The consumption gap is one of the most common problems of B2B SaaS companies. It is a serious concern for the business as well as its customers. It is a matter of concern as the customers are failing to fully utilize the power of the solution they bought and the SaaS Company provided.
A gap between the perceived value and business value of a Software-as-a-Service Company is caused when their customers do not fully utilize the services provided by their SaaS product. In other words, the gap is caused when the customers fail to yield maximum return on their investment. At first glance, this may seem like the loss of the customer but eventually, it is the loss of the company because when customers do not get an adequate return on investment they are more likely to cancel the subscription.
A Customer Success Manager needs to ensure that their customers are yielding the maximum possible return on their investment. It is not enough to roll out a new product feature unless it is assumed that users are being educated and given ample time to use the new feature and increase their success rate.
In this write-up, we will be discussing every important detail about bridging the SaaS consumption gap and achieving maximum ROI.
The definition of consumption gap
The first thing we need to understand is the definition of the consumption gap. The consumption gap in any SaaS product is created when a customer pays for the product but cannot leverage the full benefit that the product can provide. This can be due to a lack of time or understanding or maybe the lack of usability.
Whatever be the case, if customers are not getting the maximum return on their investment then it is a matter of concern for the Customer Success Manager of the SaaS product. After all, it is their responsibility to ensure that customers are leveraging the full benefit of their product.
Steps to identify consumption gap in your product: A must requirement for customer success managers
Before you take steps to bridge your SaaS consumption gap, you need to identify that gap. A well-organized step to identify the consumption gap in a SaaS product is a must requirement for customer success managers. This will be their first tool in bridging the consumption gap.
Check whether you are promoting your product features that are specific to individual customers. As a Customer Success Manager, you must have tools at your disposal that can provide you with data about individual customer usage and behavior. Using those data you need to make sure that product features are promoted based on the individual requirements of the customers.
Decrease the friction of utilizing these features, which will enhance the motivation level of your existing customers
Now it’s not enough to promote particular features to your customers. You need to make sure that there are no friction or glitches that are becoming a roadblock for customers interested in using that feature. Checking the support documentation and the number of visits to help articles can make the picture clear for you.
Assist customers to develop skillsets to get them more acquainted with the product
If customers are not being able to completely utilize your product due to a lack of understanding then you must educate them and develop the skillsets they need to get more acquainted with your product. Your customer-facing team needs to actively engage with your customers through cycles of feedback.
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How does poor onboarding cause consumption gaps?
Poor onboarding is one of the leading causes that create a consumption gap for SaaS products. When leads get converted into customers it is the duty of SaaS Company to give them a proper tour of their SaaS product so that customers do not have to figure it out themselves.
The lack of a proper onboarding strategy makes the situation even worse when the company rolls out new features. You may have the best features in your SaaS product but it’s of no use if customers are not informed about it or if they are not using the feature.
How to ascertain the consumption gap?
Follow the given steps for in-depth analysis for ascertaining the consumption gap.
Look at the statistics
Read the data about content consumption as per features of your product. A low engagement with certain product features may indicate an adoption issue. You will then have to analyze product usage analytics and track customer behavior and engagement patterns. This will give you a clear picture of which products they are using and which they are not.
Dig deep into your support documentation
The next step would be deeply analyzing your support documentation. Check how often help articles related to product features are visited by customers. You have to see how helpful are those articles rated by the customers. You will need to promote useful articles and update those rated lesser useful.
Listen to the voice of your customers
You cannot be sure about your performance unless you hear your customers’ feedback. So, you must seek their feedback and understand from their perspective the frustration or roadblock they are facing in fully utilizing your product.
Customer education: A unique way of filling the consumption gap
Now that you know what the consumption gap is and how important it is for you to bridge this gap let us give you unique tactics to fill that gap. Customer education is a highly valuable program for most SaaS companies but most of the companies often fail to leverage its full benefit. These unique tactics of educating customers can help you enjoy the full benefit of your customer education program and bridge the consumption gap for your B2B SaaS product.
Instead of teaching customers to make users derive value from your product quickly
Teaching your customers everything about your product can be a daunting task. It can also overwhelm your customers. So, instead of teaching everything about your product to your customer, you can focus on the core actions that can help your customers get maximum benefit in a minimum time using a product tour software.
You can educate your existing customers without being so obvious through training widgets and micro-learning features in-built in your application. You do not need to over-burden your customers with all the information at once. They can be trained through micro-learning tours as and when they use a certain feature for the first time.
Integrate customer certification programs to entice existing customers to move to the next level of product engagement
A certificate is a valued thing and it works quite well in motivating to do more. You can lure your existing customers to move to the next level of product engagement by introducing a certification program. Once a customer gets a certain degree of expertise in using your product you can honor them with a certificate.
Ascertain super-users and tag them as champions
Track your customer usage and ascertain those who use your product in the best possible manner and give them the tag of champions. They are not only your valued customers but they can also be used as your brand ambassadors. They can not only motivate other customers but also solve their issues in your online communities.24
If you, as a customer success manager, are serious about bringing the maximum return on investment for your customers and the company as well you need to have a strategy to measure your success i.e. you must know how much was the gap and how successfully you bridged that gap. One of the best ways to do this can be to create a baseline around product engagement and consumption of course content and use them as key indicators. Use your strategies to bridge the gap and then measure the result using the key indicators. In this way, you can figure out which strategy works best for your company and base your further action steps on that strategy.
Stanley Deepak is an accomplished sales and marketing professional with 15+ years of experience. He loves tech products and book reading. He writes on philosophy and culture on LinkedIn.
Published February 23, 2022, Updated June 15, 2022