Powering the Pipeline Pt. V – Turning Customers Into Advocates

 JP Werlin CEO and co-founder of PipelineDeals

By JP Werlin – Try PipelineDeals Free For 14 Days

Happy customers tell their friends. If customer care isn’t an integral part of your sales process, you’re missing out on prime juice for your pipeline. Powering the Pipeline is a special multi-part series to help businesses sell better.

At PipelineDeals, we believe in SaaS — not Software as a Service, but Service as a Software. For most of our history, we didn’t even have a traditional sales team. We just built a great product and focused on caring obsessively for our customers. We trusted word of mouth advertising to help us grow, and it worked.

When you treat your customers right, they become your most effective salespeople.

Make Customer Care Accessible

Historically, major software shops have hidden behind buried or unlisted phone numbers. Their message is clear: software comes first and service comes second.

When we meet with software startups and emerging entrepreneurs, we pass along the same key piece of advice that Freshbooks Founder and CEO Mike McDerment gave to us: “Make it easy for your customers to reach you. Put your phone number on your home page.”

Tony Hseih, the CEO of Zappos, considered customer service a marketing expense from the very beginning. Tony’s marketing strategy worked, and he successfully built a billion-dollar ecommerce brand.

The bar for good service is low in SaaS. I would argue that the bar is on the floor. Many of our competitors continue to be ruthless on the sales front, stemming from the “old days” of software. Conversations with the major software companies usually start with them asking, “How much money is in your wallet?” We ask, “How may I help you?”

 Our Customer Ambassadors, led by our Customer Care Manager Kris Knowles, are here to help.
Our Customer Ambassadors, led by our Customer Care Manager Kris Knowles, are here to help.

Word of mouth is the number one source of information buyers reference, both at the beginning of the sales cycle, to establish their ‘long lists,’ and at the end, when they are paring down their short ones.

— Geoffrey Moore, Crossing The Chasm

When You Listen, Customers Talk

At PipelineDeals, taking care of our customers is our first order of business. We listen, we go out of our way to help, and our customers reward us for our efforts. Even when we don’t have insight into exactly how a prospect found us, we know that people look to their friends and colleagues when they’re researching solutions.

Promoters are a Powerful Sales Asset

Bain Consulting developed the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to help quantify the value of promoters and word of mouth (WOM) advertising. NPS is a measurement of customer satisfaction built around one simple question: On a scale of one to ten, how likely are you to refer a product to another person? Using this score, you can bucket people into promoters, detractors and passives.

Decades of data from NPS in dozens of market sectors validate what we’ve always known at PipelineDeals: people who like your product will help you sell and grow.

  • Promoters refer 2.8 times more than a passive customer

  • Promoters are half as likely to leave and stop using a product

  • Promoters are 25% more likely to purchase cross-sells or upsells

  • Users referred by promoters require less time to onboard with a new product

Thankfully, the days of software sales as a form of highway robbery are numbered. We encourage all SaaS companies to join us in putting Service in front of Software.

Whatever your business, you can’t go wrong by putting customers first. Isn’t it great when the right thing to do is also the best thing you can do for your bottom line?

JP Werlin is the Co-Founder of @PipelineDeals. He is a seasoned entrepreneur who enjoys building and leading teams of great people. JP is passionate about creating lasting brands that provide value and create mutually beneficial relationships between people. You can follow him on Twitter via @jpwerlinTry PipelineDeals Free For 14 Days

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