Modifying the Typical Sales Funnel with Claire Suellentrop

Claire Suellentrop is an up-and-comer in the marketing world. She dabbled in journalism and entertainment marketing before she began helping SaaS companies like Wistia, FullStory, Edgar, Death to the Stock Photo, and many others get inside their customers’ heads. She then became the co-founder of two companies: Userlist.io and Forget the Funnel which we discuss with her in this enlightening conversation with Keith on Data Beats Opinion.

During the interview we talk about:

  • Modifying the typical sales funnel with Forget the Funnel
  • “Aha” moments and how to find them for yourself and your customer
  • How successful companies like AutoBooks and ProfitWell look at their sales funnel from the bottom instead of the top
  • The value of the customers you already have vs. potential new customers

Find Claire at:

Transcript:

Keith:

Hello, this is Keith from SegMetrics again with Data Beats Opinion. I’m here today with Claire Suellentrop, who is the… Hello, who is the co-founder of Forget The Funnel, which is a program that helps leaders at marketing company, SAS companies, drive meaningful customer-led growth. Claire, thank you so much for joining us.

Claire Suellentrop:

Thanks so much for having me, Keith.

Keith:

All right. As I said before, we started talking, I am going to throw a little bit of shade on this. Why should I Forget The Funnel as a funnel market? My entire career has been optimizing marketing funnels, so can you dive into that a little for me?

Claire Suellentrop:

Of course. No shade to the work that you have done throughout the course of your career. Forget The Funnel really speaks to the fact that the way that a customer finds and then interacts with your brand or your company, ultimately your product, doesn’t really end at the end of that funnel, which from a marketing perspective, oftentimes equals acquisition. Like we have acquired the customer, yay for us. Now, marketing stops. We all know, as those who are either owners of a business or those who are tasked with increasing the revenue of a business, that there’s a ton of opportunity beyond that end of that funnel. Right? There’s the entire remainder of the customer’s lifecycle. So, Forget The Funnel really is not meant to… I don’t know if I can swear on here-

Keith:

Yeah, go ahead.

Claire Suellentrop:

It’s not meant to shit on the work that marketers do, leading up to acquiring a customer. It’s more emblematic of the fact that there’s so much more opportunity once someone has become a customer to retain them and expand your relationship with them over time.

Keith:

This is interesting because this is something that I’ve been yelling to the rooftops for a long time now, which is because we worked with a ton of internet marketer and personality brand and stuff. One of the main things that happened was you would have these beautiful funnels, these beautiful marketing, as soon as someone purchased, drop like a rock.

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

It’s like you have, here’s your username and password. Go into content.

Claire Suellentrop:

See you later.

Keith:

See you later. It was like, these are your best customers. Once someone has purchased the first time, the chance that they’re going to purchase again, that after follow is so much higher.

Claire Suellentrop:

Totally. Not to mention the fact that you have just spent so much of your money. It depends on what you’re calculating in terms of your investment, but whether it’s your money, your time, the investment of paying a marketing team, whatever it may be, you have spent so much acquiring those customers. And so, to then assume that acquiring them is the end of the story, it’s just really falling short of the opportunity available there. Because as you said, they’ve made it over the finish line, so why leave it at that?

Keith:

Why do you think that is? Why do you think that people dropped there? Is it that they don’t care? Is it that they don’t understand that those people are still valuable? Is it that they don’t have products to offer them?

Claire Suellentrop:

It’s, of course, going to look different from company to company, but that’s a great question. I guess it depends on where your philosophy on revenue growth stems from and what kind of pressures you’re under as a business. For example, typically when my co-founder, Gia and I, so Georgiana Laudi is my co-founder of Forget The Funnel, and then she and I also advise companies on marketing and growth together. I see often that when we’re working with a company that has funding, there’s a lot of pressure from whether it’s a VC firm or other stakeholders. There’s a lot of pressure to focus on acquisition because acquisition is the traditional metric of the growth potential of the company.

