Crafting Your Homepage to Increase Conversions and Boost Customer Retention

Rob Kaminski and Anthony Pierri




Fletch PMM
Rob Kaminski and Anthony Pierri
Rob Kaminski and Anthony Pierri

Episode Summary

Today on the show we have Rob Kaminski and Anthony Pierri, the partners of Fletch PMM.

In this episode, Rob and Anthony share their journey in establishing Fletch PMM, a specialized firm helping early-stage B2B SaaS startups refine their website homepages. They delve into the pivotal role of a company’s homepage in positioning and messaging, crucial for attracting and retaining customers.

We then discussed the common pitfalls startups face when crafting their homepages and wrapped up by exploring strategic approaches to making these homepages more effective in communicating value succinctly.

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 at Don't forget to follow us on Twitter!

Mentioned Resources



Founding Fletch PMM: The Journey Begins00:01:09
Strategic Importance of the Homepage00:06:35
Audience-Centric Homepage Design00:12:20
Navigating Positioning and Differentiation00:17:33
Overcoming Startup Messaging Challenges00:22:14
Leveraging Customer Feedback for Homepage Refinement00:30:13
Balancing Features and Benefits00:37:38
Future of Homepage Design in Business Strategy00:44:17


[00:00:00] Anti-positioning, refusing to choose use cases to anchor on, you'll always lose to someone who's willing to go that extra level of specificity. So the big all purpose companies, they always get so stressed because they're like, these little competitors are coming out of nowhere and they're carving away this part of the business, carving away that part of the business. And it's like, you could do that too.

[00:00:28] Andrew Michael: This is, the podcast for subscription economy pros. Each week, we hear how the world's fastest growing companies are tackling churn and using retention to fuel their growth.

[00:00:41] VO: How do you build a habit forming product?  We crossed over that magic threshold to negative churn. You need to invest in customer success. It always comes down to retention and engagement. Completely boosts the strategy, profitable and growing.

[00:00:54] Andrew Michael:Strategies, tactics and ideas brought together to help your business thrive in the subscription economy. I'm your host, Andrew Michael, and here's today's episode.

[00:01:05] Andrew Michael: Hey, Rob. Hey, Anthony. Welcome to the show.

[00:01:08] Rob Kaminski: Thanks for having us.

[00:01:09] Andrew Michael: It's great to have you. For the listeners, Rob and Anthony are partners of Fletch PMM, product marketing for early stage B2B SaaS startups. You've probably seen their frameworks and guides all over LinkedIn with a distinctive style that brings extreme clarity to product marketing and GTM processes. So my first question for you today guys is, to start Fletch PMM?

[00:01:32] Rob Kaminski: Anthony, would you take this one?

[00:01:34] Anthony Pierri: I feel like I always answer this question in every call and every podcast we do. Yeah, me and Rob we were working together at an agency that did a lot of different things. Product design, development, strategy, use to a custom services for all different types of companies and we were wanting to more build a repeatable service offering that was less bespoke and was more solving the same type of problem over and over. And so we stumbled into this kind of really niche space of early stage startups that were trying to figure out how to position and explain the value of their product specifically on their homepages.

[00:02:15] Anthony Pierri: So whenever you talk about positioning or messaging or any of that stuff, it touches a lot of parts of the business. But we found that the place that showed up most frequently was when they were trying to put together the homepage. Because usually if the company had grown a little bit from when they first started, maybe the founder made the first version of the site by themselves. Now they have all these employees and they maybe have more people that they're trying to reach different target customers, the product's gotten more complicated.

[00:02:40] Anthony Pierri: And all of a sudden, a simple thing, like explaining what do we build and who's it for, becomes this really complicated, you know, multivariate problem. And so we nailed down that as our niche and we've gone aggressively more niche over time. And eventually we spun out of the agency and started Fletch, just the two of us, and now essentially that's the only thing we work on is helping these early stage companies figure out the best way to position and message their products on their homepage.

[00:03:08] Anthony Pierri: So that's been probably the last, the journey started probably two years ago, but us on our own has been probably since May of this year. So we've been our own business, but over the course of that time we've gotten to work with over 100 different startups seen basically 50 different industries, and mostly in SaaS, mostly B2B, but some outside of that as well. But that's definitely the space we operated in most frequently.

[00:03:32] Andrew Michael: Nice. Congrats as well on going out in [inaudible.] It's always cool to hear as well when a couple of people have worked together in the past, they have a good history together, and then being able to break out and build something based on that direct experience. And I think, as you mentioned, early stage startups, there is this very sort of green space still where things are a little bit unfigured out. Normally, as you mentioned, the founder puts together the first landing page. Generally back then, the product is a lot simpler, so it's a lot easier and like just to understand what the value is.

[00:04:00] Andrew Michael: But oftentimes I think startups can get this really, really wrong as well. And we often try as well to maybe be over verbose or explain our product in marketing talk, as opposed to being real and just being able to get it in an instant. I think in the context of churn and retention, this is probably the first place where things actually start to go wrong is where that what you're communicating to your customers is not aligned with the value that your product delivers. And then ultimately people end up turning because they understand one thing from the website and something completely different from the product itself.

