The Recession is producing a cut-throat approach to sales.
In the past, SaaS companies used to go after customers using a traditional hosted or shrink-wrapped software.
Now SaaS is going after it’s own kind.
I’ve read so many press releases and seen so many ads on how you can switch your CRM companies at a fraction of the cost or your money back.
If you are on the other end of the spectrum, and your customer is ready to jump ship because of cost savings, then you have no choice but to match those prices.
Saving Money in a Recession
The first thing you should do as a household or company is look at all your recurring expenses and negotiate with every single one to get a better payment plan. That includes your credit card interest rate, cable company, or CRM subscription base.
If you are a SaaS sales or account manager, I would keep very close tabs on your existing customers, and keep them as customers.
Competitors are trying to undercut your price. Take a look at all the companies trying to undercut Salesforce.com, such as NetSuite or DataForceCRM. The potential targeted customer has already adopted SaaS, which is the first big hurdle. Now it’s time to steal them with a lower price.
It’s easier to focus on current customers, especially subscription based customers with recurring revenue. It keeps your Year-End numbers healthy because of predictability. So I would get on the phone and make sure that doesn’t happen.
Traditional Methods of Customer Service
The traditional methods of customer service or support is the phone, followed by email, and then to some degree, a live chat session or Instant Message (IM). (SMS text messaging is extremely popular to high school and college students. I am amazed how many of them can type with one hand under a desk and use the numeric keypad to type a text message “blindfolded”)
Knowledgebases are usually in a form of a Forum, although we’ve seen the rise of the Blogs since 2003.
And to keep up with news, using old-fashioned browser bookmarks or RSS readers are the fastest way to keep in touch with the latest news from your favorite web site or company.
The Web 2.0 Era
Staying in touch, whether you are at a service desk or offering a service, has changed the rules.
Facebook, Twitter, and other Web 2.0 applications are now the rage. I never thought a 140 character headline like Twitter would become so popular.
I no longer use bookmarks in my Browser to read the latest news, as RSS feeds such as Google Reader has simplified this for me. But now people prefer to go to Twitter for the latest news! I guess we live in a “Headline News” age.
Salesforce.com released Service Cloud, the next-generation solution for customer service that ties in Facebook and Google. The 7 components identified by Salesforce.com’s Service Cloud are chat, community, e-mail, partners, phone, search and social.
These 7 components are nothing new, but I think they are on to something.
The Bottom Line
Competitors will do anything undercut your price. Thus I would focus on keeping your current customers, especially subscription based customers with recurring revenue, as well as go after some new customers. How you want to divide the 2 groups is up to you.