October 2018
Fender Applies SaaS Product Concepts
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Welcome to The Cirrostratus Group October newsletter.

Fender, the iconic guitar manufacturer, has been making some additions to their business over the last year or so and applying several concepts that are based in SaaS software. It's interesting to see these concepts applied to other businesses like Fender and yes the service is software based. This might also be a chance for you to pick up that guitar again.

Gainsight, the customer success software provider, acquired Apptrinsic and although it is not a large aquisition it reflects a connection between Customer Success and Product Management which I've felt strongly about for a long time. This connection can add significant value in your business.

I've added another blog post on the right information in my series on up-selling. Remember that every sale to existing customers typically has a much lower selling cost.

Containers are an important tool for developing cloud applications. This is a good brief explanation of what a container is. I also found this new Forrester Wave report useful in understanding who the key providers are. Forrester identifies RedHat and Docker as the key leaders in container technology.

I'm always interested in hearing about your experiences with delivering cloud applications.

Paul Ressler
The Cirrostratus Group  





 How Fender is Applying the Concepts of SaaS Software    
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At one point in my teenage years I played guitar. Fender guitars were iconic then and still are. I read recently how, without losing any of the previous brand and product cachet or changing the existing products, Fender has added some software aspects to their offerings. Fender Play is the most interesting and has many of the product features that have been learned from SaaS software. I found this interview in Rolling Stone with the CEO of Fender enlightening, he's clearly a creative leader.

Fender Play is a subscription based online application that teaches you how to play guitar. You can sign up for a free trial, pay by the month or sign up for a yearly subscription. Although they don't talk about it specifically, there is an easy customer journey to track through the lessons and so there is a lot of opportunity to measure customer engagement through the use of analytics.

The product has been designed around customer research and they discovered that if someone practices for a year they are likely a long term guitar player. This provides a pipeline of potential long term customers. You do not need to have a Fender guitar or other equipment although there is certainly a connection and opportunity. They do give a discount on Fender equipment to annual Fender Play subscribers.

I think this is a great example of how the concepts of SaaS -- customer intimacy, easy to use software, short time to value and subscriptions can be applied to other businesses. Or maybe this is the excuse you needed to pick up your guitar again. Or maybe it's an idea for the upcoming holidays which Fender said is their busiest time from subscriptions.






 Customer Engagement Analytics  
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Gainsight, a provider of software for the Customer Success function, has agreed to acquire Apptrinsic, a provider of product management software. The  Apptrinsic software provides product usage analytics and "in app" feedback and engagement capabilities.
 
I have always felt that a tighter connection between Customer Success and Product Management would help with more customer focused products. Along with aligning Product Management and Customer Success this acquisition shows the importance that Gainsight puts on customer usage analytics. A couple of years ago I had written about the opportunities of aligning Customer Success and Product Management with my blog post in Product Hub, Your Good Friends in Customer Success. I also wrote about the importance of product usage analytics in the article at Sandhill.com, Customer Engagement Analytics, 5 Steps to Success. It's great to see this connection being more recognized and coming to fruition in shared tools.







    Get your Black Belt in Successful
Up-selling 
   
I've added the posting on The Right Information for Successful Up-selling  to my blog post series on successful up-selling. The right information includes everything from basic customer information to product usage information.
 
 
Seven colors of martial arts Taekwondo belts in order from low to high









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