Mon 01 Aug 2016 | By:

Important & Overlooked: SaaS Startup Retention

Important & Overlooked SaaS Startup RetentionWhen a SaaS startup is founded, the team is typically concerned about two things: product development and sales. Money is raised and poured into these two initiatives—any why wouldn’t it be? You can’t sell without a product and you can’t stay alive without revenue. But even the most well-run startups overlook a crucial piece of the puzzle—retention.

Here’s what happens: a product launches. Sales close. When the contract comes up after a month, a year, the customer leaves. Why? Because customers are wowed during the sales process, dragged through onboarding, then left to adopt the product alone. Let me tell you from watching this firsthand over, and over, and over: it simply doesn’t work.

Retention is a tricky game: companies have to stay top-of-mind without annoying customers and support without hovering or, worse, disappearing completely. No one said it was easy! Use these tips to increase your focus on SaaS startup retention without wasting time:

1) Keep a close eye on the product roadmap and promises being made during and after the sales process.

This happens in every B2B SaaS company I’ve worked with: sales says a feature is coming at a certain time. Customer support onboards the customer and makes the same promises. But no one keeps in touch when the product roadmap changes. Keep the line of communication with your customers open and honest. Even if you don’t pull through on every product deadline (and this is bound to happen!), you’ll have a relationship that is more likely to survive renewal.

2) Touch base with your customers regularly.

If you’re on an annual contract, you should be talking to your customers at least quarterly. Ask them the hard, honest questions. Tell them you want all of the good, bad and ugly feedback, because it’s the only way you can improve issues with your product and team that no one in the company may see. Visit your customers and watch them use your product. Note where they struggle and work to improve training and usability. Provide a quarterly NPS survey and give your customers a chance to rate your product honestly.

3) Send a newsletter.

You don’t have to spend a ton of money creating content to be able to add value for your customers. Curate content to make your company a place that customers look to stay on top of industry changes, and use a free tool like MailChimp to get started. Be sure to send product content, too! This you’ll have to create yourself. New feature announcements, product tips and tricks, surveys, the sky’s the limit. Providing content like this shows that you care and are continuing to work on your product.

Does your SaaS startup have a handle on retention? If so, what other SaaS startup retention tricks does your company use? If not, what’s your first move?

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About Jackie Steinmetz

Jackie Steinmetz is a digital marketing consultant specializing in B2B SaaS startups. Jackie's virtual marketing agency takes pride in being fast and flexible--two qualities vital to marketing small businesses effectively. Check out Jackie's blog or connect with her on Twitter.