Why choosing the right Customer Retention Software has become so important for B2B SaaS Business? To know the answer, let’s have an overview of how customer retention works for B2B SaaS Business. One of the biggest pitfalls of most founders of B2B SaaS is the thought of having a great product or service that is good enough to retain customers. The bitter truth is that it’s not completely true.
Gone are the days when software developers would develop on-premise software that bound customers on a long-term contract and required upfront heavy investments. With the Subscription economy, customers require very few upfront costs, and contracts are simple and for a shorter duration. What that essentially translates is, the customer is going to stick to you as long as you are able to deliver value and help them achieve their business goals.
To be able to do this, you need to know the “When”, “How” and “Why” your customers are using your product and services. Which of your customers are getting value and which are not deriving value out of your product. And then build a process around those best practices to make it a scalable function rather than a one-time thing.
This is where B2B Customer Retention software becomes imperative for a growing subscription business.
1. Actionable Vs Non- Actionable
The first thing that you need to look for in retention management software is “Actionability”. The actionability of the platform depends upon what you’re looking for in the retention software. Is it just analytics, record keeping, or some data? Or do you want to drop the ball, but pick it up and act on it then and there. Furthermore, you can also see how your actions have affected the outcome. Example: You have set up a training with your customer. Has the product adoption increased due to it? Or if the usage has dropped and you emailed, set up a call or a meeting. Did it help to increase the usage? You should know it so that you can find a pattern and make it a part of your process.
Data is important but not sufficient. It will help you define the problem but not solve it. Whereas within an actionable platform, your ability to communicate, to manage hundreds of accounts, the ability to locate the history of the account, the ability to go back in time and see health scores changes by a single action. You should have a single timeline that gives the exact history of the account. And that’s why you need an actionable platform. In an actionable platform, you can set up tasks /interventions for your Customer Success team so they know when they need to act, rather than software that provides all the analytics and expects your Customer Success Manager to dig into the data and find the interventions themselves.
2. Account Health
One of the most important features of any customer retention management software is to generate account health. If your platform is able to predict the customer account health score accurately, it will not only help you predict churn but will also act as a leading indicator about the overall health of your customers and entire portfolio. But most Customer Retention platforms confuse account health with just Product adoption. But along with Product adoption, there are various dimensions to it- Relationship, Service, Financial, and other external factors. The Account health score should take into account-
- Product adoption- The score should take into account the number of active days of the user, the adoption of your core features. And most importantly, it should take into account the active license utilization. If the customer is not using all the licenses purchased he might downgrade anytime. How well is the customer retention platform ingrained in the entire ecosystem of the customer? All these questions will help you know the product stickiness.
- Financial Health– Revenue trend since last renewal date. What plan has the customer purchased, Is your invoice overdue, and whether the customer has upgraded or downgraded the plan.
- Service– Number of support tickets raised and what frequency. How was the resolution rendered by your support team and whether the customer is happy with the support rendered. The account health score needs to take into account all these.
- Customer relationship– The touchpoint channels and frequency. This will help you determine whether the customer is willing to talk to you and determine whether they are getting value out of these interactions. The customer retention platform also should factor in the rapport of the CSM with the customer.
- External Factors– The health score needs to factor in the positive confidence tag like the customer has agreed to do a case study or a testimonial with you or any other risk factors like whether the champion has left the company and so on.
When it comes to integration, does the customer retention management software integrate with your CRM, Support services, billing, your NPS software, Project management tools, Analytics tool, Calendar, and even SLACK or Gmail or any other system which is imperative for your business? What is the amount of flexibility the platform offers concerning data? Can you pull in data based on rules, certain fields within the system, and most importantly how much effort is required at your end for the integration? If it requires you to deploy your entire engineering team, then the integration is poor as it becomes an additional project for you. Most integrations should happen with a click and should not require your engineering team to intervene.
Another factor is 2-way integration. Do you need your customer retention platform to push data to any of the software? If Yes, then make sure your customer retention platform has all these features.
Your Customer retention software should have some amount of automation inbuilt for repeatable tasks, especially for low touch and Tech touch customers. It should help you automate your workflows based on the ideal journey that you’ve crafted for your customers. For example- sending an email when usage drops or key journey milestone is missed or the last login was more than an “N” number of days.
However, automation should never be a rule-based step instead it should be a much more complex campaign style with ample room for Human intervention tasks whenever the automation hits a roadblock.
The Customer Success Manager would need both Account and user-level reporting. When the CSM would be talking to an account manager, he/she should be able to drill down into details about that single account- history, health scores, milestones, activities, every minute detail about that account.
Whereas the Head of customer success might need a report at a team level to see who is doing what. to manage the workload and also know the pending tasks.
Now that you’ve picked up a customer retention software, the least fun part begins- your budget. Remember your B2B customer retention software is not going to be used just by your CSM but it should be a mission for your whole organization. Your CSM will act as your business partner so be honest, upfront, and flexible during the final purchase.
So when choosing a customer retention software, analyze the positive impact of investing in the tool.
Suggested Read: The ultimate guide to customer retention