In the early stages of your SaaS business, the focus is rightly on building the product, developing the market, forming new partnerships, securing early adopters and converting trials into customers. All the energy, and then some, is placed in accomplishing these primary goals.
But often, a business transitions from the new customer acquisition phase to the revenue (MRR) protection and revenue growth phase without realizing it. In some cases, it takes years to get there; other times, it happens pretty much overnight. The one thing that is consistent is that the customer maturity phase will happen and you won’t realize how much of your business needs to change and adapt to this new phase.
Your business needs to seize the opportunity to be proactive in avoiding or reducing the impact of growth pitfalls by implementing the right customer management model for each stage of your business development.
These are the 5 telltale signs in a SaaS company’s customer maturity phase that justify the need for Customer Success:
Loss of Revenue
Does your company track customer churn and associated revenue loss? Customer churn metrics and associated revenue loss is often the primary factor driving change in how you approach managing a customer. Is churn on the rise but you can’t explain why? Or, are you suffering from revenue loss but don’t understand why? Are you trying to address this loss with more and more sales cycles being spent on reactive management but not seeing the expected results?
Loss of a Highly Visible Customer
The loss of a strategic customer can have a very negative impact on a business and sales organization. Let’s face it – in a startup working hard to find the right market fit with the right product offering, the loss of a customer will likely happen in the early phase of business development. But when a business starts losing brand after brand, reputation starts to suffer. You have arrived at that point in your business development where a very structured delivery and customer management is not only required but also expected by your high-end customers.
Drop in Customer Satisfaction
The voice of your customers is usually heard loud and clear as you transition from one phase to the next, but this message is often drowned out by what feels like other urgent investments. Having an executive management relationship program early in the development cycle, and most importantly preserving it through growth, is likely one of the best tools for a company to stay ahead of the maturity curve.
Operational Cost of a Strained Sales Organization
If you have transitioned into the customer maturity stage, it is very likely that your VP of Sales is already screaming at the top of their lungs as to how frustrated they are by having to deal with customer concerns and your inability to meet and deliver on their contracts. But more importantly to them, is often the fact that your sales organization is struggling to meet their sales revenue targets because they are so focused on supporting customers post sale. This may be something they never budgeted or planned to do and this isn’t really the right home for Customer Success anyhow.
Stalled Revenue Growth
In a SaaS business, protecting MRR and stimulating predictable revenue growth is THE key to success. If you can figure out how to do that, your business will prosper. And it is incredibly difficult to grow revenue if your customers are not satisfied with the value they are getting from your product or service, not using the product because they have not adopted it, or are not leveraging key features because aren’t aware of them. You will only grow your revenue with a customer that is happy or trusts that you can meet their needs.
Along with industry experts, we advocate that it is never too early to introduce Customer Success and doing so before your company transitions into the growth phase is of course ideal.
Before these telltale signs are on the wall start developing your business case for customer success – download the guide now!
About the Author
Pam McBride has over 15 years in B2B/tech marketing and SaaS businesses employing every data-driven marketing tactic along the way: demand generation, lead management, metrics/insights, PR/content/social and programs for acquisition, retention and upsell. She finds growth where others couldn't and creates motivated engaged teams that deliver great work to drive results.Follow on Twitter More Content by Pam McBride