Why SaaS companies should invest in customer communities in a downturn

Written by Yuya Takada, Founder & CEO at Commune

The tech industry is said to be in a recession as bad as or worse than the one in 2008-.
This is especially true for the SaaS industry.

Market changes, your customers don't.

The world has changed in a flash in one year, and we don’t even know what it will be like in 2023.
Financial markets may be even worse than they are now.

Fundraising and acquiring new customers will be greatly affected by market conditions. What strategies you should adopt will change, and how much effort you can put into them will also change.

On the other hand, the needs of the customers in front of you and the number of users you have accumulated until yesterday will not change.

It is very difficult to predict the future now. The only clear thing is there are existing customers in front of you.

It is important to pay attention to the community of existing customers and listen to the voices of the community in order to increase revenues with maximum efficiency and effectiveness.

The most efficient source of revenue is existing customers. Community touch is essential to scale customer success.

Until last year, ‘Growth at all costs’ was the slogan of SaaS companies. Now it has changed to ‘Cut at all costs’.

In this situation, sustainable and healthy growth is the most important metrics.

It is not appropriate to “buy” growth by over-investing in marketing and trying hard to acquire new customers, ending up with an unhealthy LTV/CAC.
In such a situation, the first priority should be the most reliable revenue base.

Obviously, the most reliable revenue base is existing customers.
Revenues from existing customers cost only 1/7-1/5 of those from new customers.

Customer success is about maximizing revenue from existing customers. The scalability of customer success is key in a downturn to efficiently grow revenues.

Community plays an important role to scale customer success and maximize revenues from existing customers.



FYI, 86% of top SaaS companies have a customer community in place.

This isn’t an easy ask, and there are several obstacles to consider.

Dawn comes after the darkness. A community becomes a competitive advantage when the sun is up.

It’s always darkest before dawn. The market will recover from the current downturn someday.

It’s essential to build solid competitive advantages while the sky is dark to win the race after the sun goes up.

Now is the best time to invest in the community because the market conditions do not allow for a large amount of money to be spent on intense product development or customer acquisition. Community is not about how much money you spend. It’s rather how much time spent and how much care you dedicated.

Starting to invest in the community now, your company will have a competitive advantage in the mid-term.