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April 11, 2019

Talkin’ SaaS Stats: Customer Success is Having a Moment

The B2B SaaS market is booming, narrowing the focus on customer success as a vital initiative for sustaining explosive growth. See statistics & strategize.

Which begs the question…what took so long? It’s simple. Without customers, you don’t have a business. Without happy customers, you don’t have a successful, profitable, sustainable business. For B2B Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies, investing in customer success isn’t optional – or, at least it shouldn’t be, at this stage in the game.

Most modern-day SaaS platforms utilize a subscription-based model, which means that you have to win your customers over time and time again in the form of subscription or membership renewals. Not giving your customers what they want and need? They’ll find a business who will.

Let’s talk customer success statistics and strategy (AKA you should be paying close attention).

Customer Expectations Rising: 10 Customer Success Statistics

This is no secret – we’re all consumers. And our expectations are rising (thanks to Amazon). Consider these stats as we explore the rise of customer success as a focused initiative:

  • The SaaS market is expected to reach $164.29 billion by 2022 [Transparency Market Research]
  • Gartner predicts that by 2020, 80% of software providers will have migrated to a subscription-based business model
  • 83% of Customer Success (CS) teams saw growth in team size last year [2018 Customer Success Salary Report, Totango]
  • Usage of CS platforms rose from 25% to 43% from 2015-2018 [2018 Customer Success Salary Report, Totango]
  • 67% of customers say their standard for good experiences is higher than they’ve ever been [Salesforce]
  • 80% of customers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products and services [Salesforce]
  • 76% of customers say they expect companies to understand their needs and expectations [Salesforce]
  • 64% find the customer experience (CX) more important than price when purchasing something [Gartner]
  • $98B left on the table every year by companies who fail to provide ‘simple’ experiences [Siegel+Gale]
  • $1.6T lost every year in the US (estimated) as a result of poor customer service [Accenture]

How the Evolution of SaaS Put Customer Success in the Spotlight

Once upon a time, landing a software deal was a “won and done” ordeal – that ship has sailed. If you want to experience the benefits of explosive growth, you have to invest in the team and resources that are going to get you there. Otherwise? Your customers have ample options, and your competitors just gained easy business.

Thanks to the rise of the B2B SaaS business model, many companies are thinking strategically and placing a greater emphasis on the value customers extract from their products and services. The term “customer success” can essentially trace its roots back to this industry.

Note that providing seamless customer support and investing in the customer experience is still necessary and will contribute to overall customer success, but they’re different initiatives, and they’re not enough on their own. A customer success strategy acknowledges the big picture.

Software sales used to be pretty complicated and timely in the age of floppy disks, but thanks to the cloud, SaaS business started booming (perhaps a bit faster than companies were prepared to handle) and hasn’t slowed. Now, the importance of customer engagement is in the spotlight.

Resource: Are You Prepared to Master the Engagement Economy?

An influx in business is exciting, but if you can’t support that explosive growth with the necessary resources to nurture your customers through a mapped and intentional journey to success, it won’t be sustainable. So, you know, it won’t be exciting for very long….

Build Your Customer Success Strategy with Engagement in Mind

Software solutions that are focused on engagement, like online community and marketing automation platforms, can work together to effectively bolster your SaaS customer success strategy. Utilizing these tools can help you connect with your customers in a meaningful way, giving you the opportunity to provide a customer experience that goes beyond the product.

Again, we’re talking big picture here. You aren’t just supposed to be there for your customers when they reach out with a concern for support, or when they start their experience with your organization. You should anticipate their needs, how your solutions can meet them, and deliver.

Related: SaaS Customer Onboarding: A 3-Step Guide for Streamlined Success

When you invest in engagement tools, you can extract valuable customer behavior data to help you better understand their expectations and inform your customer success strategy decisions moving forward.

With a SaaS business model, you have to continuously earn your customers’ dollar. Investing in these types of tools ensures that you can address your customers’ needs and problems as issues arise. This will help you refine your strategy and maintain their ultimate satisfaction.

Leverage Your Online Community to Measure Customer Success

Customer feedback is a powerful business driver in terms of your customer success strategy – don’t be afraid to seek it! There are several metrics you can use to measure customer success, but if you’re new here, you’re going to want to understand the Net Promoter Score (NPS) benchmark. This survey data measures a customer’s overall attitude about a brand, versus their perception of a singular interaction or purchase.

Want to learn more about communities? Check out The State of Community Management Report for industry trends, below. 

Download the Community Roundtable's State of Community Management Report

By providing a venue to address both positive and negative feedback in a controlled space where customers feel heard, you can demonstrate value and build relationships. An online community can improve your NPS score by allowing you to do that (among other benefits), which can improve customer loyalty, boost business, minimize customer churn and more.

Related: 3 Customer-Focused Benefits of an Online Community

So, check in with your customers – ask them if they’re happy – listen. An online community is a great method for monitoring customer interactions and behavior, and bringing your customers together to network, problem-solve, and create the experiences they value.

The resources below will expand on how to measure the success of your online community and the customers in it:

The SaaS Stats Don’t Lie: Invest in Your Customers for Shared Success

In our blog, What is an Online Community? The Basics & Benefits, we’ll explore the theme of customer success a bit more as it relates to the final statistic I’ll leave you with:

  • Research from the Temkin Group found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to gain, on average, an additional $775 million over 3 years of investing in customer experience (with SaaS companies standing to earn the most, at $1 billion).

Are you willing to leave that money on the table? (I didn’t think so.) 

Download the Community Roundtable's State of Community Management Report

Gabrielle Wathen

Gabrielle is the Content Marketing Manager at Flockjay. She has a background in journalism, film, and marketing. When she’s not writing, you can find her cuddling her cats Harvey and Wilbur, traveling the world, or storytelling in any way she can. Favorite food: All things cheese. Favorite place: Black Rock City, NV.