One of the biggest changes partners often face as they move to the cloud is that there is no longer a big cash payout when a new customer is acquired.
However, there can be a real benefit to this business model: new customers now represent the opportunity to form relationships that generate revenue steadily and over time. So it’s important to think about how you will bring that new customer in, but even more important to consider how, over time, to increase that customer’s lifetime value or average revenue.
Bain & Company also reports that a 5 percent increase in customer retention can increase profits anywhere from 5 to 95 percent— proving just how important building long-term relationships with customers truly is.
Drive customer lifetime value and adoption
Over the last several months, I have interviewed top-performing partners around the world to understand what best practices they are employing to drive customer lifetime value. I was so impressed with the tips they gave me that I wanted to create a list around the top 15 insights I learned from those conversations.
How to create your most profitable cloud business yet:
- Hire a Customer Success Manager to focus on driving usage and adoption of the services a customer has purchased. This role is uniquely positioned to spot new cross-sell and upsell opportunities with the customer that could ultimately increase your average revenue per customer.
- Build an adoption-focused portal. Leverage Microsoft resource sites such as IT Showcase and FastTrack as a source for adoption-focused content, training videos, and email templates.
- Create train-the-trainer sessions with super users and IT staff. These engagements help increase satisfaction and adoption.
- Assign a cloud business owner on the leadership team of the customer to get all different parts of the business aligned and excited about adopting the new technology you are implementing.
- Infuse a customer-focused strategy and culture within your company. Make it everyone’s job to keep customers happy.
- Measure and reward usage, renewals, and cross-sell/upsell through your incentive model for your sales, service, and delivery teams.
- Expand your offering by exploring the Microsoft Cloud Profitability Scenario content and research to understand what project services, managed services, and IP you can wrap around Microsoft Cloud Services and devices.
- Understand your customers’ business pains and needs and drive usage by helping them solve those business pains.
- Leverage the Microsoft cloud roadmap to introduce new opportunities to your customers.
- Build a customer adoption plan that includes goals, expected outcomes, adoption metrics, and rollout projects.
- Add managed services to your offering and become your customers’ outsourced IT department.
- Sell incremental ISV applications that run on top of Microsoft cloud services to increase stickiness and drive adoption. Check out Pinpoint for a host of partner solutions.
- Manage and track your customer relationships and opportunities through CRM Online and leverage this data to create meaningful relationship marketing and nurture campaigns. Don’t forget to leverage your MPN internal use rights!
- Establish yourself as Partner of Record and leverage active usage and consumption data in the Cloud Services Partner Dashboard to understand your customers’ usage and where incremental support is needed to drive adoption.
- Create customer evidence stories that help your customers understand how others are adopting and using technology.
Creating long-term relationships means managing multiple aspects of your customers’ journey to and in the cloud, from selling the right solutions and having an adoption plan, through deployment and integration, to driving continued usage and helping customers grow and realize the full value of their solutions. To help you provide all that value to your customers, we’ve created the NEW Partner Adoption Profitability playbook. Download it now for even more tips on driving customer lifetime value and adoption.
I hope this overview has been helpful. I would love to hear your feedback and would also be happy to answer any questions you might have. Please feel free to reach out to me via email, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Until next time,