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4 Simple Churn Crushing Tactics to Unlock Hyper-Growth for Your Startup

Guillaume Cabane | Growth Advisor

  • | Acquisition | Engagement | Growth | Metrics | Onboarding | Retention | Sales
  • August 2019
  • EP24

It doesn't have to be complicated

Start crushing churn by doing the simplest of things

Today on Churn.fm we have Guillaume Cabane, also known as “G”. G was the former VP of Growth at hyper-growth startups such as Drift and Segment, and now works as a growth advisor for a number of different startups. 

In this episode we talk about forecasting churn, the most surprising factor G found that contributes to churn, and the simplest way to battle it.

We also discuss tracking and measuring your marketing efforts, the importance of understanding the “sales velocity” of your different marketing channels, and why you shouldn’t give up too quickly on a new marketing channel.

G also shared the craziest thing he had ever done with automation and emphasized how a slight advantage over your competitors can make a world of difference in the SaaS business world.

As usual, I’m excited to hear what you think of this episode and if you have any feedback I would love to hear from you. You can email me directly on Andrew@churn.fm. Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter

Mentioned Resources

Highlights

Time
Tracking and measuring marketing effort and values. 00:07:50
The most surprising churn factor Guillaume found that contributes to churn 00:14:01
Methods Guillaume did to forecast and battle churn. 00:15:00
Why keeping contact with your champion is the ultimate acquisition strategy. 00:18:15
How a company can effectively attribute marketing spend and LTV. 00:24:24
The importance of knowing “sales velocity”. 00:24:41
How to prevent churn from customers coming from outbound sales channel.  00:28:18
Why marginal advantage is highly important to win in SaaS business and why you shouldn’t give up on a marketing channel easily. 00:29:56
What Guillaume would do to help a company turn its churn rate around. 00:33:27
The craziest thing Guillaume has done with marketing automation. 00:40:47

 

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Guillaume Cabane

Growth Advisor

What Guillaume is reading right now

About the podcast

My name is Andrew Michael and I started CHURN.FM, as I was tired of hearing stories about some magical silver bullet that solved churn for company X.

In the real world tackling churn and increasing retention is one of the hardest problems a subscription business faces.

In this podcast, you will hear from founders and subscription economy pros who are taking a systematic approach to increase retention and engagement within their organizations.

Transcription

Andrew Michael
Hey, G, welcome to the show.

Guillaume Cabane
Hey, Andrew, thank you for having me.

Andrew Michael
It’s great to have you today G. For the listeners out there, G is a growth advisor to companies like MonkeyLearn, MadKudu, and others. He was also the ex VP of Growth at Drift and Segment, and early on, his career was Head of Marketing at Mention. So he’s also been focused on b2b SaaS for over 10 years now. And he’s had a lot of time to think about the proble with churn and retention and, its effects on growth. G, throughout your career, like what would you say, has been the single biggest lightbulb moment that you’ve had when you just sort of stood back, and went like, oh.

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah, I mean, so I’ve been doing marketing for the past, like 15 years, you know, actually, at 17 now. Started at Apple in like, 2003. So yeah, it’s been 17 years now. And, and I’ve always been doing like marketing, thinking of, of acquisition and thinking about bringing people in. And then you know, I do b2b, which means as salespeople. And so I hand off my lead I hand off my demand generation efforts to sales people and then I move on, right. And in 2014 2015, when I joined Mention, there was no one to take care of the clients once they became clients. And the train was pretty bad. And I had to take care of it. Because there’s no one else. It was a small company. And when I started looking to that, and looking and trying to understand why people left, and I think that was lightbulb moment, both for my interest in like full lifecycle of the clients, and also for Technical Marketing, which became growth, right? Because a lot of the things that that growth does, you know about automation, and lots of scrappiness is mostly to reduce costs, to do things automatically, that humans could do, but are too expensive to do. And a very applicable to small companies, because you just don’t have the human resources. Right, let’s move on to take care of like thousands of customers at scale you need to do things smarter. I think that was the moment for me, like 2014 2015.

Andrew Michael
Absolutely, like definitely, it’s interesting that you said that there was nobody else to do it. And you needed to solve this problem. And sort of realizing as well, that part of that problem is through the acquisition and the leads that you bring in

Guillaume Cabane
Because like we had a revenue goal. And so I was in charge of all of the revenue. So like, it’s, as soon as you’re in charge of all the revenue, there’s no hiding that if you bring bad leads, you know, it’s your problem, too.