[00:04:35] Andrew Michael: So I'm keen to dive into this today with you too. As you mentioned, you've consulted over a hundred other startups now and really got to see the ins and outs of how to position and message for, we can even be very specific as well. And just say your homepage is where you're losing business and how do we go from there? So I'm keen to work. What is a typical process look like when you walk into a company and how are you working with them? What do you get started?

[00:05:01] Rob Kaminski: Yeah, that's a great question. For us, we want to actually hear how they're thinking through the positioning. And so we actually start every part of our process almost, we actually teed up as, imagine this is a podcast, and we just start asking them questions of like, Oh, who's your product for? How did you guys even get into this problem area? And what we're doing behind the scenes is we're picking up these different elements that represent our model.

[00:05:27] Rob Kaminski: What we find ironically is that in a 15 minute to 40 minute conversation, if you ask the right questions, you can actually distill down and get to a pretty good sense of what their positioning is. Now they may be a little too broad, they might have brought up too many different customer segments, they might have mentioned different types of product capabilities, almost subproducts that they're starting to build. And that's where we have to start to get in there and realize like, what is this thing? But we always start really just trying to hear their story. And that's the kind of the entry point.

[00:05:56] Andrew Michael: And then where do you take it from there, Anthony? What's next? You get a little bit of a sense from the founders, from the team, what the product is positioning, where do you go from there?

[00:06:05] Anthony Pierri: Yeah, so we really try to help them understand who do they want to target audience-wise for the page. The big place that people get tripped up is they want the homepage to be everything for everyone. It's the investor deck, it's the place to convince new people that they should care about this product or this problem, but it's also for the differentiation for people who already are very aware of the space and are comparing between different and we're like, it can't be all those things. It can be one of those things, but it can't be all those things.

[00:06:35] Anthony Pierri: And even when a company has a PLG motion and then also an enterprise motion, they're like, well, I want to talk to both. I want to be end user focused and I want to talk to the enterprise decision makers. And it's like, you can't, you really can't do that. So what we help them think through is all the different potential ways that they could anchor an audience on the homepage like just some small rules of thumb.

[00:06:57] Anthony Pierri: If the company is really going all in on PLG and they also have an enterprise motion, the PLG kind of has to take precedence on the homepage. Because that's going to be your biggest collection and with enterprise, you likely have sales reps who are going out and pitching them and you're probably not going to send them to your homepage anyway, so you're going to give them a hyper-specific deck or something that's going to be really tailored to what you're trying to convince them to get on the call with you, you're not going to be sending them to the homepage.

[00:07:22] Anthony Pierri: So even just in that small thing, oh, you have PLG Enterprise, you likely are going to want to talk to the PLG audience on the homepage. But there's a bunch of other segmentation pieces of like why you would choose a specific level of decision maker versus another one based on what their go-to-market is doing. So the whole first piece is around audience selection, which is kind of loosely like a position, where you want to position.

[00:07:42] Anthony Pierri: But then from there, we try to understand, all right, well, we need to decide what parts of the product do we want to elevate to put on the homepage? Because people are like, I can explain it in a 30-minute demo, but on average, people are gonna spend 30 seconds on a homepage. And so when they scroll, if you just hit them with a million different things, they're gonna bounce immediately because they're like, this is too much.

[00:08:03] Anthony Pierri: So how do you elevate? How do you figure out which things you would wanna talk about? We have a process that we run where we essentially, we map out, imagine that your product is replacing some sort of old-fashioned workflow. You're like, to do this set of activities, we have to use this process and the spreadsheet and this intern and this complicated step-by-step thing and we've made a product that makes it way better.

[00:08:26] Anthony Pierri: So what we'll do is we'll basically map out what are the steps in that activities today without your product in the mix and then where does that process break the most? So we'll write out the steps, we mark them with what are the specific problems in each step, we rank the problems with severity, like one to five, and then we do a similar exercise but from the product perspective.

[00:08:46] Anthony Pierri: Okay, well how do you come in and address each of these steps in this workflow? What do you do in each of the steps? And maybe they don't address every step, and then those ones we say, okay, that's fine. But of the ones that they do, we would write out what are the features and capabilities related to each of those steps and the benefits that you provide. And then we rank that one to five each of those steps, basically to say, all right, where's the most interesting features?

[00:09:07] Anthony Pierri: And so the strongest value props that get elevated on your homepage are where the pain of the prospect is biggest, and where the features that you are bringing to the table are the most interesting. So we add them up and then we can get a, you know, one to 10 rating across the market and the product side where it really feels like the problem and the product are most interesting. And that will usually give us a general sense of what types of things we wanna bubble up on the homepage, what would be a key value proposition to be.

