Product Training, Onboarding, Help Documentation & Microlearning

Choosing a Free CRM for Startups

An objective truth in the small-medium businesses world: it is never too early to automate your sales process. Even as at the bootstrapping, 5-none-paying-customers phase of your venture.  We love excel as much as the next data geeks, but part of thinking strategically means finding a CRM that can grow with you and meet your needs as they change.

 

There are loads of CRM list reviews out there, many of them thorough and comprehensive. But the more we delved, the more lost we got in the details of various specs and capabilities, not entirely sure anymore how to separate the wheat from the chaff. So we came up with the specs we would want to have reviewed, being a small-medium business ourselves, wielding our own machetes in the online jungles of digital coconuts and know-how.

 

RubeGoldberg

Customer management is a complex ordeal, no matter how small your company is.

 

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What to Measure: Email Marketing and Marketing Automation Software

Other posts in the What to Measure series: What to Measure in Productivity Software

We previously made the case for focusing on metrics that reflect the value a customer derives from your service. We decided that like most things, this principle is better explained with examples. And since we are writing for our peers –small-medium SaaS companies– it made sense to choose as test cases SaaS providers who are suited (feature-wise  and pricing-wise) to our crowd.

We will be focusing on 3 parameters for each test case:

  • Value derived
  • Usage frequency
  • Onboarding stage

analytics

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Stop Wasting Time on the Wrong Customer Acquisition Metrics

Metrics have a strange, somewhat inexplicable allure over SaaS providers. It’s as though the number patterns hold a mysterious, elusive cipher to success. Maybe if we eyeball enough graphs, look at the customer usage stats through enough segments and rummage through enough site flows and clickthrough rates, we will be able to unravel that million-dollar metric-molecule that will tell us how to give our users exactly what they want. It’s a question of covering as much data ground as possible, right?

WRONG.

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Customer Success for the Rest of Us

Earlier this month, at Dreamforce 2014, Salesforce announced  the launch of Wave – a new Salesforce platform for developing customer success solutions. This was great news to anyone using Salesforce as a CRM platform – the new cloud-based analytics platform would sync perfectly with their sales software and their sales process would enjoy a tremendous data-driven boost. Better yet – they would be able to develop a customized solution featuring the metrics they need the most.

But Salesforce’s announcement conjured another domino effect: it created an even larger divide between billion dollar CRM systems and smaller CRMs catering to small-medium businesses. The race for data accessibility just got tougher and affordable CRMs will have to struggle to keep up.

Surf's up! Salesforce Wave

Surf’s up! Salesforce Wave

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An End to the Trickle: Reversing SaaS Abandonment Rates

When user abandonment of a Software as a Service platform exceeds the rate at which users adopt the service, the company must find the reason and reverse the trend or it will soon find itself without any customers. A company must track and understand their customer churn rate by identifying the signs and symptoms such as high shopping cart abandonment.

Finding unhappy customers is just a small part of the issue. Addressing concerns with the platform is important for retaining all customers, not just the few that actively express their dissatisfaction. Improving the churn rate will depend on keeping customer satisfaction level high enough that they stay instead of looking for another solution.

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Customer Health Prioritized

Customer health is a measure of satisfaction experienced by customers that includes how well the SaaS platform serves their needs and how easily they are able to use it. When customers are very satisfied, they are unlikely to search for other options and are thus in good health. Unsatisfied customers may leap at the first opportunity to leave.

 

Monitoring customer health includes detecting at-risk accounts by utilizing tools such as analytics to identify problems. Customer care like reaching out when risks increase can help ensure engagement and keep clients happy, along with good follow though and positive action to improve the customer’s overall experience.

prioritizing customer health

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Growing Customer Value One Treasure Chest at a Time

There seems to be a general fuzziness on the subject of customer value and although there is a consensus across the board that growing said customer value is a good thing, for both customer and business – not everyone is clear on what that means. Rick Spence at the Financial Post articulates it well:

“Customer value is generally defined as the attributes of a product or service that generally encourage customers to choose one vendor over another. These may be product-related or service-related, tangible or intangible. “

He is right, of course – you can’t depend on a single variable to formulate a sustainable customer value growth plan. Spence goes on to illustrate the need for “listening harder” to one’s customers in order to grow customer value. That is, of course, an integral part of the value strategy – but it can’t be all of it. A fierce SaaS leader also needs to have her Customer Treasures ready at hand.

 

Few are the things customers love more than loot (matey!)

Few are the things customers love more than loot (matey!)

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