Let’s dispense with the preamble – my time is short, yours is too, so I’m going to consolidate the best advice I’ve got on using Customer Success as a Growth strategy for SaaS into 5 points. Ready? (You thought I was kidding with the total lack of introduction, didn’t you? Nope – find out why in point #4).
1. Use your customer success team to inform lean growth
The Lean Startup idea is based on first listening to what your customers want, then presenting them with a minimum-viable-product, listening to them again, and improving the product accordingly. You can fit Customer Success into this model seamlessly, right from the beginning, by giving your team the job of finding out what success with your product means to your target audience. You can use tools like surveys and customer interviews, but much of your best feedback will be on the fly from users trying to successfully use your product, and chatting with your Customer Success team to find out how to do so.
2. Design follow-up emails to make users love you
Email marketing can be a huge opportunity for growth when designed using analytics and Customer Success theory. Ask yourself this: What would happen if your email open rate was 90%? That’s a really tough (and sometimes impossible) percentage to reach, but it’s been done. How? A Customer Success-centric approach to content, ensuring each email communication provides real, immediate value, combined with analytics that help your marketing team fine tune your emails around what your target audience wants most. Your first step to email marketing success is the follow-up email, which is often the very first email your users receive after interacting with you. Make these count by optimizing, personalizing, and automating them for quick delivery – and above all, providing real value. When you train your customers to expect something of value every time they open your emails, your open rates will soar – which leads the way towards cross-sells, up-sells, and MAKING MORE MONEY!
3. Catch’em before they fall
Customer Success tactics are used by growth hackers all the time to keep closer tabs on users. Your Customer Success team should be proactively reaching out to users before there are problems, just to check in and see how everything’s going. If things aren’t going well, you’ve caught a potential unsubscriber before they’ve even thought of leaving, giving you a chance to make things right, impress the client, and hopefully, earn some public client kudos in the process. This helps you reduce churn drastically, which reduces your Cost to Acquire a new customer, and makes your business more profitable in the long term.
4. Content marketing meets Customer Success
Content and Inbound marketing are both founded on content, and that content has to be both free of fluff and genuinely useful to your audience. That means only including immediately actionable tips and advice that don’t waste your target’s time. Not that I advise against introduction paragraphs as a rule, but after having read one too many “whitepapers” chalk full of chatter and generalities, I frankly got fed up. Growth depends on your audience finding what they need on your site fast and getting so much value from it that they want to share your solution with everyone they know. You can’t do that with fluff.
5. Use Customer Lifetime Value (LTV) and Cost to Acquire (CAC) to double-check your strategies
You can use your CAC and LTV numbers as barometers for how well your marketing is attracting your target demographic, and whether or not your customers are finding success with your product. If your CAC is high and your LTV is low, this tells you something is off – see if any of these apply:
- Your marketing efforts aren’t reaching your target demographic.
- Your target demographic shifted since last you checked.
- Your buyer persona is inaccurate.
- Your messaging is off on your website, offer pages, CTAs and ads.
- Your keywords are off.
Or, it could just be that everybody hates your product, in which case, see point #1 and start over. But most likely, if your product is good, your problem is one of the above five. CAC and LTV scores are the beating heart of Customer Success – it’s what drives it, what informs it, and what inspires it. Maximizing the lifetime value of your customers is the name of the game for SaaS businesses, because when you’ve got LTV, you’ve got growth.
In short, when customers are happy and successful with your product, they’ll want more of your product. When they find value in your content, they’ll want more of your content. And, they’ll want to tell their friends and business associates about you. All of these outcomes can be explained and tracked in dollars as your Customer Success initiatives reduce churn and CAC, reduce the amount of money you spend on outbound marketing, increase conversions, and build the foundation for exponential revenue growth with LTV.