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Customer Acquisition or Expansion - What are you focused on?

23 March, 2023 4 min read
Customer Acquisition or Expansion - What are you focused on?

The evergreen question that every SaaS marketer is trying to find answers to!

Are you, like anyone in the SaaS space struggling to understand this volatile market and looking to enhance your sales cycles or customer retention strategies? If the answer to that is yes, read along to know more about how in 2023, the focus on sales is going to be stabilized and how the shift to retention and expansion is going to take place.

It’s like being in between a rock and a hard place to make this decision - do we focus on acquiring new customers or do we retain and expand?!?! Especially in times like the current market, we are all being forced to strategize in order to put in efforts in the place that is likely to yield the desired results.

A recent poll on LinkedIn suggested that companies are likely to keep their Sales team size the same or rather become lean and smaller. Think about what that suggests. With reduced manpower & limited budgets for SaaS tools, it is critical that you build an offering that has the power to stick around.

Having said that, it makes more sense to think about leveraging your existing customer base. Isn’t it? It’s easier said than done, but it seems like a practical way forward. Here’s why I feel that expansion as a strategy should be considered a pivotal shift that is needed for 2023:

1. Reduce Conversion Time

With sales cycles’ turnaround times increasing by the day, it’s only fair that we dig into our existing customer base to understand their use case better by enhanced discovery calls to drive expansion within the accounts.

Instead of longer sales cycles that include prospecting, qualifying, pitching, and then selling; it is better to dig up your existing customer base, set up calls to discover their value proposition how your product solves it and provide the desired solution. It’s that simple. Focusing on reducing conversion times will have a 10-fold impact on factors like customer acquisition costs, which play a very critical role in any SaaS business along with metrics like Net Revenue Retention and Gross Margin.

2. Reduce Acquisition Costs

If you leverage your existing customer base, by identifying the 20% that contributes to 80% of your revenue (the classic Pareto principle can never go wrong), you’ve saved time, effort, and money already!

Statistics show an increase in customer retention by 5% can lead to a company’s profits growing by 25% to around 95% over a period of time.

Let me help you list factors that will help you understand why it’s better to retain than acquire.

3. Increase Profitability

Sales teams are now offering higher discounts to teams with limited spending capacity and reduced budgets for SaaS tools that enable their businesses, thereby drastically reducing the profit margins.

With only critical spending in play, wouldn’t it be better to showcase what your product is delivering to a bunch of your loyal customers and derive more value from this base?

You’d ask how? Retain and Expand! Cross-selling/Up-selling opportunities are easier to identify with the relationships you have already built and likewise, the customer, won’t feel a pinch as they will be able to see the returns you are providing for. It’s a win-win for all.

Wondering how to go about driving this change? Here’s what you need to do:

💡 Increase your CS team:

With reducing sales teams, the next order lies in increasing CS teams. Expanding CS teams can focus on the existing customer base by strategizing accounts into buckets like - Enterprise, Maintain & Grow accounts. Watch out for what this account bifurcation means in the coming days.

💡 Improve on CS processes:

How do you envision CS as a function in your organization? With detailed processes around onboarding, implementation, adoption, retention, and operations, one can enhance the CS function and make it not just a delight function but also a revenue-generating one. Each of these sub-functions has so much scope within themselves, that if done correctly, there can be a stream of expansion literally at every stage.

💡 Add CS tools to track data:

How would all of this be possible without effective data mapping and analysis? Use the right tool to direct and guide you to take the necessary next steps and you are good to go!

At ZapScale, our aim is to empower Customer Success heroes to monitor and manage their customers effectively. With 150 data points from 6 data sources, ZapScale gives you a customer health score that is evidence-based, conjecture-free, and accurate. Automatic alerts and predictive churn analysis, allow you to identify and solve customer pain points proactively with ease and efficiency. Click here to know more.

Playbooks, workflows, alerts, and communication. So much can be automated while you focus on identifying greener pastures within your accounts. How to decide what CS tools work for you best? Keep reading on as I share more about what & how a good CS tool can help you with your expansion strategies.

To sum it all up, I don't mean to say that customer acquisition has to stop altogether. What I am trying to bring your attention to is a wise split between the acquisition versus retention efforts and allocation of resources.


Author profile image
Anupama Sahore

Anupama is an experienced Sales, Community, and CS specialist with 8+ years of experience across industries like SaaS, Fintech, and more. She works as a Senior CSM at a leading CLM software company.

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