Keith:

Right.

Claire Suellentrop:

And so, that leads to then a company-wide focus on getting people in the door, which then results in the fact that no one has time to nurture those existing customers. So, there’s external forces and then there’s also just what we have learned over time is or is not important. In my experience, the ability to leverage or the ability to really expand your relationship with your existing customers is only starting to gain popularity in recent years. Not that we haven’t known it for a long time, but it feels on a larger scale like we are just now shifting away from the beauty of inbound marketing to, okay, now what else is out there?

Keith:

I think one of the reasons is it’s getting harder, right?

Claire Suellentrop:

Right, totally.

Keith:

When there was no competition, yeah, you could have those hockey stick growths from Facebook ads.

Claire Suellentrop:

The internet was like a Wild West.

Keith:

Yeah, it’s wide open. Whoever was able to come up with… Because no one was doing it, there’s very little competition relatively. It was much easier to get those growth numbers. Now, it’s much harder to get those growth numbers and you’re paying a lot more for that growth. I’m seeing now ads and stuff that they want to get return on investment where they get return on investment in seven to 14 days. Now, they’re looking at 30 to 60 days-

Claire Suellentrop:

Precisely.

Keith:

… because that’s how long it takes to make that much more money.

Claire Suellentrop:

Yeah, that’s absolutely right. The more optimized your experiences beyond the funnel, so to speak, let’s say, if you have a digital product or offering or whatever maybe, if you can better optimize the experience that someone has once they’ve gotten in the door and they engage with whatever it is you’re selling and either upsell them or if you have a subscription business, retain their monthly or annual subscription, then not only are you increasing the lifetime value of what you’re getting out of that customer, you’re also on the… It’s the two sides of the same coin. You’re also getting a way higher ROI on what was probably a pretty expensive customer to acquire because the market is so much more saturated.

Keith:

Right. I think one of the issues that people run into is, okay, I know that I need to do that. I know I need to nurture my customers, but how? I just sent them 800 emails to get them to purchase. It feels like more emails is not really what I need to be putting on there. Right? And so, I think a lot of people, myself included, come into this like, okay, how do I build a meaningful nurture sequence post-purchase? How do I relate to the customers in a way that seems more valuable than just throwing emails at them.

Claire Suellentrop:

So much of that. I wish we had an example of business to work with because so much of it will depend on what your model is. Having come from the software and subscription models, subscription business model space, that’s what I know as to be the best. And so of course, if you’re running a service-based business, that will look different. If you have a multi-product business, like if you are an e-commerce company, also look different. So, we could probably have three separate podcasts about that question.

Keith:

Pick your favorite. Let’s go into one of your favorites.

Claire Suellentrop:

Okay. Let’s talk about… Who’s really fun to talk about? One of the companies that I worked with last year that was struggling with this exact thing, which is how do we better leverage the people we’re already getting in the door? The customers were already getting into the door. A lot of the work that was done was first figuring out what is the point in time at which we can tell that someone who has signed up for our product is getting value and they’re going to stay.

Keith:

The aha moment.

Claire Suellentrop:

Exactly, the aha moment, which I’m happy to dive into a bit further. How can we optimize for that? How do we start there? For the people who are coming in, how do we get them to that aha moment faster? So, that was the beginning of our engagement.

Claire Suellentrop:

After that, once someone has hit that aha moment, then what do we do? What are the programs that we can put in place to teach them how to do this other cool thing with our product or build this new habit around it they didn’t even know they could solve a problem with, and so on and so forth? So, it’s really about having an understanding of what that first moment of value is in your product that convinces people, “Okay, yes, I’m going to stay with this thing. I’m not going to fire it and go look for another solution,” and then also, how their needs evolve once that value moment has been felt and how you can continue inside of your product to teach them how to do new things that bring new method, new ways of value. If this is a little bit too intangible or high level, I can dive in.

