RFP for Customer Success Software: Best practices 2023

7 min read

A request for proposal (RFP) is essential for finding the right Customer Success software for your SaaS business. Without one, selection is far from easy, and difficult. Especially as the number of vendors aiming to help B2B SaaS companies is growing, and many solutions and services overlap.

In this blog we’ll help you in your search by uncovering the following topics:

  • Why an RFP enables you to follow best practices

  • What is an RFP for Customer Success Software?

  • Why is an RFP important when looking for Customer Success Software?

  • The Typical structure of an RFP for Customer Success

  • Good RFP questions in 2023

  • RFP template for Customer Success Software

  • Customer Success Software in 2023… and beyond!

Why an RFP enables you to follow best practices

Today, being successful in Customer Success (CS) is critical in ensuring profitability. In fact, according to Gartner, “only 20% [of subscription businesses] will succeed in increasing customer retention” in 2023. Empowering your CS team with the best CS software is one way of combating issues such as this but first you must ask the right questions.

Questions such as: are you looking for CS software? Or a Customer Data Platform (CDP) that lets you gather all your customer data in one space? Or a tool for client onboarding? Or a space for customer collaboration? Or maybe a revenue management software? Or, as it so often is in the world of Customer Success, a little bit of everything?

And before you decide which option suits your business best, it’s important to truly understand the solutions you have in front of you. And the best way to do that is to create a request for proposal, an RFP, for Customer Success software.

For example, this RFP we’re created for selecting Customer Success software at Planhat.

What is an RFP for Customer Success Software?

RFP is the quick-and-snappy way of saying “request for proposal”. A very common term for many people in the B2B SaaS industry, but if you didn’t know – now you know.

For a long time, it’s been the industry standard when enterprise companies buy new types of software. Still, as the variations of software solutions for various SMB companies are growing, it’s becoming more and more important for any type of company. With an RFP it’s easier for internal stakeholders at a company to compare various solutions with each other, and that way find the best solution.

Why is an RFP important when looking for Customer Success Software?

Customer Success is in one way very easy to understand. It’s the art of making your customers successful with your software, thereby reducing churn and increasing retention and customer lifetime value. But it’s also a very complex industry. One with many various solutions claiming to fulfill the very same needs.

Therefore, when you are in the process of buying Customer Success software, an RFP can be crucial for you. Do you run a high-touch B2B SaaS company that adds professional services on top of your platform? Or is it low-touch with a strong need for playbooks and automations? Only by asking the right questions will you get the right answers, and make the best decision.

So now that we understand why having an RFP is key when buying a Customer Success Software, the question is: how do you write an RFP? And what makes an RFP successful?

The typical structure of an RFP for Customer Success

In general, an RFP consists of a set of questions which each vendor needs to provide an answer on how their specific solutions fits your needs. The typical structure of an RFP starts with standard questions like:

  • Project information – a brief overview of your project

  • Company information – the vendors description of their company

  • Company fit – specific questions on company size, geographic location, long term roadmap etc to ensure there is a good company fit

But what makes an RFP successful? What are good questions to ask for an RFP for Customer Success Software in 2023? Well, to do this you add questions that are unique to the use cases in your specific industry. And in this case, what your needs are for Customer Success Software.

The more specific you are, the easier it will be to distinguish the different solutions from each other. Some solutions might be great for customer onboarding, but not for customer collaboration. And others might be really strong on data collection but have a licensing model that limits the internal sharing of the very same data.

Therefore when you create an RFP for the different vendors of Customer Success Software, spend time on the questions that are most relevant for your business.

Good RFP questions in 2023

Customer Success software is evolving rapidly, so ask questions that ensure you find a vendor with a flexible solution that adapts to your needs. This includes a long-term product vision that aligns with yours. For example, you might want to know the following:

  • How does the Customer Success Software handle integrations?

  • What is their experience in application security?

  • What features does the Customer Success Software offer to collect client data, gather health scores, create playbooks and enable customer collaboration? And which use cases are the most relevant for your business?

  • Does the Customer Success Software provide you with tools for reporting that can be used by departments outside of Customer Success? Like marketing, finance and leadership?

  • What is their licensing model? Are there any implementation costs? Can additional users be added for free, or will that mean extra costs?

Another, popular and in many ways more effective way, is to start by using an RFP template for Customer Success software.

RFP template for Customer Success Software

An RFP template for Customer Success software, gets you off to a quick start. Usually an expert has done the groundwork for you, setting up a structure with the most fundamental questions. Then all you have to do is add, or remove questions that are irrelevant to your business.

An RFP template can come in many various forms: .word, .excel, .pdf, . excel. However, since an RFP needs to be easy to share and collaborate in, many people prefer to use a Google Sheet.

At Planhat we have created an RFP template for Customer Success Software in the format of a Google Sheet. You can download it here: RFP Template for Customer Success Software

Customer Success Software in 2023… and beyond!

Our world is constantly in motion, and so is the B2B SaaS industry. What was hyped in 2018 is bread-and-butter today – and what is crucial in 2022 might feel redundant in 2023. But one thing remains true, truly understanding your customers, and making sure you act to make them as successful as possible.

If you want to try out a Customer Success software that lets you collaborate with customers, identify customers at risk, manage renewals and improve customer experience, sign up for a Planhat demo now.

If you’re not quite yet ready for a demo, then create your own RFP. The process will help you prioritize what’s most important for your business. And, yes, we might be blowing our own horn, but the RFP Template for Customer Success Software we created is a great way to start. Download it, edit it and share it in whichever way you want. All we want is for you to be successful.

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