[00:09:37] Anthony Pierri: And we might find that it's like, it's actually this whole section, it's these three different things that we wanna talk about. So we might summarize them into one specific section on the page. But in general, that's loosely how we approach it. And the way that we think back to the positioning side, the way that we think of positioning is really two aspects. Like people make positioning really, really complicated. But in reality, it's just two things. It's customer segmentation and product differentiation.

[00:09:59] Anthony Pierri: It's what group of people are we targeting? And what's different about the product that we've created? And that product can be different either in the way they do things today, which is like these complicated old school processes or things like that, or they can be different than direct competitors, right? Like, well, if you... I like the example of the Arc browser is like a newer browser that came out to tackle against, you know, Chrome and Safari and all those things. If you're in a really mature product category, your differentiation has to be like, well, why would I choose Arc browser over Chrome?

[00:10:29] Anthony Pierri: Like I use Chrome every day versus the question for the earlier stage stuff where you're doing something newer, not in a mature category, it's less of a why would I use you over the alternatives and more when would I use you? When would I even use this thing? And it's more education about showing where it fits in their workflow, what steps it helps. So in general, that's like the high-level flyover of the types of workshops that we run.  But essentially, those are the things we're trying to understand. Where do we want to position in the market, and then what are the key arguments we want to make to get them to take the action at the end of the page?

[00:10:59] Andrew Michael: At the end. And specifically, then, as well, you focus on the homepage, because that's where the biggest input impact is, and the biggest footprint is for customers and traffic.

I think with positioning, I've learned quite a lot of good lessons over the years. I think one of the interesting ones actually myself was even just from naming a company is one of the first places that can have an influence on the positioning. This podcast is a good example, It surprises me a lot of the time how often people think it's a customer success podcast. The reason is in people's minds, churn is typically a metric that customer success focuses on.

[00:11:37] Andrew Michael: And while we do talk a lot about customer success and we do interview a lot of leaders in customer success, it's never been specifically about customer success, it's always been about churn and retention. And I realize why I think you need to really be deliberate in the way that you go about positioning. Otherwise the market's going to position the product for you.

[00:11:55] Andrew Michael: So I'm keen as well, then you start out, you work with the founders just to get a sense of their positioning. You're then working through sort of what are the main features that you want to be talking about on that homepage. As you mentioned, sort of that value matrix and seeing where the product is. What are the next steps in repositioning a homepage? Like you've now have understanding of who we speaking to and what the feature set is, where you take it from there.

[00:12:20] Rob Kaminski: Yeah. Foundationally, if you have solved for, this is who we're going to actually message to at that target audience and being really specific down to the workflow of like, this is where we're going to shine the most, what you've built and in our model essentially is a messaging house specifically for the homepage. And it's almost just like one page brief that we have of like, main argument, here's the three arguments that are going to support it.

[00:12:44] Rob Kaminski: For us, the next step of the process is actually fairly straightforward. We bring copywriters into the fold. Anthony and I are okay enough copywriters and we've written plenty of copy. We've started to kind of bring on that part of expertise. They're taking our model and they're translating it into the precise language. And so our whole focus as the product marketers in this process is do we understand who we're for? Do we understand where we're different kind of core positioning? What are we going to say to surface and express that positioning? And then the copywriters come in and are helping with that exact expression.

[00:13:19] Rob Kaminski: And so they start to fold in things like tone of voice and is there personality to like how you want to say things? Can we start to match like, you know, some of those elements that are, you could argue they're a little bit more on the creative side. The other piece that we've sort of already sold for two is just what's the introduction of information, what's the order of things and how we string together this argument, but really the final step is a copywriting exercise. We start to bleed a little bit into a design just cause that structure is there in terms of narrative.

[00:13:47] Rob Kaminski: Our whole take is less is more. If you really want to hammer home, like this is who we're for. Say it, say it again, but keep it short and concise. We see a lot of folks using their homepage as the... It's a pricing page. It's an FAQ page. It's got all their segments on it. It's highlighting all the features and it's like, sure. That probably makes you feel good. But to any prospect who's showing up in front of that, it creates a ton of friction and then they end up missing the core message in the first place.

[00:14:15] Andrew Michael: Yeah. I think something as well as when I was at Hotjar and I made the mistake of earlier in my career was when thinking about the homepage, I would go out and start designing first design first, and then copy a second. And this is one of the things actually Fio Dosseto, who was a lead content in the content team at the time, was extremely adamant with me. He's like, you do not do that. It's like, we always start with copy first because what ends up happening is then you end up trying to fit the copy into the design as opposed to have the design compliment the copy and ultimately it's what people are going to read it then to there, it's going to get them converting as well. So...

[00:14:52] Rob Kaminski: Exactly.

[00:14:53] Andrew Michael: You've now then worked with copywriters, you're implementing it. I want to backtrack a little bit though, and go down to the differentiation key points and try to understand a little bit how you work with companies to identify that, because it's not always the easiest thing unless you are doing something totally, truly unique and different in this day and age. But typically I think anytime you're starting something new, you might think in the beginning it's unique. And then as you go in, you start discovering competitor after competitor after competitor, and eventually sort of you realize you're actually in this extremely crowded space that you thought was a blue ocean. So how do you work with startups to really help them identify their true differentiation over the market?

