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SaaS Marketers up Impact through Usage Analytics

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SaaS Marketers up Impact through Usage Analytics

The mantra of the software marketer is: “Know your customer.” And it’s true you need to know who you’re selling to close a sale. Yet customer engagement doesn’t stop at the sale. By performing BI on customer usage patterns, marketing departments can better understand, target and retain customers. Here are three main ways you can leverage BI to enhance customer engagement and increase your marketing group’s trackable and provable contribution to your company’s well-being.

Exceed Expectations: Don’t Stop at Acquire. Enhance, Automate, and Upsell

As more companies look to data insights to drive greater profitability and competitive advantage, CMOs will need to effectively incorporate big data analytics into winning marketing strategies. Currently, close to 50% of corporate bosses are underwhelmed by marketing’s ability to create data-driven action, “bungling its data and tripping over its own feet.” That puts many CMOs in a great position to exceed management's expectations through winning strategies that include:

  • Getting Personal: It’s been proven that personalization in email campaigns results in 350% higher conversion over generic copy. Review customer data and look for the 3-5 largest segments of buyers and start enhancing your customer touchpoints with personalization. But be careful, personalization can quickly backfire with a misspelling or incorrect salutation.
  • Up-selling and Cross-Selling: Win them once and then invest in the relationship. According to Gleanster Research, while the “average” firm gets 70% of revenue from customer acquisition, “top performers” are firms that get 50% of revenue through up-sells and cross-sales. Amazon has perfected the big data recommendation engine, earning nearly 35% of their sales from suggesting what customers “may also like.” So pay attention to how customers are using your software-as-a-service product and recommend ways they may improve usage.
  • Automating: As data-driven marketers, you can use your customer data to “automatically trigger campaigns for up-selling and cross-selling to known customers within tools like marketing automation.” A lot of other sales processes can also be automated—like making follow up calls, assigning reps to inbound requests, or moving data from a prospect list to a customer list post-sale. Automation makes communication easier for you, but it also makes a positive, competent impression on your audience.

Get Proactive: Reducing SaaS Customer Churn Rates

Authoritative sources quote current churn rates of at least 10% and attrition rates of at least 20%. While a recent Retention Science study noted that only 23% of marketers track the rate at which customers churn; less than 40% track customer lifetime value. Not surprisingly, 70% believe their retention marketing efforts are average, poor or need improvement. But it’s more than worth the effort to try.

An Adobe study found that online retailers would double their revenue if they retained 10% of existing customers. Instead, 80% of marketers used digital marketing budgets to acquire new shoppers.

To focus on retention vs. acquisition, utilize BI to analyze and predict customer satisfaction. In fact, many SaaS firms are instigating the role of Customer Success Manager (CSM) to focus solely on reducing churn and increasing customer retention through customer success. Using BI, CSMs can measure a customer’s level of engagement, which can then be used to assess churn risk.

Recently Hubspot “developed a customer engagement system which delivered a Customer Happiness Index score.” Using that metric, they were able to identify customers at risk of churning, and have their support staff call them up to help improve their usage of the product—cutting churn off at the pass.

This is not only an example of why retention is where you should focus your energy, it is also a favorite BI best practice ouf ours called “Benchmarking.” A benchmark is a way to index and map the behaviors of customers or partners in order to understand who to emulate and who to motivate. Oftentimes, a benchmark can be used as an industrial bellwether by the data owner, allowing them to create publicity about their market and additional goodwill within it.

Zero in on Usage BI: Elevate Marketing’s Impact on Revenue

So, it’s clear that knowing how your customers use your product can help you increase revenue, decrease churn, enhance customer happiness, enable you to automate processes, increase sales effectiveness, and make recommendations that will increase your up-sell and cross-sell totals. But how does one start to track, monitor and analyze SaaS usage? A great infographic by our friends at Crimson Marketing nails it with these strategic steps:

  • Start by Partnering: Start out by partnering with the CIO and VP of Sales, because taking on the transformation to Big Data is a formidable job.
  • Integrate and Simplify: Your first step is to integrate all the marketing data you’re already gathering into one view that simplifies the decision making process. If your company hasn’t done so, then this is the lowest hanging fruit for you as the CMO to tackle, instantly providing significant value.
  • Look Outside For Correlations and Insight: The next step is capturing unstructured information that’s outside your enterprise (such as social media share-of-voice) and integrating it with your structured data.
  • Show Your Value throughout the Pipeline: Traditionally, companies see marketing as responsible for getting prospects into the sales pipeline, when in fact you can impact the effectiveness of sales and the response-rates and retention rates of customers throughout the buyer’s journey. When you know your customer’s usage patterns, Marketing can help prepare sales to “lead with buyers' concerns rather than waiting for the buyers to ask questions.” As a CMO, look for ways you can pilot joint programs with Sales and IT based on highly targeted insights from usage analytics.

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Written by GoodData Author  | 

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