Keith:

I think I’d like to dive into the aha moments. Just to bring it back a little bit, that moment is the point at which the customers are like, “This thing has value.” And then, all that nurture goes around. How do we get them to that aha moment to understand that aha moment the fastest that we can?

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

More so than what’s an example of aha moment because I know there’s lots, the aha moment is really… I think we’ve all, at some point, heard, “Oh, you should find your aha moment.” Everyone’s like, “Yes, I’ll find my-

Claire Suellentrop:

What the hell does that mean?

Keith:

What does that mean? Honestly, it’s because I’ve had many talks and many seminars, it’s like you find their aha moment. Then, you see it for Twitter, it’s like, “Okay, that makes sense.” You see it for Facebook, it’s like, “Oh, that makes sense.” You see it for TeamworkPM, it’s like, “Oh, that makes sense.” So, what does it look like for me? Because you don’t want to just guess, right? Because that’s not the aha moment and you’re not your customer, so how do you go about finding an aha moment in your own product? Because you’re usually too close to understand what is an aha moment anyways.

Claire Suellentrop:

Totally. You have the knowledge of what every little aspect of your product does, which your customers typically don’t, especially when they first show up. In terms of what that looks like, you know of course that it looks very different for every product and therefore every company. I would say the first step… This is really fun to be talking about because Gia and I, under the umbrella of Forget The Funnel, which I can talk about later, we are working on a program that addresses this and it’s literally called the Customer-Led Growth Program. I’ve been doing, behind the scenes, a lot of having to take these ideas and put them on paper, so this is fun to be talking about.

Claire Suellentrop:

But, you essentially have to start by identifying who is the customer, who is most valuable for us to be serving right now. You can slice and dice that in a number of ways. Maybe for your company, it’s super obvious. For example, if you serve both agencies and owners of small businesses of individual brands, you may already know to some extent that one of those two types of customers shows up to your website and signs up for your product with more education of the problem and like, “I need to fix it.” Maybe one shows up with a greater sense of urgency than the other. I’m kind of riffing on this, I’m making this up right now. But, let’s say that’s the case. Let’s say you’ve got multiple types of customer. Your first step is to figure out who’s most advantageous for us to solve for first. Not that every other type of customer is not important, but where do we narrow down our scope?

Claire Suellentrop:

Let’s say you pick agencies. Again, I’m kind of riffing on this. I actually, just earlier today, had a similar conversation and it was legit about serving two different segments of customers, so that’s very fresh in my mind.

Keith:

Caught you a good time then.

Claire Suellentrop:

Let’s say you drill in and you’re like, “You know what? This is the type of customer that we want to really focus on right now. We want to make the experience of using our product awesome for them so that we retain them for a longer time. Our marketing ROI on them is better than it is currently.” So, the first thing to do is actually get on the phone with those people. When I say on the phone, there’s a level of depth in having a conversation over the phone that you really can’t get in surveys or in some other mass research way. When Gia and I do this work with companies, I typically like to do both around of surveys to the customers where we’re trying to create a better experience for but also interviews.

Claire Suellentrop:

The point of the interviews is to really drill in and understand, well, a lot of things. But with regard to the aha moment, we’re really trying to drill in and understand when you signed up for our product, at what point were you like, “Yes, this is the thing that I need,” right? When was it very obvious to you that this is what you were going to stick with instead of going and searching for some other solution. If you can identify the patterns in that moment, you’re likely getting close to what your aha moment within your product is.

Claire Suellentrop:

For Autobooks, for example, I’ll use that to make the story a little bit… I’ll use that to crystallize this a bit. Autobooks is basically a finance management platform for small businesses. And so, they spoke to a whole bunch of types of small businesses actually. They weren’t really clear what an ideal customer look like. They just knew that they wanted to talk to their power users and understand why do you like us so much and how do we optimize for that. What they found out was, even though they’re a super robust platform, they have bill pay and they have some accounting features and they have a ton of other things. All of their many features are actually escaping my mind now, but it’s very much like a robust platform. And so, their onboarding previously was very much a let’s-show-you-around-the-tool type of onboarding. It was like, “Here’s where bill pay is. Here’s where your accounting features are. Here’s where this is.”