[00:15:33] Rob Kaminski: I think it starts with kind of a honest question of, are you actually doing something different? Because there's companies we work with that frankly are doing the exact same thing and over time as a category matures, effectively all the products become ubiquitous. They all basically do the same things. They have all the same features. When that happens, the ones who win, in our opinion, are the ones who, kind of the combination can get the most specific, but they differentiate off of the who. And they're really nailing the problem for a specific segment and then using that as like the clearest example.

[00:16:05] Rob Kaminski: And so in our model, when that happens, let's assume that everyone loosely has the same product, usually it's in a much more mature category. We flat out ask them like, who are you primarily competing with? And Anthony alluded to this in the intro where we focus a little less on convincing them they have the problem or the workflow that your product solves for. And we look directly at like, what are your competitors doing where it starts to break down? Because ultimately that's what we have to then compare you to. And then we try and surface if there truly are differentiating pieces, the way we look for those differentiating pieces in our model is, is there a unique capability?

[00:16:43] Rob Kaminski: So in other words, can they do something with your product that they can't? Is the feature and how it's built fundamentally different in some way that they're gonna care about, even if it doesn't tie to a direct capability? Or does it deliver some type of outcome? In our model, we call that a benefit, that's unique. And if you're not unique in any of those ways, really all you have left is just to be clear and be hyper-targeted in who you're for. Anthony, if you have anything to add on for how we think about that.

[00:17:09] Anthony Pierri: Yeah, and then sometimes it can just be a choice, right? Of like marketing yourself for a specific group in a specific way that like me and Rob often say, perception is reality. Right, so if a company markets themselves around a specific use case, even if the other products do that same thing, if they're not marketing themselves that way, in the minds of the customers, it's almost as if they don't do those things.

[00:17:33] Anthony Pierri: So oftentimes we'll hear people who will say, well, this competitor, they started saying that they're doing this thing and like, we do the same thing, but nobody knows it. And I'm like, so in reality, it's almost as if you don't do those things to the minds of the customers. So a lot of times it can just be helping them make a decision of how they want to frame the product in a way that isn't being framed by the other competitors.

[00:17:54] Anthony Pierri: So like for example, me and Rob, and this is not a startup example, but me and Rob, we frame ourselves around helping you rewrite your homepage. And we do that aggressively. We're like, that's the main thing we do, that's our expertise. And other marketing agencies do that as well, but they're not leading with it. They're not positioning around it. So people wouldn't think to reach out to them about getting their homepage redone because they're thinking, well, a marketing agency, all purpose is going to do a lot more stuff than just that, right? They wouldn't even think about them.

[00:18:23] Anthony Pierri: But they do think of us because that's how we position ourselves. So sometimes it's not even a question of like, are you really doing something that nobody else is doing? But are you doing something that you would be comfortable with anchoring on in your positioning that no one else is comfortable positioning on? So like take Loom, just acquired for almost a billion dollars. One of their early use cases that they anchored on was using these videos as a meeting, like an update meeting replacement.

[00:18:50] Anthony Pierri: Don't have a meeting to update your team, use Loom instead. Like that was in the original H1 and H2 for a while, it was like Loom on, meetings off, was something like that. It was like, send quick videos to update your team and reduce meetings by XML. Screen recorders had existed for really long, but no one was marketing it around that use case. So people were like, wow, there's this new type of product called Loom that lets me do these update videos. Like this is so great. And all the screen recorders are sitting there being like, well, what the heck? We've been able to do that this whole time.

[00:19:22] Anthony Pierri: But they might've been marketing around a different use case or just use case agnostic. Record your screen for any reason you could want. And that like anti-positioning, refusing to choose use cases to anchor on, you'll always lose to someone who's willing to go that extra level of specificity. To the big all purpose companies, they always get so stressed because they're like, these little, these little competitors are coming out of nowhere and they're carving away this part of the business, carving away that part of the business. And it's like, you could do that too, you know, and there's a potential.

[00:19:52] Rob Kaminski: And we run into this so often and what we call it when it happens, because a lot of our clients are horizontal in nature. So they have the starting point of like, so many people could use it for all these things. And if they don't pick the who or in Anthony's example, the problem, oh, you're running meetings and they suck and there's a better way to update. If you don't anchor on what the market sees it being, you eventually, all you really could do is explain the product.

[00:20:20] Rob Kaminski: Well, we let you record your screen and that's it. And that's where you end up into the abyss of that anti-positioning. And fundamentally, I would say like across the hundred projects we've done with early stage companies, that's kind of the core question. Are you willing to pick out a person and a problem they have? And if you don't, then all we really can help with is can we explain your product in the clearest way? And it's not positioning work at that point. It's pretty much pure messaging work.

