The HotLine Magazine Archives
For The Profession of Cloud/SaaS Product Support
A common question keeps coming up in my conversations with SaaS/Cloud CxO’s all across the industry:  “How many Customer Success Managers does it take to keep customers from churning?”  The question appears in other forms, such as “how much CMRR (Contracted Monthly Recurring Revenue) should each CSM be responsible for?”  Or, “How many customer accounts can a CSM handle?”  Staffing…

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There is a growing awareness in the SaaS/Cloud sector that  the loss of a customer, whether from the simple failure to renew or from premature termination of a subscription, is a very serious matter.  The most immediate effect is that the subscription income has stopped.  Worse, if the CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) hasn’t been recouped, the account instantly becomes a…

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Over the past couple of years, a new position has popped up in the job listings throughout the SaaS/Cloud sector, and a new box has appeared on a fast-growing number of company organizational charts.  Sometimes it’s as a sole contributor, in others as a very sizeable team; the new role may be listed under any of the direct CxO reports…

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Before a SaaS/Cloud vendor establishes a Customer Success Management group, it’s vitally important to set the foundation for winning by clearly defining how the performance of that team is to be measured in both of its purposes.  The first purpose of the CSM group is the real benefit experienced by the customers.  The second is the value brought to the…

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While their Marketing and Support professionals continue to explore the usage and management of social media, there is a much larger challenge to be faced by SaaS/Cloud firms — and all other technology players as well.  The implications of the changes in our general culture over the last 25 years are not limited to those two disciplines in the technology…

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In the course of The SaaS & Support Project research, I began asking companies about two related roles that have been popping up in organizational charts of all sized firms for some time:  Customer Retention and Customer Success.  I’ve found that Customer Retention managers tend for the most part to be “firefighter” positions, called in when a customer…

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At the true beginning of the modern computing industry, when general access to computers first came within reach of small businesses and individuals alike, there often was a key phrase in the user agreement / contract of sale. “The software is sold as is, without any implied guarantee of merchantibility or fitness for any particular purpose.” While such crisply specific…

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The basic economics of the SaaS model inherently push vendors to run “lean and mean,” which requires close attention to operational profitability in every aspect of the organization.  Though the impact of that reality may be delayed by VC/investor funding, the elemental reckoning cannot be avoided forever. The cumulative effect of day to day operational profitability management will ultimately determine…

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One of the major challenges facing SaaS/Cloud companies as 2011 begins is accepting the reality of the new industry playing field. This contest won't be won by people who insist on playing by the old rules. When the VC/Investor funding well starts to run dry and the competition kicks in, continued survival and profitability is a function of persistent customer relationships. Yet most players in the on-demand world today still do not have a game plan or even a team designated and accountable for profitably retaining their portfolios of customers. The essential factor of the new era is rapidly becoming insistent: If you aren't actively interested in your customers, the odds are very good that another company will be. It's what you don't know about your customer relationships that is most likely to cause you to lose them. The all-too-critical exposure to risk begins simply with the assumption that there must be somebody in your organization that is paying attention to the day to day continuance of those relationships. As The SaaS & Support Project research has revealed, the true answer in most companies is that this assumption is false; there is no one tracking the most important scorecard.

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