Claire Suellentrop:

What they learn from talking to their customers, getting on the phone and saying, “At what point did you realize, oh, man, this Autobooks thing is really cool?” What they learned was that the aha moment for them was actually this thing that they offered the ability for their customers to send electronic invoices and get paid by credit card without some third-party provider like a Square or a PayPal or something of that nature. They provided the payment processor themselves and their users thought that was super cool. It was really helpful too.

Keith:

That’s interesting because it feels almost like table stakes to a product creator, right?

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

It’s like, “Oh, why wouldn’t they just get Stripe and hook that in?” But, to have that as part of the… Wow, that’s interesting.

Claire Suellentrop:

Yeah. It was such a small feature within their very large set of features. When they realized, “Okay, this is the thing? This is the thing that’s so exciting?” They were like, “Oh, my God. We need to totally redo our onboarding because we’re adding in way too much crap between the time we get someone to sign up and the time they finally find that thing.” So, it led to a total overhaul in the experience of someone who goes from sign up to that get paid moment. It cut out… It’s amazing how much they shorten that experience.

Claire Suellentrop:

But basically, what they did was they did away with… They didn’t truly pull it out of the product, but they did away with teaching people, new users, how billing works and how accounting features worked and how payroll works. They got them straight to “Welcome to Autobooks. The first step we’re going to teach you is how to send an invoice and get paid.” The results of that… It’s been a little over a year since we worked together so I don’t I remember the exact stats, but I can go find them. But, they were huge in terms of revenue for the business and the time to being able to determine whether someone was going to stay and remain a really good user or not get it and disappear.

Keith:

That’s always a hard thing. We do a lot of internal metrics as well as we’re measuring, okay, we have, I think, six different actions that we want people to take that shows, okay, are these people going to stay on or are they going to not? So, that’s always been really interesting for us, which is what are those steps and which of those six steps really influence that someone’s going to stay on or not?

Claire Suellentrop:

Right. Even for a SegMetrics, I’d be, just from a third party standpoint, super interested in understanding when someone signs up, what is the one thing they’re trying to get to? I haven’t onboarded into the product, but can you eliminate five of those six things to speed them up to the process of getting to that one thing faster.

Keith:

Right. We’ll go a little bit into the weeds on this public podcast. But honestly, it’s interesting because I sometimes wonder if we have the Word, the Office problem, the Microsoft Office problem, which is that everyone only use… So, the famous Office problem is that everyone uses 10% of Office, but everyone’s 10% is completely different, so can’t take out the other 90% because you’ll lose 90% of your base. And so for us, and I sometimes wonder if this is me not having drilled in enough and still trying to find that exact aha moment, because the interviews we have done, that aha moment has been all over the place. They’re all based around similar themes, which is really lead value. It’s like, “Does doing this make people convert or not? Does this make people on my list more valuable or not?” That’s our biggest aha moment, but there’s so many ways around that. Because some people want to say, “Okay, the webinars that I’m doing are things on the funnel or the ads or how I’m promoting or which blog posts.” There’s so many-

Claire Suellentrop:

Interesting. Right.

Keith:

… variations of that. And so, I sometimes wonder, okay, is this “Oh, no, I’m special because blah, blah, blah” like the Special Snowflake Syndrome and I just haven’t identified that aha moment clearly enough, or is it actually that we do have a number of different aha moments?

Claire Suellentrop:

Again, I’m definitely missing context because I have never onboarded into SegMetrics, so I don’t know what exists currently. But, it almost sounds like there needs to be some way to identify when a new user comes in, which use case makes sense for them, and can you direct them to just the information they need for their use case so that they don’t need, for now, the other 90% of Microsoft Office. But then, once they figured their use case out, then can you introduce them to “We also did this cool thing and there’s other cool thing” over time.