[00:20:47] Andrew Michael: Yeah, I definitely have seen this exact problem as being one of the biggest problems in like, I think there's a sort of startup mantra always like you need to double down on a niche. You need to be specific. You need to focus. But then on the back of every like founders minds is like or where do I focus? This is such a big market. Is it worth taking the risk? What happens if I do this? Then what's going to happen? And I think one of the things like I feel over time, like going through this with different startups is that often at the early stages and like see series that we think our startups, our companies are bigger than they really are in reality in certain areas, like when it comes to positioning and who it is, and then a lot smaller and other aspects.

[00:21:27] Andrew Michael: And we also think that people care a lot more than they actually do about our products or services. And that's why we get a little bit nervous to try and niche and double down. And in actuality, like probably someone visits your website today and if they come back in six months time, they're probably going to recognize the name or what you did back then. And you have a new fresh opportunity every so often, like to reposition yourselves. And in the worst case, if you screw it up, you can just change the name and that's it. Like it wasn't working before.

[00:21:54] Andrew Michael: It doesn't really make a difference, but we put so much value on these things are invaluable at the start that in order to become valuable, you need to chisel away at them and polish them and shine them and it takes time. So how are you working with founders like through this battle? Like what are some of the things you're working with them to give them the confidence to say, yes, Rob, yes, Anthony, like this is the right direction, let's go.

[00:22:14] Rob Kaminski: One of the most simple exercises, and it's so silly when we do it and we would leave, we almost leave every session where this comes up and we have a whole conversation around how silly they are. When we map the customer segments, and we're going through, hey, this is who we could position for. So kind of all those options. We usually ask a combination of questions on, well, who's, who's buying today? Like who makes up the customer base? Who's having success? This goes into ultimately like who's sticking around? Where do you have retention and where can you really hit the gas pedal and grow?

[00:22:47] Rob Kaminski: And there's so funny every single time there's always one segment that's well over 50% of their current revenue, of the growth in the last six to 12 months. And it's just, it's so obvious who they should pick. And they just hem and haw. They're like, well, this group here, they get really excited about it. It's like, great, how many of those do you have? Well, like two. They make up like less than 5% of the customer base. And so there's this just funny thing that founders do. And I attributed a little bit to not venture capital holistically, but I think they get really excited about the big growth story and they have really good hypotheses about it and they lose track of the reality of today.

[00:23:27] Rob Kaminski: And so we usually ask, where's your growth going to come from in the next six months? You have limited resources right now. Doesn't it make sense to lean into the area where you have this momentum, you have this point where you could like, you have case studies and all this power. And sometimes it's an easy decision, but they still hate making it even when it's very clear when we ask those questions.

[00:23:48] Anthony Pierri: The other piece too is that when you have these horizontal companies, they're attracted, the investors specifically are attracted to the fact that you solve this core underlying problem that exists in so many different industries. So like you can do like that five wise exercise to be like, okay so in retail the problem looks this way, right? You're missing these orders or something. And you go down, why does that happen? Why does that happen? And you hit bedrock and it's like some specific thing like their data is siloed or something that nobody's really aware of but is like true.

[00:24:17] Anthony Pierri: And then you jump over to logistics and you jump over to telecommunications and health care. And the problem looks different in every single service area, right? The health care wanted something related to patients, logistics had something related to trucks. But when you keep drilling down the five Y's, eventually the problem looks identical in every single industry. So investors see that and they say, this is amazing. What an amazing opportunity for this giant, you know, multi-billion dollar TAM that you guys are going to be able to penetrate.

[00:24:43] Anthony Pierri: But then where it gets wrong is they say, great. So that means we can go and get customers in every one of these segments. And they will point to the great viral successes of the past of the horizontal companies. They'll look at Calendly and they'll say, well, Calendly didn't pick an industry, right? They jump from, and you know, Slack didn't pick an industry. And they'll say all these examples.

[00:25:04] Anthony Pierri: And what they're neglecting is that how they actually acquire customers in each of these different groups, they don't have this incredible viral growth loop that someone like Calendly does where it's high frequency, people are sending calories all the time, they send them outside of their company, so they're jumping from company to company, and some, you know, insane word of mouth stuff happens because of this.

[00:25:27] Anthony Pierri: These are companies that are selling into these industries with traditional top-down sales, hopefully aided a little bit by marketing, but the marketing itself, the ones that are successful, are the ones that speak to the surface level problem, not the level five down, where no one is even aware of it. It's like, hey, do you have patient issues where your patients are blah, blah, blah? You can't show that marketing to every industry. They're not going to resonate with it. Only the healthcare ones would.

[00:25:56] Anthony Pierri: And then when you back it up with salespeople, to penetrate each of these segments is going to require dedicated go-to-market functions for every single industry. And these founders will be like blissfully unaware of this fact. And they'll be like, well, yeah, we think we could position for all five of them. And then I always ask a series of questions. I'll say, okay, so tell me about your go-to-market team today. Who do you have? Well, we got one marketer, we just hired two AEs, and one of them was like, it was like literally, they were trying to narrow down from like seven industries to two.

