Taking a Great Forward-Thinking Approach to Project Management

Posted on June 4, 2020May 18, 2020Categories ArticleTags , ,   Leave a comment on Taking a Great Forward-Thinking Approach to Project Management

All too often, businesses take a catch-up approach to project management and analysis. Rather than planning ahead and anticipating needs, these companies perform autopsies after the fact. Unfortunately, this method can lead to high customer churn rates.

Here’s the scenario – a major client just booked a profitable project with your company. You’re super excited to get started, and your teams are working hard to complete it on time. Unfortunately, midway through, you realize that you’re burning through staff-hours and not getting the results that your client wanted through the applied project management. Once the project is over, you look back and see what went wrong. However, before you have a chance to make changes, a new client signs up, and the cycle starts again.

Does this sound familiar? If you’re like most SaaS customer service companies, it should. All too often, businesses take a catch-up approach to project management and analysis. Rather than planning ahead and anticipating needs, these companies perform autopsies after the fact. Unfortunately, this method can lead to high customer churn rates.

Instead, it’s better to look forward, not backward. Instead of looking at the rearview mirror, start looking through the windshield. To help us understand the value of this approach, we’re talking with Mark Robinson, CEO of Kimble Applications. Kimble helps SaaS companies create automated processes to streamline operations and deliver better results. Here are some pointers.

Processes Dictate Systems, Not Vice Versa

Project Automation
Once you understand the steps each team member should be taking, you can find the right tools to accommodate them.

Because SaaS companies are all about technology, it’s tempting to want to use the latest and greatest programs and tools. However, while they may seem appealing at first, are they really solving a problem or a need? If not, then what’s the point?

Part of Mark’s work at Kimble is helping companies understand the movements behind each system. Yes, you have a high-tech CRM, but what good is it if the sales team doesn’t use it efficiently? So, rather than throwing technology at the problem, you have to take a process-focused approach first. Once you understand the steps each team member should be taking, you can find the right tools and project management to accommodate them.

Change Management Happens at the Top

Another reason so many SaaS companies experience high customer churn rates is that, even when adjustments are implemented, they don’t take hold for very long. This is because the people who champion these changes aren’t the ones influencing everyone else.

So, if you want your company to adopt better processes and streamlined operations, the management team has to be the first to onboard and activate. From there, it’s much easier to keep everyone else on track and avoid falling back into old habits.

Analysis and Adaptation Don’t Stop After Launch

Finally, too many SaaS companies view the going live date as the endpoint of a project management. However, that’s only one component of a much larger picture. If your churn rate is high after six months or a year, that’s an indication of low activation and something is wrong on the project management. Yes, you onboarded your clients and helped them master the software, but they’re still not achieving their goals.

One of the issues here is measuring the wrong metrics. Rather than focusing on user interactions, you want to get to the core of your delivery. For example, if your software is meant to save time on invoicing, how is that coming along? How many hours were your clients spending before compared to now? If the difference is negligible, you’ll need to adjust accordingly.

Overall, you should view each project management as an ongoing part of your business. By doing so, you can improve your customer service experience and reduce churn. If you want to find out more about these elements, check out the latest episode of the SaaS CX Show here. You can also learn more about Kimble Applications at www.kimbleapps.com.

Episode 033: Sales and Marketing Coordination with Randy Wootton

Posted on May 18, 2020May 19, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , ,   Leave a comment on Episode 033: Sales and Marketing Coordination with Randy Wootton

On the surface, it would certainly seem that sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin. What we really want to create is sales and marketing coordination. However, in reality, there is usually some extreme division between those on either side, to the point where it almost seems like they’re on two different paths. In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I talk with Randy Wootten, president and CSO of Seismic.

Show Notes

On the surface, it would certainly seem that sales and marketing are two sides of the same coin. What we really want to create is sales and marketing coordination. However, in reality, there is usually some extreme division between those on either side, to the point where it almost seems like they’re on two different paths. In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I talk with Randy Wootton, Chief Strategy Officer and President at Percolate, a Seismic company.

Achieving Sales and Marketing Coordination

Ideally, the marketing department would talk with the sales team, and vice versa. However, in many companies, sales and marketing coordination does not exist. On the sales side, they complain that the leads are weak or improperly vetted. On the marketing side, they say that the sales staff aren’t closing, despite having such highly qualified leads. Obviously, both statements can’t be right.

Talking sales and marketing coordination with Randy Wootton of Seimic.
Randy Wootton

As I discuss with Randy, it seems like the fundamental difference between the two sides is that one uses data a lot more than the other. In my experience, because the sales staff is out there building relationships and talking with clients, numbers and statistics are met with derision. Most high-end sellers aren’t going to rely on charts and graphs to close a deal – it’s all about how you talk to the prospect. Overall, the sales team puts much more emphasis on specific points and details, even if the data is mostly anecdotal.

