What is Customer Lifecycle and Why Is It Important for SaaS Business?

  • Written By:
    Ann Smarty
  • Published On:
    January 17th, 2022
  • Read Time:
    5 Mins
  • Category:
    Conversion

Growing a SaaS business includes a lot of steps but the most important (and fundamental) step here is to understand your customers’ journey.

In fact, when it comes to SaaS businesses, it is not so much about journeys. SaaS marketers are dealing with the customer lifecycle which is a never-ending process of finding, attracting and retaining your SaaS product user.

What is the Customer Lifecycle?

Customer lifecycle is the process a person follows to…

  • Learn about your company or your product, 
  • Engage with it (by visiting your site, completing a form, requesting a demo, etc.) 
  • Become your client (pays to buy your product or service)
  • Remain your engaged and recurring subscriber

This last point is what actually makes this process a lifecycle instead of a journey. While in ecommerce the sales funnel usually ends at a purchase, in SaaS this process never ends because more often than not a SaaS business is built on recurring revenue.

The term “lifecycle” stems from biology:

..a biological life cycle is a series of changes in form that an organism undergoes, returning to the starting state

Instead of dealing with linear buying journeys, SaaS marketers are dealing with a never-ending cycles.

In other words, the SaaS customer lifecycle covers the customer (re-)acquisition, engagement and retention.

Understanding Your Customers’ Lifecycle

SaaS marketing often focuses on recurring revenue which makes its customer base building process never-ending:

Customers’ Lifecycle
Customers’ Lifecycle

In fact, it’s better described through this graphic because it is a constant battle for your existing customers:

Customers’ Lifecycle
Customers’ Lifecycle: Refined!

To put this in words:

  • (Re-)Attract: Acquaint people with your product (or remind them of it)
  • (Re-)Engage: Get people do something on your site or – better yet – use your product (or re-activate your inactive customers)
  • Retain: Keep users excited enough to keep using your product or service

Treating your customers’ journey as a never-ending cycle helps SaaS marketers make the most of their product’s existing users and build brand loyalty.

Build Your SaaS Customer Lifecycle with PayKickstart

PayKickstart helps SaaS business owners on every step in their customer lifecycle:

(Re-)Attract

PayKickstart empowers SaaS business owners with powerful affiliate marketing management tools that are sure to bring in new customers to the site. 

From affiliate onboarding to helping them sell more, PayKickstart can turn your business affiliate marketing program into customer base building powerhouse:

  • Approve or deny affiliate requests quickly by accessing “at-a-glance” affiliate profile details
  • Set up accurate and secure link tracking to ensure your affiliates are paid for each qualified referral.
  • Fully automate the process of paying out affiliate commissions to ensure your affiliates are excited about doing business with you.
  • Identify your rockstar affiliates and build stronger relationships with them (as well as set up affiliate contests)

Further reading:

(Re-)Engage

Your landing page should be set up the way that it can engage your first-time visitors as well as re-engage current customers. Intent optimization is a great way to achieve both. Luckily there are tools for that.

Text Optimizer is an intent optimization tool allowing you to create a landing page copy that meets your site users’ expectations:

From there, PayKickstart offers a variety of options allowing SaaS business owners to (re-)engage your customers and get them back to your site. 

These tools include multiple email marketing integrations allowing you to easily integrate just about any email automation platform, as well as a few powerful subscription management tools including:

  • Billing reminder notifications (for your trial users as well as for your recurring customers)
  • Approaching trial expiration reminders
  • Failed payment customer recovery emails, etc.
Failed payment customer recovery emails
Failed payment customer recovery emails

With PayKickstart you can automate much of the customer engagement process by reminding them of approaching billing date, an abandoned cart, and expiring trials.

Another powerful way to engage and re-engage your new and existing customers is to provide free education opportunities. You can help your customers to make the most of your platform or product and/or you can provide generic education opportunities helping your users to achieve better results in whatever it is they are doing (and whatever it is they are using your product for).

PayKickstart offers a variety of integrations that can power your business community educational efforts:

All of these webinar solutions allow you to integrate your own customer base as well as generate additional customer acquisition and engagement opportunities before, during and after an event.

Further reading:

Retain

Customer retention is one of the most important metrics of a SaaS business. There’s no point in investing money into customer acquisition unless your retention metrics allow your business to actually grow.

One of the most powerful ways to improve your customer retention metrics is to identify why they are leaving in the first place. This is where PayKickstart’s “Cancellation Saver” feature can be a huge help. 

Any time your customer requests their account cancellation, PayKickstart will ask them to select a reason for canceling:

“Cancellation Saver”
“Cancellation Saver”: Know why people are canceling!

Once a reason is selected, PayKickstart will suggest an alternative solution that may work instead of canceling. For example, if your customer thinks they are not yet ready to invest their time in using your product, PayKickstart will suggest pausing their account instead of canceling. If your customer claims that your product is too expensive, PayKickstart will suggest a cheaper package (as well as a seamless process of downgrading):

“Cancellation Saver”
“Cancellation Saver”: A better alternative to canceling!

Furthermore, PayKickstart will keep a detailed record of everything customers chose when canceling, giving you an easy way to identify the most frequent reason why people leave (and come up with a solution on how to eliminate that obstacle).

Another helpful tool PayKickstart can help you better understand your customers and what they find particularly useful (or disturbing) when using your SaaS product is the Automated Surveys.

You can set up custom (yet automated) surveys based on your customers’ actions to better understand their browsing decisions and obstacles.

Further reading

Conclusion

Understanding your customer lifecycle is key to making the most of your marketing efforts. Instead of investing more and more into attracting new customers, it teaches you to tap into your current customer base, improve your current users’ experience and learn to serve them better. 

In the end, building an effective customer lifecycle means building a better product and managing your customer relationships effectively which always results in brand loyalty and ultimately higher ROI. Good luck!

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Ann Smarty

Ann Smarty is the Brand Manager at Internet Marketing Ninjas, as well as co-founder of Viral Content Bee. Ann has been into Internet Marketing for over a decade, she is the former Editor-in-Chief of Search Engine Journal and contributor to prominent search and social blogs including Small Biz Trends and Mashable. Ann is also the frequent speaker at Pubcon and the host of a weekly Twitter chat #vcbuzz

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