In an earlier article, I described a model for how to optimize your trial and customer experience. In this article allow me to focus on some real tools for you to drive your business.
- A customer platform. A no. Not a CRM platform. A customer platform. What’s the difference? Well, if you think CRM – 99.0875% of all of you think sales force and marketing. In SaaS – the service is everything. From sales, to support to marketing, to help, to customer engagement to conference calls and online webinars. Still there is no single handed SaaS platform on the market, so your platform for customer will be multiple apps integrated… CRM, ERP, HRM etc. Choose wisely and consider the cost of integration.
- Drive your customer onboarding automatically. WalkMe is a set of amazing snippets you design and insert into the framework of your application. WalkMe is a great way to automate “how to use” and “show me” features directly with your SaaS application. The WalkMe use a clever engine to basically do the steps for the user, by integrating into the HTML. I really encourage you to learn the structure – www.walkme.com.
- Automate your customer triggers. Marketo is the defacto standard of optimized process management for onboarding and managing both customer sign up and customer journeys. As you open the doors to your SaaS application, you need to design every aspect of customer experience. From signing up, to activating, to getting people on the platform and to billing. Marketo can design these workflow based on the platform, instead of bundling 100’s of apps to drive the same. www.marketo.com.
- What are my users doing? I have participated in more than 1.000 reviews and board meetings on the discussion of investments and future strategy for these companies. I always see the same conversation; R&D says “we would like to invest into feature A to optimize our code”. Sales says “well new users need feature C so please help otherwise we cannot sell more”. Marketing says “customers search for B”. And I always ask – “what does the customers tell you?”. The room go silent. All think of the burden if any is tasked to call 50-200 customers and ask. Sales and marketing leave the room as they need to do to “the toilet”. Reality is the CEO/MD failed a complete different place, but lets leave that for now. Telemetry is the key to your insight and above all you need this so emmence. SaasOptics or www.telemetrytv.com provide a platform to engage. UPDATE- Microsoft Azure now provide a telemetry as a service. This is technical and not business – so you need to craft a middleware.
- Billing and dunning. This is the most important investment you will drive. Probably a key part of your customer platform, but often a separate ERP integrated with multiple credit card vendors. I urge you to use an automated platform example www.upodi.com.
But wait? You did not explain where the CEO gone wrong in “what are my users doing”. Well please revisit this article, and this. In addition learn the following; in SaaS/Cloud – your product is a service. Your service is your organisation.
There are no siloed organisations where R&D handover to product marketing and they handover to marketing whom handover to Sales. STOP DOING THIS. Your customer is really the center – and there is no boundary. R&D CAN easily own all marketing communication.
UPDATE – Very good article here to review the telemetry designs.