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"

Building Customer Empathy Through Storytelling and Creativity with MailChimp (Video + Transcript)

In this session from Annual 2018, MailChimp CMO Tom Klein shares his advice for how to build customer empathy by using storytelling and creativity. And in case you haven’t heard, we’re building a completely immersive experience 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! Announcer:  Please welcome Ann‑Marie Alcántara, Tech Reporter at Adweek, and Tom Klein, CMO at MailChimp. [music] Ann‑Marie Alcántara: Hello, welcome, everyone. This is very official. Let’s start this off, Tom. Tom Klein: All righty. Ann‑Marie: Tell us about yourself, where you work, your title. Tom: Yeah, I’m Tom Klein. I am the Chief Marketing Officer of MailChimp. That Continue reading "Building Customer Empathy Through Storytelling and Creativity with MailChimp (Video + Transcript)"

Introducing the BEAST Message Framework for Customer Engagement

Let’s talk about Customer Engagement, specifically one part of the Communication Model, which is my BEAST Message Framework for creating messages that actually engage customers. It’s really interesting that we communicate all day long – with our friends, with our peers, with our customers – but when was the last time you actually thought about what goes into communication? Most of the time, we simply never stop to consider what needs to go into communication… we just do it. If we do spend any time at all thinking about communication, we only focus on the message itself. But it’s truly important – imperative, actually – that we spend time thinking about all of the components of the Communication Model. Whenever we try to send an email, have a call with a customer, set up a meeting with a customer, etc., we need to be thinking about communication and what
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Introducing the Customer Engagement Communication Model

Let’s talk about Customer Engagement, specifically the Communication Model. We communicate every day, all day. We communicate with friends, family, co-workers, industry peers, customers, vendors, celebrities, trolls, politicians, restaurants, airlines, etc., every day. We communicate more today than we ever had in the history of the world, and tomorrow, we’ll do it even more. Yet despite all this communication going on, we really know very little about how to communicate effectively. We think, since we do it all the time, we must be good at it, but as with most things, frequency should not be confused with proficiency. So let’s dive into this whole Communication Model thing and figure out how to more effectively engage our customers by simply communicating better. Join me, shall you?

The History of the Communication Model

Going back a long time – I think in the 1950s – there was the Shannon-Weaver model, created
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Are Customer Retention Benchmarks Increasing Your Churn?

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the StatusQuota blog here. Competition is an unavoidable part of life. As people, we are constantly being evaluated and “sized up” by the competition. This isn’t limited to sports – our personal and professional lives are subject to the same scrutiny. Performance reviews in the office. Parents play favorites at home. Maybe that’s why we’re all so in love with benchmarks. They satisfy our curiosity and spur our competitive drive. Knowing that you rank among the best can be extremely satisfying. On the flip side, discovering you’re low performer can be a motivating challenge. Unsurprisingly, a whole industry has been built around this need to compare. Gartner’s Magic Quadrant has become a critical resource in the technology purchase process for many companies. Similarly, review sites like G2 Crowd allow you to compare how different products perform based on average user reviews (which
Gartner Magic Quadrant
HubSpot Salesforce Retention
Churn reduction
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SaaStr Podcast #179: Dave Kellogg, CEO @ Host Analytics On The Most Commonly Misunderstood SaaS Metrics

Welcome to Episode 179! Dave Kellogg is the CEO @ Host Analytics, the leader in cloud-based enterprise performance management (EPM). Previously, Dave was SVP/GM of Service Cloud at Salesforce and CEO at unstructured big data provider MarkLogic. Before that, Dave was CMO at Business Objects for nearly a decade as the company grew from $30M to over $1B. Dave has also worked in various capacities with the likes of Breeze, GainSight, Tableau and MongoDB and previously sat on the boards of ag tech leader, Granular (acq by DuPont for $300M) and big data leader Aster Data (acquired by Teradata for $325M). In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

Churn Reduction Fails Without Sales Onboard

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the StatusQuota blog here. Customer success teams are vital for keeping churn low. But if the sales team isn’t involved in improving customer retention, your company is doomed to fail. A customer-centered culture cannot and should not be isolated to one team. Everyone in the business must be aligned with delivering an amazing experience. If one department takes their eye off the ball, the company will suffer. Yet oftentimes sales teams are out of sync with customer success efforts. They have sales reps hitting quota by bringing on customers that are not suited for the company’s product. This solution mismatch creates big headaches for customer success managers who are left holding the bag. Tell me if this story sounds familiar: Hours are sunk into extended customer onboarding. User adoption never picks up. CSMs hear disenchantment creeping into the customer’s voice as time drags
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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Customer Success (and More)

Special thanks for Scott Breece for helping compile this content. Customer success has, for good reason, become the backbone of many of the most successful and fastest growing SaaS businesses today. These companies recognize that customer success has the power to influence many boardroom metrics including growth rate, payback, retention and others. While customer success should be a company wide mandate, customer success teams quarterback customer adoption, growth and ultimately customer happiness. These teams combat user learning curves, successfully onboard and support customers and assist with full product adoption and growth. Given the increase of technology to achieve customer success at scale and the continued focus on achieving net negative churn, we’ve compiled this exhaustive customer success resources guide. Whether you call your team customer success, customer value, customer happiness, etc. this guide will provide you with all the information you ever wanted to know on building and running a
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Churn Classification for Customer Success Management

Customer Success is when your customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company. If you focus on Customer Success, churn will not be an issue. At least in theory. To take that from a simple theory to your Operating Model, you need to put systems in place, be able to monitor their effectiveness, and routinely perform root cause analysis when things go wrong (and also when things go well so you can replicate, right?). So while our goal is to live in a world where churn doesn’t happen, while you have it, you really need to understand it so you can avoid it in the future. To that end, I put together this Churn Classification system (or matrix or quadrant or whatever) to help you do that.

All Churn is Bad

All churn is bad, but some churn is worse than other churn. Customers
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