Andrew Michael
Absolutely. And also, like, at the end of the day, like your biggest lever for growth is really like focusing on having good retention, because when you’re in a subscription business, like you really want to see if you can increase that LTV going forward. Yes, talking about this as well, like because we actually just had a chat just before the show. And we had this discussion that really like when churn is bad. Like, the place you really should be looking at first is your marketers be at the end of the day, like it often like we we start to look at sales team or customer success and say, okay, it’s their fault. But really, like the problem starts earlier. But what are your thoughts on this? And like, what are some of the things that you’ve discovered, like throughout your career?

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah, I think, you know, if we take a step back, one of the significant issues is, is the KPIs is like, what is the incentive of the marketing team? You know, how are we measuring their effort and their impact? Now, I’m a marketer, you know, and, and so, I have the habit of saying, If you give me any metric, but retain revenue, like LTV, I can cheat, right? I can push people to sign up. No worries, no, I fight overpromise, super easy, like, you give me the hands on like a paid acquisition or SEO, I’m going to put out an ad saying that the property, the product is free forever, and that is going to do wonders. And people are going to sign up. And of course, you know, they’re going to be unhappy. And so they’re going to churn, right, but bring people in, you know, if you can do whatever they want is easy. And of course, most marketers don’t go that far. But there is an incentive to overpromise. Right. So the first thing to think about in the business is, what is the incentive of my marketers of my team? And is that incentive aligned with the health of the business long term? It’s number one, it’s a, you know, and the second is; All they do they have the data to understand what’s a good customer? And what’s not a great customer? It’s not the customers fault. It’s your fault. Really? Right? Because you bought the people in, right? And even if you have organic on stuff, you know, that says, Oh, I have so many companies that advise said to me “Oh, yeah, I’ve got lots of traffic on this blog post, but most of the traffic is not relevant”. And then the answer is obvious. Change the article, right? If the if the if the traffic is not relevant to your business like you, shouldn’t…It’s not just the no value, it’s actually destroying value. Because it’s taking time of your business to take care of those people and say, no. It’s taking their time. And they’ll be frustrated. So you’re actually destroying value. Right? There’s no no game here. Yeah, either adding value or destroying value. Right. And so you got to be very thoughtful about that.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, it’s definitely one of those vanity metrics, as well as like, you see traffic, and it’s exciting. But if it’s not bringing results, it’s meaningless at the end of the day.

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah. Yeah.

Andrew Michael
So you mentioned something as well, like, which is key. And I think it’s definitely an area of your expertise is being able to track and understand the effects of and having access to the data. So I think like, for me personally, as like, as a marketer, I think the holy grail is really being able to attribute LTV back to sort of your different acquisition channels and, and really understanding the long term value like the lifetime value that you’re getting from your customers as a result of the different efforts. So how have you seen this done successful? And like, what is some of your advice when companies are thinking about going about tracking and measuring their marketing efforts?

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah, I mean, yeah, it really out split into, into buckets, different type of company, if you’ve been in business for like, some time, it’s called a couple of years, right? It’s like twice the average length of your like, lifetime of your customer, right? If you’ve been like, if your business has been there for twice the average length, then you can start doing some really good regression by channel on LTV, you can really start saying hey, like people who come from SEO, have like, I don’t know, like a $500 LTV. People who come in for like outbound might have like a $2,000. LTV, right. You know, the conversion rates, the top of the funnel, you know, like the ACV, you know, the the retention in month one and whatnot, right. And that’s pretty great. Which means if you have that you can start like having those regressions and apply those, those predictive models to new customers and can apply that to your decisions. So you can say, hey, like next month? Well, now I know that, that people from this channel have a high conversion rate. But eventually they drop off. And so the LTV is lower. And so I don’t want to focus on them. Right. And I do a lot of that, in my day to day work. Am I doing I do a lot and a lot of that. And so starts like we we stop the efforts on hydrogen channels. The other bucket, obviously, is you don’t have enough business history. Right? Yeah, that’s harder. Because like, it’s really actually something it’s really hard to predict. And I see a lot of businesses, businesses like saying that they have like, net negative churn, and that growth is infinite. And when I look at the financial model, like they’ve got less than you then one year of selling, as well, of course, people haven’t shown yet. Right. Like, it’s not that your product is great as the people on you and like you’re still in the in the, in the love phase of the relationship. Right. So that gets harder in that case, if you’re trying to grab data from podcasts or from other articles in your industry that are relevant, and and add 50% to be pessimistic. Yeah. Yeah.

