Every successful SaaS company reaches a point in its growth where scaling the business becomes a challenge.
As the customer base grows it becomes increasingly necessary to automate more of the customer journey in order to successfully assist more customers through it.
Marketing to the customer base makes a significant impact to the scaling capabilities of Customer Success.
At the onset of a SaaS business, Customer Success rightly needs to do everything and anything for customers to ensure successful adoption.
The business needs referenceable customers and the product feedback to assure market fit. It’s labour intensive but necessary in the company’s stage of evolution.
As the customer base grows however this level of repeated, predominantly product focused, activity that Customer Success delivers is no longer viable. It’s not scalable.
The all-hands-on-deck approach with the customer base is a 1:1 or many:1 effort. Customer Success can spend that level of effort with only one customer at a time.
With customer growth it becomes imperative for Customer Success to deliver aspects of the customer journey through 1:many or 0:many efforts.
Specifically Customer Success needs to deliver aspects of the journey with a single resource, or no human resource at all, to multiple customers at a time.
The goal is to provide an exceptional customer experience to all customers, but with a more efficient use of resources along the journey.
Vehicles such as webinars or lunch & learns are examples of an effective 1:many effort, while self-service resources such as a knowledge base or user community are examples of great 0:many efforts.
Customer Marketing plays a compelling role in scaling Customer Success.
The effectiveness of communication and engagement that marketing practices with prospects works equally as well with existing customers.
Think of the marketing & sales funnel as being analogous to Customer Success’ post-sales portion of the customer journey.
Just as marketers look to marketing automation to effectively and efficiently drive leads through a sales funnel, so too can Customer Success use it to ensure customers are adopting and deriving real value from the product.
The point is, the more efficient Customer Success is at driving product adoption efficiency the better it can scale.
What then are the marketing tools Customer Success can use to scale?
Nurture campaigns: automated campaigns that provide product and practical use case information is an excellent way to assist customers and deflect simple how-to questions from CSM’s
User Community: have customers help each other, it’s the best source of real-world practical advice and people going through the same experience
Knowledge base: document how-to questions that CSM’s repeatedly see from customers with short articles, video tutorials and how-to guides
Product Information: augment product training with real-world use case scenarios customers can reference. Ensure that the material is digestible in easy & time-sensitive blocks. Your audience has their day job and are looking for quick reference material to get their question answered. They want relevant information when they need it.
Webinars, Lunch & Learn sessions: hold sessions on specific topics allowing plenty of time for questions attendees may have
How to get started?
I’ve written about how the customer journey is the key to success for Customer Success. It outlines the path customers take to achieve success with, and derive value from, your product.
It also provides visibility into the areas of the journey that lend themselves readily for automation.
Use the customer journey to identify where time is spent repeatedly answering product related inquiries. Automate these areas using one or more of the tools listed above to off-load these activities from CSM’s.
They are key in your ability to service customers on a 1:many and 0:many approach.
Likewise ensure that there is someone responsible for customer marketing (create the role if it doesn’t exist, or you can’t otherwise beg, borrow or steal from marketing).
Use strategic communication and engagement to make product adoption easier for your customers and more efficient for your organization.
In doing so, customers will be able to self-assist for product how-to’s leaving CSM’s with more time to spend on business value-added activities.
It allows Customer Success to effectively scale and become more proactive.
That’s something worth promoting (to your customer base).