Keith:

Yeah. We’ve started using useronboarding.com.

Claire Suellentrop:

Oh, nice. That’s great.

Keith:

We really like them so far. Best feature is that it’s a 10th of the price of whatever the really expensive one is, Appcues, which is $1,000 a month at the lowest price. I’m like, “Someday.”

Claire Suellentrop:

They definitely moved upmarket in their growth.

Keith:

Yeah, them and Intercom. Intercom and Segment, they started out really hitting the bootstrapper level. And then as soon as the VCs came in, all the VC companies were like, “Oh, we got to use this,” suddenly it’s all $1,000 a month, the plans.

Claire Suellentrop:

That’s right.

Keith:

It’s good, though, because that gives places like Userlist and other companies like that a chance to come in and serve that market that Intercom left.

Claire Suellentrop:

Totally. The fact that the market is saturated doesn’t mean that you can’t win to that exact point. You just need to be prepared to be very clear about which segment, which niche you’re trying to carve out.

Keith:

Right. Exactly. That’s interesting. I love talking about this kind of stuff because our industry as well is pretty, I want to say, saturated, but there’s a lot of competition. You’re either competing on price or you’re competing on features. There’s a lot of people, “Let’s use Intercom and Userlist.” There’s a lot of people that just really dislike Intercom if it does too much, it’s too complicated, so they go with something like Userlist that’s priced right.

Claire Suellentrop:

Does a very specific thing.

Keith:

Does that specific thing and does it so well, right?

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

It’s not the overarching infusion software. It does everything, but everything’s kind of okay. But, it’s more like the convert kit where it’s completely streamlined too. We do one thing and we do it amazingly well.

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

One of the things that I want to talk about is that… I’m very data-oriented, I really like data. I really like measuring things, probably to an unhealthy degree. I was mentioning that I have those six items that I look at or there’s six touchpoints that I look at that say, “Okay, these people are onboarded correctly and they’re going through the funnel. They are good trial. They’re probably going to stick around.” I know a lot of people have problems finding those KPIs, not even just for the aha moment, but let’s say just measuring a marketing funnel. People are like, “Oh, I just need leads, how much they cost and how much I’m making at the end.”

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

It was like, “Kind of.” So, everyone thinks they need KPIs to improve their marketing, but no one really seems to know what the KPIs are that they need to be looking at. How do you help people understand what are the KPIs for this, not the generic ones but actually what are the KPIs that you’re looking for to improve your marketing?

Claire Suellentrop:

This is legit a module in this program I just mentioned to you that I am drafting out right now as I have to try to force my thoughts out on the paper and make them make sense.

Keith:

I think I’m going to have to get a copy of this.

Claire Suellentrop:

Truly. I pinged Gia, my business partner, for a review on this yesterday. I was like, “Let me know if this makes sense.” I guess speaking it out loud to you is going to be my second test. Unfortunately, there’s not a shortcut. It is going to come back to identifying who that specific customer is you’re trying to solve for. Because exactly as you pointed out, you may have a customer base that is made up of a number of different industries or use cases or pick how you’re going to segment. Segmentation is another whole podcast. But, assuming you do have an idea of what the customer segment is you are trying to improve on by measuring those KPIs, you’ve then got to figure out, exactly as you said, what are the specific KPIs that will help me understand if I’m improving performance within this segment alone.

Claire Suellentrop:

To contrast that for a minute and maybe give some more color to it, this was a couple of months ago, I was speaking with someone who actually just joined a company as the head of growth. He was showing me the dashboard. He built out a spreadsheet to measure performance across the customer journey so he could figure out, is my biggest opportunity… He had used the very popular pirate metrics. He was like, “Is my biggest opportunity at acquisition or activation or retention, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah?” I was trying to drill in and help this head of growth really figure out when you say that you’re using pirate metrics to improve numbers across the customer journey for you and for the customer you’re trying to serve, what does acquisition mean? Do you mean when someone arrives at your website, they’ve been acquired? Do you mean when someone signs up for your product, they’ve been acquired? And then, same question for activation. Does activation mean they started the trial or does it mean they reached that aha moment or does it mean they converted to a customer?

