Taking Advantage of Customer Satisfaction Information

The Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council hosted a program on software-as-a-service (SaaS) sales and marketing issues last week that provided useful advice on how to use the unique qualities of a SaaS solution to enhance customer satisfaction. The program included a panel of executives who have had experience selling their solutions both under an on-premise model and via SaaS.

In the SaaS model, the provider and the customer are more closely connected. For one, the provider is responsible for delivering the solution over the life of the subscription, in contrast to the on-premise model in which the customer licenses the solution and deploys and manages it on their own.

In the SaaS model, providers and customers are also tightly coupled through the renewal mechanism, by which customers periodically renew their subscriptions. Happy customers are essential for renewals, and high renewals are essential for the provider's success.

The panelists noted several effective marketing practices that have had a positive impact on their SaaS business:
  • Their companies closely monitor customer satisfaction through their on-going connection to their customers. They do this through quantitative surveys, as well as through focus groups, observing customer behavior, and close review of support calls.
  • Nancie Freitas, CMO of Constant Contact, explained how the company uses customer satisfaction data to drive product enhancements. Customer support reps work closely with engineering to address user issues, and each new release, delivered every two months, is explicitly designed to address flaws identified by customers. Success is measured by gains in the "net promoter score," the number of users who are likely to recommend the product to others.
  • Some companies gather aggregate data on customer usage and provide it as benchmarks to their customers. This helps customers better assess their activity and understand best practices.
  • Brian Zanghi, CEO of Kadient, explained that they monitor customer usage to identify follow-on sales opportunities. Heavy usage may indicate that the customer is a prospect for additional subscriptions.
SaaS enables - in fact requires - that companies stay closer to their customers. Marketers should take advantage and leverage the insights gained from that on-going connection.