Discover more in the Featured Member Stories series

Featured Member: Natero Founder Craig Soules

Natero blossomed by finding tough challenges few want to face, and turning them into an advantage with a firm that crunches data and helps businesses grow.
Editor, Anne Miller
December 29, 2016

This business owner is an OPEN Forum® Member. If you’d like to share your business story to be considered for a feature on OPEN Forum, please sign in or sign up and answer a few short questions. 

Enough with going with your gut — Natero strives to take the guesswork out of customer retention using a data-driven approach to monitor, predict and drive customer behavior. Natero helps Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) companies figure out which customers are at-risk or ready to buy more, and provides tools that help businesses organize, manage and scale their customer engagement.

“We merge machine learning for predicting user behavior and big data analytics for deep customer insights,” says founder Craig Soules.

1. Why did you start your business?

Natero helps B2B SaaS companies increase customer retention and upsell by combining process management tools with big data and machine learning technologies to automatically predict problems before they occur. We started Natero because we saw companies struggling to turn their wealth of customer data into actionable insights to help their business. Without predictive indicators, companies simply react to problems rather than proactively engaging customers before they decide to leave.

2. How has your business grown since you started it?

We are now one of the top three vendors for every SaaS business considering a customer success platform. A large part of this growth has been our ability to accommodate the goals of customer success teams across many different SaaS businesses. Our clients range from startups to rapidly-growing "unicorns" and established enterprises. We plan to continue to leverage our cutting-edge technology and introduce new ways for businesses to proactively drive customer success.

Without predictive indicators, companies simply react to problems rather than proactively engaging customers before they decide to leave.

3. What hurdles have you overcome?

One of the key challenges we faced was communicating the advantages of our solution in a space already occupied by two very noisy players. To overcome this, we focused on developing comprehensive content for our target audience that went far beyond a direct sales pitch. By providing educational content that helps our audience do their jobs more effectively, Natero becomes more than just a software platform, but a trusted advisor. By filling this role, we can ensure that customers who are ready to make a purchasing decision include us in their vendor evaluation.

4. What sets your business apart from your competitors?

Natero is unique in customer success because of the technical challenges we've been willing to face. Other vendors have been afraid to tackle a host of sophisticated problems such as complex data integration and predictive modeling, calling them "too difficult to solve" or "not useful" simply because they are difficult challenges. Our approach has been to tackle the hard problems from the start, and the result is a robust, differentiated product that we can continue to expand for years to come.

5. What should other business owners know about starting a business?

There are three key lessons we've learned building Natero. First, if something isn't working, make changes fast. That might be personnel, product direction, sales process, or almost anything else. Running a business is fluid, and even if something has been working, it might not continue to work. Second, don't be afraid to tackle the problems other people ignore. If you can solve even one of them, you'll be able to differentiate yourself in the marketplace. Third, everything that can go wrong probably will—so plan for it. If you're ready for anything, you'll be able to make smart decisions during the most critical times.

Photo: Courtesy of Natero
Editor, Anne Miller