Why Your Customers Aren't Using Your Tech - And How to Change That to Boost SaaS Sales - Punch!

Why Your Customers Aren’t Using Your Tech – And How to Change That to Boost SaaS Sales

Cracking the engagement code

Having active and engaged users is what makes the difference between a successful, and a failing SaaS company. Simply because without a steady stream of regular users… do you really have a functioning SaaS business? The answer is no because for SaaS companies revenue is generated over time through monthly or even annual subscription. Even the most successful SaaS companies can take around 6 months to start generating positive revenue, so it’s a given that you need users to engage with you for as long as possible.

There isn’t a discernible one size fits all for measuring successful engagement across different kinds of applications. So how can you demystify product engagement?

Try to reflect internally and determine what engagement actually means within the context of your app. To help you with that, here is how Lincoln Murphy succinctly describes engagement, “when your customer is realising value from your SaaS“. Your engagement rate is equal to the % of users who remain engaged (again, within the context of your app) over a set period of time. Tracking this number of engaged users is a great window into the health of your product. Changes to this number can be extremely insightful when identifying your most successful services, or detecting problems further down the road.

The more trials you provide the more customers you gain… right?

Any SaaS company worth their weight will be providing a trial period to allow users to quickly understand just how valuable their product is. So much so that it is now an expectation for your future customers. Providing a trial is no longer seen as going above and beyond, and failing to provide one can result in not being considered. Naturally, because of this, most companies are providing trial periods to users without fully understanding the risk and reward!

The truth is most customers who sign up for a trial only use a product once, so first impressions are often the only impressions you’re going to get. It’s for this reason that although trials do often lead to lots of signups, many won’t convert into customers when all is said and done. In fact, if you are exposing lots of potential customers to a trial version of your product and the majority are not turning into customers… aren’t you actually just burning bridges?

So why on earth aren’t people using my tech?!

It can be difficult to isolate the reason why people are churning from your trial at a top level, so you need to review your app data and break down the customer journey. Once you understand the journey users are taking, you can start to investigate at what point and for what reason, people are leaving your app.

For the sake of this example, we will start the journey with people that have signed up for a trial and break down the steps taken to becoming a customer.

After a signup comes engagement

You need to look into your data and find out how many of your trial users are becoming active and engaged, so that you can also see how many are becoming idle and not using your tech!

User engagement is something that all too often goes overlooked as companies get complacent with high numbers of trials, but it’s one of the most important elements for converting trials into customers and it starts the moment someone opens your app. First impressions count, this is something that is easy to forget as your team is so familiar with how the app works themselves, but most of your future customers will be experiencing your interface for the very first time. Bearing that in mind, here are three problems that users often experience the moment they step in the door:

  • There is no immediate explanation as to how the product works
  • There is no motivation and driving force encouraging them to get started
  • There is no personable touch letting them know how to get help should they need it

Failing to provide these three things is the fastest way to get users to mentally ‘check out’ and will most likely cause them to bounce.

After engagement comes conversion

Next you need to look into the active trial users, to see how many of them are willing to convert and pay at the end of all their activity. This will allow you to start to identify which elements of your service are causing people to convert. All great products have a depth of features that aren’t immediately used or apparent to the user. I’m sure you want to showcase all of the great features you have to offer, but you need to avoid information overload; consider the customers journey with your application and instead, educate them on additional services at the point where those services are likely to be needed. Here are three problems that active users often experience when trying to explore the possibilities of an app:

  • A full range of services is promoted on the app, making it confusing for the user to determine what they need to complete their goal
  • Users are finding a task difficult, and can’t easily find the support that they need to progress
  • The application is unable to fulfil the task that users are trying to complete

The benefit of addressing these issues is that you are doing your part to help your trial users achieve their goal and thereby convert into customers. So let’s take a look at how you can develop an engaging and customer-centric experience as a service!

The secret weapon for getting people to use your tech

Product usage data tracks what your customers do with your product, when, and for how long and is essential for gauging engagement; it’s your guiding light for understanding your users in order to provide more value. Many companies are cottoning on to the power of usage data, but few have been able to achieve a holistic view. Let’s take a deeper look into the ways that usage data can benefit both you and your future customers!

