What I learned my first year at SaaStr
By Rafael Martin, Senior Customer Success Manager
A few weeks ago I attended my first SaaStr Annual. This 3-day conference in San Francisco had sessions on all aspects of SaaS companies including marketing, sales, funding, development and customer success. Surrounded by roughly 10,000 other SaaS enthusiasts, I had a fun experience learning from speakers and meeting my peers. I honestly didn’t know what to expect from the event, but I arrived off BART with an empty backpack (ready for swag) and an open mind. I wasn’t disappointed. Here are my top takeaways as they relate to my job in customer success, which is to help you grow your partner channel with PRM. And – they’re valuable whether or not you’re in a SaaS company!
Feedback is worth its weight in gold.
No one operates in a vacuum and certainly not SaaS companies. When you have a product that lives online and can be updated regularly, feedback gains a whole new level of importance. What’s working? What’s broken? What features are missing? What elements are annoying? Keeping the virtual suggestion box open not only allows your internal teams, customers and partners to have an outlet for their “constructive criticism” but it provides you with your very best way of getting user feedback and evolving your product.
Make this relevant to your partners by reaching out with an email or survey and solicit their feedback. Keep your expectations open and ask questions. Knowing what your partners are thinking or wanting and being able to turn around and help them will make them more successful and in turn make you more successful. I asked questions and got feedback from other customer success managers which I can now apply to my work and our processes. I’m excited to turn feedback into action.
Satisfaction comes from interaction.
Learn from everyone. You never know where inspiration will strike. This is a bit like asking for feedback, but the emphasis is not on taking advice internally, but reciprocating conversations and thinking out loud. I talked with other customer success managers, attended speaker sessions and chatted with folks at the sponsorship booths. Seeing how they describe their products, show a demo or chat about SaaS sparked ideas I can take back to my job.
I’m new to working in the partner channel, but it seems like a specific group of people. People who use codewords like “partnering,” “channel,” “MDF” and “enablement” all the same sentence. Find your fellow partnering insiders and have conversations on social media, at conferences or over coffee. Forcing yourself to have interactions with these insiders, as well as co-workers and your partners, will increase good ideas, recharge your enthusiasm for partners and create satisfaction.
As I walked around and talked to people from various parts of the SaaS world at seminars, parties and booths, I made sure to bring enthusiasm to every conversation and I looked for enthusiasm in others. I could tell who believed in their product or loved their job. Those are the best folks to learn from. They’re bringing something exciting to their work, their product and this industry and that’s a great thing to be around. It sparks the same in me, and it can spark the same in you and your partners.
Sometimes products crash, the customer isn’t always right and partners don’t perform as well as you’d hope – but enthusiasm and a good attitude is key. It may not solve the problem, but it certainly makes getting over that next hurdle easier and you’ll attract other positive people along the way. Your coworkers, your peers, your customers and your partners are all working toward a goal and you can be a part of their success.
Think about feedback, interactions and enthusiasm as key components in that success. You never know when something great can happen to you through random interactions. Just look at me, I made some new friends in my peer group and won a Nintendo Classic when I took a demo and entered a raffle. It’s a win win.
Rafael Martin is Senior Customer Success Manager at PartnerPath with 12 years of helping customers with a phone call and a smile. He helps customers successfully implement our PRM and create happy partners.