Andrew Michael
So I like it is all as 50% is pessimistic? Because very early days, it’s everything is unknown.

Guillaume Cabane
Churn always hurts you in a worse way than you think.

Andrew Michael
Yeah. And it’s always one of those things as well. That’s often like an afterthought. It’s like, as you said, like, because you haven’t hit that year mark, things don’t look so bad yet. So it’s almost masked in a way. But really, underneath the curtains, like, should could really be hitting the fan without anybody paying attention. Yeah,

Guillaume Cabane
yeah. And I think there’s, there’s there’s two types. And when you look at like, predicting churn, there’s like the two types of like, ways you can think about it. One, well actually, let’s actually break it down into three, right? Either you’re doing a model where you’re saying, hey, my average retention in months for this type of client, at this at this channel is like, let’s call it like eight months. And so you know, that, you know, like, when you know that after that time, like, your chances of churn is going to increase every month, right? And you can just a model, there’s a curve, I know that you’re losing, you know, like probably like 3% per month of users, and maybe that’s in revenue. That’s one way. The other way is to look at behavior and say, well, that’s actually within a cohort, let’s look at the behavior of the clients. Are they using the product? Are they not using the product? And let’s use that to model a trend behavior model to predict, you know, all the engage, or are they going to, are they going to leave? Right? And within that strategy, it’s it’s going to work for some product is not going to work from others. There are some products where like engagement gradually, I’d say diminishes over time. And below a certain point, they no longer getting the value to offset the cost. And so they leave. Right? Some other products, especially mobile apps, the churn happens immediately. Right? It’s like the engagement was high, high high, they switch to another app, and you never see them again. And in that case, you can’t predict, right? Well, you can’t predict with behavior, we can’t predict with time. It’s just based on a where they acquired by another better app. Right. And so that shouldn’t, it can’t be predicted by time it can be cannot be predicted by behavior.

Andrew Michael
Definitely, and I think is all like this is one thing that we’ve talked a little bit about on the podcast is really about that window of churn. And for different companies, that differently is a point. But what you tend to typically see is there’s always that window, whether it’s maybe in the mobile app space, or if it’s in the SaaS space, where it’s like, the first 90 days are critical, and understanding. And that’s when you sort of need to be looking at the behavior. And most likely, like most businesses, if they’re going to stick around after the 90 days, you tend to see this increased retention rate for the courts and make it yes, that period.

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah. And so I worked on, I worked on actually predicting, like surprising churn for b2b models. And we found out that a good part of the churn comes from people change in the organization. All right, and the reason why that is, is that you work, we have a CS team, we’re gonna work on the first 90 days, you’re going to onboard the champion, and then the people working with your champion, and it’s going to be all and good. But they get the thing that we sell, like most most of the listeners here sell like SaaS products, software, right, so and so what that means is that those people in tech, the average tenure, so length and a job, just like churn, right? They stay on average, no, in in the Bay Area, it’s 18 months. In the US, it’s like two years and like but more or less, like people change like jobs every two to three years. Right.

