Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Stealing Ideas

"It's not where you take things from - it's where you take them to."
                         - Jean-Luc Godard

In my role with Oracle's Cloud HCM Center of Excellence for Customer Success, I'll freely admit that I'm stealing things from others. One of my favorite sources of Customer Success ideas comes from Totango.  A pretty creative bunch of folks there...they worked through a model for SaaS customer success and then built SaaS applications based on that model.  Guy Nirpaz, the founder of Totango, recently released a book literally giving away the model and how it works - Farm Don't Hunt:  The Definitive Guide to Customer Success.  Great read for anyone in the SaaS business.  The following represents my own point of view on Mr. Nirpaz's where credit is due.

I've written recently about the calories I've burned on figuring out customer success.  Well, I'm still burning those calories...lately around figuring out the SaaS customer lifecycle from a customer success point of view.  I think it looks something like this:

Onboarding:  something is new.  New customer, new application, new feature(s), new users.  The key idea here is that SaaS customers/users have yet to derive value from the product or service.  The most important thing here is to get that customer to first use (or first value) as quickly and easily as possible.

Nurturing: all parties are attempting to develop the new thing in order to lay the foundation for growth.  Training, new use cases, advising, and whatever else you can think of here.  The idea is to promote acceptance and growth through engagement and adoption.

Realization:  when nurturing goes well, users see realize the value they hoped for when they subscribed and onboard.  Things for the customers/users are going better, faster, cheaper, or some combination thereof.  Partners see stronger relationships and additional work opportunities from those customers/users.  SaaS vendors see more use of subscribed seats by customers/users, higher levels of use for subscribed features, and customer user growth: more features, more user seats, additional applications.  Of course, all growth drives everyone through another cycle of on boarding, nurturing and realization.

Churn:  this is an ambiguous term for all the things we don't like to talk about:  escalations due to issues with the service or product, or *gasp* cancellation of subscriptions.  While we all try for saves when experiencing churn, industry statistics for SaaS indicate that we're not very good at it.  Prevention is the best means to dealing with churn.

Next up we'll talk a bit more about what all this means.  But at this point, we're just stealing ideas to establish a framework for talking about this stuff.  

Thoughts? You know what to do...

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