When it comes to marketing technology of any kind, whether it be CRM, marketing automation, social media management, or website analytics, only one thing really matters.
The tool you invest in has to make you more money than you spend on it.
The problem with that statement? A lot of what marketers do is hard to quantify, difficult to measure, and is more of an art than a science. The counter-problem? The C-suite wants hard numbers, not flimsy promises of future value.
Bluenose is one company that claims to combine big data analytics with customer success management. In other words, it ties together data from CRM, customer service, billing, surveys, marketing automation platforms, and more into a single view. That view then allows the user to dig into product usage, customer health, lifetime value, and satisfaction data on a customer-by-customer basis.
It sounds big, complicated, and tough to implement, but it turns out that isn’t the case at all.
Revealing details exclusively to VentureBeat today, Bluenose is claiming it has the fastest time-to-value of any customer success platform — a mere 49 days per average implementation. Of course, “implementation” can be a variable definition, so I asked Don MacLennan, CEO and cofounder of Bluenose, to explain further.
“Implementation means time-to-value, which incorporates the installation of our cloud-based software, setup of the system, and team training,” MacLennan said. “So after 49 days [on average], our customers are using our software and gathering insights into their customer base.”
Time-to-value is a subject close to my heart.
In my State of Marketing Technology Winter 2015 report, I looked closely at cost of ownership and return on investment in marketing technologies. Through 2,119 respondents and by analyzing two million martech product logins, I found that the C-suite were most heavily involved in the use of analytics products — at least 3x more so than any other category. Analytics products are also the tools that offer the most quantifiable returns. That level of familiarity, along with the hard figures executives crave, is helping solutions like Bluenose gain market share, along with fans in the boardroom.
This is in stark contrast to, for example, the fortunes of social media management tools among executives. We know that the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies just don’t “get” social from a personal perspective, even if their companies use it to great effect. This is partly due to the difficulty of measuring ROI from those tools, something MacLennan still sees as a challenge for Bluenose too.
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“We agree that social media marketing tools are a difficult bracket, and we’ve faced similar issues with our customer success platform,” MacLennan said. “Our focus at Bluenose is helping businesses score their customers’ health and maximize customer monetization through churn reduction, conversion, upselling, and other opportunities. We do see some of the same challenges from a ROI perspective, but our software provides in-depth, data-driven analytics to help the C-suite see ROI from a churn-reduction perspective.”
This ability to help understand and ultimately reduce churn has seen Bluenose add the likes of KISSMetrics, BetterWorks, and PaySimple to its clients roster. “Across our customer base, especially with the advent of SaaS, customer churn can be fatal to the company’s business model,” MacLennan said.
So, how is Bluenose managing to deliver value within an average of 49 days? The solution already has the attention of the C-suite, thanks to it being an analytics tool, and by providing measurable data around the most important people of all — customers. But that only explains why people are interested in products like this, not how Bluenose is managing to provide such a fast return.
“The industry’s time to value — for any marketing solution — is definitely a challenge, and a hurdle for adoption rates among businesses,” MacLennan said. “Deployment is quick, but it takes time to sort through historical data and start deriving insights. Our fast implementation process is due to our refined onboarding process. We have playbooks to integrate strategy with data assessment, both current and historical. Our team at Bluenose also incorporates training into the process to ensure a company is prepared to hit the ground running right from the beginning.”
The lesson to be learned, then? It is the same one that many of Bluenose’s SaaS customers employ too: have a great onboarding experience for your clients.
So what does the future look like for customer success platforms, and how will they help marketers to deliver those sought-after hard ROI figures?
“We believe marketing and customer success platforms will increasingly partner,” MacLennan said. “Marketers will continue to utilize data-driven techniques to to fill the top of the funnel, but SaaS organizations must retain existing customers and keep them happy. This is leading to the rise of lifecycle marketing, and customer success platforms become a vital source of information for marketing because it has a pulse on the customer base.”
Perceived expense is directly proportional to perceived return, and tools like Bluenose make it easy to look at the hard facts and figures associated with every customer. But, as it turns out, this isn’t the main reason for the company’s claim that its time-to-value is faster than the rest of the customer success platform industry. That success comes down to providing as good an onboarding and training experience as possible, a lesson that every business can take something from.
Learn more about total cost of ownership and return on investment across the marketing technology industry in our free webinar.