And it’s it’s faster in tech and faster in California. And so it just happens, you sell to someone who’s already like one year in the job, like six months from now, they’ll chances to leave are getting like increase by the by the month, right? When they leave. Most of the time. Two things happen. One that replaced, right, and someone else comes in with maybe other vendors that he or she likes. Right? And then churn is like, it’s hard to say battle at that moment. And so I started with my team predicting that looking at data insights to try and forecast predict, and also combat the trend, right one thing that we do that that can advise everyone all the listeners here to do super easy. If you have a SaaS product, it means you send emails, right you send either product emails, marketing emails.. Anyway, you send emails request most please monitor the hard bounces you haven’t yet speed acknowledge him for whatever you use, like interval or whatever. ESP. Like there’s a way to monitor for hard bounces. You use zap, you take the hard bounces you think that back to your CRM, right? When there’s like one or two hard bounces and not just talking to like a soft bounce back and hard bounce. Right? Yeah. You You have your CS people look at the hard bounce. Most likely that person’s got the email is the first thing that’s going to it’s either going to bounce all autoresponder. Right. Yeah. That one’s gone. Right? That and that’s, that’s a super easy and cheap trick. Right? You know, that person’s gone? Great. Now not need to work on who’s next person now your team’s job is to find out. Is there already a replacement? Who is the replacement? Can we get in touch with that person? Right? First thing? Second thing? That means most teams forget. You just had a champion who left? What is the champion going to do? It’s usually going to like start being becoming like a farmer and farming potatoes in the backyard? No, of course not. Right? That person going to stay in tech, right? And that person is most likely going to going to go in a similar role. Right? And it’s most likely going to watch you implement the similar successes that he or she had the Peters job, right? What should you do, you should find out what that person is going to write, find out that person’s personal email address, and tell them hey, what’s next fight, look on LinkedIn, look on Twitter, and all that is automated. In my case, right? After we found the new job of that person, we send that personal gift in the first week in the new job. Think of grants for the congrats for the new gig. You do. And if it’s a promotion, job promotion in the new company, we say congrats for your new gate You deserve it is great. Let us send you a small gift, because we love you. We do not ask for anything. I don’t ask for a demo. They’re busy. It’s the first week, I just send them a nice headset of Bose headsets, you know, because at the practice sell stuff. For a champion who already loves my product. I don’t care. Right. So I send that I say, hey, congrats. We love you. This is for you to focus. Let us know when you’re ready to talk. And that’s it. I preserve the relationship. Right? Yeah, I and so they will bring me back on board. Right? That is my best acquisition campaigns. People who leave jobs go somewhere else. It’s the conversion is insane. It’s really good. And the reason for that is I imagine this is a new like, imagine I sell a gorgeous a help desk software. And so we sell to like CS people like TPFCS. Imagine she goes into a new role. She’s going to make a recommendation for help desk. Do you really think think that the other stakeholders are going to say no, she was just tired. You don’t say no to somebody you just hired, right? She got the budget, the budget that’s fresh, she’s making some changes, you don’t say don’t hire someone say no to change, right? You hire someone to make changes, right. And so it’s technology is much easier. That’s why it’s a risk. And that’s why it’s an opportunity. So people change, all like a fantastic opportunity that you need to know how to leverage.

Andrew Michael
I absolutely love this, like this simplicity is genius in it. And the way you sort of figure out how you go about doing it. And it’s something as well, we talked about with David Scott on the show like this is something they also figured out through his time, like HubSpot, and through his investing as well, in various companies is like one of the biggest indicators of churn is people leaving that your champion leaving the company and like, as a marketer, or as a customer success, like the people leaving is often something that you just sort of like deal with. And you said, okay, they’ve churned but people are going somewhere else. They’re not leaving, they’re going to a new job. They’re starting a new fresh. Really? Yeah, it’s a fantastic bit of advice. So g The other thing that I wanted our sake you touched on a little bit earlier is looking at companies and you want to try and predict churn, you said, and you looked at sort of union and lucky situation where you’ve been around for two years, and you could do some sort of regression analysis and understand what needs to it. But in order to do that, I think more often than not like teams as well, after two years, they’re not didn’t really have that level of sophistication yet they haven’t been in a lucky position where they’ve implemented maybe the right tracking from day one. What is some of like the first steps, you would advise any company when they’re thinking about going about tracking their marketing efforts? And then further down the funnel? Like, what are some of the key things that they need to be doing almost from day one?