Speed running customers from trial to conversion

The main cause for trials converting is, of course, the user achieving immediate value from your solution the moment they gain access. Conversions drop significantly when users don’t engage within the first few days of set up, beyond that most will never convert. So, the first benefit of usage data is that it serves as an early alarm for trial users that aren’t immediately active, allowing you to follow up with them and stimulate usage.

One way to stimulate usage for new users is to get creative with how you welcome new signups. A great first step is to provide a welcoming message, including supporting content for guides and also offering to help whenever needed. If you can start a conversation you are much more likely to invest emotionally and convert. Once you have managed to get users excited and ready to start using your app, you’ll have avoided the no engagement zone and you can start to focus on what your customer really cares about, completing the goal they joined your trial to achieve!

Putting your best foot forward

Now that you have a process in place for encouraging trial users to become active as soon as possible after signing up, usage data will enable you to recognise trends in features that are leading to higher conversions. There are two benefits to this, first of all, you will be able recognise your most valuable features in the eyes of your future customers and then upgrade their user journey to experience them immediately.

The more users engage, the quicker they will be able to adopt your solution, and this is important to measure because chances are; these users are likely to be more receptive to up-sell and additional service. It’s crucial to present an up-sell opportunity at the earliest moment of need, so utilise usage data for your most active users. Don’t be tied down by waiting for a trial to end or for renewal dates to arrive in order to trigger this conversation.

Making the most out of what isn’t working

The second benefit is in fact the exact opposite, recognising which of your features is causing users to end their journey and not convert. Naturally, you need to be monitoring for clients that are using your product less and less, or to be honest, not increasing their usage; which is arguably the same problem. These show a potential risk for churn and you need to act fast! The same applies here, do not wait for a renewal cycle to fix what is causing user dissatisfaction as the decision to move on could happen long before then. Customers that have disengaged and reached renewal are unlikely to re-sign, which means that issues that stop users from adopting your app need to be systematically found and fixed.

To solve cases like this you need to consider what is causing dissatisfaction and why, so here are three signals to look out for:

  • No actions being performed beyond login – is the user having a hard time getting started? Is your product easy to use the first time around?
  • Patterns in navigation that look like people are getting stuck – look for specific pages that users are leaving and heading direct to your help page or FAQ.
  • Leaving processes that your app walks them through without completing them – Is it designed in a way that makes them either not want to or even not be able to complete.

To tackle these problems, you need to review internally and perhaps remove or rework a feature to have it better align with the goals of your users. It could also be that users are unable to see the value of a feature and instead you need to find a way to make its value easier for users to understand and benefit from. At best you are winning business, at worst you are able to learn where people are struggling with your service, or what they feel is missing. Either way, usage data allows you to upgrade the way that future customers experience your app which will lead to a higher conversion rate!

Case study: the ‘Calm’ before the storm

Meditation, like most habitual processes, takes repetition to really stick. So when Calm, a meditation and mindfulness app didn’t effectively help people build a repeated meditation practice, they were seeing high churn rates from their users.

Cue behaviour data, that taught them that users who take the time to schedule a daily reminder in the app settings were much more likely to be retained. The problem was that this setting was hidden deep within the app and it wasn’t being used. So, they decided to set a prompt for users to create a daily reminder immediately after completing their first session. This saw a 3x increase in daily retention that rolled over to weekly & monthly retention as well.

This is a perfect example of a product becoming more successful due to users being directed to the most useful and valuable aspects of an app, which could only be achieved because Calm were self-aware that they weren’t helping users to achieve their meditation goals.

Creating advocates: bonus level

If you are able to successfully adopt a customer-centric approach that utilises usage data to make sure that you are doing everything you can to help users achieve the goals they set out to accomplish, then you will surely be reaping the benefits that we discussed above. However, there is one more huge revenue driver that you gain access to when you have an app that thrills your customers.

Have you ever wondered how successful businesses or applications tend to exponentially explode into the market?

The truth behind this is fairly simple and they always have the same things in common, the first is that they are able to provide a product or service that helps their users achieve a goal and providing exceptional value. The second is that these happy customers then create a snowball effect that catapults the success of the product or service through word-of-mouth. I call it advocacy, and it’s the most natural and potent form of marketing you can hope for!

The trick for you is to start looking for advocates using usage data. The aim is to develop a personable relationship in order to attain testimonials and encourage word-of-mouth. So keep an eye out for your heaviest adopters, most engaged users, and people who are working with you to improve services through feedback; these are the most likely candidates to rave about you!


