We recently sat down with the Daddy of Customer Success, Dan Steinman, to talk shop. We were pretty starstruck because he literally wrote the book on Customer Success in his role as General Manager (EMEA) at Gainsight. You can watch the interview at the top of the page, but in the meantime, here are five takeaways from our chat.
He says the world has turned upside down for marketers recently. Do you agree?
1. Why customer success exists
Customer Success has emerged as an integral part of the make-up of SaaS businesses, like ResponseTap, due to the ongoing subscription model that they operate. Customer Success means, according to Dan, that these businesses should be striving to deliver the value that was promised to the customer during the sales cycle.
Essentially Customer Success now exists because we want customers to be loyal, not just because we want them to be happy (which we do too!). And if we ensure they get the maximum value out of the product, this should happen organically. Thanks for the advice Dan.
2. Why it’s important now
We know Customer Success is important. But why now, specifically? Well, as Dan says, we’ve moved into the ‘subscription economy’. Not just Spotify, Netflix, Amazon. But in B2B too. Dan says we’ve always cared about customers- but until fairly recently it wasn’t a business imperative; with customers being moved onto subscriptions, now it is. As the way in which customers pay for your product has fundamentally changed, it’s now more important than ever to keep on delivering value so they keep renewing and in turn become dedicated advocates for your business.
3. What are the main challenges for SaaS businesses?
The primary benefit of SaaS is that it makes the product accessible to more people. In the past, when customers bought software, they had to buy hardware to run the software on. Customers now lease our software. They don’t buy hardware or data centres. So now we have a new situation where it’s easy to become a customer. Which is great for the customer. But for businesses, this means that often there are many customers of very low value. So, it’s considering how you can always keep on adding value for them. Which is where ongoing support comes in and ways to promote advocacy and answer their queries. ResponseTap has a Knowledge Base packed full of FAQs, for example, and a Support team available 9am-1am GMT.
4. Why the world has turned upside down for marketers.
The nature of SaaS means marketing has fundamentally changed too. Marketers used to only market to prospects who they thought might want to buy their product. The world of subscription, where the sales motion never ends, means that the marketing motion can never end either. Great marketing teams at a SaaS business need to be able to do effective marketing to existing customers because they have to buy your product again and again. You can do this by reinforcing the value proposition, your brand, and what you stand for.
5. The future of Customer Success
One of the things driving the imperative of Customer Success is the next business model we’re seeing develop, which is the ‘consumption model’. This means you don’t pay a subscription; you only pay when you use the product. In this model, all of the revenue will be driven by Customer Success- encouraging people to use the product more and more. Also, people will become more and more receptive to the way Customer Success works. This begins in the sales process, so you can make your prospects clear that you will be tracking how they use your product because we want them to get the most value out of it. That includes tracking how often you’re using it, when you’re logging in, whether you’re using all of the most valuable parts of it. If not, we’ll contact you and encourage you to do so. People will become more open to this in the future. As more and more companies look to become tech-orientated customers, Customer Success will become increasingly valuable and an even greater necessity.