Business to business (B2B) companies have the same need as B2C companies–to create a personalized, convenient experience for customers or accounts. But B2B companies need a different strategy. Why? B2B companies–such as those in the SaaS industry–have different needs than consumer-facing products and services. They need to develop relationships with multiple contacts, become laser-focused on high retention, and manage numerous touch points along the B2B customer journey.
In 2020, SaaS companies will stop relying on CX tools that were designed for consumer-facing products and services. Instead, they’ll turn to Account Experience–a strategic tool for getting insight into where accounts stand in terms of risk vs. loyalty, how their satisfaction impacts revenue, and how to continue ensuring retention and growth.
Related Read: Check out these 37 SaaS industry NPS benchmarks
SaaS: The Major Pain Points
SaaS companies face a particular set of problems when it comes to customer experience. They often have fewer, higher value customers or clients. They’re involved in multiple touchpoints that are not just transactional in nature. And they typically have limited insight into their own accounts.
B2B companies (unlike B2C companies) often rely on a smaller base of high-value accounts that are responsible for a significant portion of revenue. That means that problems like churn take on a whole new meaning, with accounts representing millions of dollars dropping off unexpectedly.
Although collecting Net Promoter Score is a start to anticipating and assessing future churn, a high NPS isn’t always an accurate indicator of excellent future retention. Net Promoter Score surveys don’t always get great coverage–and may be reflecting the thoughts and opinions of a smaller sector of your customer base. This classic “happy ears” problem can ultimately result in unanticipated churn from high-value accounts.
Effective Account Management
SaaS account relationships are complex. Account managers must consider multiple personas (i.e. the CEO, front-line staff, and so forth) when gaining insight into the “overall customer experience.” Using outdated methods like spreadsheets makes it challenging to gain accurate real-time insight into whether an account is likely to churn, or remain loyal.
In fact, as many as 40% of B2B leaders don’t have a clear view of their customers and their touchpoints. The result? They’re unable to effectively manage customer lifecycle–knowing when to survey accounts, follow up, and close the loop.
Without real-time insight into the customer journey, vital touchpoints fall by the wayside…and accounts can end up churning unexpectedly from lack of critical attention.
Monetizing Customer Experience
B2C CX tools don’t typically link customer experience metrics directly to financials, instead simply relying on closed loop tactics and promotions to generate higher revenue. But for B2B companies, monetization of every aspect of customer experience is critical. Account managers need to see how account loyalty will impact the bottom line.
At CustomerGauge, we often say that all customers are valuable, but not all hold the same value. Monitoring customer experience within a B2B context must take that critical fact into account. For example, if your Net Promoter Score is high, but doesn’t reflect your top 20% of accounts, then it’s not an accurate predictor of your actual churn risk.
Finally, B2B businesses often have trouble growing customer lifetime value through cross-sells and up-sells. Account managers have multiple roles to play, and are often ill-equipped to take on sales. In fact, a study by Gartner showed that “only 28% of sales leaders believe existing account management channels meet cross-selling account growth targets.”
The Solution: Account Experience
As you’ve just discovered, SaaS companies face particular complexities when it comes to managing account relationships. They can’t just rely on the same old playbook of collecting customer experience metrics and feeling secure when those numbers look good.
SaaS companies need tools that will give them powerful, accurate insights into account relationships in real time. They need to see how changes in customer loyalty impact revenue. They need data that will show them if an account is likely to churn…but more importantly, what they need to do in order to stop it.
At CustomerGauge, we recognized this gap in the market—that’s why we created Account Experience.
Relying on NPS and revenue as core calibrators, Account Experience links customer loyalty to hard data–giving account managers the information they need to make informed, revenue-driven decisions.
Here’s how Account Experience works:
Tracks Risk Proactively
As mentioned above, you might have an excellent Net Promoter Score, but poor coverage of your accounts.. You may believe you’re performing well, but fail to see that valuable accounts are falling by the wayside. And with million-dollar accounts at stake, SaaS businesses can’t afford to wait until accounts to churn to scratch their heads and wonder what happened.