[00:26:25] Anthony Pierri: So like, okay, so you're going to have like one person, that's like saying one AE, you take the top hemisphere of the world, and I'll take the bottom. Like, come on, like you really think that's going to be the most efficient thing, or they'll be like, yeah, our one AE is going to tackle these seven industries. And I'm like, okay, so on Monday, they call it, you know, 50 logistics companies, Tuesday they call 50 healthcare companies, and then they're all asking for different things, different case studies. It's so unbelievably inefficient.

[00:26:52] Anthony Pierri: And so it's like the investor expectations, the go-to-market misunderstanding of what they can actually do, they all fuel into this refusal to pick one. And they also forget that almost every large successful company started this way. They called it the bowling pin strategy, right? Or beachhead where you start with one and then it allows, the success there allows you to go on. Like Facebook, for example, starts with Harvard, then goes to all like elite colleges, then all colleges, then they let in high schoolers, then they let in everyone in America, and then eventually they let in everyone in the world. And it was like, they didn't go straight for the world.

[00:27:28] Anthony Pierri: They used small successes to fuel each round of Subsequent. And people think, well, if I choose, if I put Harvard on the homepage, I'll never be able to go for the world. And it's like, repositioning is a thing. And the best time to reposition is from a place of strength, where you've dominated a sub-segment, and now you're going to broaden it, right? And go a little bit larger. But they can't see that. They're like, I have to go from zero to a billion dollar company in one shot, because that's what Slack did. That's what these insanely viral companies, which they have none of the mechanisms to make that happen.

[00:28:03] Andrew Michael: Yeah, I like that a lot, that section, yeah, quite a bit as well. The five whys makes a lot of sense as well how the core problem, everybody has it, but really at the surface level, you need to be speaking to the actual problems that the users are facing and not what the underlying connection is between all of them. And in order for somebody to be able to resonate and get what your product does immediately, instead of something saying like, it's a generic, we help you break the silos down in your data, no, like we connect your patient data to your CRM system so that you can do X, Y, or Z.

[00:28:35] Anthony Pierri:100%.

[00:28:36] Andrew Michael: That becomes way, way easier for people to understand. I think something as well that Rob said contradicts a little bit of like something a guest recently said as well. And it's something I also have come to believe in the sense of the trying to understand who you choose. And I think you mentioned Rob, like you look at 50% of your audience and you say, that's probably who we should be going after because they account for 50% of our revenue today. And it makes a lot of sense at the surface level. But I also think like the customers that you have today are a direct reflection of the marketing that you've done and the product that you've built up until now.

[00:29:07] Andrew Michael: And they're not always the best representation of the market itself and of where things are going. And we saw this as well, like in Hotjar at some points as well. And we did exactly the same exercise where we did, like, looked at the, who made up the majority of their revenue. But I think in this case, I'm trying to remember who the guest was now, but we were talking and they actually did the counter-intuitive thing and they chose like the 20% of the audience.

[00:29:31] Andrew Michael: And it came down to like a few things like this was one was wasn't necessarily because they made up the biggest cohort of users, but because they were the stickiest cohort of users and they were easiest to sell and target into. So that just somehow happened to acquire a lot of the wrong type of users through the marketing, through the bad positioning that they had done over time. So I think that's also just something to be aware of is like, when you do look at the data and you say, okay, we have 50% of revenue, like what were the reasons that they came to us, is that aligned with the value that we delivered today?

[00:29:58] Andrew Michael: And I think as well, like we talked about this with Rahul Vohra from Superhuman. They also took like a similar approach where it was like they wanted to make sure that the customers that they were optimized for were aligned with the main value that they believe that they delivered as a product. And that's not always the case when we just look at data alone.

[00:30:13] Anthony Pierri: And Rob, to Rob's defense, he didn't say all the questions we asked. It was actually a pretty funny example. Like, so we asked a bunch of questions. We were like, it was a company we were working with a couple of weeks ago. And we were like, tell us about your customer segments. And they listed them all. So they're like, okay. And we're like, what's like the revenue breakdown? Well, this place where it's like, I think they were selling it to schools. They're like, well, schools really makes up the biggest group. It's like 50%. We're like, okay, well, tell me more about that segment. Are these good customers? They love us.

[00:30:44] Anthony Pierri: They tell their friends. They have great retention. They're super excited. The sales cycle is super fast. They're telling us these things. We're like, okay, well, how greenfield is the market, though? Maybe you guys have a little pocket, and they're like, oh, it's totally greenfield. There's no other real competitors in this space. No one is going after it, we just go in and we just clean up. And we're like, interesting. And so we keep walking down and we're like, is this true of your other segments? And they're like, well, no, it's much more competitive. They need different things. Our product isn't really, like, so we literally walked it out and they were like, we have by far the best product market fit with this group. And so it actually prompted me, I posted the other day a poll on LinkedIn and I said, should startups have ICPs? Should they have ideal customer profiles?

