A company may have lots of ways to know what’s going on inside their organization. But it’s more difficult to know what’s going on outside. How are they doing relative to other companies. What are others doing that they can learn from? What mistakes are others making that they can avoid?
During the height of the Covid-19 crisis, one of my clients asked a few dozen customers what they were doing to adjust to the new business conditions. Besides helping some struggling customers and providing reassurance, it also let them gather a few useful insights.
Then they shared those insights, anonymously of course, with the rest of their customers. It was sent to that large audience under the subject line: “Here’s what your peers are doing to manage through the crisis.”
Customers responded well. The advice was helpful, timely, and gave a window into what their peers were up to.
Understanding your customers is something SaaS companies can do especially well
Lots of software-as-a-service (SaaS) companies should be able to easily gather and share information like that.
In fact, they don’t even need to talk to their customers. Because they’re hosting the data in the cloud, they can see the vital information themselves.
A SaaS HR systems vendor, for example, can find in the system useful information on sick days, turnover, or time-to-fill open positions.
A CRM vendor can see the ratio of opportunities per lead and the average length of the sales cycle. An ERP vendor can see average inventory levels or key financial metrics.
Vendors that sell into particular verticals can share industry-specific information. A vendor that hosts a solution for car dealers, for example, can see the average sales per month, the value of extras sold with each vehicle, and the average time a vehicle stays on the lot.
Benchmarks are useful
Of course, SaaS vendors need to be very careful to share only aggregate data. They can’t be in the business of sharing private data of individual customers.
But with proper protections, they can regularly collect and share helpful benchmark information that allow companies to compare themselves to their peers.
That information is valuable. HR managers, marketing professionals, sales executives, supply chain managers, etc. all want to know how they stack up.
SaaS companies shouldn’t underestimate the value of these benchmarks. They should devise a way to regularly extract them and publish them. It’s just another benefit and advantage available from their solution – one that customers find valuable.