Top User Adoption & Onboarding Trends for 2018 [Report]

I don’t need to convince anyone that, for SaaS companies, recurring revenue is a make or break, or that keeping customers for the long-haul and achieving negative churn is the new measure of a company’s ability to grow and thrive. But what you may not know is that none of that is possible without successful user adoption. User adoption is the process of ensuring each of your users is successful in using your product to achieve their business goals. When managed effectively, it leads to higher retention rates and drives new growth opportunities for your business. Now you know that user adoption is the foundation to driving long-term revenue, and successful onboarding is an essential part of that journey. What is unclear, however, is how well companies are executing on their onboarding and user adoption initiatives. How well are companies prioritizing adoption, measuring it, and improving on these efforts? To
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Customer Success is a Mindset, Not Just a Department

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the K!A CX Consulting blog here. I have been quoted as saying that customer success is a mindset, not just a department. But what does customer success as a mindset actually mean? It means that making customers successful is the responsibility of the entire company, not just a single department. Every single person in the company, regardless of their role and whether it is customer facing or not, understands how their work ultimately impacts the customers’ ability to achieve their objectives (i.e. progress through the customer journey). Accountability is not simply transferred to one department because their name implies they are responsible for customer success. Customer success as a mindset ensures that everyone within the company is working together to deliver a seamless customer experience that is predicated on what customers need to be successful. That way, improvement of
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How to Invest in Customer Marketing: The 10+10 Framework

I want to spend a lot of time in the coming year on SaaStr on Customer Marketing.  While the concept may sound old hat to those that have been in the software business for a long time, in SaaS in particular, very little tools, processes, and software are applied to marketing to customers after they are closed. Over the last 5 years, we’ve all started to turn Customer Success into a science and a key discipline in SaaS.  But Customer Success in many ways has been defined as an extension of Sales.  Sales closes, and hands off to CS.  While that’s chronologically accurate in most cases, really CS’s cousin should be Customer Marketing.  If you do it right, you can keep your customers for 10+ years.  Or even longer.  And like retention, a marketing journey should also begin again once a customer closes. Customer Continue reading "How to Invest in Customer Marketing: The 10+10 Framework"

How to Predict Churn for Subscription Businesses

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the StatusQuota blog here. The world is full of uncertainty. It is hard to make decisions when hundreds of factors determine success or failure. So it’s no surprise that humans have sought the aid of fortune tellers for thousands of years. The Ancient Romans relied on augurs. These were priests who determined the right actions by examining bird entrails (yuck). If that’s not your thing, you can get your questions answered by a psychic hotline instead. Or if you’re trying to guess who will win the World Cup, there’s an octopus who has you covered. An Augur of Ancient Rome Predicting the future is also vital when running a subscription business. Your success depends on keeping customers satisfied so they renew year after year. When customers cancel early, your business loses out on tons of future revenue & growth. But there’s an important wrinkle here. Knowing which customers
Data for churn prediction
Actionable churn predictions
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Customer Growth: The Difference between Sales and Expansion

If you missed it, I’m done talking about churn. If you have a churn problem, read this post and follow my directions. Churn won’t be an issue for you anymore. Now we can move onto GROWTH! And the first order of business is understanding the difference between Sales and Expansion and why knowing the difference is so important. I’ve said that Sales is part of Customer Success before, and by that I mean Sales – like every other part of the company – should be governed by Customer Success as a philosophy. But, when it comes to operationalizing account growth, where do you draw the line between sales and expansion? Good question, let’s dig in. In my experience, if you want to remain a small company, have your New Business Sales team also handle Expansion (Upsells, Cross-sells, etc.) sales. However, if you want to grow fast, sustainably, and
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How to Create a $50M ARR Inbound Revenue Machine with Justyn Howard and Mike Volpe

