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Do SMBs Need Customer Success? 100% For Sure If You Also Have Sales Involved

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An open question around smaller customers is how do you staff up Customer Success for them — if at all.  Many founders wrestle with the question of if they can really afford customer success professionals for their smaller customers.  And as startups scale, many try to automate away support and success for the smaller accounts.  But let’s challenge that.

Generally speaking, most self-service products supply very limited dedicated Customer Success.  And all enterprise and mid-market products do.  The grey area is often with SMBs.  Can you afford to do customer success there?  Often, the coverage is quite limited.

I’d suggest a few basic thoughts and rules:

  • If you have sales involved, then you need customer success, too.  If your SMB product requires or has a salesperson involved in closing, that’s a clear sign you also want a human being involved in making sure that customer is a success post-sale, too.  Any product that has sales involved by definition doesn’t sell itself, and doesn’t 100% lend itself to self-service and importantly, self-deployment.  If a customer needs a sales person to get going, they’re almost certainly going to need, or at least benefit from, help getting up and going with the product as well.  And with questions on improving things over time.  A wiki, some self-service Q+A, and a bunch of bots are not enough.  Not to ensure success of a product that takes work to deploy, i.e., a product that needs salespeople.
  • Just assign a certain amount of ARR per each SMB customer success manager.  There’s only so many customers per day a CSM can proactively reach out to.  But what you can do is just assign a certain number SMB and smaller customers that sums up to the amount of ACV you want to cover per CSM.  For example, let’s say you are scaling and want each CSM to cover $1m in revenues.  If your ACV is $2.5k, yes that’s going to be 400 accounts to that CSM.  That’s too many to schedule QBRs with.  But it’s not too many to reach out to proactively with regular cadences.   A bunch may not want to talk.  More may just have a question by email.  You’d be surprised over 52 weeks how many of these 400 accounts you can touch.  All of them, multiple times really.
  • Have a clear line between support and CS.  Support has to handle a lot of routine SMB issues anyways.  Create a clear line on who owns what, and your CSMs will be able to handle a high number of accounts.
  • Set clear KPIs on NRR and retention.  Set a retention goal for your SMB customer success manager(s) and let them figure it out.  This almost always works.  They’ll adjust their time and strategy to drive churn down and retention up.
  • Find a way to fund it — especially if you want NRR of 100%+.  You can’t save money not having customer success, especially if you want to drive NRR above 100%.  Squarespace is all self-service, and it has 85% NRR (more here).  But many SMB leaders do far better, well above 100% — see Bill.com’s 120% (more here), Smartsheet’s 110% NRR from SMBs (more here), Zendesk’s 100% NRR from SMBs (more here), and much more.  Invest here to drive NRR up.  A deeper dive on top-tier NRR for SMBs here.

We recently did a deep dive with Andrew Bialacki, the CEO of $9.5B ecommerce marketing leader Klaviyo here on this point.  The vast majority of their customers are SMBs, often starting around $200 a month.  And they almost all have both customer success and post-sales support.  Humans involved in making the whole customer journey great:

  • They have AEs setup the account before folks become customers
  • $2.5k ACV up they pair AEs + CSMs, because their ARR retention is so good (brands grow)

Find a way to fund it.  Your brand benefits alone will make it worth it.  Even if on paper, the SMB CSMs barely cover their costs.

And a deeper dive on best-of-breed NRR from SMBs here:

Don’t Settle for Less Than 100% NRR from SMBs

Published on June 7, 2021

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.saastr.com/do-smbs-need-customer-success-100-for-sure-if-you-also-have-sales/

SaaS

Hybrid Work Series, Part 2: How will we organise work spaces? An interview with Max Verteletskyi, CEO of Spaceti

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How should we view hybrid working from the perspective of space? Is it merely workers dividing their time between their homes and the offices that they used to occupy before the pandemic? Or does hybrid working also mean being able to work from an ecosystem of places (home, co-working space, cafés, company offices, etc.)? How will companies ensure the health and safety of workers in the hybrid workplace? What space parameters should companies monitor?

In this series on hybrid working, we spoke with Max Verteletskyi, CEO and co-founder of Spaceti, about these questions. Spaceti is a singular SaaS platform for managing spaces from individual offices to entire campuses. Founded in 2016 and based in Amsterdam, Spaceti offers a combination of a Workplace Analytics suite that collects data from proprietary or third-party sensors (desk/room/parking space occupancy), with indoor air quality management (temperature, humidity, CO2, etc.), and a Workplace App that offers booking and communication functionality. It is also compatible with the hardware of the most popular office solutions like Cisco cameras and Gantner lockers.

Max spoke of his definition of ‘hybrid working’, how to help companies adapt to the post-pandemic workplace, and the concerns current and potential clients have about the hybrid workplace.

Do you think that hybrid working is here to stay, or is it just a passing trend?

Indeed, I believe that hybrid working is here to stay. It’s important to define what hybrid working means from my perspective. It’s the ability to work from ecosystem of places – let’s say you can perform some of the focus work from your home, more collaborative work from your company office location or nearby co-working centre, and some creative work from a café or even a hotel somewhere in the alps that could give the right inspiration and vibe.

