10 SaaS Implementation Steps to improve Customer Retention
Blog by Priyadarshini Natarajan
According to the report published by Statista in 2021, there are 25000 SaaS companies in the world among which almost 7000 SaaS companies cater to marketing. However, many SaaS companies do not make big profits or get shut down due to customer churn. So, what happens between starting the company and customer churn? Read below to know everything about SaaS and its implementation steps to increase customer-centricity thereby achieving customer success.
What is SaaS?
Software as a Service is a method to deliver software applications to customers via cloud computing. SaaS has replaced the traditional software that was taking up too much space and money for installation. SaaS is an on-demand software that the end-user may subscribe to or buy when they need it. And all this can be done remotely.
The SaaS industry is growing by 18 % every year. More than 90% of the companies are using one or multiple SaaS applications. The adoption of SaaS is at its peak and it’s high time that enterprise SaaS organizations make use of it.
Many SaaS providers do understand the market scenario yet fail to capture or retain customers. The reason is a lack of investment in customer onboarding and saas implementation. A SaaS vendor might have the perfect product in hand yet it is of no use if they don’t understand customer-centricity and value delivery.
The course of marketing in the SaaS industry has changed. It is less about creating an ideal product and more about developing a product with keeping in mind the pain points of the customers. You take the initiative to genuinely understand customers’ concerns; put effort to help them understand your product. Customer onboarding and SaaS implementation are two major areas that enterprise SaaS companies need to focus on.
Following best customer onboarding practices acquire the first place while saas implementation steps acquire second place when it comes to customer churn. Hence you need to focus on both.
SaaS implementation is the next important phase that begins after customer onboarding and does not end even after delivery.
SaaS implementation is the real deal where you start working with the customer that’s onboarded. However many organizations consider the SaaS implementation phase right from finding the right fit. This helps the enterprise SaaS organizations to keep track from the start until the end.
Let us take a look at the steps involved in implementing SaaS for your customers.
Analyze the customer
Analyzing the market for an apt product is usually done by the customers. Yet as a SaaS provider it is also your job to analyze the customer to check if they are at the right place.
You might have a big reach in the SaaS industry and many companies might want to use your product thinking it might help them scale up. Do not make use of them just for the sake of selling.
Make them understand the pros and cons of using your product since the value you deliver is more significant than the revenue you earn. Doing business with the right people and attitude will definitely help you become well-known in the industry.
Know their requirements
After choosing the right customers, try and understand their requirements. Customers usually look for service providers that can solve their problems so focus on that. Get to know the in and out of their business, their concerns, value gaps, and pain points. When you learn about these things even before they’ve onboarded will make them believe in your organization.
You also get first-hand information about their requirements so you can make changes to your product accordingly. Customizing the product is an important aspect of SaaS implementation since neither two customers are the same. Of course, you’ll have the basic product in place but if they need a small add-on feature then you can probably try to add it for them.
This is proper shop talk where you need to discuss the nuances of your SaaS implementation. You need to ask your customers whether they need your SaaS individually or to be integrated with other software. Think about whether you can make amends for integration or customization. Some customers may want to export all previous data into your product. For instance, if you are selling a customer onboarding and implementation software that automates everything and minimizes silos of tools your customers may want their old data to be shifted into your product. In that case, your product should have the bandwidth to import data if not you need to come clean and find another way to store data.
Assigning the right team is very important when it comes to SaaS implementation. You have to decide on the team and its members in prior. You need to evaluate the expertise of each member and the value they add to the team. You should also examine whether the team would be apt for a particular customer.
You can not change teams in between a project. At times, your regular customers might prefer to work with the same team or ask for a team change when they are renewing their subscription. It is always good to ask. So give them the option to choose. This also shows how much you care about their comfortability.
If this is a new customer who is using your product for the first time then give them time to change. You may have made a deal with the top management but they aren’t going to work or use your product on a day-to-day basis. So when the employees of your customers find it difficult to adapt quickly. They might have done things a particular way before and asking them to completely change the pattern of work may put them in an uncomfortable position. They may have withdrawal symptoms and show it on your team. Be patient and have faith in your product. Once you make them understand how it’s going to help them make their job easier they are going to love it. Until then you need to be there to train them and clarify their doubts as many times as needed.
Make targeted plans
Most companies and enterprise SaaS organizations make plans before or right after signing the deal. Even if the customer isn’t asking, you make a plan as a team. Be proactive and let your customers know the plan. This will instill trust in your brand. Have a clear roadmap of how you are going to take it forward and achieve your goals. Mention the time duration it may take and the value you’d deliver at the end.
Single Source Of Truth is significant in SaaS implementation since it reduces confusion to a maximum extent. Imagine as an enterprise SaaS you are working with multiple customers at the same time using silos of tools to save their information and data. It becomes hard for you to retrieve data when needed. You have to figure out the file name, who has it, when was it stored, etc. There is a risk of losing valuable data. Hence you need to have a centralized platform that acts as your SSOT. You can store all the data of various clients in a single place.
Communication between both internal and external stakeholders is necessary. The team should be aware of the customer’s requirements and the clients should be aware of the team’s progress. Transparency is a must when it comes to communication. Remember no one is scrolling through the email chain or listening to every word in the weekly/monthly team meeting. The team and customers should have a proper channel for communication that can help them to communicate easily and constantly.
Constant follow-ups and consistent monitoring are your mantras for customer success. Imagine you have delivered a good service or product to your customer and they are happy. Your job doesn’t end there. Especially if you want them to renew their subscription. Ask them for feedback on your product. Make yourself available when they want to discuss or clear something. Consider them to be your family and appreciate them for reaching their goals. It doesn’t matter small or big, all it matters is that you are happy for them, and in turn, they return to you to rekindle their relationship.
As you all know, this is the final stage that your customers are waiting for. You should plan your go-live or delivery right after you sign the deal. You cannot afford to deliver late. If it is a new customer they are going to judge you on every little thing. And this my friend, is not little. So you cannot and I repeat you cannot screw it up. You should definitely stick to your word and deliver a valuable product on the date or you can start looking for new customers. When you go live, send an email appreciating and thanking them for coordinating with you. It might look like an old tradition but it does earn you brownie points.
SaaS implementation steps are important to achieve customer satisfaction. Rebuild your implementation process with a customer-centric approach. Making mistakes in SaaS implementation can increase customer churn. Whereas having a good SaaS implementation can enhance customer experience thereby increasing customer retention.
CogniSaaS is a product specifically designed to make customer onboarding and implementation easy. You can read all about it here.