The hardware ecosystem is complex in many ways. Thousands of companies build and assemble hardware components to support networking, communications, storage, data management, electronics, and countless other technologies that the world relies on everyday.
Even more complicated is how and to whom hardware companies sell their products. Depending on their business model and the nature of the product they're selling, they could sell direct to consumers, through a channel partner like a distributor or reseller, or to other corporations. Depending on the product, sales cycles could range from a few months to many years; same with contract length.
Given the complex nature of hardware products, their sales cycles, and their customers, how do hardware companies accurately measure the health of their customer relationships? How do they drive repeat business? Each company likely does it differently.
There's a definite need for hardware companies to start learning and adopting the customer success best practices of the software / SaaS world. As I mentioned in my last blog post, customer success is a universal concept that can apply to any B2B company that wants to build more valuable relationships with its customers. Although hardware companies may not have usage data like SaaS companies, that only makes other metrics like customer support and surveys even more important indicators of customer health.
Here's how several segments within the hardware ecosystem can use Gainsight to drive greater customer value and success:
Communications and Networking: Account managers at companies that sell communications and networking equipment and devices (e.g. phones, tablets, modems, routers) can pull support data and survey feedback into Gainsight to paint an accurate picture of customer health.
Computer Hardware: Account managers at companies that sell computer hardware (e.g. office equipment, industrial devices, laptops, and computer accessories) can use Gainsight to understand and identify opportunities for up-sell. This can mean selling a larger volume of hardware products like corporate laptops into a customer account, or refreshing a customer's older laptops for the newest models.
Storage and Data Management: Companies that provide subscription-based storage or data management services, or infrastructure as a service (IaaS), are primed to use Gainsight to drive up-sell of larger contract volumes, cross-sell of tiered support services, and renewals on contracts, very similar to how a typical SaaS company would use Gainsight.
Distributors and Resellers: Some hardware companies utilize channel sales, relying exclusively on distributors who manage relationships with resellers, who then sell directly to end customers. "Account managers" at these hardware companies are then actually managing relationships with their channel partners instead of with end-customers. In this scenario, Gainsight can help companies better understand and quantify the health of their channel partners to ensure that the partners generating the most revenue continue to remain an integral part of their business.
Sonam Dabholkar handles New Market Development at Gainsight. If you'd like to find out how your Hardware company can leverage Customer Success, contact Sonam today.