Everything in life is characterized by cycles. There’s an order to most things from nature to the business world if you look close enough, and your SaaS business is no exception. It’s made up of many different cycles that need to work together for your business to function. One such cycle is the SaaS Customer lifecycle.
Before we can discuss how to utilize the SaaS customer lifecycle, we need to understand it. What is it? How does it work? And why is it important?
This lifecycle outlines the trajectory of your relationship with customers. It tracks an individual’s path from visitor to lead to customer and beyond.
Your customer lifecycle gives you a complete picture of your customer’s brand experience. What draws them in, what pushes them through the sales funnel and how the relationship between brand and customer is formed.
Understanding your customer lifecycle helps you optimize your business processes. For example, streamlining the SaaS customer lifecycle allows you to cross-sell and upsell your SaaS. As a result, you’ll be able to create lasting customer relationships and increase brand loyalty.
The customer lifetime value is an essential marker of how successful your customer lifecycle has been so far. It’s a metric that shows how much money a customer spends on your brand throughout their time as a paying customer.
The higher your customer lifetime value, the more successful your customer lifecycle is.
How do you calculate customer lifetime value? Here are the two simple steps:
• Average purchase value x average purchase frequency = customer value.
• Average customer lifespan x customer value = customer lifetime value.
Think of the SaaS customer lifecycle as consecutive stages that lead on from and relate to one another in a continuous system. The nine stages can be divided into three categories: acquisition, engagement and retention.
These stages of the customer lifecycle are characterized by the steps customers take to solve their problems. The focus is on helping customers understand their problems and showing that your SaaS product can solve them.
At the first stage of the SaaS customer lifecycle, customers become aware that they have a problem. They then move into ‘research mode’ and begin to learn more about the problem and how to fix it.
During this quest, they might stumble upon your brand and learn more about your products and services. At this point, the customer becomes aware that you might have a solution to their problem.
Stage two in the SaaS customer lifecycle is for customers to consider the information they have gathered. They’ve fleshed out their problem and have narrowed down possible solutions.
As one of the contending problem solvers, you want to stay at the forefront of consideration. The more time the customer spends considering your brand, the more likely it’ll be you that they choose.
You need to find ways to increase the time customers spend considering your product. Getting customers to fill out forms for accessing lead-generation content is a great way to do this.
The last stage of the acquisition category is qualification. Customers start using your lead generation content to determine whether the solution you offer is the solution they need. ‘Qualified’ or educated users are more likely to reach out to your sales team.
This is when you get to see whether a potential customer is a good fit for your business. You’ll be able to track their interest — where they’ve looked and what they’ve clicked on or downloaded.
These stages are characterized by customers moving into ‘buying mode’ and purchasing your product. The focus is on highlighting the real and tangible value of your product to your audience.
Stage four of the SaaS customer lifecycle is the final stage in the customer’s decision-making process. Customers are almost 100 % certain of buying your product and now need the extra nudge to do so.
At this stage, they’ll reach out to your sales team to ask specific questions about using your product or about your brand in general. The correct answers are the final lynchpin that confirms your product offers the best solution to their problem.
Remember, the evaluation stage seeks to answer one question: how will this product help my business. If you can’t show that your product can improve your leads’ business efficiency and bottom line, they won’t progress to the next stage.
Now that your lead has made their decision, it’s time for them to move on to the purchase stage. A few clicks here, a swipe or two there, and they go from potential to actual customer.
During this stage, you should spend some time evaluating your marketing and sales efforts. This helps you determine what techniques worked to convert them.
After payment has gone through, it’s time for stage six — activation. This is when customers are onboarded and start to use your product to fix their problems. The focus rests on the daily user and the training or support they might need to benefit from their purchase.
You’ll need to put together teams and/or resources dedicated to answering their queries. They need to keep users happy and avoid any frustration users might encounter when using your product.
These stages are characterized by the depth and longevity of your customers’ relationship with your brand. The focus is on customer satisfaction, delivering maximum value, and preventing churn.
Your users are convinced of your product’s value and have become committed customers. Stage seven concerns expanding the reach of your SaaS product through encouraging regular use.
Your customers might be looking to upgrade their packages or add new features for an additional cost at this stage. Any expansion from the initial package they signed on for is a signal that the customer has entered the expansion stage.
The hope at this point is that you’ve done enough to prove to customers that spending more money on your brand is worth it.
This brings us to stage eight — renewal. The customer’s initial contracted use period expires, and they decide to stick with your service.
Quality customer service that is both reactive and proactive is essential for success in this stage. You must keep open and consistent communication with your customers.
Last but not least in the SaaS customer lifecycle is the referral stage. Your customers have journeyed to become loyal patrons. Now they are ready to share their satisfaction with and recommend your services to their networks.
In many ways, loyal customers are your best sales reps. Through word-of-mouth and reviews, they provide reliable social proof that your brand delivers on what it promises.
Understanding your customer lifecycle is useful but being able to use it effectively is a game-changer. With that in mind, we’ve compiled some tips and tricks to help you maximize the efficacy of your customer lifecycle.
Discover everything you need to know on how to utilize the SaaS customer lifecycle on PayPro Global’s blog.