Um…Yes, they do. In this article, I’ll provide some basic concepts about product-led growth and customer success, and then I will circle back with a follow-up article about how to specifically leverage customer success in a product-led growth SaaS company. So let’s jump in…
Product-led growth companies are those with high-quality product experiences, prompting customers to use them often and share them with their networks. Growth in these companies has a significant viral component.
In short, product-led growth is a business growth model that relies on the product itself as the primary driver for finding, keeping, and expanding a customer base. OpenView Partners first coined the term a few years ago, but product-led growth is much older than that.
Some well-known product-led growth companies include brands you know and love like Slack, Zoom, Calendly, Dropbox, Trello, Github, Expensify and Mailchimp.
Each of these companies has won hearts and minds by designing excellent products and making it easy for end-users to incorporate them into their personal and professional lives. Because these products make customers’ lives better, the customers spread the word to their friends and coworkers. This sparks organic growth.
But that doesn’t mean that product-led growth companies can overlook customer success. In fact, when employing a product-led growth strategy, customer success is more important than ever.
What Is Customer Success?
Customer success is similar to customer support. The difference is reactivity versus proactivity. While customer supports reacts to concerns from customers, customer success predicts those concerns and solves them before they even happen. Customer success doesn’t wait until the customer has a problem to try solving it. It anticipates problems and questions, then heads them off at the pass.
When done right, customer success boosts customer happiness and retention, increases revenue, and builds brand loyalty. All things that are critical for any SaaS.
Why Customer Success Is Essential for Product-Led Growth Companies
If you have customers, it’s worth investing in customer success. You want your customers to succeed, after all. You want them to have a convenient, satisfactory experience when using your product.
As the tech world changes, it’s becoming more and more expensive for businesses to attract new customers. This means a renewed emphasis on keeping existing customers happy and making them your advocates. That’s what product-led growth is all about.
Many of today’s most successful product-led growth companies keep a close eye on customer success. HubSpot claims that growing companies are 21% more likely than their stagnant counterparts to say customer success is “very important.”
Here are some concrete ways a focus on customer success will help a SaaS company’s product-led growth strategy:
Customer success streamlines the renewal process.
Businesses face renewal sales processes constantly. Each time a customer sees the monthly or quarterly or annual subscription payment, they wonder, should I be paying for this? Renewal conversations occur with much greater frequency than with perpetual software sales.
Customer success creates the smoothest, most successful renewal conversions. And when a tech business does a better job of handling this process, it tends to grow quicker—and needs less capital to do it.
Customer success reduces customer churn.
Customer churn is what happens when customers or subscribers stop doing business with a company, forcing the company to find replacements. The problem is that it’s much cheaper to retain existing customers than it is to attract new ones.
A team of customer success experts can predict the potential for customer churn and keep it from becoming a reality. They’ll anticipate problems and analyze upgrades, then pass their ideas on to development teams who can enhance and streamline the product.
Ideally, customers end up with resolutions to problems they never even knew they had. And customers without problems don’t jump ship.
Customer success drives revenue.
With tech companies, opportunities to cross-sell and upsell abound. Customer success offers a path to creating those opportunities and taking advantage of them. This is critical to product-led growth companies. By helping your customers succeed, they’ll become your biggest promoters and strongest advocates.
How to Make Customer Success Work for You
- Draw up a concrete strategy for customer success.
- Educate customers.
- Predict the questions your customers are likely to ask before they ask them. Keep your customers away from being stuck on hold with your customer support lines. Instead, empower them through up-front education about your product.
- Onboard fresh customers.
- Support customers throughout the initial steps of their journey with your product. Provide them with the tools, training, and resources they need on day one. Onboarding customers is a great way to impress them and get them used to how your product or service works.
- Foster communication between your teams.
- Keep the lines of communication open between different departments within your company open.
- Help marketing create videos and blogs to explain products and features to customers.
- Talk with sales about the pain points your customers have.
- Find out what problems or questions customer support is fielding, then find proactive solutions before other customers have to deal with the same issues.
- Earn customer loyalty.
When Customers Succeed, Product-Led Growth Succeeds
The success of a product-led growth company is tied directly to the success of its customers. If customers succeed when using a product, they’ll continue using it—and they’ll spread the news. That’s what product-led growth is all about: ensuring that customers are so satisfied with a product or service that they become your strongest advocates. Customer success helps ensure that’s happening across the customer organization and across your entire customer base.
I’ll jump back into this topic soon with more details about how you can specifically leverage customer success to help fuel your product-led growth!