[00:31:31] Anthony Pierri: Because I think there are two things. And so the vast majority of people said yes. There's like 80% and like 20% said no. Vast majority of people say yes. But I think this is an example of people where they say one thing and they actually think the other and do the other. Because an ICP would be choosing a group. And out of 100 startups, nobody wants to choose a group. So they'd say, well yeah, this is our ICP. And when they say ICP, we say, tell us about your ICP. Well, it's manufacturing industries, logistics industry, it's the retail industry, it's small companies, and I'm like, hold on, you're just describing all companies. This is not an ICP.

[00:32:07] Anthony Pierri: And then we're like, do you think you should have an ICP? And they're like, yes. And I'm like, do you think you should make it clear who that is on your homepage? And then they're like, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, back up. And then I did another poll where I was like, should your ICP know that they're your ICP? Again, most people said yes, but not everyone. And then I'm like, it's interesting because I started looking at the people who commented yes, and I'd go on their website to just see who they were. No idea who the ICP could possibly be. You know, we're a business for anyone doing anything.

[00:32:39] Anthony Pierri: And so it's an instance where people say one thing and they do the opposite. But yeah, back to your original points, right? It's not just like, oh, here's where your revenue comes from. It's all those surrounding questions. What products have you built? Who's going to get the most value? Who likes it the most? Who shares it the most? Who's got... And you might not know because we work with pre-product market fit companies by default. So you don't know, you have to follow the market signals and you might end up pivoting. Like you might say, we thought it was this group, we spent three months trying to get them and it was wrong. Now we gotta pivot. But if you spent that same three months going after 10 people at once, getting no penetration anywhere, you know nothing.

[00:33:16] Andrew Michael: Yeah. And the other thing I think as well that's interesting, you mentioned with the ICP, I think there's the other problem as well where people define an ICP. And then they will only do it for maybe support or for the way they build products, but then it will never come to the surface level of the website. Because that always feels like it's the biggest risk. Like as soon as we put those words out there, then that's what people are going to think we are and like product, we can change it like support.

[00:33:40] Andrew Michael: We can adjust internally cause nobody knows about it. So they end up going through these exercises of defining it and just maybe not using it probably in the best way possible, which is actually how you communicate to your audience and speaking to them. So, yeah, I actually saw that poll that you mentioned around, should they know if they're the ISP or not? And I'm pretty sure I was one of them that said yes, but wouldn't have found much on my website. Nice.

[00:34:07] Andrew Michael: So this obviously one big challenge, a big problem you see with startup founders, like getting them to pick, figuring out, is there another like common challenge or common problem you've seen across these hundred companies when it comes to positioning? What would you say is like the second biggest issue you've seen?

[00:34:25] Rob Kaminski: I would say there's a bit of a balance for the second. That is far and away the first because it has reperc-- It just shows up everywhere down the line. It leads to broad messaging, leads to over messaging. It leads to product difference, lack of differentiation, all these things. The one that we've been bumping into quite recently is a desire to deliver a brand message and not a product message.

[00:34:48] Rob Kaminski: And I think this goes hand in hand, something you said earlier in the conversation, Andrew, of thinking more people know what you're doing. Like these startups just think they're big time. They've raised some money. They think everyone's watching. And so they look at these big success stories, like, what do they say? And, you know, you go to Uber's website. It's like, where are the, we're moving people across the world and like, oh, we need to say something like that, something big, something snappy. And so a lot of folks come to us.

[00:35:16] Rob Kaminski: What's the one line I could say that shows my differentiation, that sells the product, that says why we're better than competitors, that gets people really excited? We just look at them and we're like, that's not a really good practical exercise, number one. And number two, most startups don't compete on brand until after their first or second major wave of success. They're still very much competing on product and the problems they solve, but they lose sight of that because they think it's time to grow up.

[00:35:46] Rob Kaminski: Lately, we've been having to talk a lot of folks down off of these brands, story brands, strategic narrative style things, because they forget that the majority of their market has no idea what they do. And this is where like really leaning heavily into that use case for a particular user or set of segments becomes super important. And so that's one that's front of mine. Anthony, what else do we run into besides the lack of deciding on who you're for from a segmentation standpoint.

[00:36:15] Anthony Pierri: The biggest one for me is the overemphasis on talking about outcomes and benefits rather than talking about the ways that they enable those outcomes. And so you get, most people who are in SaaS get a lot of cold emails every day. And almost every cold email follows the same format. You know, hey Andrew, how would you like to get 200 leads a week? Do you want to book a call? And you're like, get out of here. I don't even know who you are. I don't even know.

[00:36:43] Anthony Pierri: I don't believe it, first of all, but even if that were true, you're not telling me anything, so you send it straight to the spam folder. And then the same people who send those emails to the spam folder, they go on their homepage and they put in giant letters, we're going to increase your revenue. That's like the main message that they lead with, right? Get more pipeline. And so the whole page, I was on One SaaS website not that long ago, I couldn't find a single sentence that wasn't an outcome.