Got any questions? Feel free to get in touch hello@punchabm.com. For further reading, check out our blog!

THREE TYPES OF ABM.
WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

One-to-one, one-to-few, one-to-many, programmatic, lite…it’s understandable why account-based marketing can seem daunting at first! But regardless of the ABM terminology being used, the basic principles are the same. Putting more resources into fewer target accounts who are more likely to convert, and provide a greater ROI. Which kind of ABM approach you should adopt depends on a number of factors. In this blog you’ll find out what the 3 types of ABM are, and which is right for your business.

the three types of ABM

So you’ve decided that adopting an ABM strategy is right for your business and that’s definitely a wise choice.

 

It’s understandable that you might have some concerns, running an ABM programme requires a shift of mind-set. It takes sizeable marketing ‘balls’ to shift resources from more typical marketing strategies to account-based marketing.

 

But that’s exactly what organisations are doing – the number of companies with an advanced ABM programme doubled from 2017 to 2018. And why?

 

Simple – because in a recent study, 97% of marketers reported a higher ROI from ABM than other marketing campaigns. Any successful ABM campaign is one that balances these three measures –

 

  • The likelihood of a given target account buying
  • The resources required to acquire them as a customer
  • The potential ROI to your business if they convert

The differences between the 3 types of ABM are driven by a need to align these factors, so let’s look at exactly what each approach involves and what factors should inform your ABM strategy.

One-to-one ABM

The original and probably best known of the 3 types of ABM, and the approach you’re most likely already familiar with.

One-to-one ABM is a strategic approach that treats your most valuable target accounts as their own individual markets. This means engaging with each of them in a specific and bespoke way.

 

A typical one-to-one campaign would involve targeting 5-10 key target accounts, the ones whose business would make your year or even change the direction of your company.

The resources required to engage with each account in a one-to-one ABM campaign are significant. With that in mind, it’s vital that you have deep insight into how likely the target account is to buy. Intent data is a great way to choose your target accounts based on whether they’re starting a buying journey.

 

By focusing on 10 accounts that you know are likely to buy, you can allocate more resources to engaging with each, knowing that they are more likely to convert and provide you with a great ROI.

You should consider one-to-one ABM as your strategy of choice if –

 

  • You can research the accounts in detail and gather detailed insights on how likely they are to buy
  • Your products and solutions are high-value and high-consideration
  • You’re selling into a mature or even saturated market
  • Your opportunity to close rate is high
  • You have clear and genuine points of differentiation from your competitors
  • Each account has a large number of key stakeholders from whom you need buy-in
  • You have the resources available to create content bespoke to each account
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account

One-to-few ABM

One-to-few ABM, or ABM Lite as it’s also known, is a way of using the one-to-one ABM principles and applying them at scale to a greater number of target accounts.

For example, you might be dedicating 40 days per month to your top 5 accounts in a one-to-one strategy.

 

If you then wanted to reach out to your top 30 accounts, you most likely wouldn’t be able to scale up the same approach unless you have 240 days worth of resources available to do this. So what’s the answer?

 

Your best strategy would be to focus on small groups of target accounts, rather than individual accounts. These groups can then be treated as their own individual markets, in the same way as individual accounts were with one-to-one ABM.

 

The most common way to organise accounts into groups of 5-10 is by sub-sector. If you’re targeting the retail sector, your sub-sectors might be fashion, groceries, DIY and homeware.

You can then build specific content that will resonate with that sub-sector, identifying trends and solving their challenges.

Consider one-to-few ABM as your strategy of choice if –

 

  • You have a small addressable market of target accounts
  • You’re selling high-value, high consideration solutions or products
  • You have to get buy-in from 3-4 key stakeholders at each account
  • You’re able to gather insights into the challenges facing each target sector
  • You have the resources available to create sector specific content
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account
  • Your product or solution has clear points of differentiation from its competition

One-to-many ABM

One-to-many ABM takes the ABM approach and scales it so the principles can be applied to a larger number of target accounts.

 

How many? That’s up to you, as there are no hard and fast rules as to where one-to-few ends and where one-to-many begins.

 

Similarly, you might be wondering where to draw the line between one-to-many ABM and just ‘marketing’? Well you’re not alone, there’s not a clear agreement even among leading practitioners of ABM.

