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Here Are The KPIs Linking Training to Customer Success

Posted by Julia Borgini on Jun 12, 2017 1:57:18 PM
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MRR. Churn. CPA. ARC. LTV. If you're in the SaaS business, you're familiar with these terms.* Do a quick search for "customer success KPIs" and you'll find a dozen more. It can be a challenge trying to figure out which KPIs to use to measure the effectiveness of your training team and the programs you produce. 

Further complicating matters is if you're being asked to tie your training metrics to customer success. According to customer education thought leaders like Wayne McCulloch, senior vice president of Salesforce University, "education has never played a more important part in customer success than in a cloud-based organization."

Here are some of the training metrics you should be tracking when it comes to customer success.

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  • NPS (Net Promoter Score): Training creates product experts and accelerates user adoption which equals happy customers.

  • CSAT (Customer Satisfaction Score): The CSAT is a good measure for of a customer's short-term happiness and can directly be impacted by training. While not necessarily a good measure of overall customer growth or loyalty, it can be a good way to track satisfaction with the product and/or training, which can then be used by the CS team.

  • Customer effort scores: Find out about the effort associated with specific customer events, specifically in terms of individual training costs, participation rates, and other training-related customer touchpoints. Map this information to overall customer signups, churn, MRR, etc. rates to find out the true value of the training you're delivering and how it's empowering customer success.

  • Upsell rates: Customers that understand your products well because they've taken training are more receptive to upsells, whether it's a new product feature or training in support of that new product feature. Consider producing new, free training for an upcoming product release and get the message out to targeted customers.

  • Cross sell rates: Keep track of cross sell rates from the sales side of your business to then identify which customers and/or products to target with new/updated training programs. For example you could target a separate training package to customers who decline an initial support/training package or target customers whose training subscription is about to expire. These groups are prime candidates for training cross selling opportunities.

  • Churn rates: Training accelerates user adoption and creates product experts & brand-advocating customers. They are more likely to renew their software subscription because they know, like, and trust your software.

  • Gross dollar churn (aka MRR churn): This is the percentage of total revenue lost as a result of customer churn, downgrading, or downselling (when a customer moves from a more expensive to a less expensive plan). Also known as monthly recurring revenue churn. Training can have an impact on customers downgrading because they realize they do not need all the product features. When absent, training causes customers to not convert from the free trial to a paid plan because they were not aware of all the features of the product, found it too hard to use because of lack of training, and more.

  • Software adoption rates: Training directly affects software adoption rates for new customers, free trial conversions, and upsells for existing customers, as they become more aware of and familiar with the product through training.

  • Free trial conversion rates: Training can also have a direct impact on customers who sign up for a free trial only, as they learn how to use the features they were attracted to in the first place, as well as learn about new features that will benefit them as well.

  • Average revenue per customer: Training is a part of this number through individual training packages sold, number of training participants, software adoption post-training, etc.  

Customer success is all about doing everything to help create a positive environment for customers as they use your products. Training plays an integral part in that, but only if you know how it impacts customers and your overall business goals. While I hope you use metrics to track how training impacts customer success, I also hope you use all of your metrics to learn how you're affecting your customers and products. Metrics by themselves are fine, but it's what you learn that really makes them useful.


*That's monthly recurring revenue, cost per acquisition, average revenue per customer, and lifetime value, for those of you that don't.

Topics: Building Customer Training, Training is Customer Success, Customer Education, Software Training, Education Services, KPIs, #CustomerSuccess

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Julia Borgini

Written by Julia Borgini

Julia Borgini helps Geeks sell their stuff. A self-proclaimed Geek, Julia is a freelance writer and content marketing strategist who teaches tech companies how to develop & execute successful tech content marketing programs. Her helpful articles have appeared on CrazyEgg, Social Media Examiner, KISSMetrics, and B2B News Network, as well as her own tech content marketing blog. To learn more about tech content marketing, visit her website at spacebarpress.com.

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