Customer Psychology and the Wasted Power of Surveys

Customer Psychology and the Wasted Power of SurveysSurveys can be dangerous if used wrong, but can be super-powerful if used correctly!

Whether it’s the Net Promoter System to gauge customer satisfaction, doing pre-launch customer development work for your startup, or one of the myriad methods we use to interact with and learn from our customers, prospects, and other people, surveys are by far the easiest to implement and most effective feedback mechanism at scale.

The problem with surveys, aside from all the ways that people generally mess them up (too many questions, leading the witness, not specific enough, poorly targeting / segmenting the audience, etc.), is that the underlying psychology of surveys is rarely taken into consideration.

Now I’ve said before that I’m not a big city psychologist, but I spend a lot of time studying psychology and human behavior as I try to figure out why people do what they do and also how to get them to do what I want them to do.

And some of that studying led me to realize that many of the behaviors we employ around surveys – especially in the Customer Success world with the use of NPS surveys – can have a very negative impact that does the exact opposite of what we’re trying to do.

In this article I explore how we use surveys and suffer the often-unintended consequences.

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Trends In Startup Acquisition Market in 2015

This time last year, I analyzed the state of the startup acquisition market. Two key trends surfaced. First, the larger acquisitions were becoming larger. Second, that the total number of acquisitions in 2014 would achieve a 5 year high. As of mid-2015, the first trend continues while the second seems to have faltered. The median acquisition price for technology companies in Crunchbase’s data set is plotted above, bucketed by size.

Three Data Points on Email List Unsubscribe Patterns

Ultimately, the goal of most content marketing campaigns is email address capture. When a reader decides to receive content consistently via email, a content marketer knows they’re developing a deeper relationship with that person. Whether the marketers selling software or venture capital, retaining an email address is a victory. In the last 18 months, this blog has grown its email subscriber list from zero to roughly 8000 subscribers, and lost about 1000, meaning the current distribution list is about 7k.

From Social Networks To Market Networks

shutterstock_173525351 Most people didn’t notice last month when a 35-person company in San Francisco called HoneyBook announced a $22 million Series B. What was unusual about the deal is that nearly all the best-known Silicon Valley VCs competed for it. That’s because HoneyBook is a prime example of an important new category of digital company that combines the best elements of networks like Facebook… Read More

The SaaSing Of The Music Business

micandsoftware The music business is about to undergo another seismic shift. And Apple’s streaming service is the tsunami that will force the industry to rebuild. Again. It was around 2005 when I joined Warner Bros. Records as their new head of technology. I was the 20-something-year-old kid who was supposed to have every answer about all things digital. Read More

How Social Proof Actually Works in Marketing

How Social Proof Actually Works in MarketingI’m not a psychologist, but I play one every day as I try to figure out why people (users, customers, visitors, etc.) do what they do… and how to get them to do more of what I want them to do.

I spend a lot more time reading books about – and otherwise studying – human psychology and the way our brains operate, than I do on specific marketing techniques, growth hacks, or the latest viral sensation.

Those things are fleeting, but the way our brain works is much slower to change.

One of the people I’ve learned the most from when it comes to human behavior is Dr. Robert Cialdini, starting with his game changing book Influence. He and others from his Influence at Work group have released other books that provided real-world examples of how to leverage the principles of Influence – or avoid them – but Influence is still my go-to resource.

Dr. Cialdini has posited that there are six principles of persuasion – Reciprocation, Liking, Consensus, Authority, Consistency, and Scarcity – each of which has the power to elicit certain behaviors (simply due to how our brains work) in those at whom the principle is focused.

In this article I want to explore the Principle of Consensus, otherwise known in marketing as “Social Proof” and in Customer Success as “Advocacy.”

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Startup Best Practices 14 – Slash and Burn Your Calendar

When startups achieve hyper-growth, many of the key internal processes begin to fail under the strain of a newer, larger organization. So they must be reinvented. One of the most important internal processes, but least considered, is scheduling meetings. As Anne Dillard wrote, “How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.” Most of us spend our days in meetings. Meetings, like a snowball rolling down a mountain, develop ever greater inertia, roll down a path of their own - different from their initial purpose - and ensnare increasing numbers people as a business grows.

Startup Studio eFounders Grabs $6 Million To Build 6 New SaaS Startups

efounders_office French startup studio eFounders just raised $6 million from Fotolia co-founder Oleg Tscheltzoff to build its next batch of software-as-a-service startups. So far, eFounders is behind five startups that are now independent — Mailjet, Textmaster, Mention, Front and Aircall. Pressking has been sold, and two startups are in the works — Illustrio and Tipi. With today’s funding… Read More

Customer Success Starts at Sales Done Right

Greg Pietruszynski - CEO - GrowbotsAfter getting a demo of their new product from their Chief Data Officer (Luke Deka) while I was in Poland, I was excited to catch-up with Greg Pietruszynski, CEO of Growbots, when I got back to San Francisco.

We talked about lots of different topics, but the post that my friend Steli Efti from shared a while back – 4 Sales Mistakes That Lead To High SaaS Churn – came up.

Greg said the post was a brilliant summary of tactics that can help you focus on the right customer segments and therefore decrease long-term customer churn.

But then he said something that I thought would make a great post… it’s one thing to know who to sell to; it’s quite another to actually make the sale.

It’s yet a another to make the sale with Customer Success in mind.

Luckily, Greg agreed that this topic would make a great post.

I have a few things to say in the After Word about how churn hurts your Total Addressable Market, but until then, take it away Greg.

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The Beauty of Bottoms Up SaaS Businesses

One smart SaaS entrepreneur told me last week he prefers bottoms up businesses to top-down companies because bottoms up sales and marketing efforts enable startups to pursue hundreds of paths into a company. Unlike top down sales processes which offer a startup one shot at closing an account (a meeting with a CEO or VP), for bottoms up products, each employee is a credit-card-carrying-decision-maker. As the number of total potential buyers expands, so does the universe of sales processes.