Customer Success: The Definitive Guide

Screen Shot 2014 03 29 at 12.33.57 AM Customer Success: The Definitive GuideMy original definition of the SaaS Business Model, published way back in 2009, included a tight-coupling of Core Product/Intellectual Property, Marketing, Revenue Model, and Network Centricity… but now I’m modifying the definition to include Customer Success.

Having worked with over 300 SaaS companies – as well as Enterprise Software vendors migrating to SaaS – I can say without a doubt that Customer Success must be a fully-integrated, tightly-coupled component of a complete SaaS Business Architecture.

Why? Simply put: No Customer Success = No Your Success.

Said another way… Customer Success is the new “vendor lock-in” … you make sure they’re successful, they make sure you’re successful. It’s a Win-Win!

Said yet another way – and this cannot be overstated – if your customers are not achieving “success” with your SaaS, your success is at risk.

Of course, what “success” looks like for your customers is 100% unique to your customers in the context of your product. So while there’s not a one-size-fits-all definition of lower-case customer success – that’s up to you to know – as far as the concept of upper-case Customer Success is concerned, I’ve attempted to define that for you.

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Freemium or Free Trial? There’s a Better Question

I answer this question all the time… should we go Freemium or Free Trial for our SaaS app?

And I get this question from companies of all stages and sizes, including pre-launch Startups, software companies moving to – or adding a product line based around  - the SaaS business model, or for later-stage SaaS companies that are questioning their current trajectory.

I assumed I’d covered this topic so much the answer was obvious… but apparently that’s not the case.

So now I’m going to address it once and for all… or at least I can point people to this post when I’m asked whether Freemium or a Free Trial is the better way to go.

It’s time to ask a better question.

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SaaS Freemium Customer Acquisition Costs

I got an email the other day asking about Freemium Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) and whether or not to include the cost of supporting and marketing to free users in the cost of acquiring paying customers.

Here’s my quick answer and some other resources for you to check out.

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SaaS Churn: Measure Revenue or Customer Retention?

Okay, this is it… finally, my definitive answer on measuring SaaS churn!

I’ve heard it all before… things like “Lincoln, you talk about churn a lot, but you don’t ever say anything!”

First, that’s just hurtful.

Second, all of these “how do I measure the success of a SaaS business?” questions depend on so many different factors, it’s super-hard to generalize.

Wait… let me re-phrase that.

It’s super-easy to generalize; it’s just hard if you care about sending the wrong message.

And I don’t want to send the wrong message, so I’ve laid it out as simply as I can.

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