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Thanks to technology, modern life is easier, but it is quite messy out there. We are always surrounded by brands, ads, and offers all the time. 

Your customers are bombarded with messages and marketing content every day. The process of purchasing the right software is more difficult than ever.

How do you think the customer can distinguish you from your competitor?

The product can be the same, and let’s say features are too, but the way you treat your customers makes all the difference. Customers value the service rather than the marketing collateral. 

But a customer goes through a lifecycle before committing to any solution for the longer term. Of course, It is totally impossible to develop a single customer lifecycle that applies to every SaaS business.

However, here are the basic elements that are common to the majority of organizations.

What is the customer lifecycle?

The annual growth rate of the SaaS industry is projected to surpass 17% in 2022. This is a clear sign that the growth of the SaaS industry is unbeatable.

The customer lifecycle refers to the process of prospects understanding your product, purchasing it, using it, and becoming reliable customers. It gives you a map that outlines all of the customers’ steps as they proceed towards the sales funnel.

Your customer success team can take advantage of the lifecycle to create funnels and marketing strategies and deliver the best user-centric experiences that add value to customers’ lives.

Let us take you through each stage in detail.

The 6 Stages Of Customer Lifecycle

Reach

This phase is basically coined as awareness. It is where everything begins officially.

It’s challenging to know the exact point when a customer initially contacts your brand. The secret lies in the way you track the reach.

Even though it’s not easy to track the exact touchpoints, it is crucial to track such metrics as precisely as possible. 

That way, you can understand which marketing strategies are useful and give you the most bang for your buck— and are worthy of your further investment.

Here are some of the tips you can follow to track the customer reach data:

  • How are your current visitors landing on your website? Recognize the most frequent search terms that people search for and bring them to your website. This way, you can maximize your content production in that domain to ensure maximum visitors.
  • Keep a tab on the rate of your social media followers, online reviews. It helps you improve anything that needs more work and helps you know— why any person is interested in your product and what makes them sign up for your freemium?
  • How many visitors are you getting on your website? Check up on your new visitors and returning visitors. Map down their common characteristics and how did they land here. Is there anything common between them? It can be their search query or the job role.

Acquisition

As soon as you’re in the prospect’s reach, it’s time to initiate the conversation. Your goal is to convert your marketing contacts into leads.

Leads are people who have the potential to become your sales contacts, and they are interested in your goods and services.

It’s tricky to turn someone who is just aware of your brand or product into a possible customer. In the simplest sense, it’s about engagement and interaction. It can be either a newsletter, ad copy, blog post, or video.

However, the point to focus on is that making a mere contact won’t move things for you. To convert them into your buyers, you need to combine various factors such as personalization, timing, and purpose.

Gone are the days when it was possible to convert people via a salesy cold email or a cold call. The reason is you are not the only brand that is sending them emails or creating other marketing collaterals. Your customers have to fight their way out of the constant shower of marketing communication.

If your approach is too salesy and aggressive, you will end up overwhelming the audience, and you might accidentally push them farther than they are right now.

In this noise of regular ads, newsletters, and content, you have to find a way to stand out from the usual messaging. The ideal solution is to tailor your messaging according to the buyer personas.

Ask these questions to yourself and try to know your customers better:

  • What are their goals?
  • What makes them happy?
  • What keeps them awake at night?
  • What motivates them?
  • Which is the most used social media platform?
  • What is their personality?
  • How do they consume content? (from blogs, videos, books, etc.)

You can use the answers to these questions as the basis of further interaction. If you can provide them value even before they purchase from you—then they are more likely to consider your solution rather than anyone else’s.

 

Retention

You have acquired a customer, which is excellent, but you haven’t won the game yet. The customer still has the power to leave you.

In the modern marketplace, it is easier for the customer to walk out of the door and never return.

As mentioned in the second stage, you need to form a strong bond with the customer through your valuable messages and content.

Once you gain a customer, you need to ensure that person doesn’t leave you. In this retention phase, there are tiny links that lead you to this purpose.

Onboarding

The onboarding process is the next essential thing after purchase. You want your customers to adopt your product as soon as possible. 

But if you expect them to figure out the entire thing on their own and turn your back, then probably you are creating a blunder. There will be a tiny fraction of customers that would have understood the in and out of your product.

If they try to use the product without your guidance and end up unsuccessful, it will lead to frustration, which could be a reason for them to churn.

To avoid such circumstances, you must create a list of all the milestones that the customer must go through while using your product for the first time.

Automate this process seamlessly with Salesmachine. With salesmachine, you can create a workflow that automatically sends trigger messages when the user reaches a milestone.

Step 01: Create a new workflow

Head over to the “Automation” module, select “Workflow,” and click on the “New workflow” button on the top right corner of the screen.

Step 02: Name your workflow and add the description

Step 03: Select a trigger

  • Select the entity type 
    • Who do you want to target contacts or accounts?
 
  • Select a trigger type
    • When contacts or accounts enter or leave a stage.
    • When contacts or accounts perform an event.
    • When contacts or accounts enter or leave a segment.
    • When contacts or accounts health declined or progressed.

Workflow_trigger

  • Select a trigger

According to the trigger type you selected in the above step, you can also add some additional filters to block certain accounts or contacts to trigger the workflow. 

Ex: Trigger workflows when accounts enter the stage “onboard” but only when the current plan is “Starter.”

This is how you can create an automated workflow to streamline the onboarding process.

When a user has finished the onboarding process and is all set to use the product, it is crucial that you keep the communications open. 

The initial 90 days are the most vital, and you want to ensure that there is no friction at all. You have two choices: either you engage them here, or they churn, and you lose them forever.

The most popular reason customers churn is that brands start focusing on acquiring new customers and forget about the existing ones. You need to come up with a dynamic approach for customer support. 

But even if you predict some issues and questions, you cannot foresee everything. So you must provide your customers with on-time support so you can solve their issues quickly.

 

Expansion

As we have seen, most SaaS businesses adopt the method of cross-selling and upselling opportunities to create more revenue and retain a customer for a more extended period. This strategy does sound enticing but is not sustainable in the longer run.

Because if you cross-sell and upsell without any solid plan, you can fall into the trap of illusion that you are providing value, but the feelings might not be mutual for customers. So if it’s not, it won’t take much time for customers to abandon your product and churn.

You should try the strategy of expanding to help your customers get as much value out of the product as possible.

 

Referral

The world where all of your customers would make it to this stage is a dream. 

When a customer reaches this stage, it doesn’t only mean that they are satisfied with your product, but also they would become the unofficial ambassador of the product. 

That person would mention you on social media, refer the product to colleagues and friends, and provide you with a great testimonial. 

The power of social proof is impeccable, and when your prospects see a level of security and validation, it convinces them to try your product.

Use the customer lifecycle to grow your business.

Every customer or would-be customer will pass through these six stages of the customer lifecycle. You need to connect the dots effectively to create a positive user experience. 

The more you focus on creating an experience rather than just sales, the more likely they’ll be to move onto the next stage.

Salesmachine helps you in creating such an experience for your customer. Join us for free.

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