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What is The B2B Report?

The pain revenue churn has caused B2B SaaS Companies around the world is undeniable.

The pain revenue churn has caused B2B SaaS Companies around the world is undeniable.

And, unfortunately, we still see executives and leaders that still don’t quite *get* the nuances that come with operating a business in the subscription economy

Churn hurts…

Consider this recent stat from Zoura–putting to bed the argument on believing that “what has worked before will continue to work in the future”.

It’s the same argument that fuels funnel vision.

more than half of the companies on the Fortune 500 list in the year 2000 have vanished.

The pain revenue churn has caused B2B SaaS Companies around the world is undeniable.

Enter The B2B Report

I started The B2B Report in March 2018 as a way to advocate and evangelize for a better way to manage recurring revenue and the customer experience in the B2B technology space.

That’s what you’ll find within this blog.

A new way of thinking that challenges conventional wisdom in business and proposes a shift to how we approach sales and customer success.

One fundamentally rooted in the most overlooked factor of future success in a digital subscription world…

THE CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE.

Customer Churn Never Sleeps in B2B SaaS.

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Want B2B Customers for Life?

Want customers for life?
 Don’t sleep on this…

Want customers for life?

Focus on their experience and making them successful.

The micro-interactions your brand has with buyers, customers and prospects are crucial to winning the macro in B2B SaaS.

Even folks that aren’t on your radar should have a warm experience interfacing directly or indirectly WITH YOUR BRAND.

You only get one first impression.

Make it count.

Then build on it over time.

Let it compound.

Why?

Because those micro-interactions you have today will become tomorrow’s future customer.

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Real Talk on B2B CX

The Truth about B2B CX?

Most B2Bs suck at Customer Experience (CX).

A simple truth: The more pains your b2b company solves for clients— with the least amount of friction to value and desired outcome(s)— the stronger their position will be to build a loyal brand following and recurring revenue base over-time.

In some cases, (some)…B2B companies are able set conventional wisdom aside for macro gains.

That’s why B2B leaders with an ability to practice delayed gratification are in an interesting position.

You could choose to invest in CX solutions now, and get ahead of their cohort and competitors. Keep their customers and grow revenue at healthy clip.

You could compound the impact of a strong CX investment by baking product-led and customer-led growth strategies into your business.

Takeaway: B2B Saas Companies that double down on CX will win big by sacrificing short term revenue for long-term growth.

This means less focus on customer acquisition and more on adding retention and expansion based revenue initiatives.

As I’ve said before, in B2B, it’s all easier said than done.

So to help drive the point home, I’ve included a few mind-blowing stats from Esteban Kolsky, the founder of thinkJar — a customer strategy think tank.

  • It’s 6-7X more expensive for companies to attract new customers than to keep them.
  • 55% of consumers are willing to pay more for a guaranteed good experience.
  • Only 1 out of 26 unhappy customers complain. The rest churn.
  • 67% of consumers site bad experiences as the reason for churn.
  • 86% of consumers are willing to pay more for an upgraded experience.

source

So why aren’t B2B Brands giving the people what they want?

Simply put…

Customer acquisition takes a front seat to serving existing customers in the B2B SaaS world. Reasons why will be addressed here in the future.

All said, it’s quite evident your End-Users are being STARVED of the high- quality customer experiences they crave from B2B Companies.

And when companies can’t get out of their own way, it’s called ‘Funnel Vision’.

Experience Matters!

For B2B executives or leaders that don’t want healthy revenue growth

For scaling with customer centricity: What if scaling could come *without* huge risk of hurting customer churn, slowing net-new deals, or damaging brand reputation?


Customer Churn Never Sleeps in B2B SaaS.

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the b2b report 

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Why B2B’s should run a B2C playbook

B2C’s are setting the bar high incredible high when it comes to the Customer Experience (CX). Will B2B’s ever catch up?

Are B2C brands running a clinic on their B2B contemporaries?

When it comes to Customer Experience (CX), the answer is *yes*. But is the B2B world paying attention?

In case you haven’t, here’s a quick rundown:

Today’s B2C companies crush CX for their customers far and wide — think NetflixEverlaneAllbirdsmahabis, Away, et al.

So, what do these B2C brands have in common?

They all have a dependable, consistent and STRONG CX motion that differentiates them in a meaningful way from their competitors.

And that’s the reason you often see many more cult-like followings tied to B2C brands vs B2B’s.

More impressive even, having killer CX, in some cases, has led to B2C companies reaching the coveted ‘cultural phenom’ status. 

Just think of the magnitude “Netflix and chill” has had on societal norms today. Crazy!

