Inversoft is pleased to share the following guest blog from Jaime Morocco, "Why Community is Essential in the B2B SaaS World." Jaime shares insights on how a community builds value for brands and their customers and also offers some questions to consider before building a community for your brand's following. This post originally appeared on the Bluenose blog and is reprinted here with permission.
In an age where we have the ability to be more connected to each other than ever, it can also often seem that we are missing the human part of connection. No matter how advanced technology becomes, or how dependent on technology we are, we will never lose our need for human-to-human interaction.
We are living in the age of the empowered consumer. This is an age where a consumer will almost always ask for advice from peers before making a purchasing decision, and an age where a dissatisfied customer will let the world know their state of unhappiness over any and all social media platforms. We value our peers, their opinions, their approval, and ultimately, we seek a feeling of connection to things/topics that we consider to be of high importance.
But how do we inject this sense of connection in the world of B2B SaaS? And why is it even important? Enter community.
According to Psychology Today, a sense of belonging is a basic human need, and being part of a community is one of the most fundamental ways to feel a sense of belonging. Community has always been a key component of many B2C industries (think TripAdvisor, Yelp, even FIFA). People are intrinsically motivated to share expertise on a topic they are passionate about.
Think about your passions outside of your career. Personally, I love to workout (particularly lifting weights), and eat healthy (I follow a regimen called IIFYM). In my free time, I spend lots of time in weight lifting and in IIFYM communities learning from others, and sharing my own thoughts and experiences. Why? Because it makes my goals seem less secluded, it allows me to further my knowledge by learning from others, and it makes me feel more deeply connected to an aspect of my life that I am passionate about. Being a part of a community provides me with an all around richer and more successful experience in my fitness journey.
You may be thinking, “Jaime, you’re crazy! Community? For our company? Why would we do that? We service our customers well, our NPS score is high, our support team is efficient … Why do we need to invest time and resources into a community?” From what I have observed over the last few months, if you have not started to consider community as an integral part of your business, you’re already late. Companies are realizing now more than ever, that building a community helps create more stickiness, brand awareness and ultimately… loyalty. According to Richard Millington of FeverBee, (a highly-regarded Community Consultancy agency), the ROI of a highly targeted small B2B community can be exponential.
At Bluenose, we knew we were entering a new space in the SaaS world (Customer Success). This is a space where lots of activity is happening, yet formalized processes are not yet established. We wanted to provide a space for people with similar goals/business objectives to come together to be able to network with each other, share best practices, and ask questions… all as a means to help drive the CS profession forward. Our community is not at all product focus, rather, it focuses on the discipline of Customer Success. Through our community, we have been able to not only discover some incredible people, but we have been able to connect people to each other, which has made a difference in the lives and careers of our members.
How can building a community help your company? Think about the personal example I gave earlier about my passion for fitness. Imagine if you could provide that sense of depth and belonging to your customers and/or potential customers. You would be introducing an entirely new layer of engagement and awareness. You would be providing a platform for like-minded individuals to connect. That’s pretty powerful stuff.
There are different types of communities that you can build for your company, but the first step is determining what your goals are. I’ve included a few questions to think about below as you begin to consider the early days of your community.
On determining the mission of your community …
Are you considering launching a community to alleviate service tickets for the support team?
Are you interested in having a thought leadership community focused on sharing best practices in your industry?
Are you considering a hybrid of both?
Who are your ideal community members? What is important to them?
On mapping out the early stages of your community …
How are you going to attract people to your community?
How will you keep them engaged?
How will you continuously attract new members?
On measuring & tracking success …
What metrics & goals are important to you?
How will you measure them?
Who is going to own the community metrics and goals?
What other departments need to be involved?
Don’t forget the main purpose
No matter what type of community you choose to build, the most important thing you must keep in mind, is that ultimately the people are what make the community valuable. This might sound a little “kumbaya-ish,” but it’s true. You must be able to provide a space where people can interact with each other and feel they are obtaining value from it. You have to constantly put yourself in the shoes of your community members and understand their needs.
Jaime is the Community Manager at Bluenose. She is a recent MBA grad of Babson College and is passionate about bringing people together as a means to learn, connect and network with one another.