Account Experience allows SaaS businesses to track risk proactively by bringing together customer satisfaction metrics side-by-side with hard revenue and retention data. AX takes into account:
- Net Promoter Score: What is the NPS of this account? What are key drivers of its NPS? How has the loop been closed in various cases?
- Retention & churn rates
- Revenue: The lifetime value of an account, along with period amount
- Account Signals and Activity: How have account managers interacted with this account, and with how many contacts?
Account Experience identifies the absence of key signals that indicate account health, such as logins and active users, and makes prescriptive recommendations for follow-up. By catching these signals early on, account managers can take action to close the loop and prevent accounts from churning.
Likewise, Account Experience offers Account SWOT–a risk assessment of your highest value accounts so that you can quickly trigger closed loop actions and save high-value accounts.
Provides a Comprehensive Overview to Monitor Touchpoint Health
One of the core challenges that account managers face is lack of visibility. CX metrics can be valuable, but don’t typically provide the kind of in-depth insight that account managers need to link customer loyalty to retention targets, or prevent churn before it happens.
Likewise, C-suite executives are unable to get a reliable narrative around what’s actually happening with accounts–making it even more difficult to get on board with a CX-focused approach. Account Experience speaks the c-suite’s language and leads with account revenue.
It also provides a 360 degree view of relationships to give front-line employees, middle management and even the C-suite executives rich, detailed insight into account health and activity. In one place, account managers can see ticket systems, business reviews, CRM activities, behavioral data, satisfaction metrics, and more. This 360 view also rates an account’s engagement across multiple different types of engagement to get a full view of the account’s activity.
Establishes Deeper Relationships
Companies that sell products have fairly simple relationships with their customers. They are transactional in nature, and involve few touch points. Account relationships are more complex. They require a greater degree of customization, more contacts per client, and a greater range of touch points.
Unfortunately, many B2B businesses fail to deliver on the personalized experience that accounts are looking for. In fact, one report found that 33% of B2B customers churn due to a lack of personalization.
Account Experience provides tools to build deeper, more meaningful relationships with accounts by guiding these interactions through a prescriptive flow that feels organic for the account, but best positions you for growth.
With Account Experience you can:
- Build customizable campaigns to collect Net Promoter Score
- Collect insight into specific drivers of customer satisfaction and loyalty–and take action to increase those drivers
- Tie these drivers (positive or negative) to revenue
- Survey multiple contacts within one account, giving you accurate insight into an account’s loyalty and satisfaction…and communicating your investment in multiple contacts
- Identify the absence of critical signals and take steps to close the loop and ensure the account’s continued satisfaction and loyalty
Ultimately, these tools will help you to build a personalized experience for your accounts that likewise serves you with convenient visibility into account health.
Links Net Promoter Score to Revenue
One potential area of weakness for SaaS companies is collecting Net Promoter Score without linking it to actual revenue. The NPS Revenue Simulator links Net Promoter Score to hard data to help you predict how changes in your score will affect your bottom line. You’ll be able to see how incremental increases or decreases in your score will shift your revenue, and how much revenue is being produced by promoters, passives, and detractors.
Identifies Areas for Potential Growth
Preventing churn and ensuring retention are certainly important, but you’ll also want to take steps towards encouraging growth. Using tools in CustomerGauge’s Account Experience software such as the SWOT risk assessment will help you identify areas for potential growth, including up-sell and cross-sell opportunities. Ultimately, your goal is to improve your customer’s experience–and Account Experience can help you achieve that and grow your revenue faster in the process.
In 2020, expect SaaS companies–and other B2B businesses will shift away from basic CX & survey tools that are not specifically catered to the B2B environment. We’ll see continued emphasis on customer satisfaction metrics, but boards and CEOs will demand these metrics be linked directly to revenue gained and lost. Finally, we expect to see an increased emphasis on retention, loyalty, and growth not only in SaaS, but in other traditional industries like manufacturing, telecommunications, business services, and any others that are reliant on repeat business with large contracts.
Check out a quick video overview of CustomerGauge’s Account Experience platform here: Watch Video
To see the Account Experience software in action, click here to request a demo or simply reach us via chat in the lower left hand corner of your browser!