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The Big Data proliferation today offers companies a great opportunity, but without the right lenses in place, more data just creates more problems. How can companies navigate prospect and customer data to find and keep their best customers? Gainsight joins forces with Radius in a not-to-miss webinar to answer this question. Find Your Best Customers Radius’s marketing analytics software helps businesses determine which attributes define their best customers so they can deploy campaigns to new markets. Radius analyzes your customer base against hundreds of unique filters, and determines which filters are most likely to predict buying patterns for that specific client. The perfect customer looks very different for every business. While there are no one-size-fits-all category filters that define the best customers, the following metrics are good foundational filters: 1. Web Presence Radius evaluates businesses on filters like presence of a website, Facebook page, Twitter account, Foursquare listing, etc. A business’s likelihood to build an online brand reveals a lot about its stage of growth and willingness to innovate. Businesses that don’t have websites are more likely to need online consulting services and less likely to respond to Facebook and Twitter advertising, for example. Adoption of the latest social media trends often […]
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If you’re in Customer Success, I know you do it every week. I’ve been watching and I know you do. I also know that you dread it. I know because everyone dreads it. You can’t possibly have all the answers and the ones you do have may very well not satisfy your boss/CEO. It’s no fun but it is at the very heart of what you and your team are supposed to be doing. It’s all about managing risk, right? Of course I’m talking about your Code RED meeting, or your RED/Yellow/Green meeting or your At-Risk Customers meeting or whatever you might call it. It’s that hour you set aside with your team every week to talk about customers who are at risk of churn. And for many of you, it’s actually two meetings. One with your team to understand where each account stands and the second is your Executive Staff meeting where you get to relay that information, as best you can, to your CEO and the rest of the top brass. The question on the table today is how you and your team prepare for those meetings. Trust me, I know it’s not easy. Moving Toward Customer Success: […]
Is it really possible to have a fulfilling, long-term relationship with a software vendor? I’m here to claim that the answer is “yes”. You may think I’m biased because I work for a software vendor but I’ve also been on the purchasing side often enough to speak confidently from that perspective, too. I’m here to offer you three very simple tips on choosing a software vendor that is more likely to bring you everlasting love. Choose a partner, not a vendor, and definitely not a product. Of course you have to evaluate the product, but make sure that is less than 50% of your buying criteria. You really need to choose a partner. What I mean when I say that is that you have to look much deeper than the product’s functionality. Don’t just choose the pretty girl, choose the one with whom you are most compatible and who will seek to know and understand you over the long term. In the world of software, this means that you need to evaluate the quality of the company and the leadership, in addition to the product. Figure out which vendor is most likely to continue to address your ever-changing needs […]
In many ways, the relationship you have with an at-risk customer follows the same trajectory as dating. In the traditional sense of the word (read: not Tinder). Customer Success managers identify which customers need a little TLC and embark on recovering the relationship. The first place to look for problems is the onboarding phase. While the adoption of cloud products and services has grown, 63% of SaaS executives report data loading and integration as the most time-consuming aspects of customer implementation. Get ahead of that statistic with a steady handoff from Onboarding to Customer Success. When issues arise, the modern customer seeks answers immediately. A clear division of responsibilities between Support and Customer Success will make dealing with conflict easier on both parties. Forrester found that 29% of enterprises are now investing in proactive outbound communications, such as service alerts, customized cross-sell and up-sell offers, and new knowledge base content. Can you offer your customers the proactive support they need? As your relationship with an at-risk customer matures, you’ll find yourself in the renewal stage before you know it. Renewals and up-sells are 5+ times more cost effective than a new sale – the cost of acquiring customers through a renewal is 15% of the CAC to acquire new […]