The Takeaway for B2B Leaders

B2C’s are setting the bar high incredible high when it comes to delivering delightful Customer Experiences (CX) with innovative and frictionless ways to renew and spend more to get more value.

To make it tougher for B2B’s, many B2C’s are doing this without sending annoying spray and pray email campaigns…

…or without spewing the all-to-common feature/benefit ‘pitch’ many tech companies have sales folks doing these days.

The Truth about Scaling in B2B

The more business pains you can solve with your products, services, and people — with the least amount of friction to value and desired outcome(s) — the stronger positioned you are to build a sticky brand, following and customer base.

B2B’s have an incredible opportunity to create similar and comparable experiences for their existing customers.

The question is will you take advantage of the opportunity to brand your business as a customer-centric, forward-thinking company?

One that values the clients they have already, INSTEAD of always obessing over ‘hunting’ for new ones?

Experience Matters.

The choice is yours.

Adapt or Die. #churnhurts

The key to long-term success in SaaS is Mastering CX.

Learn more about The B2B Report

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2 Ways to Delight and Expand B2B Revenue with CX

The B2B Saas Companies that double down on CX will win big by sacrificing short term revenue for long-term growth.

Here’s 2 Ways to Delight and Expand B2B Revenue with CX

Want to delight your clients and customers without breaking the bank or adding to your tech stack?

Ready? Lets get it.

1. Delight clients at scale by segmenting them into buckets of similar needs, desired outcomes, and experiences

The accuracy of ‘Personalization at Scale’ isn’t quite there yet.

Meaning, you cannot expect a tool in your sales and customer success stack to do the leg work AND deliver a unique personalized email sequence to your customers and prospects.

In fact, the human element of business is a differentiator too often overlooked in the B2B sales and success world.

Consider this:

Instead of using an automated drip campaign tool for the traditional customer segmentation like product type, company size, or dollar spend, have your reps and CSM’s create personalized and engaging content to send to their clients themselves.

Why not use an automated outreach tool?

  • Technology Buyers are more experienced in purchasing SaaS products, now than ever before.
  • For example, seasoned tech buyers can even tell when, or if, you’re using a mass produced email template or auto-sending email tool.

Delighting your clients can be accomplished through personalized, authentic and engaging communication. We’re all capable of being thoughtful. The world is watching and waiting for B2B’s to step up and deliver.

Remember: Strong and consistent customer experiences (CX) keep your brand fresh, embolden trust across the partnership and is considered a key driver behind having ‘customers for life’ and maxing out LTV metrics. (Customer Lifetime Value)

A few free ways to delight your customers:

  • Use vidyard or loom to send a video recaps of your latest conversations
  • Have your CEO call them personally to thank them for their business
  • Help your champion achieve a career goal or get a promotion using the value achieved from your product/service
  • Don’t ask for their time without offering up value first — even with existing customers!

2. Plant the seeds for upselling and expansion early in lifecycle

Painting the picture for your customers, early (and often) around what success looks like using your product.

Do this for the first 90 days, the first year, et al. and be very keen to share the path that other clients have had success with in growing their businesses after year one.

Think about this…

  • By understanding the needs and outcomes your client wants to achieve up front, you can map their respective paths of expansion based on your companies unique solution suite and service offerings.
  • Even better — weave this in with an analysis of user behavior and usage trends by understanding similarities between customers from similar sectors, verticals, and/or with similar subscriptions, experiences, or support levels.

Thinking ahead shows your client you are invested in their success, not just yours.

Do this consistently and proactively and the upsell and cross-sell conversations will become MUCH easier to have, propose and even close.

Ask yourself…

What, when and why did other clients expand their product use and overall spend?

What milestones or trigger event(s) lead customers to buy and add-on new products and services to support their unique path to ‘an improved future state of being’

In summary:

Buyers are humans. Your customers are too. They now have more options than ever and at the end of the day, we all want the same things…

To be treated fairly, not get burned, and all while being delighted by those companies we trust to deliver their product at the promised value and with a clear ROI in a timely manner.

And…without jumping through hoops…

Can you dig it?

Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at aaron@theb2breport.com.

-Aaron

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How to Get Promoted in a Tech Fueled World

The key to your next promotion starts with understanding how to serve in b2b.

Tech leaders today champion change for tomorrow’s world.

The Rise of New Leadership in Tech

In the tech community exists a rarely curated cohort of highly skilled executives and leaders.  Impressive on paper and impressive in person. They are unique for many reasons. And the key to your next promotion is understanding how to serve them.

Tech leaders are unique because of the expertise they bring to the table. In the software world, depending on your ‘niche’, companies are hiring talent with the right expertise to help them compete in that market.

