Updated: Mar 6
The data from Gartner is pretty compelling. While providing world-class service makes clients twice as likely to renew, statistical evidence suggests providing world-class service does not drive growth. #data
In the world of SaaS B2B, I hear quite frequently that "we should under-promise and over-deliver". It sounds noble, right? It implies we're going to sell "better"and it even implies that we know we're implementing poorly and we're going to right those wrongs. While fixing the Sales and Implementation issues will help the overall health of your company, it's a mistake to believe that growth will happen as a result of these improvements. If you have poorly sold and half-implemented products, what service will do is double the likelihood of renewal.
When B2B SaaS products are immature, the tendency is to blame the Sales team.
When the messaging to Buyers and Users isn't role-appropriate, we blame Marketing.
When client relationships are focused only on issue resolutions, we blame the Product.
When ARR growth stalls, we blame the competition along with some combination of the above and we send in the SWAT team. But we all know that we're not being intellectually honest with ourselves or our clients.
Do yourself, your business, and your clients a favor: stop over-delivering. Start selling to qualified and appropriate customers. Deliver what is contracted - nothing more, nothing less. Start being a pro-active partner. Today.
Client Success, even as a newer role in B2B SaaS companies, has been traditionally used as "clean-up" for incomplete Sales and Implementations. Growth happens as a result of cleaning up the mistakes of those who have gone before and worse, has been very 'me' focused i.e. "how can I plug more of my product in?".
The traditional Client Success team is built around your capabilities and helping clients get the optimal value of the investments they make with you. On the other hand, the Client Improvement model focuses on assessing the Client's business in a way the client can't see themselves.
Your job as a partner is to understand where the Client Improvement story is incomplete or maybe misplaced. In the Challenger Customer, (Challenger Customer, 2015, Spenner, Adamson, Dixon, Toman), the authors suggest this shift in thinking: How is the client going to get there and what have they missed? If that’s what’s important to them, how can I help them get there better than if they ultimately are planning on getting there on their own? And I suppose if you wanted to raise it up a notch in altitude, you could go in and debate, “That’s not even a good place for you to be starting within the first place.”
Talk about elevating the order of complaint!
In the above diagram, the shift from the lower left to the top right is significant. It changes the way you sell. It changes who and what you need in the Sales and Account Manager seats. It likely means fewer operational experts and more consultative experts who are focused on problem solving outside of your solution set. It changes Marketing messages.
Start small. Start with a mutual Success Canvas designed with the client that includes quarterly reviews of objectives and KPIs the Client cares about. These KPIs should change overtime as the client grows.
That's your opportunity to shift from reactive to proactive.
From backward looking to forward thinking.
It's how the trusted advisor relationship un-stalls ARR. Share your thoughts in the comments.