Recently Dan Steinman (CMO at Gainsight) wrote about the 3 myths about the indicators of churn when it comes to Customer Success. Dan discussed the myths of predicting churn- Myth #1: product usage, Myth #2: the need for finding leading indicators and Myth #3: if you have enough data/analytics, you’ll figure it out. My opinion is similar to Dan’s in that every company is different and will have different experiences with the retention of each of their customers. There is no real “silver bullet” to solving customer churn, although there are tools like Customer Success Management solutions that help- but mostly it is about the complete customer experience and all of the associated engagement points. “The more you engage with customers the clearer things become and the easier it is to determine what you should be doing.” -John Russell, President, Harley Davidson The quote above is from a major, well-known American manufacturer- Harley Davidson. It encapsulates what I’ve experienced in managing customers and improving customer retention. As a Customer Success Manager (CSM), there is one main thing that should always be a priority: observe everything and hear/listen to the customer as much as possible. Observing everything includes all of your […]
Customer Success Management solutions are all the rage these days, and so are myths about churn. The Venture Capital community loves them, all the experts are saying you need one if you run a recurring revenue business, and each vendor stands at the ready to explain why their solution is the best one. The one thing they all have in common is the promise to help you reduce churn. As is often the case with any maturing marketplace, the vendors all start to sound very much alike, especially when one message starts to win consistently, but there are some very different views and approaches on how to best accomplish that elusive goal of reducing churn. So let’s start by debunking some myths that can sound very appealing but may lead you down the wrong path. To learn just how damaging Churn is to the overall value of your company, watch the replay of our webinar with SaaS Capital called “The Incredible Impact of Churn on the Value of Your Company.” Myth #1 – It’s all about product usage I wrote a blog a week ago about how important it is to watch and track how your customers use your products. I […]
We are in the SaaS business, so by definition “software-as-a-service” should imply the actual software is the only thing that matters when it comes to retention and driving customer lifetime value. Not exactly. Agreeing with Dan Steinman’s post, product adoption does not paint the complete picture of a customer’s health. There are a number of other ‘external to product’ factors that can play a significant role in a customer’s decision to renew, churn, or deepen. This is especially true in the beginning stages of a company’s deployment where product may have not taken root beyond simple use cases that could be easily replaced by competitors or alternate solutions. This is why other factors – such as the level of senior sponsorship upon deployment in the case of an enterprise product – are extremely important to understand and manage. Once your customer relationship and the product takes root, customers make an ongoing decision to use and repurchase. In SaaS, this is a conscious action to renew a contract on a monthly or annual basis. Customers have limited upfront investment and switching costs are low – unless one can create classic “barriers to exit” through sticky product adoption and high perceived utility. […]
Although I don’t believe that product adoption is the complete story of customer health, there’s no denying that it is a critical aspect. It is the primary factor in the success of your customers and the key driver of most Customer Success activities. It certainly deserves lots of attention and an intelligent discussion of what to track and how. Let’s start by talking about what to track. The easy answer is “everything” but that is not the no-brainer it sounds like. Unless you are fully prepared to sift through massive amounts of data in search for some gold nuggets or you already have your big data processes and algorithms all figured out, you may be better off with less data rather than more. Don’t get me wrong – if you have the ability to track everything, by all means do so. That historical data will someday be extremely valuable when you do start looking at it through a data science lens. So, by all means, track everything you can, but think long and hard about what to pay attention to in the near-term. Less is often more as you get started in this endeavor. A simple way to approach this […]
Businesses that appreciate the value of repeat customers have always been interested in when, how and why their products are being used. In the SaaS world understanding how customers are doing, their adoption or health is not just a nice thing to know, it is a need to know. In a subscription business like ours, we will ultimately get that answer when the customer renews or doesn’t renew, but we can’t wait around to see how it turns out, nor do we want to. We also can’t call every customer, every week to see how they are doing. We don’t have that many people who want to be bothered every week by a vendor who wants to check in. So how do we take the temperature of a customer in a consistent and dependable way without annoying them? We did as Dan Steinman talked about in his post – we created a scorecard. Since Dan has already covered the concept, I thought it might be interesting to hear how we developed our scorecard at Brainshark. We had done exactly as Dan described for several years. We used red, yellow and green to track who we thought was fine, who was […]