Monday, 30 April 2018

7 Best SaaS Tips & Ideas for your Business Growth and Retention



Definition of  Software-as-a-Service:  Cloud computing changing the way in which software is developed and delivered to customers. The data of users are stored on cloud servers and vendors are able to upgrade their product without the need of requiring the customer to upgrade software. When the custom-made software is developed, the core product is then sold to the customer. SaaS programs tend to be available on a subscription model. When working with SaaS providers, you will get technical support updates, as well as subscriptions which allows you to cancel at any time.
       SaaS companies success completely depends on acquiring and keeping users in your product. So, use your product to acquire, retain and grow your customer base. As the SaaS business model depends on personalized in-product customer experience. It requires a deep understanding and ability to influence user behaviors inside into your product. Also, it requires a product-led go-to-market strategy that guides marketing, sales, customer success and product teams to put customers in front.
       Digital transformations have bought all businesses online, the SaaS businesses are already digital and service based, they now need to prioritize the customer experience to succeed. Digital transformations make it possible for companies that experience and more efficiently and effectively engage users and customers in the product. Word of bad customer experience leads Software-as-a-service company on a downward spiral. But, meaningful and memorable customer experiences can rapidly lead to growth and market domination. For that reason, the growing number of SaaS companies offer self-service freemium products and free trials. So, the customer can explore, navigate and actually use the product. And that every department and process across the organization with the fuel needed to deliver personalized in-product customer experience.

Customer Acquisition Model: The subscription economy provides an immediate option to signup for a product freemium or free trial. Allowing prospects to try a product improves the buying experience and provide SaaS companies with relevant behavioral data that helps them personalize that experience.

Tips to Create successful SaaS Business in the Industry:
1. Follow KISS(Keep it Simple, Stupid): SaaS products are often self-served and need to be self-explanatory, simple, clean and highly intuitive. 
2. Offer Several Packages: The entry point of SaaS offering should be free, but limited in usage volume, functionality and/or time.
3. Define, Analyse & Control:  In their actions, SaaS users share invaluable information about their use of products and their needs and behavior. Data reveals what functionalities are popular or aren't being used and also helps to segment users and define packages. It is important to define a test(A/B testing) and monitor the effective improvement after making changes.
4. Be committed to Customer Success:  Professional services increase revenue and stickiness and reduce the churn rate. It increases deployment time and cost of sales and reduces the margin. The main goal of the SaaS company is to defend and grow its recurring revenue from existing customers. To achieve this, customer success team needs to continuously monitor their customer usage levels, send them product updates and satisfaction surveys and invite them to customer advisory board session among other things. The customer success team should be trained and capable of selling.
5. Monitor your Dashboard: SaaS companies continually should monitor the Key Performance Indicator(KPIs). The most important measurement are monthly recurring revenue, churn rate,  cash flow, customer acquisition cost ratio, customer lifetime value etc.,
6. Growth is King: For SaaS companies with typical gross margins of greater than 70 percent, valuation mainly depends on annual growth rate. The average SaaS company is growing at about 25 percent per year is generally valued at around four to five times its forward revenue. The clear message is: If you have the means to do it, you should invest heavily in growth.
7. Show a Path to Profitability:  Good SaaS companies must show a path to profitability - essentially prove the business model is fundamentally sound( per KPIs above) and that they plan to be profitable in the next one or two years or at least can do so while maintaining at or above average growth rate.

SaaS Marketing: SaaS marketing is a complicated process. The user learns about, signup for, and uses the product all in the same domain which gives us a lot of data about how they interact with our content and services. Identifying the key actions that need to be taken or key pages that need to be seen to get the most out of the program will help identify bottlenecks in usage. If you have determined the product-market fit, then you are ready to start marketing,

The SaaS Marketing Journey

Graphic originally from http://www.inturact.com.

 Organize the Buying Journey: When companies use customer lifecycle framework rather than product life cycle, they can reevaluate their own process to ensure that organizational goals are aligned with customer needs and expectations. These in-product behaviors deliver a relevant experience to each user, which helps acquire, retain and grow the customer base. 

Ideas to Try for your Business Growth and Retention: Every new idea for boosting the customer growth and retention should be feasible with the resources you have, it is not always strategic to pull them off core functions to work on the latest growth idea. There's still room for low cost, easy to implement techniques to improve the growth and retention of your SaaS Product.
1. Call the New Prospects When they Sign Up: If you are a B2B SaaS startup, you need to be calling all your free trial signups immediately. Every phone call is an opportunity for customer development.  Because that person went through your marketing funnel, you will get feedback on whether your website is performing well. The insights you learn from these calls can be turned directly into hypotheses for experiments to run on your SaaS onboarding funnel.
      Customer journey consists of online and offline interactions. Digital touchpoints can happen outside of a product or in-product. SaaS companies focus on customer journey and interactions outside of their product to free trials and signups that focus on in-product customer journeys.