Last February, former Hubspot CMO Mike Volpe sat down with Sprout Social Founder and CEO at the SaaStr Annual to talk product pricing, delivering individualized value, and creating a $50M ARR inbound revenue machine. Check out the full session video and transcript below! And in case you haven’t heard, we’re building a completely immersive experience in San Jose for SaaStr Annual 2019! With 3 full days of sessions, featuring over 300 speakers from the best SaaS companies around the world, SaaStr Annual will be filled with actionable thought leadership to help grow your business. Get your tickets to the SaaS show everyone will be talking about! Transcript: Announcer:  Please welcome Mike Volpe, CMO at Cybereason. And Justyn Howard, Founder and CEO of Sprout Social. Justyn Howard: Do you have a preferred side? We’re gonna do a little rearranging here. Mike Volpe: Awesome. Cool. Wow. Clearly the bar must Continue reading "How to Create a $50M ARR Inbound Revenue Machine with Justyn Howard and Mike Volpe"

How to Align Your Team for Maximum User Onboarding Success

Canva—a popular B2C design tool—has onboarded an impressive 10 million users to date. This is an exceptional feat in itself, but what’s more impressive is that its users are creating 13 designs every second. That’s an average of three new designs every month for every single user. In other words, Canva’s users are thoroughly engaged. So what’s the secret? Canva is a great product, but what makes it different from other great products is its ongoing attention to educating and motivating customers with user onboarding. This shows that you’re missing a lucrative opportunity to maximize user engagement for the long term if you treat onboarding as a one-off or as a side project. But to take user onboarding from the side and put it front and center, product teams need to be aligned to create consistent and compelling onboarding experiences.Canva

Bring onboarding to the fore

It is a familiar story:
pirate metric
User Onboarding Strategy
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Eliminate Churn Forever in 5 Simple Steps

Churn… ya boring. Yawn. Time to move on. I’m so over talking about churn and if you really understand what Customer Success is all about, you should be, too. Churn is so easy to get rid of… you just have to do five simple things. If churn is a problem for you, this post will change that (if you’ll let it) and then you can move onto bigger and better things. Once churn is a non-issue, you can focus on growth.

Customer Success-driven Growth

Customer Success is a growth driver. Revenue growth from your existing customers. Growth in the value of your company. Real Customer Success is the future of business. It’s the future of high-growth business. Customer Success isn’t there to just stop shrinkage or lead to incremental growth. No… done correctly, Customer Success leads to exponential growth!

Busting the Churn Busting Myth

I’m tried of talking about
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Intercom on How Product Education Plays a Critical Role in the Customer Journey

In my role as a Director of Growth I work with GTM teams across many SaaS companies. Marketing, sales, product, and customer success folks all ultimately want the same thing: happy customers. And yet, in my experience, startups rarely focus enough effort on setting customers up for success on day one. Nailing onboarding and activation is the biggest untapped opportunity I see. There are, however, some organizations that are doing a stellar job in this area. For instance, I recently had the pleasure of speaking at length with Ruairi Galavan, Senior Manager of Product Education at Intercom. Intercom offers a suite of messaging-first products designed specifically to help businesses accelerate growth across the customer lifecycle, and they are evolving their onboarding strategy using a very specific and strategic approach to product education. By focusing on creating happy customers, Intercom has achieved rapid growth, selling to over 30,000 businesses including
CARE Intercom
CARE framework
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Champion Change: You Gotta Jump On It

One of the most subtly stressful parts of running a SaaS company, or any company with larger customers, is Champion Change.  When the key stakeholder at your customer who brought you in, shepparded the deal, baked you into their business process … leaves. Your champions may on average stay ~24 months (I’m making this average tenure up, but it sounds about right).  Once you have 10 or 20 key customers, then every few months, you are going to be losing a top champion.  That can be tough. But it’s worse than that:  many times, the moment a new stakeholder comes in to replace your champion — you’ve already lost the customer.  Why?  Well, especially if you are in a competitive space, that new Director / VP / CIO whatever may have another vendor she is already close to, that she wants to bring with her Continue reading "Champion Change: You Gotta Jump On It"