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How to Uncover Your SaaS Customer Success Factors

By Emily Smith on Mon, Mar 7, 2016

The health of your SaaS business is directly tied to its ability to retain customers. This means championing customer success right from the early stages of your business: for their benefit, and yours.

Today I’m looking at how you identify and understand your customers’ success factors, and how this will help to grow your SaaS business.

What are Customer Success Factors?

To get to the heart of what drives your customers to choose your SaaS product, you need to have a good understanding of the buyer, and their factors for success in using your product.

In a nutshell, your customer’s success factors are what a customer expects your software-as-a-service solution to do for them and their business.

It’s important to note that your customer’s success factors relate both to them, and their business. It’s often easy to forget that it’s not a business that buys your B2B SaaS product – it’s a person. So your customers will have ‘personal’ as well as ‘business success factors.

For example, if you’ve got an analytics platform, customer success factors could be things like:

  • Being able to quickly produce reports to impress their boss (personal)
  • And being able to produce reports which will help guide the direction of their company’s next marketing campaign (business).

Understanding customer success factors provides you with a valuable insight into the priorities of your ideal customers.

How to Identify Customer Success Factors

Interviewing customers is the best way to identify their success factors.

This is a key part of the process of defining your buyer personas, which is vital for shaping your product roadmap and sales and marketing messages.

Interviewing existing customers will provide you with valuable insights about how and why they use your service, but lost opportunities (either customers who have churned or those who never converted into paid users after a free trial) are often even better.

This is because lost opportunities can help you identify the problems with your solution that were barriers to them achieving their success factors, and which eventually led to them not using your service and looking for alternative options.

Understanding Customer Success Factors

Interviewing a number of buyers and lost opportunities will help you to identify trends in their success factors, as well as barriers to adoption and the shape of their buying process.

Common trends in your buyers’ success factors will help you understand the key priorities of your buyers. This means you can shape your marketing messaging to focus directly on those success factors as you will know exactly what it is that your customers value most about your service.

As you interview your buyers you will identify different success factors for different buyers. This will help you to identify different types of buyers who use your SaaS solution, which in turn will enable you to make informed decisions about different functionality and pricing tiers for your SaaS solution to appeal to different types of buyer.

Recognising Customer Success

By identifying customer success factors (which may vary between personas), you will get a clear idea of what success looks like for your customers.

Once you know what customer success looks like for each type of customer, you can start to measure customer success and implement a metrics-driven customer success strategy. This will provide you with measurable insights for how you’re performing as a company, and in turn, how you can improve and grow.

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