It’s these executives teams driving how companies innovate, compete and win in business today. 

In B2B SaaS:

  • Leadership teams are designed with an individual leader’s core strengths in mind.
  • That’s why you’ll find many B2B’s with a hyper-focused org structure specifically designed to compete and to win at scale.
  • Leadership roles have changed slightly and will continue to change more over the next decade.

Think Customer Success…an entire career choice for professionals that didn’t exist until 1996, and finally took off 20+ years later. 

The rise in competition and shifts away from traditional business roles are the result of a growing trend we’ve all been a part of in some way or another: the subscription economy. 

Continue reading “How to Get Promoted in a Tech Fueled World”

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5 Ways to Maximize your Renewal Sales Team to Win in B2B SaaS

The battle for your Customer Base is about to get really real. The average SaaS company now has 9 competitors — that’s up from 2-3 competitors in 2013. Are you ready?

Do most B2B Companies plan to maximize and leverage recurring revenue to scale?

In other words, are they taking subscription-based renewal sales seriously?

This a question I often ask myself. Why? Because I genuinely do not know how B2B leaders across the globe, especially in the C-Suite, think about the long-term implications (good or bad of recurring revenue). Is it being overlooked? Is it a coveted secret for keeping an edge? Maybe. Maybe not.

Here’s the truth…

The battle for your Customer Base is about to get really real. 

Did you know?

  • Today it’s 3-4x more competitive in B2B SaaS markets than ever before.
  • New SaaS products and B2B companies are popping up faster than new customers. 
  • Tech companies are doubling down on delighting users with strong Customer Experiences
  • Inside Sales roles are growing more than any other role in the sales profession today. 

After all, B2B SaaS companies generate the majority of all revenue from their existing customer base in the form of subscription renewals, license/feature add-ons, and upsell expansion.

 Using census data, Insidesales.com estimates of the 5.7 million non-retail U.S. salespeople in 2017, 43.5% were inside sales.

Observations from the frontline

Is it assumed that everyone in Senior Leadership knows how to handle renewals?

  • B2B sales leaders are failing to use the power of recurring revenue to win in SaaS.

  • Existing Customers are an untapped goldmine of predictable scalable revenue for companies with subscription pricing models.

In 2013, the average SaaS company had 2-3 competitors. In 2018, that number exploded to average 9 competitors.

Despite recurring revenue being the lifeblood of achieving any real growth target in SaaS, new sales continue to be the bright shiny object distracting sales, marketers, and leaders away from delighting existing customers.

Spending a decade in tech — mostly leading inside sales teams — I can say with full confidence that more needs done to address the reality that a well-oiled renewal engine can have within your business.

The good news: The use of Customer Lifecycle Management is growing across B2B companies.

Customer Lifecycle Management alone can be the game changer that propels your brand to enormous success or causes catastrophic failure.

5 Reasons why tech leaders today need Renewal Sales to Slay it in B2B SaaS…

1) Customer Success has become a central role in the revenue farming, retention, and expansion

A growing and notable trend are that CSM’s— historically known for being separate from sales— can own every moment of the customer experience after the initial sale. This includes onboarding and product adoption, as well as contract negotiation and upsell / cross-sell expansion.

In other words, Customer Success teams are increasingly looked to manage the full customer lifecycle, including renewal sales.

2) Existing customers are 50% more likely to buy than new

Everyone knows this right? Account Based Marketing (ABM) is a key trend to watch for.

3) Build a Referral Funnel to supplement top-line revenue growth

When your customer base begins to evangelize your product with their peers, colleagues and network you’re on to something.

More importantly, if they are satisfied or delighted, why not ask for the referral?

Would you rather have 10 red hot referral leads or chase down 50 cold leads?

This is low hanging fruit. Just ask.

4) Customer Retention roles are different than traditional Selling roles. Hire accordingly

This starts at the top. If the leadership at your organization doesn’t know this already you’ll struggle to perform and probably already are. Don’t erode your user-base because you’re too lazy to hire the right talent to keep your happy customers, well, happy.

5) Existing customers are an untapped gold mine of mutual upside and win-win partnerships

Because the subscription-based model is fueled by the customer experience and normally sold as a monthly or annual subscription, your renewal team has more access than ANYONE else to practice empathy and walk in their customer’s shoes. They should be cataloging behaviors and trends. So, establish a client feedback loop, collect the data and use it to build better products, stronger support offerings, and well-tuned personalized journey. Customers should use their renewal account manager to get insights on product roadmaps for planning and to maximize the benefits and value received from the solution.

Written by Aaron Cowell 

@churnhurts