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  3. Introducing Topics: Using Customer Success Insights to Drive SaaS Strategy

Quala Roundup Introducing Topics: Using Customer Success Insights to Drive SaaS Strategy

Mike Redd Nov 30, 2021

We’re launching our new Topics feature at Quala this week. This game-changing capability empowers Customer Success teams to quantify what they hear from customers.

Equipped with this data, Customer Success teams can inform product and customer experience strategies that get at the underlying drivers of success (or failure) for their customers. Topics insights also allow teams to get ahead of retention and upgrade signals for individual customers.

Over the last few weeks, our team at Quala hosted more than 40 conversations with C-suite and functional leaders in B2B SaaS companies. The feedback we’ve received has been clear that the customer success function is becoming the learning engine for SaaS businesses and a key driver of strategy.

Why is that?

Customer Success teams are powerful, influential, and valuable because of how close they are to the customer. CS humans have some regularity of customer interaction. That frequency of interaction might not be with all customers — but it is often with the most valuable and most important customers to the business.

Chief Client Officer Nitin Walia at RapidRatings sums it up well in our Community Hour on CS priorities: “CSMs play a unique role. They are the eyes and ears to the client community for the organization. In that way [they] can really enrich the work that Product Marketing is doing, that Product is doing.”

Well-informed executives within SaaS companies know that frontline teams are collecting valuable customer signals that can inform strategy across the business. It’s why every leadership meeting includes the question, one way or another, “What are we hearing?”

Customer Success leaders clearly know the answer to this question.

So, what’s the problem?

The challenge we heard in our interviews is quantifying the answer. What do we hear most often? From which customers? And how much revenue do those customers drive for the business?

Those details have been historically difficult to measure quickly with hard data, creating complexity in prioritizing product roadmap and customer experience work.

And maddeningly frustrating for frontline leaders who know what they are hearing, but are asked for hard data to prove it.

“Frontline intelligence is extremely important,” said Sr. Director of Product Management Juan Lopez. “If you are telling me my Success and Support people can have a better platform for saying “this is what’s happening” — so we are not just arguing about which tickets matter more — that is compelling.”

Quala was founded on the premise that SaaS businesses can not fully understand their customers based on product usage data alone (though that data is really important, too). Customer interactions — and observations from frontline teams, such as Customer Success Managers — are key parts of the puzzle.

So, we set out to solve this problem with Topics.

Introducing Quala Topics.

Quala Topics is the next step in helping SaaS businesses understand their customers more deeply.

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Quala Topics mines emails, CRM notes, and notes in Quala for trending keywords of interest. This perspective allows Quala dashboard viewers to see just how often customers talk about a particular feature, or not; which customers raise specific service issues; or how often the competition comes up on calls.

Quala charts these insights over time, by customer, and by revenue contribution, all with the ability to segment and deeper-dive into the specific context for how the keyword was used in customer emails and team notes.


As a result, SaaS leadership across all business functions can get aligned around a clear, data-driven picture that cuts beyond anecdotes: What is important to customers? And to which customers in particular? Finally, we’ve automated the answer to “what are we hearing?”

“When we ask the PM for something, I have the data to back it up rather than having to go get it,” said Mike Provenzano, veteran Customer Operations executive. “I can cut that by revenue, by user, and by segment. This is especially important for high-value customers which are smaller in volume and can get drowned out by what we hear from other customers.”

Clearer paths to revenue.

But what about Customer Success’ primary mission: net revenue retention?

Quala Topics equips Customer Success leaders with signals from everyday customer interactions — emails, conversations notes, and more — that indicate retention risk or upgrade potential. Staying on top of those signals keeps Customer Success teams a step ahead of customer needs.

“I clearly see the revenue opportunity,” said Nadya Collins, VP Customer Success at Reprise. “As an example, you can listen for keywords to drive upgrades. When launching new features, you could scan for all the pain points or needs that feature is solving for and reach out specifically to those customers. It’s a great use-case for expansion, similarly for identifying renewal risk.”

Topics gives SaaS leaders a clear line of sight into what customers are saying. Combined with Quala’s Customer Success Qualitative Assessments and product usage integrations, SaaS leaders now have a much richer understanding of their customers: what they are doing; what they are talking about; and what frontline Customer Success Managers are observing in customer interactions.

Empowered with those data points, Customer Success leaders have information to support strategic decision-making throughout the business.

We are excited by this milestone in how Quala unlocks frontline intelligence for SaaS businesses. If you are a customer, contact us to activate Topics in your account. Not yet using Quala? Request a demo here.