Claire Suellentrop:

There were so many little sub metrics beneath the overarching pirate metrics that he wasn’t accounting for, that he was having a really hard time identifying where he had opportunity to improve or really how to go about measuring it.

Keith:

That’s interesting because I think that the pirate metrics, I think everyone looks at it very similarly where it’s like, “Oh, acquisition means they’re on the list or trial is the next step.” But, that’s not actually true. We actually found something similar where we had very traditional get them through a lead, opt in to a PDF or something like that, nurture them into a trial and then take the trial to the customer. We were looking and I was like, “Man, this is just not converting. Leads do not turn into trials.” And then, we started sending people straight to the trial and it goes like this, we get the hockey stick.

Claire Suellentrop:

Really? It’s interesting.

Keith:

People did not want to be on the marketing funnel because the people who were… I think longterm, it turns out okay. But, when you’re paying for leads and you’re paying for them to get a PDF that may convert to a paid trial at some point in the future, the return on investment just takes too long or isn’t enough. But, we saw that sending people straight to the trial had a much higher conversion rate. And so our acquisition, we don’t care about lead acquisition anymore. We only care about trial acquisition because we saw that the leads weren’t valuable.

Claire Suellentrop:

Totally. You drive home the point there that the theory of using something like pirate metrics to broadly define the phases of your customer journey is a helpful starting point, but it falls apart if that’s as far as you go. You need to go one level further and understand, for the people who we’re trying to get into this product or service or whatever we’re selling, what are the steps that they need to take to go from not knowing about us to being really happy using us. Those are the steps. There’s all kinds of phrases for them. I hear people say customer journey stages or customer experience stages or success gaps, all kinds of words for them.

Keith:

I like success gaps.

Claire Suellentrop:

Success gaps, yeah. Go ahead.

Keith:

We use touchpoints internally.

Claire Suellentrop:

Touchpoints is another good one, but for the unique case of the people that we are trying to attract, what are those specific touchpoints that they need? And then, how do we quantify whether or not someone has reached a touchpoint? And then, if you can define your KPIs based on those touchpoints, you have a much better chance of understanding where your unique customer segment is getting through that experience or where they’re falling off and where your opportunities are.

Keith:

Right. Exactly. That’s one of the things that I have been really bullish on is that in addition to understanding what your KPIs mean, so what is acquisition?

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

But also, looking at… I don’t believe that KPIs in of themselves help you improve marketing. I think that they help you gauge your marketing, right?

Claire Suellentrop:

Exactly.

Keith:

They’re like your speedometer. They let you know if you’re doing better or worse, but they’re not going to give you any insight. And so, what I’ve been really bullish on recently is take a KPI and then break it down by the step before it. Right? Let’s say you’re looking at acquisition. Okay, I have an acquisition percentage. I acquire 30% of people coming to the site. Well, which of the referrals or which of the pages or which of the ads or which of what is converting the best? And then, which on the back end of that is converting the best of customer? Now, I have not only my acquisition number but I also have a breakdown of what are the places that send in people that are my best leads. Even though I have that 30%, what are the best things that I am acquiring?

Claire Suellentrop:

Right. Having that level of understanding, again, just that step more granular of not just the high level acquisition, activation, retention, but those individual steps like you described, measuring at that level also helps you play around or model out whether increasing acquisition is really your best use of time and money right now. Actually, Gia and I just had a conversation with a company we began working with a week or two ago. When they first reached out to us, they were acquisition, acquisition, acquisition. We need more customers in the door. They shared their modeling spreadsheet with us. It became quickly very obvious that to hit the revenue goals that they needed, they would have had to invest a ton of money into paid acquisition. But, if they could increase their trial to paid conversion rate by just a few percentage points, they’d hit those same revenue goals without near the spend.