In my opinion, the lines are being blurred between the types of physical space and more importance will be given to the quality of space, which will become more of a benefit for your employees.

As a result, ‘Space management’ is needed more than ever before as the pandemic is forcing companies to adapt to this new hybrid workplace reality.

Whether it is hybrid or going back full-time to the physical offices, how can SPACETI help companies adapt to a post-pandemic workplace?

Prior to answering this question it’s important to point out what they actually need help with nowadays. Corporate real estate managers are looking for cost savings while ensuring a healthy and safe work environment. Lack of transparent occupancy and air quality data creates uncertainty in decision making. Employees feel insecure about no longer having a dedicated desk or a parking space when returning to the office.

Spaceti addresses efficiency and effectiveness challenges workplace occupiers face and provides reliable data that enable them to make key decisions that would improve workplace utilization, air quality and create a safe, data-driven, and interactive workspace.

Workplace occupiers can monetize better office usage (up to 25% savings on office space) and workforce productivity. Spaceti technologies are crucial, now than ever, because of the COVID-19 pandemic as they help manage the transition to more flexible and healthier offices. Furthermore, the collected data can help workplace managers decide how much space they will need in the future.

What top three concerns/issues about the hybrid workplace do you get asked by current or potential clients?

Firstly, given the major trends and shifts in the industry, clients want to know how they can make better data-driven decisions that would improve productivity and their people’s wellbeing. Workplace occupiers often lack data regarding how much rental space they currently need and will need in the future, causing uncertainty due to changing external conditions.

Secondly, people always ask how they can make a safer and more flexible environment for their people. This goes hand in hand with data collection. Due to a lack of environmental data, people cannot be alerted to poor air quality, which can transmit airborne infections and significantly affect health and productivity. Furthermore, since the pandemic, workplace managers need to flexibly change how the offices are being used. Their people need to have the tools to use the space and be sure there will be a place to park and a desk if they go to the office.

Lastly, clients are always concerned with implementing a fast and cost efficient solution to their problems. Corporate occupiers need to find suitable solutions for the new normal, which is accelerating market demand, including smart workplace technology that is not difficult to install (as it requires cabling, electric power, and high CAPEX).

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.eu-startups.com/2021/06/hybrid-work-series-part-2-how-will-we-organise-work-spaces-an-interview-with-max-verteletskyi-ceo-of-spaceti/

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BrowserStack valued at $4 billion in $200 million BOND-led funding

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Yet another SaaS startup, which began its journey in India, has attained the much-coveted unicorn status. BrowserStack, a startup that operates a giant software testing platform, said on Wednesday it has raised $200 million in a new financing round that valued the 10-year-old firm at $4 billion.

BOND led the Dublin and San Francisco-headquartered startup’s Series B financing round, while Insight Partners and existing investor Accel participated in it. BrowserStack, which for the first six years of its journey didn’t raise any money and remains profitable, has raised $250 million to date.

As companies move to rapid development cycles they often don’t have the time to perform adequate testing. For instance, say Google is working to launch a new mobile app. The search giant will want to test the new app on thousands — if not tens of thousands — of different mobile devices.

At present, even a company the size of Google will find it cumbersome to secure, store and maintain all those test devices. That’s where BrowserStack comes into play.

The startup has 15 data centers across the world and a repository of over 2,000 devices. BrowserStack, which began its journey in Mumbai, licenses its service to firms to let them remotely test their apps and websites on its devices, explained Nakul Aggarwal, co-founder and CTO of BrowserStack, in an interview with TechCrunch.

“Our mission has always been to help engineers build amazing products for their customers. Whenever they are developing an app or a website they have to ensure that it works across the fragmented ecosystem,” said Aggarwal, referring to various kinds of mobile devices, tablets, TVs, wearables and other platforms. “We are ensuring that engineers don’t have to worry about building their own in-house labs for devices.”

Google is not a hypothetical example. The Android-maker along with giants including Amazon, Microsoft, Twitter, Tesco, Ikea, Spotify, Expedia and Trivago are among over 50,000 customers of BrowserStack. Over 60% of BrowserStack’s customers today are in the U.S.

BrowserStack founders Nakul Aggarwal and Ritesh Arora (Image: BrowserStack)

“As software continues to rewire everything, the bar on speed and quality continues to rise, and testing software across the expanding number of browsers and devices is a huge and expensive challenge for development teams to manage on their own,” said Jay Simons, general partner at BOND, in a statement.

“BrowserStack makes this simple and cost-effective, giving developers instant access to the widest range of browser and device configurations to test their applications. This product is an absolute boon for today’s web and app developers.”

It wasn’t until early 2018 when BrowserStack, which bootstrapped its way to profitability, first raised capital from an investor. Aggarwal said the founding team’s previous failed ventures made them more disciplined about money and it wasn’t until BrowserStack had assumed the market-leading position and began scaling to new markets that it started to explore outside capital.

Aggarwal said BrowserStack wants to become the testing infrastructure of the internet and the new funds will help achieve that. “Every pull request that is getting raise, we want to become the infrastructure where it is getting tested,” he said. The startup, which recently acquired visual testing and review platform Percy, is open to more acquisition and acquihire opportunities.

