Building Blocks of a B2B SaaS Community
The only good thing about herd mentality is that it works. That is why if you please a chunk of the section of your target audience, others will follow suit. Use the power of community-building to maximize customer retention for your SaaS.
The only good thing about herd mentality is that it works. People trust people. Most go where others go. That is why if you please a chunk of the section of your target audience, others will follow suit. If you are a Saas business, you can take it in your stride and build a community to scale your business from ground up.
Be it converting prospects into paid customers or educating your audience about the service you offer, it’s never been so crucial for companies to build a community to flourish and establish themselves as the best.
Hey, I'm Kaushik, a product marketer at SurveySparrow. One of my core responsibilities as a product marketer is to build the SurveySparrow community that helps our users brainstorm solutions, start creative discussions, develop friendly connections, and more!
We've recently achieved a small milestone of hitting 1000+ active users in the community. What started as the work of a three-member team has helped us grow and scale exponentially, and now we are an enthusiastic team of 6+ members who love interacting with customers. We've been getting 80-100 active users every month, and yeah, we have a long way to go.
In this article, I shared insights that I've experienced, things that helped us on the journey, and jotted some quick tips to build and scale a thriving community.
What is community building?
Community building is nothing but building a loyal user base for your business. Be it SaaS, Edtech, Fintech, Consultancies, or any industry, having a potentially solid user base is an absolute fundamental.
Building a community has a compounding benefit for your business. The more you help users overcome their challenges, the more they will stick with your business.
Community building will have a guaranteed outcome that can be attributed with no UTM parameters.
Why is it important for SaaS companies to build a community?
The technology is booming, and so are the SaaS companies. It has become highly important for SaaS companies to build a thriving community. It doesn’t matter how robust your product is. Besides exceptional solutions and useful functionalities, it is the overall customer experience that adds to the stickiness factor when it comes to software businesses.
Recently, I’ve come across an interesting post on LinkedIn from Edward Ford, where he put forth the importance of Customer Experience for SaaS companies.
When a user evaluates your product, they don’t just evaluate the amazing solutions that your product has to offer, but they also care about
- The User Experience [UX]
- Customer Onboarding Experience
- Customer Support
- Product Features and their stickiness
- Help Site and documentation
One of the best examples I can bring here is Notion’s community. Oh, man! They’ve scaled their community to the next level. When I mentioned the compounding benefits of having a thriving SaaS community, this is what I meant.
When I was new to building a SaaS community, my manager shared this excellent piece to take a read-through, and I would highly advise you to do the same.
To build a successful community, it isn't always the community managers' job to step in and help the users. It's a collective effort of the whole organisation to excite the users with all that they can achieve using your product.
Cherry on the cake you ask?
How good it feels when you see a community user helping out a fellow user, and then the discussion just goes. Yes. You can build a community like this too when you strongly provide the initial value.
Why do you need a community for your SaaS company?
- Customer Retention: SaaS communities help you with customer retention. You can retain the customers who are at risk of churn when you focus on providing value.
- User Engagement: Reports say that engaged users are more likely to continue with your business for an extended period of time. Here’re some quick tips to increase user engagement and fuel growth.
- Collecting timely feedback about your product: As a product company, it’s always good to collect feedback, feature requests, and product development ideas from your customers. What a better place than community.
- Helping users overcome a challenge: Not all your customers are tech-savvy. They will get stuck while trying out a new feature and they will look for some help.
4 Tips to build and scale a successful SaaS community
- Be early to address customer issues.
Mistake: We think our customers can wait. But they don’t
One of the most important things while building a SaaS community is to address the customer problems at the earliest. Nobody likes to wait. If you delay responding to their query, there are probably fewer chances they would come back to your community and post another question.
It’s good to develop a customer-centric attitude when solving your customer problems. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer, and be ready to put that extra effort into extending your help. It’ll take you a long way.
As mentioned, when the customers find an initial value from your community, they are more likely to stick with it for so long.
Some quick tips:
- Try to understand what the problem is. See if any other community user has encountered a similar problem. Suggest solutions accordingly.
- Redirect the issue to the support team and ask them to address it at the earliest.
- It would be great to drop an internal note to help the support staff look into the issue at the earliest opportunity.
- Enable email notifications and redirect the queries to the support team
- Empathise with your community users
Mistake: We fail to make them feel valued in the hustle of being early to solve their issues.
Being empathetic is the most underrated skill. Your customers will love you a bit extra when you can empathise with their problems.
When they feel valued in your community, they are more likely to engage with all your conversations. Especially when facing an issue or a bug, they’ll allow you the extra time you need, providing utmost cooperation until the problem gets resolved.
Some Quick Tips:
- When the community users come up with feedback or suggestions, accept their views. Thank them for doing this. Appreciate their input. Encourage them to come up with more amazing insights.
- When a new community user creates their first-ever topic, welcome them to the community and thank them for taking the first step. Encourage them to be involved in more discussions. Advise them to use the community as a platform to learn and grow frequently
- Customer-Facing teams to encourage users to interact on the community
Mistake: We fail to promote the community internally to the users.
Who better than the customer-facing teams to promote the community. From Sales to Customer Success and Support, the customer-facing teams should talk about the importance of the community with their customers.
HubSpot does this. When a customer comes up with a feature request that’s already been asked in the community, the HS support team will ask them to go and upvote the topic on the community, eventually notifying them if the feature has been picked up and developed.
It’s one of the easiest ways to engage your users in the community.
Some quick tips:
- Have a link to the community in all the emails you send to the customers
- Make sure the community is mentioned in your website footer
- Customer-facing teams can help customers understand how effectively they can use the platform.
- Share community topics in your chatbot, emails, and wherever the customer conversations happen.
- Talk about your product
Mistake: At times, we might fail to communicate all the excellent features that your product has developed.
Talk but don’t brag. Who else will talk about your product if not you? While it’s important to build for your customers, updating your customers on what you’ve built is equally important too.
Put that effort into communicating things clearly to your customers. Make sure the messaging is fun and interactive. Jot down all the newly developed features in release notes and give them every chance to stick to your product. Provide them hints on what they can expect in the coming days.
Slack’s release notes are the best. Their messaging makes you fall in love with the product.
Some quick tips:
- Promptly update your customers when a new feature/enhancement gets developed in the product.
- Write a neat Knowledge Base or help article for all the features and hyperlink them in the release notes.
- If you had made a customer wait, who had requested a feature long ago, communicate to them first. Thank them for asking you to build this feature. Make them feel valued.
Wrapping it up.
Alright! That’s all for now, you! Note that if your only goal is to scale your community and grow the numbers exponentially, you can’t do anything that’s manual. Try to automate things as much as possible.
Where does all your internal business communication happen? Slack or Flock? Check if you can do an API integration with these channels so that you don’t miss out a query.