There’s 1 Key Underdog Strategy of Subscription-based Businesses in 2018

The fact of the matter is there’s a flavor for everyone in 2018 and subscription businesses have to adapt and evolve.

The Customer Experience (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. Sales Hacker reported that over 700 new SaaS businesses, across 32 categories, launched in 2017. Meaning more options are available today than ever before, and for buyer’s and seller’s, it can be prett-y prett-y overwhelmingly. This reality has catapulted CX to the forefront of what it takes to win in 2018.

So, what strategies or measures have you taken for customer acquisition, growth and retention?

Why CX matters

We can thank the cloud race and rise of digital business transformations for fueling this obsession with the customer experience, or CX. Having strong CX has gone from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” for long-term business success.

With the cloud, 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 there’s a flavor for everyone in 2018 and subscription businesses have to adapt and evolve. It reminds me of the modern day “customer is always right” mentality that dominated the service industry 20 years ago.

Example: If you disliked Snapchat’s latest update, it’d take less a few minutes to switch platforms effortlessly. Instagram and Facebook offer the similar features with access to the same or larger audiences. Same goes for any B2B SaaS or subscription-based business.

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 customers are more likely to spend more, extend referrals, provide real-time feedback and participate in case studies for marketing, etc…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.

It’s all about owning the customer lifecycle for an optimized user experience. Do it well and reap the rewards of win-wins all day. Don’t and watch churn eat away at your business. It’s not enough to have a ‘sticky’ product anymore.

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.

Passionate about this topic?

I intend to continue sharing best practices and key insights here for effectively managing the customer experience and lifecycle in the subscription economy.

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B2B SaaS Leaders, Do you have the RIGHT Sales Strategy in place?

It’s not enough to have a ‘sticky’ product anymore in B2B SaaS. Enter the Customer Experience (CX) and the Customer Lifecycle.

The Customer Experience (CX) Slays in B2B SaaS

CX is dominating the subscription economy. Even SMB, Mid-Market and Enterprise companies can now switch software vendors with a click of a button. This is what makes the *customer experience* absolutely imperative to thrive long-term.

The experience customers having using your products and engaging with your brand that matters.

As a result, CX is now a key driver of revenue retention in the digital age.

Sales Hacker reported that over 700 new SaaS businesses, across 32 categories, launched in 2017 alone.

This means more options are available today than ever before, and for buyer’s and seller’s, it can be prettay prettay overwhelmingly.

This reality has catapulted CX to the forefront of what it takes to win in the hyper-competitive B2B SaaS markets.

This is not how you want your customers to describe their journey using your product.

read more on this trend here for 2018 and 2019

Why CX is Important

In 2019, the average B2B company has 9 competitors! That’s up from just 2 in the 2013 SaaS market.

We can thank hyper-competitive rise of digital business transformations for fueling this obsession with the customer experience. (and VC’s and private equity firms)

Having strong CX has gone from a “nice-to-have” to a “must-have” for long-term business success.

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 there’s a flavor for everyone in 2018 and subscription businesses have to adapt and evolve.

It reminds me of the modern day “customer is always right” mentality that dominated the service industry 20 years ago.

If you had to focus on one area in 2018, it should be mastering the Customer Experience…

Existing Customers are a Goldmine

Existing customers are more likely to spend more, extend referrals, provide real-time feedback and participate in case studies for marketing, etc…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.

It’s all about owning the customer lifecycle and creating an optimized user experience.

Do it well and reap the rewards of win-win scenarios all day. Don’t and churn will eat away at your business.

Think of it this way:

It’s not enough to have a ‘sticky’ product anymore.

Here’s what you can do about it

Execute and create a tailor-made Customer Lifecycle Management (CLM) plan for your B2B SaaS company. What is 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.
  • CLM is the underdog strategy of long-term success in B2B SaaS.
  • CLM can also help align your Sales and Marketing teams as well as your Sales, Marketing and Customer Success teams.

learn more about CLM here

Think of CLM as a living, breathing, 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 determine the appropriate experience (shoutout to Lincoln at Sixteen Ventures.

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.

Passionate about this topic?

Drop me a line on any social platform (IG, Twitter @churnhurts, or LinkedIn) or email me at aaron@theb2breport.com.

THE B2B Report // The Churn Sherpa for modern day SaaS Companies

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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

Welcome to theB2B Report

Thanks for joining us as we document the latest trends in B2B SaaS and tackle the topics we’re passionate about. We’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for joining us as we document the latest trends in B2B SaaS. We’d love to hear from you! Reach out directly or leave us a comment here on theB2B Report.

 

Welcome to The B2B Report

Did you know that more than half of the companies listed on the Fortune 500 in the year 2000 have vanished?

The pain churn has caused B2B SaaS Companies around the world is undeniable. Unfortunately, we still see executives and leaders that still don’t *get* the nuances that come with operating a business in the subscription economy

Churn hurts…don’t believe me?

Consider this recent stat from Zoura: putting to bed the argument that what has worked before will continue to work in the future. Same argument that fuels funnel vision.

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

Since entering the space in 2010, I’ve led worldwide sales and Customer Success teams for Start-Up and Enterprise technology companies with immense success.

With over $1.2 Billion in paid subscription-based revenue and over 50k SaaS deals closed to date for clients, I’m excited to extend the expertise I’ve established working in trenches of the digital gold rush. 

I serve companies, leaders and professionals aiming to reduce churn without outsourcing sales or customer success or buying expensive technology. 

The B2B Report

 

For Churn Management Consulting and/or Advisory Engagements

Contact Aaron via email at aaron@theb2breport.com, or aaron@churnsafe.com.