In the SaaS market, customer retention is more important than nearly any other key performance indicator (KPI). Add the B2B element, and several unique challenges stand in the way of improving customer retention.
A B2B software company must face the bureaucracy of the organizations they are doing business with, prove its worth to the many stakeholders in charge of the budget that pays for the service, and ensure the employees of the customer-company are adopting the technology, just to name a few.
Considering the distinct challenges, B2B software companies should consider ways to improve customer retention.
What is Customer Retention?
As it relates to B2B software companies, customer retention is a company’s demonstrated ability to keep customers with subscriptions renewals.
There are a few ways to measure customer retention. The most obvious customer retention KPI’s are the percentage of customers who continue to do business within a set time period and the dollar amount of renewal business within a set time period.
Why is Customer Retention Important for B2B Software Companies?
In general, business applications used to be hosted on site and paid for upfront. This meant that the company providing the application would recoup their costs and profit from that one customer in one transaction.
But this business model has drastically changed.
Today, it is more common for a software provider to offer their services from the cloud, rather than hosted on site. And rather than paying a large, upfront cost, companies purchase a monthly or yearly subscription. This SaaS model requires that customers continue their subscription for the company to be able to eventually recoup the cost of acquiring that customer and profit from their business.
This puts a lot of pressure on B2B software companies to focus on and constantly improve their customer retention rates. Without it, the company won’t be able to recoup the cost of product development and customer acquisition.
But with good customer retention rates, a B2B software company will be able to thrive.
5 Ways B2B Software Companies Can Improve Customer Retention
Here are the five ways B2B software companies can improve customer retention rates.
1. Provide the Right Tools For Each Specific Customer
It’s typical for a B2B application to consist of a “tool box” of features. But the choice of tools that works for one customer may not work for the next.
Retaining existing customers begins by helping customers understand which tools to use for their ongoing success.
Be open with your customers and let them know you want them to succeed. Ask them what success means to them and use those answers to cater your approach. Keeping up with multiple customers is time-consuming, but even the slightest change in approach can mean the difference between churn and renewal. They will value the fact that you’ve gone the extra step to make sure that they are successful.
2. Invest in a Digital Adoption Platform
B2B software is sold to the decision maker in the organization, but the employees will be the ones who will use it. If your software is not adopted by the employees, the organization won’t see any benefit to doing business with your company.
Be proactive about addressing end-user adoption by investing in a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP). Without making any changes to the underlying software, WalkMe’s DAP sits on top of your user interface and provides contextual guidance and engagement for users when they need it.
The cost of investing in a platform like this pays off. DAPs save time by doing the leg work of engaging and assisting the end-users of your software. If the employees of your customers adopt your software, and make the most of it, they’ll be more likely to stick around.
3. Interact with Your Customers Regularly
Develop a cadence of interaction with your customers. Reach out to them, within reason of course, even if you are not trying to sell to them. A personal relationship with your customer will help gain trust and will let them know that you’re there to help them.
A two-way partnership will make both you and the customer be more comfortable with where the relationship stands and what the possibilities are for the future.
4. Show the Value of Your Product
Whether your software helps a business make money, save money or save time, offer a way to show how you have added that value. Analytics can help demonstrate this — keep track of how, how much and more you are helping their business.
Presenting this type of information will show the customer that your product is helping their business.
If there is a possible way to show value in a numerical way, do it. Work hours and dollars saved are great and easy ways to show that your product is valuable to their business.
5. Highlight New and Lesser-Known Features
Make sure the customer knows about new ways that your product can help their business. This could be a new version release or just telling them about a feature they have not yet used.
Whatever it is, increasing their knowledge of what your product can do for them will help them value your product more.
If you are not engaging your end users, it is quite possible the customer could lose touch with or plateau in their proficiency of the product. If they are not aware of important features, they may decide to go elsewhere to look for them. And elsewhere could be a competitor.