“Our recent acquisition of Percy, a visual testing platform, was just the start. We will accelerate the rate at which we take new products to market through acquisitions and investment in our Product and Engineering teams. We want to achieve our vision of becoming the testing infrastructure for the internet,” said Ritesh Arora, co-founder and chief executive of BrowserStack.

BrowserStack joins a number of SaaS startups — including Chargebee and Gupshup — that began their journey in India and became a unicorn this year.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/06/16/bonds-200-million-led-investment-values-software-testing-platform-browserstack-at-4-billion/

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The Great Game of Risk Played in Category Creation, and Why the Winning Strategy is Aggression

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Suppose you’ve started a company that’s creating a category. Most buyers in your target market haven’t heard of your business or the kind of software you sell. There’s no budget line item, no Magic Quadrant, no G2 High Performer Award, no conference.

You have an idea, a vast blue ocean in front of you, and a pile of greenbacks stashed in a bank account from your last financing. Do you spend aggressively to create the category or conserve capital, knowing education will take
time?

Parsimony is prudence. New categories form at unpredictable rates because each market has distinct nuances. But frugality a winning strategy in any of those spaces? In this fundraising environment, I’ll argue probably not.

There’s no time to wait. The company that develops the greatest of customer relationships in the first few years is often the winner. While it’s apparent that customer relationships provide product feedback and revenue, and more of each is better, there’s another critical reason customer relationships are so key.

The first company to reach a prospect frames the buyer’s lens for a long time. The features that matter, the price point and pricing model, insufficiencies in competitors’ offerings. Each subsequent bidder for the business must either conform to that mental model and spar for position within its confines, or exert enough energy and spend enough money to challenge and subvert the first framing. That’s a tall order, and exactly the position a startup should wish upon
its competitors.

I’ve watched buyers in new categories. They prefer the best known brand, the one synonymous with the category. They will work with the leader for a few years before deciding to re-evaluate if things aren’t going well, justifying a change with the attitude: “I’m working with the leader and it’s a new category, let’s see how things evolve.”

Imagine a big map of customers, a huge game of Risk. Each time a customer buys software, it’s color changes and it’s off limits for 3 years. Marketshare in the first 1-3 years dictates marketshare for years 4-6 at least.

The more customers you convert to your company’s color, the stronger the brand, the greater the awareness, the more reference customers, the more capital to raise, the easier to hire and grow. There’s a flywheel spinning in the background that isn’t obvious until the latter stages of category creation. The winner takes most of the spoils.

Product matters. It has to work and deliver value. Distribution is at least equally and probably more important because of this Risk-territory dynamic in new category creation, especially in a market environment with so much cash available.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.tomtunguz.com/category-creation-speed-strategy/

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SaaS

The Great Game of Risk Played in Category Creation, and Why the Winning Strategy is Aggression

Published

on

Suppose you’ve started a company that’s creating a category. Most buyers in your target market haven’t heard of your business or the kind of software you sell. There’s no budget line item, no Magic Quadrant, no G2 High Performer Award, no conference.

You have an idea, a vast blue ocean in front of you, and a pile of greenbacks stashed in a bank account from your last financing. Do you spend aggressively to create the category or conserve capital, knowing education will take
time?

Parsimony is prudence. New categories form at unpredictable rates because each market has distinct nuances. But frugality a winning strategy in any of those spaces? In this fundraising environment, I’ll argue probably not.

There’s no time to wait. The company that develops the greatest of customer relationships in the first few years is often the winner. While it’s apparent that customer relationships provide product feedback and revenue, and more of each is better, there’s another critical reason customer relationships are so key.

The first company to reach a prospect frames the buyer’s lens for a long time. The features that matter, the price point and pricing model, insufficiencies in competitors’ offerings. Each subsequent bidder for the business must either conform to that mental model and spar for position within its confines, or exert enough energy and spend enough money to challenge and subvert the first framing. That’s a tall order, and exactly the position a startup should wish upon
its competitors.

I’ve watched buyers in new categories. They prefer the best known brand, the one synonymous with the category. They will work with the leader for a few years before deciding to re-evaluate if things aren’t going well, justifying a change with the attitude: “I’m working with the leader and it’s a new category, let’s see how things evolve.”

Imagine a big map of customers, a huge game of Risk. Each time a customer buys software, it’s color changes and it’s off limits for 3 years. Marketshare in the first 1-3 years dictates marketshare for years 4-6 at least.

The more customers you convert to your company’s color, the stronger the brand, the greater the awareness, the more reference customers, the more capital to raise, the easier to hire and grow. There’s a flywheel spinning in the background that isn’t obvious until the latter stages of category creation. The winner takes most of the spoils.

Product matters. It has to work and deliver value. Distribution is at least equally and probably more important because of this Risk-territory dynamic in new category creation, especially in a market environment with so much cash available.

Coinsmart. Beste Bitcoin-Börse in Europa
Source: https://www.tomtunguz.com/category-creation-speed-strategy/

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