ concerns and listening to their needs are the most important ways to express your care and invest in their success.

Being Dependable

Gaining your customer’s trust, holding their hand through the implementation process, giving them high-touch personalized service, monitoring their usage of your platform, understanding the challenges they face and helping them realize their progress, will help you retain, grow their usage of your platform and make them your customer advocates.

Following these steps will show your clients that your company is a dependable partner who understands their challenges and assists them in finding solutions to their business problems. Your customers’ success will help you grow new revenue streams and boost your bottom line, turning your customer success department into a profit center.

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