Claire Suellentrop:

So, you’re exactly right. It’s not the numbers themselves that give you the insights, but they do let you understand what if scenarios in a way that just staying at activation, or I’m sorry, acquisition and activation and retention doesn’t really give you.

Keith:

Right. Exactly. I think that the main KPIs, they help you find the big holes. But then, in order to patch those holes and find them, you have to be able to drill down a little bit.

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

That’s interesting. I think a lot of people don’t realize that… Because I think everyone is very focused on top of funnel and everyone’s like, “Well, this is my conversion rate. I’m not going to be able to improve it, so let’s just get more people in the top of the funnel.”

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

I don’t know. It feels like that you have outsized results from improving further down the funnel than you do higher up in the funnel.

Claire Suellentrop:

Totally. There are some really interesting stats on this. If any of your listeners are followers of ProfitWell, Patrick Campbell, the CEO of ProfitWell, and his team published a lot of studies on the impact of focusing on better monetizing your business. In other words, experimenting with pricing strategy and also increasing how long you retain a customer or how much you expand, how much they’re purchasing from you versus only focusing on top of funnel… I’ll have to send you a stat for the show notes afterward, but I believe it was something around the realm of increasing the retention rate of your existing customers yields, I think it was four to eight times the results of simply acquiring more customers and retaining them at the same rate. Something like that.

Claire Suellentrop:

If your objective is not simply to prove something to a board, which is also a valid reason to focus on acquisition, but if your objective is to build an efficient model for your business, then absolutely focusing further down beyond the, quote-unquote, funnel is at some point going to be the way to go.

Keith:

Right. Exactly. I think it was this painting company was saying that it’s four times easier to sell to a customer who has already purchased from you than it is to acquire a new customer.

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

That’s why upsells work well. That’s why cross-sells work well. That’s why even getting people to sign up for annual plans work so well. Because once you’ve made that commitment, it’s much easier to continue on that commitment in another way.

Claire Suellentrop:

Totally. I think we will only see that become more and more and more the case unless there’s going to be any change to the trajectory of saturation, which I don’t assume it’s going to happen soon.

Keith:

Doubt, yeah. It will shift, it’ll change, but I don’t think that there’s going to be… I think honestly, when we’re recording this right now, the biggest shakeups have happened already. It’s just seeing what levels out after that. But I think, especially in digital, really it hasn’t changed much. I don’t think that the overall acquisition, the overall usage patterns have changed that much as far as getting to that aha moment to that retention and just how people are looking for and using software.

Claire Suellentrop:

Right. A number of companies that we’ve spoken with, well, it seems like most companies right now are in… Not everyone is in a famine situation, some people are in a feast situation. The Zooms of the world are a great example or Slack or any other tool that has supported the mass scale transition to remote work. But, those companies are also experiencing new pains. They have new types of customers coming in that they previously haven’t been set up to serve. It’s great that you’re acquiring customers like crazy. But, if you’re dropping a bunch of those people out because…

Claire Suellentrop:

Let’s pretend, for example, this is true story. One head of product marketing I know at a fairly big company that does fall into that remote work category, I was having a conversation with her the other week. She was explaining like, “We’re seeing a ton of signups, but a lot of them are SMBs. We primarily serve mid-market and enterprise. We want to retain these SMBs. They’re great customers, but none of our onboarding materials speaks to them. We don’t really have anything set up to support them. We don’t have training materials to teach them to use the product for their use case.” So, they’re seeing a swell of acquisition, but they’re really not benefiting from it as well as they could be because they haven’t built out that further along experience of the customer journey or beyond the funnel or, again, whatever you want to call it.

Keith:

Right. I think you’re exactly right that there’s different use cases. I think Zoom is probably the biggest one just because it was in the news where people were Zoom-bombing, right?

Claire Suellentrop:

Right.

