If you’ve read our blog before, you know we love learning from SaaS industry leaders who share their invaluable experiences with us (and our readers).
While there are certainly plenty of resources on the topics below, our goal has always been to create posts full of actionable tips from leaders that have been there, done that, and succeeded. We want these posts to be the kind of resources you bookmark and go back to re-read as you scale your SaaS business.
To help you sort through the best of the best resources, we’ve compiled a roundup of our most popular tips posts featuring 56 tips from rockstar companies such as Buffer, Zendesk, InVision, Hubspot, Groove, Asana, Trello, Basecamp, and many, many more.
The question we reached out with:
“What is that one tip for reducing SaaS churn that you wish someone had told you when you first started?”
The list of industry giants who graciously took the time to share their tips for reducing churn was impressive and humbling. As responses from Brian Halligan, Brian Balfour, Alex Turnbull, David Skok, Josh Pigford, Jackson Noel, and many more came in there were some distinct themes:
- Customer success. It is one of the key drivers savvy SaaS companies are using to reduce churn. In a previous blog, we pointed out “it’s no wonder customer success has quickly moved from optional to mandatory for SaaS companies in a competitive marketplace.” It’s clear from their tips here that SaaS leaders agree.
- Onboarding. We think onboarding is mission critical for SaaS success, and we were excited to see the same sentiment echoed from these SaaS industry giants. David Skok and Christoph Janz offered tips on the importance of improved onboarding to reduce churn.
- Talking with your customers is mission critical. The communication needed to build the necessary relationships with your customers goes beyond NPS, exit surveys, and automated emails (though all those also play an important aspect, as well). SaaS leaders in this post point out that communicating with customers not only reduces churn it also gives valuable insights to help influence your product roadmap.
We’ve already admitted that we love onboarding. So, it will be no surprise that we took the opportunity to reach out to onboarding experts in the SaaS industry and ask:
“For companies looking to improve user onboarding, what is the #1 tip you wish someone gave you early on?”
SaaS onboarding experts Samuel Hulick, Leo Widrich, Jackson Noel, Alexander Aghassipour, and many others, kindly took the time to send in their onboarding tips. Some of the common themes that emerged were:
- Think about what your customer wants. You may think you’re already thinking about what your customer wants, but are you really? Is your onboarding process really a reflection of what your customer wants or is onboarding how you think the customer wants it? These onboarding experts advised you focus on the most important thing to the customer when they’re setting up your product.
- Get your user to the “ah-ha” moment as quickly as possible! The “ah-ha” is the moment your user understands the value of your product. Years ago, Samuel Hulick realized the importance of doing so and his tips explain how other SaaS companies can improve their onboarding with the same understanding.
- Communicate based on user behavior. Gone are the days of communicating based on the number of days a user has been in the free trial. Behavior-based communication sends personalized communications based on actions the user is taking or features they’re using within the product. Several of these onboarding experts point out how important behavior-based communication is to improve onboarding.
- Metrics! You can’t determine if your onboarding process is improving if you aren’t tracking the data. Do you have an activation metric? One onboarding tip in this post identifies the activation metric as a key part of determining your onboarding success.
Remember, customer success showed up in the tips from influencers on reducing SaaS churn. And it isn’t just about churn reduction. Customer success also improves customer happiness and increases MRR. We’re in the process of further defining and growing our customer success team, so we saw it as the perfect opportunity to learn from the experts. This time we reached out to SaaS customer success leaders and asked:
“What is your #1 tip to master the art of customer success?”
As customer success influencers graciously responded with their tips, again we noticed common themes amongst the responses:
- Make the customer your focus. Sure, this seems simple, but the customer success tips specified focusing on what success looks like for your customer, how you can make their journey easier, and how to reduce friction throughout that journey.
- Customer success is company-wide. Many of the leaders who shared their tips for this blog advised that in order to master customer success you need to make sure every department and team is customer-driven and aligned to customer success. Customer success isn’t a siloed team; every person in the company plays a role in effective customer success.
- Optimize throughout the entire customer lifecycle. While a lot of customer success information tends to focus on the sale, the truth shared by customer success experts is that the sale is only the beginning. It’s mission critical to optimize the entire customer lifecycle funnel for customer success.
By now you’re probably noticing a trend: getting tips from experts isn’t just for our readers — we love learning from experts too! Since we’re currently in the process of refining our Product Manager role, we were curious to hear from PMs who really lead the way in the SaaS space. We asked:
“What is the most important tip you would share for becoming an effective Product Manager in the SaaS space?”
We eagerly read through the responses as they came in, and (as always) some clear themes emerged:
- Talk to your customers. This also came up among tips to reduce SaaS churn, so it is probably something you should be paying extra attention to by this point. Many of the SaaS PM leaders who responded made it clear that talking directly with your customers is mission critical in order to be an effective PM.
- Be data driven. This point and the one above go hand-in-hand. The most successful SaaS PMs are communicating with customers and monitoring metrics. Both qualitative and quantitative data should play parts in data-driven decisions for product improvement.
- Know when to say “no.” In our blog “Feature Creep: What Causes It & How To Avoid It,” we did a deep dive into why a crucial part of a SaaS Product Manager’s job is to determine when to develop a feature request and when to say “no.” Learning to say “no” is an important skill every SaaS PM needs to learn, and ChartMogul’s Vinay Seshadri advises the sooner you learn when to say “no” the better PM you’ll become.
A big “thank you!” to every SaaS leader who took the time to share their tips and participate in the blogs above.
Do you have a topic you would love to see SaaS industry leaders weigh in on? Do you have your own tip to add on any of the topics above? Leave us a comment below. We love hearing from you!