What is Customer Lifecycle Management? (CLM)

The Customer Experience, or CX, is dominating the subscription economy because it’s never been easier to replace a product or service with a solution of similar or equal value.

First a quick recap from The Top Strategy for CX in 2018…


We can thank both the cloud race and rise of digital for fueling today’s obsession with the customer experience.  The Customer Experience, or CX, is dominating the subscription economy because it’s never been easier to replace a product or service with a solution of similar or equal value. Give the customer a reason to leave, and they will. Don’t give them a reason to stay and they may go find a better experience at a better price point. The fact of the matter is, in 2018, there’s a flavor for everyone and subscription businesses have to adapt.

According to SalesHacker.com, over 700 new SaaS businesses launched in 2017 — which means there’s even more options available today and the ‘buyers’ market for B2B technology will only tip further in their favor. Add to this fact that more revenue is generated from existing customers, than net-new, and the reality of delivering a strong CX becomes blistering clear.

The Underdog is Mastering the Customer Experience…

Today’s underdog of success for subscription-based businesses has to be building and executing Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM). Existing customer are more likely to spend more, more likely to offer referrals, provide real-time feedback and build case studies for marketing…the list goes on. Check out more on the topic here: where I write about why existing customers are so important to the long-term success of your business.

The underdog of success for any subscription-based business is the process of building and executing Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM).

What is Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM)?

CLM is a process and methodology-based discipline. Completely customer-centric, CLM is used to improve the user experience by establishing a cadence, or touch-point schedule, to strategically add value and drive adoption at the right time with the right customer.

Remember, CLM is Alive! CLM is a living organism within your company. For it to grow and prosper, it must be a fundamental aspect of your culture. That means all internal orgs are onboard and bought-in. And as your teams collaborate to deliver delightful journeys for clients, you learn what works and what doesn’t. Behaviors, trends and user feedback are the holy grail. They feed the CLM ‘engine’. Allow outside-in feedback to act like the code of your CLM algorithm, tailoring the process based off commonalities of your users. In other words, instead of deciding how to segment your customer base, let them. Not literally, but by using their feedback and experience as your guide for how to group clients into buckets, or groups, that have similar needs, wants, desires or shared benefits using your product.

In the future, CLM will no longer be a by-product of your Customer Success or Inside Sales teams efforts to book business. The entire company will be focused on achieving (at least) one common goal: an incredible customer experience.

What’s next?

A lot is next. Follow us on https://saastrendz.wordpress.com as we will continue to tackle best practices and key insights for effectively managing the customer experience and lifecycle in the subscription economy.




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 


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