SaaS Strategies Adoption From Other Industries

Hey GGR community, my first post ever so I hope to get a good engagement.

I'm a former engineer who worked 10 years in the automotive, agriculture, and medical industry, but now working as a CSM for over a year now in a SaaS company, and I see so many different approaches on how to get better.

Many of those industries have years of proven strategies for Problem Solving, Value Stream Mapping, and Lean concepts that have helped the industry be better and get better results.

But I'm yet to find Lean concepts applied in the SaaS industry or a mention of VSM applied in a SaaS company.

I may be wrong and these concepts do not apply to the fullest in SaaS industries, but has anyone heard about someone or a company applying these concepts? Or at least similar concepts?

I would love to develop this idea as I think it can help the way CSMs and SaaS improve on a proven basis.

Have an amazing day everyone! 💪


  • William Buckingham
    William Buckingham Member Posts: 39 Expert
    10 Comments Second Anniversary 5 Insightfuls Name Dropper

    Hi @fcobelden ,

    Welcome to the community(or at least to posting)!

    These are really interesting questions. I think something to keep in mind is that strategies/mindsets/frameworks take time to become established in an industry. Even if it exists elsewhere previously, it can take time for a newer industry to A. connect the dots that what they are using is XYZ concept from another industry, and/or B. gain enough traction to be recognized and referred to by a standard name. Customer Success is still a rather new space, especially compared to the ones you mention.

    I don't have half the answers you're looking for but I will give it my best.

    Problem Solving:

    I would guess the most common problem solving framework in SaaS and Customer Success is Design Thinking. I could be totally wrong on that, but that would be my best bet. I don't think I hear of other named frameworks being used, but probably most common is NOT using a named, specific framework. There are also some UX practices which I feel are starting to spill over to CS more and more, but there's definitely a spin on these to adapt these to CS. I think one VERY common practice that comes to play much later in the problem solving process is User Acceptance Testing(UAT) when a process or system is involved.

    Value Stream Mapping:

    I think the closest thing to this in CS would be Customer Journey Mapping. If you are doing Customer Journey Mapping well, part of that should be to ask the following(and more) at each step of the customer journey:

    • Why would the customer want to do this?
    • What value does this bring the customer?
    • Why would the customer not want to do this?
    • What does this cost the customer in time, money, hassle, and/or opportunity cost?
    • Does this increase value to the customer?
    • Does this accelerate the customer attaining value?
    • Is there a better way to achieve the same value?
    • What is miserable about this step?
    • What would "magical" feel like at this step?
    • What would be the ideal handoff from the prior customer journey step?
    • What is needed by the owner(s) of the next customer journey step?
    • What data does this step of the Customer Journey require? Do we have all that?
    • What data do other steps of the Customer Journey require from THIS step? How are we creating that?

    There's much more to ask, but hopefully this helps give a taste. Customer Journey Mapping focuses on the delivery of the services and engagement with the customer, and less so on the actual product. However, really great companies have dedicated DevOps teams which look holistically at how the development process impacts end users. I don't know if there's an actual name for that process/thought exercise, but it's done by great firms. Which somewhat dips into your other ask about Lean.


    If you are asking about Lean in regards just to production/development of the SaaS product, then I'd say Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery(CI/CD) and DevOps are the closest to this. This can have MASSIVE impact on your customer base.

    If you are asking about Lean for delivery of CS engagement and outcomes, I don't think there's much of a parallel CS version to lean. I think there are many strategies and innovations in SaaS and CS which pursue many similar outcomes as Lean does, but are just different and less straight forward. For example, Time-zoned support teams make it so there's essentially no hour that support queues aren't being chipped away at. Some similarities to lean with that. Tech Touch strategies and tactics look to reduce wait times, accelerate time to value, etc., but likely don't fall in the specific "Lean" category.

    Really interesting topic. I'll probably realize in an hour that I missed a bunch of things, but this is my best stab it after some thinking on the topic.

    Will Buckingham

    Customer Success Operations Manager, Enablement