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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The Magic of Negative Churn

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on the StatusQuo blog here. Let’s face it – customer churn is a reality for subscription businesses. Even with great product, amazing support, and top-notch training, some customers are just going to leave. Budgets dry up, companies go out of business, your internal champion moves to a new role, etc. For a lot of companies, a lost customer drops additional responsibility on the plate of the sales team. One customer out means you better find a new customer to fill the gap, right? Wrong! The best SaaS companies can do the impossible: generate negative revenue churn despite losing customers each month. In other words, they are generating more revenue from existing customers than they are losing each month. Let’s dive into exactly how they make that happen.

The Mathemagic Behind Negative Churn

Here’s a simple example to illustrate the point. Say we have a
Negative churn example
Negative Churn Example
Negative churn attach rate
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SaaStr Podcast #170: Rob Reid, EVP & Managing Director @ Sage Intacct on Scaling Intacct’s Team & Culture To An $850m Exit

New! Prefer to read the transcript? We’ve got you covered! You’ll find this week’s transcript below. Welcome to Episode 170! Rob Reid is the Executive Vice President & Managing Director @ Sage Intacct, the undisputed global leader serving finance teams of any size. With over 10,000 employees and and over 3m customers, their financial solutions generate over $2Bn in revenue. Prior to Sage Intacct, Rob led Intacct over an incredible 8 year journey culminating in their reported $850m exit to Sage in 2017. Before that he was CEO and President of LucidEra, a market leader for on-demand business intelligence. Prior to LucidEra, Rob was group Vice President of industry leading Siebel CRM for Oracle, managing the SMB sector. Fun fact: over his phenomenal 30 year career, Rob has been involved with 8 startups, 7 of which have had successful exits. In Today’s Episode You Will Learn:

What Every SaaS Business Needs to Know About User Adoption

Editor’s Note: The following article is based on Rachel Orston’s presentation at SaaStr Annual 2018. You can see the full presentation here. User adoption is the process of ensuring each of your users is successful in using your product to achieve their business goals. This is critical for SaaS (software-as-a-service) businesses who rely on recurring revenue because, if managed effectively, it leads to higher retention rates and unlocks new revenue growth opportunities for your business. Unfortunately, this step is often skipped as companies quickly try to move straight into retention. Getting user adoption right is hard work, but without it, retention, expansion, and advocacy become significantly more difficult to master and leaves your organization vulnerable to preventable churn. It’s the bedrock of any best-in-class customer success strategy because it sets the foundation for users’ understanding of and success with your company and your product. When you make user adoption a
Churn Rate
User Adoption
Get to the What
Realities of Alignment
Product management user flow
Time to wow
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When and How to Make Your First Customer Success Hire

In the early days of a startup everyone from the CEO to the Content Marketer is a defacto member of the Customer Success team. Being removed from customers isn’t a concern because you interact with them daily through support tickets, live trainings, and sales demos. As the company grows, it becomes less clear who owns Customer Success. Customers start complaining that they’re not getting the service they need to see value. Churn increases and expansion revenue evaporates. At this point (or sooner) it’s time to make your first Customer Success hire.

Why You Need a Dedicated Customer Success Team

A high churn rate is often the catalyst behind creating a Customer Success team. From day one, companies are focused on building their user base and increasing revenue by acquiring new customers. But what happens after a customer signs up? Companies rarely give enough thought to how they will help customers
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