In today's digital age, businesses increasingly rely on cloud-based software solutions to streamline operations and improve efficiency. Software as a service (SaaS) is one such solution that offers a range of benefits, including scalability, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use. However, simply implementing a SaaS solution is not enough to ensure success. Businesses must take a strategic approach to SaaS implementation to retain customers and build a loyal user base.
According to the report published by Statista in 2021, there are 25000 SaaS companies worldwide, 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 learn everything about SaaS implementation steps to increase customer-centricity, thereby achieving customer success.
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 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 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, but it is useless 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 one with keeping in mind the customer's pain points. You must take the initiative to genuinely understand customers' issues and make an effort to explain your product to them. Enterprise SaaS providers must focus on two key areas: SaaS implementation and customer onboarding.
When it comes to reducing customer churn, best practices for customer onboarding take the lead, while SaaS implementation steps come in second. As a result, both need your attention.
For businesses that provide SaaS solutions, customer retention is critical for long-term success. Implementing a SaaS solution is just the first step; ensuring that customers continue to use and derive value from the software is essential for sustained growth.
Let's dive deep into the process of SaaS implementation.
SaaS implementation refers to the process of deploying software as a service (SaaS) solutions to an organization's infrastructure. This process involves setting up and configuring the SaaS application to meet the specific needs of the business, as well as ensuring that the application integrates smoothly with existing systems and workflows.
SaaS implementation is the real deal where you start working with the onboarded customer. However, many organizations consider the SaaS implementation phase right from finding the right fit. This helps enterprise SaaS organizations to keep track from the start until the end. A successful implementation can help organizations streamline their workflows, reduce costs, and improve productivity and efficiency.
Let us look at the steps involved in implementing SaaS for your customers.
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 the right fit.
You might have a significant 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 help you become well-known in the industry.
After choosing the right fit 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. Learning about these things even before they've been 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 essential aspect of SaaS implementation since neither two customers are the same. Of course, you'll have the primary product in place, but if they need a minor add-on feature, you can try adding it for them.
This is the appropriate setting for business conversation, where you go into detail about the specifics 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 SaaS customer onboarding 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 must come clean and find another way to store data.
Assigning the right team is very important when it comes to SaaS implementation. Prior selection of the team's composition is required. Each team member's expertise and contribution to the group should be assessed. The team's suitability for a specific customer should also be considered. During a project, teams cannot be changed. 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 comfort.
If a new customer is using your product for the first time, 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. Consequently, when your customers' employees have difficulty quickly adapting, asking someone to alter their work habits completely may make them uncomfortable. 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 will help them make their job easier, they will love it. Until then, you must be there to train them and clarify their doubts as often as needed.
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 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 simultaneously 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 it was 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 know 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 efficiently and constantly.
Constant follow-ups and consistent monitoring are your mantras for customer success. Imagine you have delivered a good service or product to a happy customer. 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.
You're aware that your customers are eagerly anticipating this last step. 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 will 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 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 essential to achieve customer satisfaction. Rebuild your implementation process with a customer-centric approach. Making mistakes in SaaS implementation can increase customer churn. Whereas having an exemplary 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.