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah, yeah. So you need to start implementing some kind of tracking? And yes, I know, I wasn’t segment for a year and a half. And so I do. I say push that because I think it’s great. But you need to start tracking behavior. Right? From day one, you cannot build a good product, if you don’t understand what people are doing in your product. Right? That’s the thing. It’s like, imagine, like, no tracking in your app. It’s just as if you had a store, a retail store. Right? And you were and you had a blindfold, and you were not allowed to look at your customers. Just you will just find out after the end of the day. What No, you had sold it. Right. Yeah. It’s hobbled, you need to track behavior. Right. And for anyone who’s listening, if your company is less than two years old, and listen, five millions in revenue, reach out to me, and I can give segment for free to you. Okay. So that’s great. Okay. And that’s going to be mostly early stage companies take that offer, and implement tracking, right? Yeah, yes, because it gives you two things. One, it helps you like standardize user behavior data from day one. And two, it lets you also change your stack as you grow. And so you might not want to start with like expensive tools, you might want to start with like cheap tools, which is great. But at least the data is going to stay the same. You can switch from one tool to the other within the segment platform. But going back to what you said, start small, don’t go for like, Oh, I’m going to track everything in the app, because you’re going to get bogged down into the complexity of the project. Start of like, what are the key behaviors? Right? What are the key behaviors of people in the app? What are the key life cycle moments? If you have an app that has like social referral? Then you want to track that? Why do you want to track when the invite maybe a question worker, into the apple one Ruby admin add someone? If it’s something that is a JavaScript, or like a chat, like a drift, you want to track when the JavaScript is first put on a website and loaded? That’s a key moment. Right? So all those things you want to start tracking? You can you can do pretty well, like know, 10 or 15 key events to start with.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, and just like you said, really just start small, really be specific about what you want to track? Yeah,

Guillaume Cabane
yeah, build a tracking planner. Do it in Google Sheets, you know, an ad table. I’ve just build a tracking plan of like, what are the key moments? What’s the name of the event? What’s the property? And going, you know, yeah, I

Andrew Michael
think the tracking plan is probably the key elements in this as well, I think because I’ve seen this happen. I’ve made this mistake before. Like in the early days, you get excited, you want to move fast, and you just start adding tracking and all bunch of things. But without having a plan in place, and not having a place to really record what’s being tracked, it very quickly becomes a mess, like everybody will start adding your own inputs and insights. And

Guillaume Cabane
yeah, it’s important. Two years down, it’s impossible to the rich, because in the data is like crap. So you want to track and plan, sheets is great, Airtable is great. Everyone copy, copy, paste the same event name and format, naming convention. And that’s the way to go. And solid. Yeah.

Andrew Michael
And then as well, when we think about sort of the marketing and acquisition channels that we talked about the topic of being able to attribute marketing spent LTV, took us through some of the steps in that, like how could a company go and set this up effectively?

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah, well, I mean, in essence, like if you have good track, and that means you can, you can drop the information of each new paying customer to sign up with the source, the acquisition source channel of that user in a database. And if anyone that person converts, you can then join the tables. And you can look at the revenue per channel. And then when that person leaves, you can calculate the LTV or you can do a predictive LTV based on retention. So that’s usually what I do. And then I have to one thing that I look into is a new metric called sales velocity, which channel and then I look at retention says velocity is a measure where you multiply the time to close. So you multiply the average value by the conversion rate, and you divide by the time to close. Right. And that’s fairly important, especially when you have salespeople. Because you don’t want to push only like whales, like large deals, that show have a very high city, but take very long to close within the efficiency of your team goes down, right? This is the same logic, right? You don’t want to acquire customers that that are going to churn in the first like, yo, right, you don’t want to acquire your customers that are going to require huge sales efforts. So on the top of the funnel, I measure like South Asti, and on the bottom of the funnel, I measure like retention LTV, right, and then I bring back those metrics channel by channel and say, Hey, like I’ve got like, for example, an app store channel. And if I look at the App Store, what I’m going to see usually, you know, a pretty good velocity, because even though the conversion is low, the time to close is really, really fast. And so the effort is almost no. Right. And I’m usually going to see a pretty high churn, so I calculate the LTV. And then I look at your metrics to Hey, like, Is it worth to bring them in based on the effort to close them. And based on whether they’re going to stay or not? Then I calculate my margin, right? Because my margin if you if you want to think of your capture LTV, you really got to start thinking like what’s your fully loaded Kak, which you got to take into account like the humans that are required to drink to make the people paid? And to keep the people in? Right? If you’re not taking that into account, then you kind of cheating, right? Because if some customers need, yeah, if some customers need a lot more help to be successful interstate? Well, that’s a cost that exists somewhere in your p&l, right. And that cost needs, it needs to be tied to that challenge, because maybe you have a very crappy channel, because people you know, have been over promised to or having, or have been under explained. And that’s the typical behavior that happens. When you, for example, you you open a new channel that brings in people who are a bit higher, a bit above a bit a bit before in the readiness of stage know, most sales cycles know customers go through like, a couple of weeks, a couple months of like reading some articles about the software, the competitors, they may be read white papers and emails. And so they start understanding like the market looking at the products right now, right? When you do when you have very fast clothes, you know, so you have what we call like a one touch close. And like on outbound. That’s typical for outbound. So outbound, they don’t know anything, you have a great sales rep. Right? I’m gonna say great, of course, you can see that that cellar closes really well. Right? There’s a high chance that there’s a big trend. Why? Because that that person is really good at causing people that could sell anything. But those customers do not understand your product. They may they might not even know your product. They bought something and they don’t understand. Right? And so all of the actual the actual sales needs to happen after the clothes. And if you’re already organization is not ready for that they’re going to try. I’m not saying you shouldn’t do it, it works. You just need to think like, hey, all like the typical, like a demo and sell through and like sales engineers and like answering all the questions will still need to happen if you don’t want to try. Yeah, okay. So, yeah, yeah, yeah. Does it debt somewhere that needs to be paid?

