Customer Success as a Growth Driver for SaaS Startups

Customer success
Suprej Venkat Jun 20, 2023

SaaS businesses emphasise customer retention more than anything else in their operations. If your customer is retained, you have put real value into your product. But is that likely to happen? SaaS startups generally work with fewer counts, from looking for potential customers to onboarding to retaining– a team of 5 or even less does it ALL. The SaaS market is estimated to be over $110 billion and is projected to reach $195.8 billion by 2023, according to Statista.Proves that it’s no longer enough for SaaS businesses to acquire as many as customers Success  but not be able to retain them properly.

SaaS needs more land for this to cultivate.In this blog, we’ll explore the ins and outs of Customer Success – why it matters, what it is, and how it can benefit your business. Focusing on Customer Success can improve customer retention, reduce churn, increase customer lifetime value, and even generate viral growth through positive referrals.

So, let’s dive in!

Investing in Customer Success to drive growth for your SaaS business

For SaaS companies, a major revenue growth component is acquiring new customers and retaining existing ones. Even a small reduction in customer churn rate can significantly impact revenue.

As your SaaS business grows and your ARR increases, the cost of replacing revenue lost through churn becomes more difficult. Simply acquiring new customers may not be enough to offset this loss. This is where customer success becomes crucial. By focusing on ensuring customer satisfaction and success, you can reduce churn rates and increase customer lifetime value, leading to sustainable revenue growth. Let’s understand how investing in customer success looks like:

User Onboarding

One key aspect of Customer Success is ensuring that your users are onboarded properly and understand how to use your product. By providing resources such as tutorials, documentation, and personalized support during the onboarding process, you can help your customers achieve success with your product and reduce the likelihood of them churning.

For example, Slack offers a comprehensive onboarding process that includes a guided tour, tutorials, and even a live chat support feature.

Proactive Outreach

Another way to drive growth through Customer Success is by proactively contacting your customers to check in and see how they’re doing. This could be as simple as sending a personalized email or offering a phone call to discuss their goals and how you can help them succeed. By showing that you care about their success and are willing to help them, you can build stronger relationships with your customers and increase their loyalty to your brand.

For example, HubSpot uses a proactive outreach strategy to regularly check in with customers and provide them with personalized support and advice.

Ongoing Communication and Engagement

Finally, maintaining open lines of communication and ongoing customer engagement is crucial for driving growth through Customer Success. This could involve regular email newsletters, personalized product updates, or even a customer community where users can connect and share best practices. Keeping your customers engaged and invested in your product can reduce churn rates and increase their lifetime value.

For example, Hootsuite offers a community forum where users can connect with each other and share tips and tricks for using the platform.

How To Implement Customer Success In Your SaaS

Customer success is an essential part of SaaS startups. It involves implementing and measuring processes at every step of the customer journey to ensure customer satisfaction. The customer success pipeline in SaaS startups can be divided into four stages, explained in this section. To implement customer success in a SaaS startup, it is important to understand that the customer success pipeline should be practiced along every step of the customer journey, with processes designed to facilitate it. Each process must be measured, monitored, and optimized constantly to ensure the best customer experience.

1. Marketing and Pre-sales:

Customer success, marketing, and sales form a triangle that needs to be in alignment. Your marketing team needs to identify the people who would best suit your product and market it to them. It is crucial that your marketing team sets up the correct expectations and does not promise something that you cannot deliver. False expectations lead to customer dissatisfaction, resulting in churn, even if your product or service is good. Therefore, it is important to vet prospects to ensure they fit your customer persona well.

To do this as a process, you can define certain customer success criteria and parameters related to prospects that make a customer successful (or not) for your organization.Once the sales team has converted them, it is important to monitor the handoff process to ensure that it passes complete information about the customer to other teams. This helps prevent the need to ask customers the same questions over and over again.

KPIs/Measurements to monitor:

  • Total Prospects/Good Fit Ratio
  • Churn at end of the first cycle/Successful Prospect Conversions

2. Immediately After Sign Up (Onboarding, Delivering Value):

Onboarding is the first time the user will engage with your product, and providing the promised value to the customer in the shortest time possible is important. Your activation funnel should be self-explanatory and intuitive for the user. If the funnel is too complex or the process too long, users will abandon the ship, and even successful signups will return no value. Therefore, it is important to analyze and optimize your onboarding experience.

3. Expansion: Upgrades and Upsells

KPIs and Parameters to track:

a) Core Tasks Completion Rate: Analyze and monitor the core tasks in your activation funnel to see how many users are completing all and where users may be dropping off. In case of drop-offs, aim to make the tasks and experience more intuitive. You can also use activation emails to get users back on track in their activation funnels.

b) Session Lengths: Monitor the session lengths for your new users to receive crucial feedback about your onboarding process. For example, if the average session length for completion is 15 minutes, and most of your users drop out at 3 minutes. You need to optimize your funnel.

c) Returning Sessions: Track how many users return to become active users after successful onboarding. If users are completing the onboarding but not returning, there might be something wrong with your messaging. You can use activation emails here to get them back.

4. Customer Support and Satisfaction

If the customer achieves the promised result, which holds value for them, they will experience high satisfaction and willingly make the payment.

To gain deeper insights into Churn360, we recommend setting up a demo with one of our experts for a detailed walkthrough

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Therefore, it is important to measure trial-to-paid version conversions to see how many free trial users actually end up signing up for the paid version.

If the number does not look good, there could be various problems, such as the customer not seeing value in the problem you’re solving. 

The result promised was not delivered, the onboarding experience being poor, the product being priced too high, or the payment process is turning users off.

Once customers are paying users of your product, determine engagement parameters based on the product. And their interactions to define whether they would be interested in using more functionality. When users properly engage with your product regularly and understand


From a customer success expert perspective, it’s clear that building a customer-centric culture is critical for startup success. It’s not enough to simply provide a great product or service. Startups must also prioritize building strong relationships with their customers and ensuring they have a positive experience throughout their journey. By making customer success part of their lifeblood, startups can set themselves up for long-term growth and customer success. Create loyal customers who will champion their brand.

As customer success becomes more important than ever before, startups must prioritize investing in their customers and building a culture that puts their needs at the center of everything they do.

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