On the flip side, since so many marketers use analytics religiously, they don’t interact with clients regularly. So, when trying to capture new leads and push them through the sales funnel, marketers rely on data to qualify a prospect, rather than talking with the person directly.

Unfortunately, this lack of sales and marketing coordination can increase customer churn rates because the marketers are selling one thing while the sales team is selling another. A lack of communication about what’s going into each sale can lead to disaster.

Being Customized Without Being Creepy

Seismic is a firm that helps companies – both large and small – create tailored content to reach customers. These days, the “shotgun” approach doesn’t work anymore. Users are far savvier than in years past, which means that they expect a certain level of personalization in each interaction.

Marketing vs Sales
The fundamental difference between the two sides is that one uses data a lot more than the other

The struggle, according to Randy, is to provide that customization without being creepy about it. We’ve all had that experience where an ad pops up on Facebook or Instagram that seems to have come straight from our thoughts. We don’t remember searching for that product or service, but here it is in our timeline.

As a SaaS company, the content has to tow that line well, and that messaging needs to get to both the marketing and sales team. All too often, marketing has created content that speaks to an individual customer, but once that person talks to a sales rep, the rep has no idea about it. In most cases, that sales and marketing coordination disconnect can lead to higher customer churn. Clients expect the company to have a cohesive strategy at all times.

Quality Over Quantity

One anecdote that Randy recounts is how he sold Seismic to one of his enterprise-level clients. Evidently, the company was spending $40 million per year on advertising content but estimated that only about half was delivering toward the bottom line. So, with a perceived loss of $20 million, the cost of Seismic pales in comparison.

What Randy and his team do is go in and figure out what messages are getting to clients and how they can be tailored even more to compel action. So many companies believe that quantity is necessary to stay above the competition. However, a targeted message at the right time can get a lot more traction than 10 generic ones. It’s all about figuring out the when, the why, and the how.

We talk a lot more about creating better sales and marketing coordination, so check out the episode here. And, if you want to find out how to reduce customer churn with Seismic, you can learn more at www.seismic.com.

Episode 034: Great Project Lifecycle Automation with Mark Robinson

Posted on May 11, 2020May 20, 2020Categories The SaaS CX ShowTags , ,   Leave a comment on Episode 034: Great Project Lifecycle Automation with Mark Robinson

In this episode we discussed with Mark Robinson about Kimble Applications is a project automation system that helps SaaS companies figure out how to anticipate needs and address them efficiently

Show Notes

For many SaaS companies, part of the struggle to reduce customer churn comes from a lack of foresight and planning. All too often, projects come along that require various tools and systems, but the company doesn’t adapt its processes to meet demand hence automation can be a solution. In the end, the businesses struggle to retain customers and can’t figure out why.

In this episode of the SaaS CX Show, I’m talking with Mark Robinson, CEO of Kimble Applications. His company helps businesses discover the root problems that come with a project-first mindset and puts them on the right track. We talk a lot about changing one’s perspective and how it can shift a company to become more streamlined and profitable. Here are some highlights.

Looking Forward vs. Looking Back

According to Mark, one problem that plagues most SaaS customer service companies is that they take a hindsight approach to fixing problems and cutting costs. Once a project comes in, so many businesses play catch-up, or they focus on the immediate needs without looking at the road ahead.

Project Automation
Mark Robinson CEO of Kimble Applications.

It’s like looking in the rearview mirror instead of the windshield. Rather than planning ahead and anticipating needs, SaaS companies instead do an autopsy after the fact to see what worked and what didn’t. The worst part? Rarely does that spur any meaningful change. Why? Well, that brings us to our next highlight.

Processes vs. Systems

Another issue plaguing SaaS businesses is that they like to focus on new tools and systems without understanding the need behind it. Yes, it’s nice to upgrade to new software or put everything in the cloud, but what’s the point?

So, rather than focusing on the systems being used, Mark and his team like to focus on the processes. What is the process for getting new clients? What are you doing to reduce customer churn? Where are there shortfalls? Ultimately, it should be the process that dictates which system you use, not the other way around. By focusing attention on the root of the problem, Mark can create a much better automation system around it.

Onboarding vs. Activation

Finally, we discuss the difference between onboarding a new customer and activating them. In many cases, SaaS companies view going live as the “mission accomplished” milestone. However, just because you completed onboarding doesn’t mean that your customers are getting the value they want.

Business Planning
Project automation system that helps SaaS companies figure out how to anticipate needs

Another issue that drives customer churn rates up is that these companies are focusing on the wrong metrics. It doesn’t matter how many times a user logged in or played around with the tools if he or she isn’t getting the work done. Instead of looking at system metrics, how well are your clients achieving the goals they set out to accomplish?

We talk a lot more about project lifecycles and the pitfalls that SaaS companies encounter, so check out the rest of the episode here. You can also find out more about Mark and Kimble Applications at www.kimbleapps.com.