Andrew Michael
Yeah. I think this is something as well, it’s often like quite separate from one another, like you have a sales costs and you have a marketing costs. And then I’ve often thought of together in the context of like, is this channel actually worth it? I love this sec, top and bottom approach where you’re looking at the just not only the cost per acquisition, but on the other side, like LTV and the sales velocity. This is definitely something I think, is another level of sophistication really, to bring into a marketing team and have a good understanding of what’s performing what’s not.

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah, and I think, you know, like, when we talk with this sophistication, like, people wonder, like, why bother? Like, why should they act? That’s a lot of effort. I think most people don’t realize that in SaaS in, unless you have a product that’s really unique as in 10. x, what other people do, most likely, you offer a product that competes with other people. And it is a very competitive market. Right, extremely competitive. And so if you can have, you know, a 30%, gain over your competitors on CAC, or on retention, or you can close your door faster, like you’re going to crush them. month by month, they’re going to be forced to retreat from a channel, right? example. Imagine that. Facebook for SaaS usually doesn’t work well, usually. Right? And so imagine you find a way to bring in leads from Facebook that are not actually Well, about, you know, the product, but you’re you’re able like to bring him in and and close them. In you see there’s a high trend. Now you have two options, right? Either you stop the experiment, or you say, hey, let’s look at whether those are the right people or not, can we change the onboarding for that channel to make them successful. And if you’re able to do that you have a personalized onboarding occur, an adapted onboarding for the people from that specific channel, and it becomes just want to retain. Now you’re destroying your competitors, because you found something, you found a way to make a child work that they haven’t. Right? That is the way to do it. And so I don’t retreat from a channel as soon as a teacher, I try to understand is this churn unavoidable? Because the population on that channel is just not the right population? Or is it just that we need to like onboard and and do things differently for that category? Is that is that something that we can do within the bounds of our margin? Right? That’s always what I try to be. So that’s what I recommend people do it.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, I love that is really just don’t retreat from a channel, as you said, like really trying to unlock that competitive advantage. Because definitely, people coming from different channels, like they’re coming with different mindsets that come in with different levels of sophistication. And you could be speaking, just a different audience that needs to see a different part of your product.

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah. And what that means is as the marketer, it’s your job to make sure that the CST in the success, people have the information on the acquisition, right. And on the acquisition method and channel, most more often than not, they don’t have it in their CRM, they don’t know where the customer came from. And that’s, that’s really sad. I’m not just saying finger like, the last touch of the be the life cycle was like, hey, did that person was that person start as an outbound lead? Here, she like, read contents? Like what is the level of awareness of that person? Right? So you need to start thinking like, how do I give that information to my success team to my onboarding team for like, the life cycle and like the, the steps that this customer went, right? Otherwise, they need to go through the entire discovery, they’re losing customers frustrated. And it’s just not a great experience?

Andrew Michael
Yeah, this is something we talked about with Andres Purdu from Outfunnel, he actually built a company now around this is realizing that like marketing and sales were totally disconnected. And to get ahead of the curve with your sales and success teams, like just giving them that simple context of like, what ads people saw and where they came from, and what their interests put you way ahead of the competition when trying to close deals. So I have another question in future like, I want to put you in a hypothetical scenario now as well. And let’s pretend you move to a new company and you walk in and you select your attention really bad. You’ve been asked to try and turn things around for this company. What are some of the things you would do in the first two to three months to try and help rectify the situation?

