Customer Data that Will Drive Growth

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As we gear up for the 2018 SIIA Annual Conference & CODiE Awards next month, our speakers and attendees are getting excited about all they will learn and takeaway from three days of interactive sessions, executive roundtables, hands-on workshops and more.


Today’s guest blog was contributed by John Zuk, Partner at Waterstone Management Group. John will be moderating a panel at the conference and shared with us some thoughts on how customer data will drive growth.



Customer Data That Will Drive Growth


In an increasingly customer-centric world, the ability to capture and use customer insights to shape products, solutions and the overall customer experience is critically important. Your customers are rich sources of information and by better understanding who they are, you can discover new revenue opportunities. In this session, we will discuss ways to identify key customer data and how to implement strategies and solutions to effectively utilize the data to drive growth. If growth is a priority for your business join this session and learn how to make customer data an essential part of your overall business strategy.

At the upcoming SIIA Annual Conference and CODIE Awards in San Francisco, I’ll be moderating a panel on Customer Data that Will Drive Growth (Wednesday, 6/13 @ 2:30 pm).  This is a topic that I encounter frequently, both in my work helping software companies achieve subscription success and at the various conferences I attend. I am looking forward to delving into it with panelists Kevin Francis of Skuid, Tara Kelly of SPLICE Software, Tricia Syed of Informa and Michelle Tilton of Infutor as well as audience members.

Leading up to the event, I thought I’d offer some thoughts on the topic to get the discussion going.  As a baseline for the discussion, we should outline the types of customer data that might be available and how it can be obtained.

Let’s start by talking about the best-case scenario; when it comes to customer data availability, multi-tenant SaaS providers are in the sweet spot. When the appropriate metrology and instrumentation is in place, SaaS applications can measure customer engagement and allow the provider to observe trends and patterns related to feature adoption and usage. This high fidelity of usage allows providers to track effectiveness and consumption of new features and deploy reactive and proactive tactics to drive specific adoption paths.

Companies who excel in this area can use contextually-relevant benchmarks to present quantitative data to a user as a way of incenting them to try a new feature or adopt a defined use-case. Imagine, for example, an operating room nurse who is using the hospital’s HR system to set staffing for the coming two-week period. If the HR application recognizes that the nurse has developed a schedule that is sub-optimal relative to a plan that the system has created, the system could present the nurse with the alternative schedule and provide guidance on how it optimizes utilization and minimizes overtime; ultimately suggesting the use of the automated staffing feature).

If your company’s applications lack this level of sophistication, don’t worry. Many companies are in the same boat, and there are lots of other ways to gain customer insights. Across the customer lifecycle, multiple opportunities exist to turn customer data into relevant insights that can inform strategies and tactics for revenue growth.

Below I have outlined some example data types for each lifecycle phase and the growth opportunity they present.  Although I’ve used the term “customer” in this discussion, implying that we’re focusing on the post-sale experience, I have also included pre-customer data as this too can provide useful insights for growth.

Lifecycle Phase

Example Data Types

Growth Opportunity


Qualitative and quantitative feedback on product pricing, feature/value alignment, packaging, etc. relative to customer need and market competitors

Structured engagement with prospective customers can provide valuable insights into perceived advantages and disadvantages of your product relative to competitors and market requirements. Sales teams can often glean insights on competitor tactics that can inform broader sales strategies and tactics for growth.


Performance against pre-defined KPIs such as time-to-go-live, % of users trained and onboarded, time-to-value, etc.

Meeting/exceeding on-boarding goals sets a foundation for a remarkable customer experience, driving retention and expansion.

Use / Engage

Participation in on-line community


Attendance / participation in company conferences, user groups



Business reviews

Users who engage, sharing positive and negative sentiment, can provide insights that inform product roadmap, adoption playbooks and support strategies/tactics.


Quantification of business benefits provides support for price increases and promotes adoption/expansion.

Enhance & Support

Inbound Support calls/messages: feature requests


Inbound Support calls/messages: application support


Roadmap discussions

Source for identifying unmet/emerging requirements


New services revenue opportunities



Feedback on planned/new features can inform pricing/packaging to promote revenue optimization


Customer rationale for renewal / expansion


Customer rationale for cancel / downgrade



% of customer base willing to serve as referral / advocate

Systematic evaluation of renewals yields valuable insights into opportunities for revenue growth (and mitigation of revenue erosion). Win / loss analyses and renewal transaction surveys are rich sources of data.


A remarkable experience should result in delighted customers who are willing to serve as outspoken advocates for your company, promoting growth.


While your sources of customer data may not be perfect, the insight that you can gain can play an instrumental role in improving your products, making your customers happy and driving your company’s growth.

I look forward to seeing you in San Francisco.  If there are any particular customer data challenges that you are facing and would like to see addressed, please shoot me a quick email.  

John Zuk, Partner 
Waterstone Management Group 

John specializes in cultivating innovation at the intersection of business strategy and technology product development. He has focused on helping clients design and implement a differentiated customer experience to drive sustained, profitable growth. John has led engagements to gain unique insights on customers and markets in industries, including enterprise software, microprocessors and scientific instruments.

Rhianna Rhianna Collier is VP for the Software Division at SIIA. Follow the Software team on Twitter at @SIIASoftware.