Can Customer Churn Be Good for a B2B SaaS Business? Sometimes...
Customer churn tends to be viewed negatively by SaaS companies, and for good reason. However, in specific scenarios, it can actually be, dare we say, a positive.
“Most of the Customer Success software out there is bolted on to a CRM, and they only allow the CRM to be the source of truth. The problem is that the CRM at a company of our stage and size is normally a ‘spaghetti mess’.”
Sam Brown, VP of Sales & Customer Success @ Foleon
Foleon is a content creation platform that makes it easy for anyone to create interactive content that is 100% on brand. They provide B2B companies like Deloitte, KPMG, Philips, and Zendesk with an intuitive drag & drop editor and interactive Foleon Doc format that empowers them to create bespoke digital content experiences that are engaging, intelligent, and scalable.
Prior to implementing a dedicated Customer Success platform, the Customer Success team at Foleon relied on many different systems to house customer data—including their own product, CRM, and beyond. Because of this, their Customer Success Managers spent a lot of time researching and fact-checking customer data and putting out fires.
“The CSM’s job was very difficult and quite frustrating,” said Sam. “It didn't feel like you were actually having a positive impact on customers. It felt like you were fighting fires constantly, and only dealing with things when they became a huge issue.”
While purchasing a dedicated CS tool was always something that was on the roadmap, the combination of implementing a subscription management software and budget planning ultimately led the Customer Success team at Foleon to actively focus on finding the perfect tool to fit their needs.
“We had to look at long term planning for the Customer Success team and what it was going to look like in one or two or three years,” said Sam. “From a budget standpoint, it just didn't make sense to continue to scale the team, so it was important to look at technological solutions to the problems that they were facing in order to make them more efficient and happier.”
However, in order to meet their needs in the short-term, Foleon leveraged Hubspot, their CRM, to stand in as their CS tool—but there was no shortage of limitations.
“We had a lot of struggles with integrating our own application into HubSpot,” said Sam. “They don't think about things like product analytics and NPS—they're not focused on that.”
The Foleon team did their due diligence when it came to evaluating Customer Success platforms, demoing and trialing multiple tools before ultimately choosing Vitally.
“Within the first day of the trial I got everything up and running myself. I've never had a piece of software that is plug and play to the point of getting insights immediately,” said Sam. “Within the first day, we were already able to see insights of things that we had never seen before.”
Three key reasons made Vitally the obvious choice: 1) Ease of setup and use without needing to tap in operations or engineering for support; 2) Ability to dig super deep into customer data at the drop of a hat; 3) The option to have their source of truth be something other than their CRM.
“Most of the Customer Success software out there is bolted on to a CRM, and they only allow the CRM to be the source of truth,” said Sam. “The problem is that the CRM at a company of our stage and size is normally a ‘spaghetti mess’.”
For Foleon, being able to choose their source of truth was a key factor in their decision making, and Vitally was the only platform they came across that allowed for that kind of integration out of the box.
Beyond meeting all of Foleon’s purchase requirements, one of the biggest impacts Vitally has had on Foleon’s Customer Success team is an increase in efficiency and, more importantly, happiness. Vitally has enabled CSMs at Foleon to grow in their roles and take on more challenging, strategic initiatives.
“With Vitally, you have the best of both worlds,” said Sam. “You have the software doing the repetitive, menial, frustrating things that people don't like doing. And you have the people who are empowered to do the creative, interesting, and challenging things which a piece of software can't do.”
CSMs at Foleon look to Vitally each day as a guide on how to prioritize their day, starting with a simple checklist that highlights open tasks that have been created using Playbook automation—such as customizing an automated email, scheduling an onboarding call, etc.
“As a CSM, you are not going to have time to do everything everyday,” said Sam. “Vitally’s interface creates a very clear view of how you should approach your day as a CSM.”
Another Vitally feature that Foleon has gotten a lot of value from, without having to reinvent the wheel, is Customer Health Scores. By starting with Vitally’s out-of-the-box health score model, Foleon’s Customer Success team has been able to iterate and amend it overtime. Today, they have an accurate picture of their customer base that enables them to focus on the right customers.
“The nice thing is that you've actually got something to start with, so you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Then we put the Foleon spin on it,” said Sam. “[The Health Score feature] allows us to give specific weighting for different metrics, so we have a very complex combination of metrics that all go into a single health score.”
Now that Foleon has an accurate understanding of the health of their base, the CS team is able to see the customers that are having problems, and the customers who are getting the most value from their product. As for the latter, they’re able to understand why and where they’re getting value, and have conversations with them to get qualitative feedback to support their quantitative data.
As for Vitally’s ROI, because Vitally allows the CS team to focus on being more strategic and proactive, Foleon has seen a substantial increase in NPS, retention, and expansion.
“Retention is about 25% better and expansions are about 50% more because vitally allows us to focus on the right things to ensure that those metrics are influenced,” said Sam. “And then if you look at customer health and NPS, we've seen customer health and NPS both increase substantially.”
What’s more? Because Vitally has enabled the Foleon CS team to become significantly more efficient, they’ve been able to scale growth without having to scale the team.
“Rather than adding, let’s say, five FTE (full time employees), we've just been able to become much more efficient as we scale as a business,” said Sam. “So if we add twice as many customers, we don't need twice as many CSMs, and that's super valuable from a cost perspective.”]
During the initial search for a dedicated CS tool, Sam was happy to have another option outside of the standard CS software landscape—a landscape that is heavily dominated by some antiquated players that require dedicated resources, not always attainable for growing companies. Vitally’s platform is focused on ease of use and creating an intuitive user experience which is ideal for small to medium-sized businesses, and businesses who are building Customer Success for the first time.
“We are about 100 people, and we don't have the luxury of having large operations teams,” said Sam. “So we really needed software that we could manage within the customer success team, and make the changes that we needed to make as we evolve and mature, without the requirement of needing, like, a Salesforce engineer or something like that, something you get with some of the other software.”
Starting from the first sales call, Vitally has never over-promised, but has been known to over-deliver. And for Foleon, a bonus usage of Vitally they’ve come to discover is improved data quality by way of bi-directional syncs.
“One of the great things about [Vitally] integrations, especially with CRMs, is that there's a bi directional sync. This really allowed us to ensure data quality even within our CRM, so we kind of use Vitally as a data management platform (DMP). It’s not the real use of the product, but it does allow us to troubleshoot and ensure that our other systems of record are correct, and up to date,” said Sam. “So overall, it's had a really positive impact on our data quality across the organization, especially the go-to-market organization. Our CRM is much cleaner than it’s ever been.”
When it comes to recommending Vitally, Sam has already referred Foleon customers and members of his network to Vitally for a combination of reasons—but it’s ultimately because Vitally does ‘what it says on the box’.
“I'm not normally overly excited about software, but [Vitally] is one of those softwares where I'm doing things in the middle of the night because I want to figure out how things work and improve situations,” said Sam. “Overall, it just does what it says on the box, and that's all you can ask for with software, and the team is great to work with.
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