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah, the first thing is, I look at whether there’s an NPS score that’s in place. So NPS collection. So are we are we collecting information on current customer satisfaction? Right? That’s the first thing I would do to understand like, hey, like, how does that compare with an industry standards? If the NPS score is negative, then our does not have an answer, right? It means the people aren’t happy with the product. First thing. Second thing, I’m going to a very simple campaign, which I’ve done a lot of time the past a text based email for all the people that have tried in the past two months, from in the name of this, you shoot the champion, and it’s not trying to bring them back. Just saying, Hey, Andrew, I realized that it didn’t work out. I’m sorry about that. Can you just tell me in one line? Why you left? Okay. And there’s no link? There’s no see, there’s no button? There’s no form? Okay, it’s very important. It’s got a few personals got a few. And so very good response rate. And then we do I use monkey learn to do some text analysis, break that down in categories to understand did they move to a competitor? Did they? Did the company disappear? Was it too expensive? and so on and so on, so on. So I try to attend from, from people who have left, I try to answer from people who are still here. Right? And then I tried to break down. Can I do some simple math around? The people that have left and the people are currently there but unhappy? Can I correlate that with other information? Is it based on channel is based on salesperson? Is it based company sighs? What are we doing wrong? Right? Now there’s two things, right, either I can see a variation, some part of the population is turning more, is more unhappy. And so it just means that our product isn’t great for that part of the population, it could just be like, you don’t have a great product. For people who don’t read English, right? That’s a typical case, it could be you don’t have a great product for large companies. Also typical case, right? If the churn is evenly distributed, so that’s noisy, you don’t find any signal, then you have a larger issue, it means that, broadly, you’re over promising, it means you’re bringing people in on promises that people then don’t see the value for. Right, and then you need to change, you’re going to either be able to build the features of those promises, we need to be able to change your acquisition overall. So that’s, that’s my usual strategy.

Andrew Michael
So I like it. So that again, looking from both sides of the problem, like focusing on those that have successful and then on the opposite end, like I really, really like that sort of personalized notes as well from coming from the CEO. It definitely like it. It’s something I think as well, ad hoc draw that I realized previously was that when they had a email that goes out if somebody is churned through delinquent, churn, credit card failures, and I think often like this is also one of those things like, like with leaving, you have to take into consideration the user Psychology at this point in time and trying to sort of push them with the form or a button to get a response is not going to happen. But making it personal and really having it focused. You spoke about monkey learn as well. And I’m intrigued to sort of to learn a little bit more about how using it, like you talked about the sentiment and intention, like maybe talk us through that tool as well, like, how are you using it? In what ways?

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah, so someone can this is a platform for people like me, who I’m not an engineer, to build some simple machine learning and text analysis. Models. And I can connect it to either NPS tools, or Zapier or any other kind of tool to like, collect the data. And the point is, Michael exists, because people don’t want to feel forms. Right? When you send an email, and you ask people for their feelings on a link and the to fill type form, then engagements can be much lower than if they can just respond from their mobile phone in like one light, much lower. And so I saw that I said, Hey, like, how can I increase the response rate or the engagement rate, and I start stopping, I stopped completely like asking for structured data from the people. People will just say what they want. And then I use tools to structure the data. In broad categories, I use monkey launcher, to like structure my NPS automatically, to structure the email responses are used also for outbound emails and acquisition. So for example, like we send like thousands of outbound emails, but week, a couple of percent of people respond, we just split that in like, interested, not interested, wrong Pete one person, and we then handle of the animation based on that. So we have, so we have Jared train a model based on a couple hundred occurrences that we have done manually. And then we have an API that we can hit and it does the text analysis for us.

Andrew Michael
That’s typical, and saves a lot of time as well, man, I was checking my guess, and analysis.