2. Try Win-Back offer for expired Trials: When you launch your product, users may like your MVP product, but not pull the trigger on moving over to you. However, as you develop your product into a more fully featured solution, those initial prospects might be just ready to move over. So, SaaS providers send several emails to dormant trial accounts after a year, offer them another 30 days trail by highlighting what has changed in the meantime.
3. Sending the summary of "What has happened this week in your SaaS" via email - Many SaaS products works day in and day out on your behalf. Depending on what your application does, you can send out emails highlighting the number of issues closed, the number of conversation tracked or leads generated,
4. Retargeting Customer Trials with Customer Success Content: It is a powerful way to get your past clients get them come back to visit your website. Saas companies use retargeting to get back to their site so they can sign up. Alternatively, you can advertise customer success stories that highlight the type of value that people can expect to get from your product.
5. Offer an Onboarding Package: Depends on your SaaS, your customer may need your service before they get started. Offering the onboarding package like"done for you" to new customers can be a way to smooth the path to success. Each optimization results in more customers using your product, more word of mouth referrals, and higher lifetime value.
6. Build a sticky SaaS Product: SaaS should be a product that becomes part of someone's daily routine. Something they can't do as good or enjoyable a job without it. Something they need and love it. It's a kind of solution that includes a superior customer experience. Having a product that isn't sticky just means that you have a churn problem. Increase the stickiness by reducing the time to value. It is the velocity of the customer seeing the value of your product - how long does it take them to get to those ah-ha moments that make them see the benefit. So, it is important to think from a customer perspective.
7. Pricing Strategy for your Business: For the SaaS business, you have to figure out the best price for your service. Different types of SaaS businesses use several types of pricing strategies. If you are starting new SaaS business, the best approach is to explore different pricing strategies used by others so that to position your pricing model to better appeal to your target audience.
Types of SaaS Pricing:
  1. Clear & Transparent Pricing: Being completely transparent about your pricing and expenses can be a great way to stand out from the crowd.  
  2. Per User Pricing: Charging per user is another pricing strategy you can use. It is suitable for SaaS that promotes team-based services.
 3. Feature-Based Pricing Model: Offering different pricing plans with access to more advanced features is the most popular strategy used by SaaS businesses.
 4. Usage Based Pricing; It is a pay as you go pricing is a strategy used by many SaaS businesses in the email marketing industry.
    Choose the strategy that fits your business plan depending on the service or product that you offer. As a business, you need to evolve with technology and economy to sustain growth.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

What is called Result-Oriented B2B Content Marketing Strategy?



      B2B Organizations are extremely committed to content marketing. Agile content marketing is all about creating content smarter. The successful agile program is able to produce high-quality content that delivers results more effectively and efficiently. One thing is to create good content. Another thing is to use your content to sell your products and services. That's why it is important to have the strategy behind each of content you write. When you are creating the content for your website, focus on what's important, and ask yourself a few questions like,
       * What are you trying to accomplish?
       * What kind of content( specific to the industry/role) will help you to achieve the goal?
       * When are you going to publish the content?
           Once, you have the answers to these questions, create the mini-plan for your content marketing strategy. For example, if you want to reach out the executive to buy a new and contact for assistance. Start thinking of questions they may have right now, and prepare the content that answers those questions. Choose the right topic for your target lead gets understandable, edgy, trigger emotions that make a promise and easy solution for their problem. Here are the common reasons for B2B content marketing failures,
            * Lack of Refined Strategy
            * Bad Content Promotion
            * Inadequate SEO efforts
            * Expectations are Set too High
        Reach them out through email. Facebook, social media and PR or another way. Squeezecmm    helps you to get brand new, meaningful and deep insight into your content performance through content taxonomy. Make a list of ways to reach out your audience. Decide on what you want people to do once they read your content. Be sure to add the call to action at the end of your content.
    Content marketers have huge opportunity to guide prospects in their journey and ensure that their company is on the shortlist for the first conversation with sales. Executive buy-in for content marketers is cited in the content marketing institute.  To lead successful content marketing, you need stakeholders and executives to understand why are you doing and what are you doing. That's why you need to tie directly with business objectives and present in a language that resonates with your executives. Uncover the pain points in each area of the organization and figure out the ways in which content marketing can help sales, services, product management, finance and support services.
When it comes to B2B content marketing, thought leadership falls into 3 major categories,
     1. Product Thought Leadership: They are expert in How to's, Best practices and strategy about how a product or service can transform a business.
     2. Industry Thought Leadership: These people are expert in a fresh point of view on news, trends and the future of the market, offering ideas for new ways to achieve success.
    3. Organizational Thought Leadership: These people work in leading the company culture, talent development, and other internal advantages.
Measure the Success: 
      By tracking the results, you come to know exactly how people see and react your content. Based on the results, you can make appropriate changes and respond accordingly. The Net Promoter Score or NPS measures customer experience and predict business growth. This proven metric provides the core measurement of customer experience management programs around the world.
NPS Calculation: You can calculate the NPS using the answer to the key questions. Customers are asked to rate on the 11 point scale the likelihood of recommending the company or brand to a friend or colleague. On a scale of 0 to 10, how likely they recommend the company's product or service to a colleague or friend? Based on the rating, customers are classified as detractors, passives, and promoters.