 

It depends on the lifetime value of those accounts to your business, the greater the value, the fewer you should go for.

 

The average number of accounts for a one-to many campaign according to the ITSMA sits at around 100. However you may choose to go for more than this and dedicate fewer resources to each, or use an approach closer to the one-to-few model, and dedicate more resources to engaging with each account.

You should consider one-to-many ABM as a strategy if –

 

  • You want to increase brand awareness whilst also creating engagement at key accounts
  • Your solution is new to market, or the market need educating on its potential
  • There is one or a couple of key stakeholders at each target account
  • You have the available people resources to engage and nurture each target account
  • Your pipeline to close rate is low and could be improved
  • You don’t have access to information on which accounts are starting a buying journey
  • You need some accounts to convert more quickly in order to see ROI sooner

FIVE TIPS FOR ACCOUNT SELECTION

In these times of uncertainty, making the most out of your marketing budget is more important than ever. In Account-Based Marketing you reduce the number of accounts you target significantly and then increase the amount of resources you spend on them. This makes the actual account selection process very important because you can’t afford for an account that receives significant resource to just fall by the wayside. So with that in mind, here a five tips for best practice account selection.

Have you thought about targeting different industries?

People are getting scared and more cautious about taking meetings and calls. So, who is engaging?

 

Some industries are booming at the moment such as:

 

  • Video conferencing technology
  • Project management tools
  • E-learning
  • Ecommerce
  • Gaming

With an influx in demand, they might just be looking for your solution. But for industries heavily effected, you need to rethink your GTM strategy to be as humane as possible; if your solution is something that would be deemed essential to these businesses – keep helping. If it’s more of a luxury, consider targeting different industries where an influx of demand means they might be on the lookout for your solution.

Sales and Marketing, Name a Better Duo

We always talk about the importance of sales and marketing alignment, but it comes into play with regards to account selection as well. A common mistake is allowing one department to select all of the target accounts for a campaign.

 

If the sales team are solely responsible then you run the risk of them giving you all of the ‘problem’ accounts that they have yet to achieve any traction with. As Jamie Hardin, Senior Marketing Manager of ON24 explains “ABM should be viewed as augmenting the current strategy, not a ‘Hail Mary’ initiative on an inactive account.” Similarly, it would be foolish for marketing to be solely responsible without using the information that sales already have on the accounts that they’ve been engaging with.

This could be information on which accounts are reaching a contract renewal date, previous positive conversations with the clients, or even contacts that could have used your services in a previous role at another company.

By combining the information marketing has alongside insights from sales, your account selection can lay the foundation for a successful campaign.

Are you intent on this?

Utilising intent data is the best way to select accounts. This helps you understand which companies are in a buying window based on the websites they’re visiting and the content they’re consuming. However, platforms such as Bombora and Nexus aren’t at everyone’s disposal, which is why a combination of the above tactics gives the next best chance of selecting accounts that are most likely to convert.

 

Account selection is perhaps the biggest factor in the success of an Account-Based Marketing campaign. Good accounts, that fit your ICP and are showing intent are bound to be successful, whereas accounts that aren’t selected on insight and reasoning are likely to fail. There’s never a sure fire way to pick accounts that are destined to convert, but by following these tips you’ll have a solid foundation for your ABM programme.

Do it early!

One of the most consistent mistakes we come across with account selection is doing it too late in the ABM journey. After first defining your ideal customer profile or ICP (link to other blog) and selecting your sector, you should be looking to choose your accounts. Prioritising selection early on in the process will give you ample time to gather insight into them, allowing you to really personalise your message that will resonate with the target DMU.

Make Sure They Fit Your ICP

Using an ICP to frame your account selection ensures that your target accounts are most likely to be a good fit for your business. It also ensures that you don’t fall for those ‘dream’ accounts that you may have put on the list because you want the logo on your website, or you’ve always dreamed of working with. If they aren’t right for the programme, you shouldn’t be targeting them. It’s not about if you want them, as much as it’s about if they want you.

So, you’re thinking about adopting Account-Based Marketing…

Fantastic! But there are three different types of ABM; one-to-many, one-to-few, and one-to-one. So, which one is right for you? Luckily, we have a handy little calculator that will tell you exactly that.