Intro Month 1: Decide on Your Flight-Path Month 2: SaaS Metrics To Help Track Progress Month 3: Engage Your Thrusters with Content and Advertising Month 4: Four Essential Advertising Metrics for SaaS Companies Month 5: Advanced Revenue Tracking and Fine-Tuning Analytics for SaaS Growth Month 6: Lost in Space—How to Keep Your SaaS Company Productive Month 7: Stopping the Fuel Leaks—How to Slow SaaS Cancellations Conclusion: Fuel Management—Onwards and Onwards Towards Your Goal
Month 7: Stopping the Fuel Leaks—How to Slow SaaS Cancellations

Month 7: Stopping the Fuel Leaks—How to Slow SaaS Cancellations

By Dylan Touhey

By now, we have a good sense of how to get new customers in the door. The blog is ticking along. More prospects are finding us. We’ve optimized our paid campaigns. And we are starting to get very knowledgeable about our analytics.

Making it Happen

You look like you might be thinking about leaving us. Here, take this yellow box as a token of our appreciation for your business!

With any SaaS company though, customers are going to leave us. This chapter gives you a very simple, tactical way to set-up cancellation trip wires, helping you both identify and act on behaviors that will soon result in a lost customer.

Think beyond exit surveys

Right now, you are trying to save your canceled customers by following up with them after they leave. You make them promises to get them to come back so you can prevent other customers from doing the same.

But what if you knew when your customers were about to cancel– before they even knew it? You’d be able to step in and save that account. And you can do that by using tripwires.

Use tripwires to identify customers about to leave

What is a tripwire? A tripwire is a trigger for your business to take an action when a customer reaches a danger point in their lifecycle.

Tripwires can help you:

Examples of tripwires:

Common tripwires for SaaS businesses can be: a customer not logging in recently, a customer reaching a large amount of users, or a customer account reaching the age where there are a high frequency of cancellations.

How to set-up tripwires

There are three steps for setting up tripwires.

1. Identify a cancellation behavior. For a SaaS company, it could be account size (more users = bigger bill, which attracts more attention) or usage, especially when it comes them not using your product’s core value. For example, QuickBooks isn’t worth much if people aren’t creating invoices and doing payroll.

2. Build a process to handle that behavior. For example, once an account reaches 50 users, a customer support specialist gets a notification to schedule a check-in to make sure they are happy; or the account is automatically given an enterprise pricing deal. Other tactics include emails that go out when users fail to login after a certain amount of time, or offering free upgrades to new features for long-term customers.

3. See if the process fixes the customer’s objection. Your action (email, account outreach) must answer the objection. For example, you might think that your large accounts cancel because of price, but maybe they need advanced features as they grow. Or maybe your reports used to work when they were a small agency, but now they need more professional software. There is always a central objection and if you don’t answer it, your tripwires won’t work.

Most common tripwires for SaaS products

Here are some helpful tripwires to set-up.

Customer hasn’t logged in

If you notice that customers usually cancel after not logging in for 14 days, you can create a tripwire to reach out to that customer when they haven’t logged in for 10 days.

You may reach out in different ways depending on your product or your customer:

Spike in cancellations

You notice that in your database you have a spike in cancellations at 20 months:

Customer outgrowing your service

You notice that once an account grows to more than 50 users (or whatever usage tier you charge for), customers tend to cancel.

Now measure the impact of your tripwires

You need to know if the changes you’ve done are making a difference to your bottom line. Monitor your cancellation metrics before and after your changes to track the difference they are making.



Have you been able to reduce the amount of cancellations by getting people to log in more frequently?

Has your spike in cancellations at 20 months disappeared?

Are you retaining clients with more than 50 users?

If your tripwires aren’t working, chances are they aren’t solving the primary reason a customer is cancelling. We recommend interviewing customers who recently cancelled and ask them “what was the #1 thing that made you leave?”

Now that you’ve succeed in lengthening your customer lifetime, move your tripwires accordingly and repeat the process to find more opportunities to retain your customers.

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