Don’t you think we are living in an age where we can refer to ourselves as empowered consumers? When I say this, I mean this is an age where we will almost always ask for advice from peers before making any purchasing decision, and if we are dissatisfied as a customer, we will let the world know our state of unhappiness over any and all social media platforms. We value our peers, their opinions, their approval, and ultimately, we seek a feeling of connection to things we consider to be of high importance.
But have you ever thought about how can we leverage this sense of connection in the world of B2B SaaS? And why is it even important? Think community.
A study published in Psychology Study stated that a sense of belonging is a basic human need, and being part of a community is one of the most fundamental ways to feel a sense of belonging. Community has always been a key component of many B2C businesses (think TripAdvisor, Yelp, even FIFA). People are intrinsically motivated to share expertise on a topic they are passionate about.
And when I say building a community, I’m not talking about a Facebook business page. I’m talking about an active, engaged community — a true asset that sparks sustainable growth.
But why SaaS? How can building a community help SaaS businesses?
You may be thinking, “Anukriti, you’re crazy! Community? For our company? Why would we do that? We service our customers well, our NPS score is high, our support team is efficient … Why do we need to invest time and resources into a community?” From what I have observed over the past few months, if you have not started to consider community as an integral part of your business, you’re already late.
SaaS businesses are realizing now more than ever, that building a community helps create more stickiness, brand awareness, and ultimately… loyalty. According to Richard Millington, Founder of FeverBee, (a highly-regarded Community Consultancy agency), the ROI of a highly targeted small B2B community can be exponential.
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Think about your passions outside of your career. Personally, I love to read (particularly about startups) and derive my own insights. In my free time, I spend lots of time reading about startups in entrepreneurs’ communities, learning from others, and sharing my own thoughts and experiences. Why? Because it allows me to enhance my knowledge by learning from others, and it makes me feel more deeply connected to an aspect of my life that I am passionate about.
Imagine if you could provide that sense of depth and belonging to your customers and potential customers. You would be introducing an entirely new layer of engagement and awareness. You would be providing a platform for like-minded individuals to connect. That’s pretty powerful stuff.
Successful companies, including and especially tech companies, harness the power of community to boost customer acquisition, drive retention, reduce support costs, and much more. Let’s dive in to know how:
Online communities boost customer acquisition
#1 Have homegrown brand advocates: When someone is an active member of a brand community, they inherently start identifying themselves with that brand. They believe in it. They root for its growth much like stockbroker roots for their latest investment. Your customers will happily be your brand advocates and share their expertise with their peers through your community. Bottom line - you can, of course, pay influencers to promote your company and get new customers. But nothing can beat the passion of home-grown brand advocates.
#2 Be discovered: Open communities have tons of user-generated content through the knowledge base, discussion forums, blogs, product updates which are indexed by google. So, your community will show up in Google results when prospects search for answers to their queries, thereby increasing your brand awareness. And also establishing your brand as a thought leader in the domain you are operating in.
Online communities drive retention
Retaining existing customers is not an easy task, especially for subscription-based businesses. Online communities boost retention rates and keep existing customers happy. Discussion forums, networking with peers, asking questions, submitting feedback, or perusing resources all contribute to increased connections between your brand and your customers. This increases the value they get from using your products and services, making it more likely they’ll stay with you in the future.
There’ll be no chance that this customer will leave your SaaS for a competitor.
Even if they think about leaving, you’ll get to know from the community itself. Just take the desired action and retain those members who think of switching.
Online communities help reduce support costs
If you’re still assisting your customers more on emails and calls than on the community, you might want to rethink. Nowadays, customers expect quick answers to their questions. Almost instantaneous. Providing this kind of experience is extremely important for SaaS companies and online communities just makes it seamless.
Not only can your customer support team jump in to answer the queries of your users, but the entire community can help each other out. That’s just amazing, right? This way, your customer support becomes more efficient, the users are happier, and your support team is not overwhelmed by the workload.. It will ultimately reduce your customer support costs and increase self-service within an online community.
Glynk’s tip 💡
If you think thoroughly, you’d realize that online communities aren’t a new concept. They have been around for almost as long as the internet has. What’s relatively new is SaaS companies’ ability to build their own communities. In other words: instead of chiming in when someone mentions your brand on Facebook, you can be the conversation starter. If you build a value-added community, where members get something in return, from exclusive content to a sense of belonging and peer help, you will be able to grow your SaaS exponentially.
Move fast, build great communities, and provide value! If you liked what you read, please share it on LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter - wherever you love to spend most of your time spreading knowledge!