Keith:

Because there were passwords, but they weren’t on by default. 90% of people who are using Zoom where businesses, they were tech savvy, they had the password set up. Even if they didn’t, it was a one in a million chance. But now, you have everyone on Zoom. You have classes on Zoom. You have kids on Zoom. Now, this has become super prominent. In their credit, they have pivoted so quickly to fix all that stuff. But, it really showed that, okay, people are now using Zoom in a way and a frequency that they weren’t before. It’s like how Macs never had any viruses before because they were 1% of the computing population. There was no reason. Now, there’s lots of Mac viruses because they are very good targets. They are very good vector. Everyone has one.

Claire Suellentrop:

That lends credibility to the idea that even once you have figured out your KPIs, you’re going to eventually have to change them as your market shifts and do it all over again.

Keith:

Exactly. It’s interesting. It’s still funny to me that we call things like Facebook startups when-

Claire Suellentrop:

When they are not a startup.

Keith:

… they’re hundred billion-dollar companies or whatever. But, the one that they always say is Sears versus Amazon. It’s really true because Sears had 100% everything they needed to just destroy Amazon. They had all the warehouses. They had the distribution network. They got complacent. They were looking at the KPIs that they had looked at for the last 20, 30, 40, 50 years and they didn’t see the difference that was going to happen. Where Amazon now is is where Sears was when I was a kid. It’s so interesting to see that difference. You can’t just sit on your laurels and you have to reevaluate your business. One of the things that we have on our recurring calendar is every, I think it’s one month or two months, we go through our onboarding process. We reevaluate the entire onboarding process every month or two to make sure that it’s still valid, it still goes with what our customers are saying. Because especially in our growth stages, our customers changed so quickly. We have people using it for sales now, like phone call sales.

Claire Suellentrop:

That’s super interesting and warrants a totally different experience.

Keith:

Exactly. It’s completely different than someone who is doing online sales or e-commerce or SaaS or something like that. It’s been interesting re-looking at what our preconceived notions of how people are using the software.

Claire Suellentrop:

Right. That exact scenario you just described for any of the businesses that happen to not be in famine mode, that I think is what we’re seeing happen at scale. So many of them are having to reevaluate, what do we do with this entirely new way that people are using our product and how do we not miss out on this opportunity essentially?

Keith:

Exactly. Claire, thank you so much for joining me. This has been absolutely wonderful. People can find you at Forget The Funnel, we’ll have those links in the show notes. If you can send me over that article that you were talking about, that would be great.

Claire Suellentrop:

Yes, absolutely. I’ll pass on that article.

Keith:

Yes. Where can people find you?

Claire Suellentrop:

So, forgetthefunnel.com is absolutely the best place. The TLDR on what that is, Forget The Funnel is essentially a membership site. Our free membership includes hundreds and hundreds of workshops and resources we’ve run in the past related to all different areas of marketing and growth. Marketing and growth is such a debatable term. And then, there is more coming up for Forget The Funnel in the future, but that’s the best place to start. And then, I’m also on Twitter, @ClaireSuellen. I can send you the link to that as well.

Keith:

Perfect.

Claire Suellentrop:

Happy to chat there anytime.

Keith:

Sounds great. And then, you were mentioning the new product course that you’re releasing and when is that coming out? Because I want a copy.

Claire Suellentrop:

That’s coming out later this year. We actually did get setback on our timeline because of the impact of the pandemic and how that affected our internal timelines, but that is happening in just a couple of months.

Keith:

Excellent. All right, Claire. Thank you so-

Claire Suellentrop:

All right. Thank you so much for having me, Keith.

Keith:

Thank you so much for joining us. It’s been super fun. Thanks so much.

Claire Suellentrop:

Likewise.



Rylee Mathis

Rylee Mathis

Rylee Mathis is the Virtual Assistant to CEO of SegMetrics, Keith Perhac. She assists in the curation of DBO content and marketing as well as social media posts and partner outreach for SegMetrics.