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah. And it enables you to do things that give a much better customer experience than without, because most of the time, for example, like the reason why people use forms and like structured and they ask the customer for structured data, is because they don’t want to bear the cost of like reading each individual, you know, and structuring the data. Okay, yeah. But I thought is that hey, my customers King, why would I asked my customer to do something that I don’t want you to do? Yeah. Yeah, my customer like that person has left is already unhappy, you really think that that person is going to spend five minutes filling a form? No way, I got to reduce the friction my entire life. If you think like what I do as a head of growth, my job is to reduce friction. I can’t add it. Right. And so I gotta ask you the least effort possible. And like us, either humans or technology to get the best data possible from the lowest effort. That’s the one way to like, recap, my job is. Yeah.

Andrew Michael
It’s fascinating, like all these different things that you’ve managed to put together, I think somebody dumped it. And I think you refer to yourself as the mad scientist, like differently, listening to this shut down already left here. I’m sure there must be many, many other crazy ways that you’ve been able to automate and connecting. So I think maybe if we want to just end it there today, and like, leave us with maybe one of the craziest things that you’ve done with automation, or being able to connect data that you think that audience absolutely needs to try it in their business?

Guillaume Cabane
Sure, yeah. So I’m going to be sending this really both to training and acquisition a couple of years ago, I’ve started a buying a data from G to crowd. So for those who don’t know, GDPR, does like kind of like a review site. For software, I can like the Yelp of SaaS after. And so you can have a page in a category and you can, like, have people leave reviews on your product, right. And, and the great thing about that is that they actually sell it, the the page views the data, not only on who’s coming to your page, which community which is going to page, but which companies are going to the page of my competitors. In my head, we are the entire category. So imagine that, you know, I’m in the hub, this category, and that, I am gorgeous, right? I compete with Zendesk, I compete with customer remains, right, we’re all in the same category. If a company goes to the category to find like the best how the software, I’m going to know about it. If they go to my competitor, I’m going to know about it. I use it in two ways, automatically pull the data in, we match with our CRM, if that account does not exist. In our CRM, we will outbound in the name of the sales rep. based on the number of people from that company that have visited my competitor, we’re trying to get in the deal before my competitors know about you. That’s number one. Number two, if I can’t exist in my CRM, and if that is a customer. Now if I have a customer checking out my competitor on G to crowd, I got a churn risk. Somebody shopping for another tool. And so that automatically goes to my success team and saying, hey, success people, whoever’s in charge of that account, you miss something, right? Somebody shopping here, and we don’t like that. So I do that automatically. And I buy the data from G to crowd, I buy data from more than 10 other intent sources, who’s been hired, who has voted who on Product Hunt, and, and so on, and so on, so on. And so we automatically predict future conversions within a market for potential customers, or potential.

Andrew Michael
It’s incredible. It’s it sounds scary as hell in some aspects of the world. But I’ve seen it at play. I think as you all in some of the companies that you worked at, myself, obviously shopping around for different tools, and it definitely affective Yeah.

Guillaume Cabane
Well, the last thing I want leave the audience with one last thing is yes, I try a lot of tools. And I am I like lots of small piece of technology. That is my competitive advantage. most marketers will use traditional tools to and proven tools example, they’re going to be on marketer. Right? Yeah, I don’t claim to be a better marketer. I can only say one thing, if you give me marketer, or and Salesforce, don’t expect me to create 10 x campaigns. campaigns are 10 x better than anyone else. Right? I only win. Because I have a competitive advantage of using the newest, smartest tool piece of technology that gives me competitive edge. That’s why I do it. Yeah. Right. So I always go to the newest thing. I’m always open to new technologies. And I will try them. And it’s going to give me a small edge. Maybe for one year or two. I’m going to take it take advantage.

Andrew Michael
Yeah, this should be interesting as well. Definitely, you’ve been able to take advantage of a lot of these new technologies as well. g for the listeners then as well, like, myself, just thanks for asking. Fantastic having you. But how can the listeners keep up to date with you? Or can they follow you online back?

Guillaume Cabane
Yes. I think my my best channel is LinkedIn. I’m pretty active on LinkedIn. If you do want to send me an email, send me an email at g@growth.li. That’s fairly easy, or just on LinkedIn. Young command. And yeah, that’s why I am

Andrew Michael
Cool. Well, thanks very much. It’s been great having you today. And I think obviously, like from this episode, that is a lot to take away. So I hope that listeners enjoyed and we start seeing some companies growing as a result.

Guillaume Cabane
Yeah, for sure. Thanks, everyone. Thanks, Andrew. Thanks to you.