Business Impact

5 Reasons to run private customer hackathons

Here’s how private customer hackathons reduce churn and drive revenue growth.

In today’s busy SaaS landscape, turning customers into brand advocates can feel like finding a golden ticket. But in reality, it doesn’t come down to chance at all. It’s all about making the right impression on your customers, showing how your product solves their problems, and giving them the tools to integrate your product into their workflows.

Customer hackathons allow you to do all three. These events allow you to engage directly with customers and gain valuable insights along the way. Customer hackathons drive innovation and are key to long-term product adoption, improving customer retention, and well-trained customers. Let's dive into what you need to know about these impactful events.

What are private customer hackathons?

Private customer hackathons are competitions held by companies for a select group of their customers. Just like in a regular hackathon, participants are asked to solve a problem and build their solution in a short period of time. The biggest difference is who can attend, as participants are usually specifically invited. 

Why run customer hackathons?

Customer hackathons allow you to improve product adoption, reduce churn, gather highly specific insights from your existing customers, and ultimately drive revenue.

Companies like SAP run customer hackathons as a way to drive customer engagement.

“Hackathons are extremely valuable for understanding the customer challenges in a short time, testing the practicality of the SAP service, and improving the functionalities and user experience,” said Nico Wyss, Solutions Advisor at SAP.

Customer hackathons help customers overcome the hurdle of learning or integrating your product. Hackathons are fun, time-bound competitive events that help get your product into the hands of your target audience.

Read more about the ways these events can help you connect with customers and drive revenue. 

#1 Improve the customer onboarding process

You probably already provide training during customer onboarding. Why not make it a memorable experience for customers? Customer hackathons are a fun and effective way to train customers on using your platform. These events help customers learn more about your product, improve their skills, and find new ways to use it effectively. 

Through workshops, demos, and hands-on hackathons, customers enhance their skills and learn to use your platform in a way that caters to their needs. This unlocks additional value from your product—and further solidifies its place in their workflows.

#2 Get customers building with your tools

One of the best ways to sell your offering is to show your offering. Your prospects and customers are a lot more likely to use your product if they see exactly how it benefits them. While it sounds obvious in theory, actually getting customers to add your product to their workflows is another story—which is where customer hackathons come in.

In private customer hackathons, you can customize demos and use cases to meet their specific needs and pain points. Your customers and prospects will be incentivized to learn or integrate your product, which goes a long way in building a loyal user base that’ll stick around for the long haul.

#3 Reduce churn

Churn is the enemy of any subscription-based business. However, ensuring your clients know your product and integrate it into their workflows is the key to reducing churn.

Hosting private customer hackathons reduces churn in a number of ways:

  • Trains customers on your product—including ongoing training
  • Gets customers building with your tools
  • Fosters customer relationship-building
  • Allows you to collect valuable insights on product usage
Learn how to leverage private AI hackathons [Free guide]
Download the guide

#4 Speed up sales cycles and drive faster revenue growth

At the end of the day, all these benefits of customer hackathons culminate in one overarching goal: driving revenue growth. Private customer hackathons let you choose participants from your target audience, including potential customers who are evaluating your product. Letting them try your product firsthand can help them make decisions faster than just hearing a sales pitch.

After the hackathon, you can capitalize on the momentum generated during the event and weave it into your follow-up strategy. Whether that’s personalized follow-up emails, targeted content, or offering additional training, use the insights gained from your hackathon to show prospective customers exactly why they should work with you.

#5 Inspire innovation

Customer hackathons aren’t just about training your customers. They're also about collaboration, ideation, and problem-solving—for customers and your colleagues. Getting your company’s developers and product teams involved in the event gives them a chance to see firsthand how customers interact with the product. Not only can these insights inspire innovation among your team members, but customers who are challenged to use your product in a new way will likely uncover ideas for improvement or new features.

Improve customer experience with customer hackathons

Customer hackathons allow you to break the mold of a traditional sales pitch. Not only do they create a fun experience, but these events provide customers with real value as they learn how to solve their business challenges with your product. 

To give your customers the best experience possible, use a hackathon platform to make sure everything runs smoothly. A platform like Devpost for Teams (DFT) streamlines hackathon management for organizers and is easy for participants to use.

Now’s the time to embrace the idea of customer hackathons and create a memorable, valuable experience. Your customers—and your bottom line—will thank you for it.