This is a guest blog post by Howie Bick the founder of The Analyst Handbook.
Whenever a new SaaS product is introduced to a company, there are often lots of difficulties, obstacles, and learning that’s needed to get them acclimated to the product, how to use the product, to understand it’s functionality, and it’s capability. Showing a customer how a SaaS product works, the way it can provide value, the data it can produce, and how they can incorporate it into their business is often a bit of a journey. Holding your customers hands early on can expedite their onboarding process, show first hand how it can provide value, and help to create a productive, long lasting customer relationship.
Expediting The Onboarding Process
The onboarding process for a new software, or for a new company, often is a difficult process that comes with lots of learning. It can mean learning the way the SaaS is structured, the type of language used within, the type of inputs it may need, and the way they can use it. Once a company is able to understand how a SaaS platform works, then they can start to figure out how they want to apply it to their business. Getting them there often takes time, takes exploring the product to get a feel for it, and understanding what it can do. They need to see what the SaaS tool can do, the type of results it can produce, and how it operates, before they decide to incorporate it into their business.
Getting to that point, often means explaining how the software works, what they need to do in order to maximize its use, or how it fits within their business. Holding their hand, explaining to them each feature, the different functionality, and capability goes a long way with expediting their onboarding process. Without having a good understanding of how your SaaS products work, and what it can do, it can make adoption more difficult. Once customers are able to understand and conceptualize what a SaaS tool does, then they can begin to figure out how they want to use it, how they want to roll it out to the rest of their staff, and how it can be incorporated into their systems, processes, and workflows. After they’re able to learn it, and understand where it can produce value within their organization, then they can start seeing a return on their investment.
Showing First Hand How The SaaS Platform Works, Results It Produces, and Capabilities
Many times companies or clients will understand or conceptualize the way a product works, but it’s a whole other story to put the software to use, and see it in action in their organization. By holding your customers hands early on, whether it’s through direct training, support, or integration, you can show directly how a software produces value, what it’s capabilities are, and how other teams have utilized it.
Seeing a SaaS in action, fully functioning, and producing results in their business, is much different than just understanding the value it can provide, and the type of capabilities it provides. By using the SaaS tool in an upcoming transaction, producing direct leads for them, or showing them data they now have access to, companies and their people can see first hand how it can provide value.
After companies see direct value, or direct results from a product, then they start to really believe in it, and see it’s value capability. Once you’re able to show them first hand results, then they’re able to really become an adopter. The SaaS tool may only be used in one location, but can be applied to all their locations, or throughout all their businesses. Within a company, more departments can look to implement the product, with conversations at the break room becoming, have you used XYZ product? Or have you seen the way it expedites XYZ process, or task? Whether it’s marketing vs operations, or accounting vs finance, as a SaaS starts to produce results, more and more people at the company will begin to notice. That’s when it can start to gain momentum to a wider range of departments among the company, and incorporate it into their systems, processes, and workflows.
Incorporating Into Their Workflow, Systems, Processes
Each company has a certain way they conduct and operate their business through their processes, systems, and workflows in place. Whether it’s the way orders move from point A to point B, the workflow of a project, or the system they’ve built to move a transaction through the proper chain of command, the systems, processes, and workflows within a company are at the essence of how they do things. SaaS products often compliment those systems, or enhance those processes in place. Whether it’s through providing better data, having a more organized structure like a CRM, increasing the productivity by providing more organization, or reducing time spent on a task, helping to incorporate a SaaS product into a company’s processes and systems, can help your SaaS product get traction, and become an important element of their business.
Without helping a company incorporate your SaaS into their workflows, there is added risk as to whether they’ll be able to utilize and derive value from the SaaS. Helping to incorporate the SaaS into their business, can help mitigate that risk. Spending the time, energy, and manpower to walk a customer through a SaaS platform, and incorporate it into their systems and processes can be a smart investment for any SaaS company.
Building Great Customer Relationships
Hand holding your customers, and being hands-on in the beginning stages of a SaaS adoption, allows your company to build great relationships with your customers. You’re able to learn about their company, how they operate, what they do, and where your SaaS can provide value. Those are great ingredients to building a great and long lasting customer relationship. Customers can see that you’re invested in their success, and that you’re looking to help them in their transition or onboarding. Without taking a hands-on focus early on, customers may think you’re just looking to sell them a product, and not truly invested in their success. They are ultimately investing in you, it should be no different that you invest in them.
Building great customer relationships can open the door to offering more products and services down the road. They can see the value in your product, refer you to other companies they work with, or other companies they invest in. Once people see how a product works, the type of value it produces, and it’s capabilities, it opens the door for a whole realm of new possibilities.
Learn More About Your Target Demographic/Issues They’re Facing
Another great benefit of holding your customers hands early on, can be the insight, information, and knowledge you learn about your target demographic and audience. After all, new customers and new clients, are the people you are looking to target and capture as your audience. As you spend time with your customers, discuss the SaaS with them, and walk them through it, you’re able to hear about the issues they’re having, ways your SaaS will provide value to them, and gain more information about your target demographic.
The information and knowledge you learn while helping them early on, can be utilized in a variety of ways. First from a product standpoint, you can discover more features to add on to your SaaS, incorporate more data sources or solutions into your offering, or create more products based on the issues they’re facing. Then you can apply it from a marketing standpoint. You can see the types of issues they’re having, what your SaaS is going to do for them, and the results you’re going to produce, and tweak or adjust your advertising copy to better attract potential customers. Once you’re able to understand your target customer and demographic, then you can use that to attract more. Building off of that, you can also use the information you learn from a sales standpoint, when you’re trying to pitch more customers, or close more deals. By understanding the types of problems a different customer had, you can approach new customers with the solutions, past experiences, and ways you’ve helped other customers be successful using your software. By better understanding your customer, and applying it to multiple aspects of your business, you can enhance the way financial analysts view your company, the type of products you provide, and the results the company generates through it’s marketing and sales efforts.
Holding your customers hands early on with a B2B SaaS product, can be beneficial for both you and the customer for a variety of reasons. By holding their hand early on, you can expedite their onboarding process, and the time it takes them to learn the software. Learning a new software can be a real time consuming task, especially when it’s being rolled out to a whole company, or multiple different departments. Then, by directly showing a company how your SaaS can provide value, and the results it can provide, then the company will start to really understand it’s value and capability, which can possibly open more doors down the road. Then by incorporating your SaaS into their workflows, systems, and processes, you can enhance the productivity at the organization, show them the type of efficiency you can foster, and help increase the effectiveness they produce as well. Taking a hands-on approach early on, and investing the time and energy into a customers success, can enable you to build great customer relationships, and show that you not only value them as a customer, but care about their success using your software. That’s a great thing you can do for your customers, to show them their value and importance to your organization. As you spend the time and energy to onboard new customers, or hold their hands early on, you’re also gaining incredibly valuable insight into the types of problems they have, and the issues they’re experiencing, which can help your company from a product, marketing, and sales standpoint. All in all, there are a variety of reasons why helping your customers early on with a SaaS product can be both beneficial and helpful to you and your customers as well.
Customer Success Around the Web
- A Step-By-Step Guide To Establishing a Customer Success Driven Feedback Loop – Learn how to get started and build a Customer Success driven feedback loop.
- Top Tips For Fostering User Adoption– Discover the top tips for encouraging change to foster product adoption with your customers.
- 4 Ways Successful Customer Success and Product Teams Collaborate– Find out ways CS and Product teams can work together to create a best-in-class product experience, while still scaling effectively.
Fighting Churn is a newsletter of inspiration, ideas and news on customer success, churn, renewal and other stuff and is curated by ChurnZero