We are all App eating Zombies now!
I am a zombie, you are zombie, we are all zombies in the cloud. But how? Well, consider this, if you sign up for gmail and use it once, the instance is still live or should I say undead until its shut down by Google. That could take months. If you leave a company and the admin fails to take down your instance of CRM, that you never used anyway then, yep, you are a Cloud Zombie. Surely not, I don’t want to take a megabite out of anyone. Well, it’s not really your choice to become the SaaS undead, it’s a combination of factors.
Netflix is a good place to start uncovering some of the reasons why we’re all appeating zombies now. Ask yourself, why you are still paying for Netflix? You barely use it and yet every month 6.99 comes out of your account. Not only are you a SaaS Zombie but worse still, your payment or revenue to the company who recieves it, is Zombie revenue.
We’ve all heard of the killer SaaS metrics. Well Zombie revenue not only kills, it eats your company alive from the toes up. Lets take this a little further, you are Cloud Company X and you have 15,000 customers. In total you have 500,000 users. Of those customers, some may be using and paying for your basic intro offering and in fact barely using it at all. If we do some rough maths and say 11% of
your users are Zombies then you have a serious time bomb in your cash flow waiting to suck the living life out of your company.
Think, how many Zombies Netflix has. No wonder it’s full of Zombie shows!
Michael Jackson said it best when he wrote opening verse to his 1982 hit Revenue Thriller
It’s close to renewal night and something evil’s lurking in your user base
In your CRM you see a sight that almost stops your heart
You try to renew but terror takes the revenue before you make it
You cash flow starts to freeze as Zombie Accounts look you right between the eyes, Your users are paralyzed
Cause this is thriller, revenue thriller night
Your app is going under as the Zombies are about to strike
Moving on, with a quick thanks to Michael, Zombie Accounts can create a huge drain on your resources. Which resources, I hear you say – see below.
1. Provisioning (set up)
2. Cost of keeping the lights on for customer instance (negligible until it becomes thousands of customer)
3. Renewals (you can’t renew what hasn’t been used)
4. Customer success (success = failure if your customer is a Zombie)
5. Sales (clawback on your comission because company failed to adopt it)
6. Security – hacked through old passwords
7. Finance – cash flow suddenly looks more like cash trickle as instances are taken down and renewals lost.
How to stop App eating Zombies
Zombie accounts that keep paying are the worst type of customer. They lead you to falsely believe that everything is going fine. Don’t forget, after SaaS companies scale up, do you really have time for the bottom 15,000 customers paying you 100 dollars or less a month? Thankfully there are some SaaS apps to help address this problem. Lets work through them so we can fend of the app eaters the next time they come a knockin’.
No. 1 Gainsight and how they stop appeating Zombie accounts
Gainsight helps businesses grow faster by reducing churn, increasing upsell, and driving customer advocacy. The company’s SaaS solution is 100% Salesforce native and uses predictive analytics to drive revenue from sales, usage, support, survey and other sources of external customer data. In this way, Gainsight provides a 360° view of customers and drives retention across Customer Success, sales, marketing, executive and product management.
No. 2 Totango and how they stop app eating Zombie accounts
Totango is the leading Customer Engagement platform that helps SaaS companies create an active and engaged user base. Totango is built on the idea that customer success is all about understanding, measuring, and delivering business value to customers. To do this, Totango’s platform is focused on identifying and monitoring “leading indicators” that help SaaS companies predict at-risk customers and proactively drive positive customer experiences.
No. 3 Bluenose and how they stop app eating Zombie accounts
Bluenose is a Customer Success Platform that empowers SaaS businesses to proactively manage customers through complete visibility, a robust early warning system, intelligent marketing campaigns, and built-in playbooks.
No.4 Service Source and how they stop app eating Zombie accounts
ServiceSource provides the world’s leading B2B companies with expert, technology-enabled solutions and best-practice processes proven to grow and retain revenue from existing customers. With a holistic approach to the entire revenue lifecycle, ServiceSource solutions help companies drive customer adoption, expansion and renewal.
No.5 ClientSuccess and how they stop app eating Zombie Accounts
ClientSuccess is revolutionizing the way SaaS companies manage, retain, and grow their existing customer base. They deliver a holistic, personal approach to managing success throughout the customer lifecycle. Their true Customer Success Management Platform provides actionable insights, rich customer analytics, and best practices to reduce churn, increase revenue, and maximize the lifetime value of the customer.
Aligning on-boarding and training with customer success = Zombie free zone.
You will always get disinterested customers or customers that plain don’t get it and fall away. That’s the way of the world. Selling software as a service means the service bit comes first in every activity the company engages in. To create a zombie free zone you need to align on boarding with app training and couple both of them with customer success. When this occurs Zombies Accounts and Zombie Revenue are mere stories we tell ourselves for entertainment.
by Mark Power