DETRACTORS: They gave the score lower or equal to 6. They are not particularly interested in product or service. They won't purchase again from the company and potentially damage the company's reputation.

PASSIVES: They will give the score 7 to 8. They are somewhat satisfied with your product or service but easily switch to competitor's offering if given the opportunity. They won't spread any negative word of mouth, but they are not enthusiastic enough about your products or services to actually promote them.

PROMOTERS: They will give the score of 9 to 10. They love the company's products and services. They are enthusiastic and repeat buyers recommend the company's product and services to other buyers.

     Net Promoter Score provides a simple and straightforward metric that can be shared with front-line employees. The Net Promoter Score is helpful that can be used as a motivation for the employees to provide the best customer experience possible. Higher Net Promoter Scores tend to indicate a healthier business, While lower Net Promoter Scores indicate to dig deeper into potential customer satisfaction and loyalty issues.
Use of Net Promoter Score for Business:  The balance of detractors and promoters would indicate a company's potential for success. It costs much more money to win back a detractor as opposed to simply keeping promoters on board.

       NPS needs to be part of a broader ecosystem where the entire organization lives and breathes by it. Marketing, sales, operations and customer service should have the strong commitment to improve the customer experience and to get the cross functional-adoption of the program. The front employees need to able to act upon real-time feedback and insights from the customer to the rest of the company. The data needs to be analyzed periodically. It is important to dissect the data and figures out the root causes of its detractor's experiences or the factors of success that turned simple customers into promoters.
Things to Consider when developing the Agile Content Marketing strategy :
1, Company Goals: The starting point of agile strategy should be sitting down with the management, executives or department heads make sure the content team is aligned with the business goals. It may include increasing brand awareness, generate leads, or promoting the new product etc., It is important to understand the program objective and ensure they are working toward every asset produced.
2. Develop Agile Editorial Calendar: It must reflect an extensive industry knowledge and have a strong content strategy behind it. The content team should research and create a list of core keywords and queries based on the topics your target audience interested. Next, determine the keywords and topics will achieve program goals. Focus your efforts on the keywords and topics that have the most potential to drive the desired results. Prepare for development of in-depth assets like ebooks  or case studies into the topics around in industry related stories or company changes etc.,
3. Optimize the Content Generation Process: You need to ensure the efficient and effective content generation process in your organization at every time. There are 3 crucial elements,
      * Content  Ideation,
      * Content  Production &
      * Content Promotion process
    In Content Ideation, encourage everyone to contribute ideas. To perfect the production of good content ideas use these techniques in the content creation process such as Writing down the content ideas, content-creation-tactics, content-creation-tools etc., In the production process, you must know what makes the great piece of content. Attractive headline entices readers hook them in, and the body filled with actionable and engaging information. Tell your story in a compelling way to achieve the goals. Finally, In the production stage, establish a routine workflow of sharing the content and identify the best channels to promote the content.
4.  Analyze the Metrics: Metrics depends on the program goals. If you are writing content geared toward bringing quality organic traffic to the site, focus on the session, users, new users, time on site and bounce rate etc., If it is intended to acquire leads for the organization look at the metrics like CPC, CPL, Conversion rate and Lead quality etc., For the engagement, check out social shares and brand mentions etc.,
5. Pivot your Content Strategy: Validate your content that helps to make progress toward your program goals or alert you to the fact that the strategy isn't working. Interpret the performance metrics and pivot the strategy accordingly. Push back the topics in the evergreen editorial calendar to make room for timely pieces of content related to products or other company events.
6. Account Based Marketing(ABM): Account-Based Marketing helps to retain and grow customer bases for top executives. One of the inherent traits of an ABM strategy is the nurturing effect created by ongoing, personalized efforts dedicated to a selected group of current customers. Satisfied existing customers are prequalified and likely have entrenched systems or processes they're not quick to change as long as the needs and interest are met by the current provider. For B2B marketers, there are some resources required to maintain and grow the customer relationship than attracting and acquire a new one,

7. Customer Life Cycle Management: For Saas subscription company, the winning customer is the first step of the journey in Customer Lifetime Value. So, it is important to shift the focus from buying journey funnels into customer lifecycle management. Develop a clear customer engagement strategy that marketers extend the experience for engaged and converted customers on the front end to one that will grow the loyalty and satisfaction on the back end.  Answering these questions can help you determine the best engage your customers,
      * What do new customers need to implement and become proficient at using our solution?
      * What are the new roles/people you need to engage?
      * Are that achieve the desired outcome?
      * How can you get them more value?
      * How easy it to do business with you over time?
    Onboarding a customer is the critical stage for a new customer. Delivering the content, tools, resources generate excitement and anticipation for using your solutions. Marketers proactively work with new customers by helping them facilitate change and see the added value will help to increase retention. Interactive content and personalization are the best tactics used for keeping the customers for life.