[00:37:10] Anthony Pierri: So you got to the end of the page, and they had never said anything that they did and it was just a list of outcomes. And this comes from like that phrase, don't talk about, no one cares about features. You gotta talk about the benefits. And it's like, I've used the example with Rob before. It's like, I don't know anything about golf. And so if I was gonna get into golf, the only piece of advice I know is from the movie Happy Gilmore with Adam Sandler, where he says, it's all in the hips. And I'm like, I'm gonna be a golfer and that's the only thing I know.

[00:37:38] Anthony Pierri: So someone walks up to me who's actually knows how to golf and I'm swinging my hips all over, and they're like, what are you doing? And it's like, well, it's all in the hips, right? That's the advice. And we see the same thing with the marketers of these startups. They're like, it's just benefits, benefit, benefit, benefit. And people are like, and I see them, I'm like, what are you doing? They're like, no one cares about features. It's about benefits. And it's like, you have to remember, people who can talk only about benefits are in mature product categories where everyone knows what they do.

[00:38:05] Anthony Pierri: So, you know, if you have the credibility and the believability, you can say how you're gonna change the world and do all this stuff, but if you're new, nobody knows what the benefits are or what the features are and the capabilities that power it. And so we keep seeing people even sharing, they're like, I've done A/B tests, and I had a benefits-focused page, and then I had a similar page, but it was all about the features and the capabilities, and they're like, the features capabilities one drastically outperformed it in terms of conversions.

[00:38:31] Anthony Pierri: And I'm like, because if you get the cold email and the person's like, hey, I have this really specific way that I book meetings and I do X, Y, and Z and here's how it works and then they close with the outcome and I've used it to help this person get 50 meetings or something. I'm more likely to take the meeting with them because I do care about the features because the features prove the believability. They make it so that you can actually trust that they can get you to the end result. It's the same reason that why me and Rob post every single framework, exercise, asset for free on LinkedIn.

[00:39:02] Anthony Pierri: Because people will trust us that we know what we're doing when we demonstrate that we know what we're doing by showing what we do. And so people get all wrapped around the axle and they shoot themselves in the foot and make it virtually impossible to understand what the heck their product is. When it's like, you just show it. What did you make? You know, how would they use it?

[00:39:23] Andrew Michael: I love both of those. Actually, this is something again, like from my time at Hotjar, David Domlin is here at the time. He used to previously work for conversion rate experts. So obviously like they spent a lot of time focusing on conversion rate optimization. One of the biggest mistakes he also like recognized and what relates to the one you mentioned Anthony is that when you're early stage startup, like people don't know what you do and it's a huge missed opportunity by not showing them on the homepage.

[00:39:46] Andrew Michael: So like not actually having like a screenshot of the app and then talking to the features is like one of the biggest mistakes and missed opportunities because as you mentioned, you're not this established category where everybody gets exactly what you do and you don't really need to spend as much time explaining. If you are a startup, you typically have something. It's sort of new in some way, shape or form and making people not guess what that is, is like a really, really great way to improve conversions and to actually get the message across. So that resonates quite a bit as well on my side.

[00:40:17] Andrew Michael: The one thing I wanted to quickly check as well, I see we're running over time. So I want to make sure I ask you both a question that I ask every guest that joins the show, let's imagine a hypothetical scenario, you two join a new company and churn and retentions, not doing great at this company. The CEO comes to both of you and says, hey guys, you're in charge, you need to turn things around, you have 90 days to do it, what do you do? But the catch is you're not gonna tell me I'm gonna speak to customers and figure it out, you're just gonna take a tactic that you've seen work for a company and run with it blindly, hoping it works for you.

[00:40:48] Rob Kaminski: Running with it blindly, it's a bold strategy there.

[00:40:49] Anthony Pierri: But you're saying you do, so don't talk, you can't talk to customers, you just gotta run with the tactic, that's what you're saying?

[00:40:54] Andrew Michael: Yes, that's it, because it's natural, everybody says I wanna talk to customers.

[00:40:57] Anthony Pierri: Me and Rob have had this exact conversation, and this goes back to like, when we talk about go-to-market motions, me and Rob actually disagree on this. Picking the right channel for your company, right? People are like, I need to get the channel right. And the motion, right? Like, we're gonna do, how about sales we're gonna do? And a lot of times my hot take is what talent do you have accessible to you? So if Rob or I joined a company, you can bet your bottom that we are gonna be using LinkedIn thought leadership to try to drive business because we know how to do that channel so well.

[00:41:31] Anthony Pierri: I know how to build it, we've done it, and I would be like, that's what I'm doing, that's where I know, that's where I'm comfortable. But like, so for example, if you're in a company and you're like, hey, you know, we have access to this person, they're one of the world's best outbound salespeople, I might be like, let's use outbound sales because we got this person who's really good at it. So if I joined a company and I just had to use a tactic, I couldn't talk to customers, figure out all this stuff, I think I would probably first start with, we will start building our presence on Linkedin. We got to evangelize this problems, get this out there.

[00:42:01] Rob Kaminski: Yeah, so my take. I guess the first thing I do is that I would tell the founder they're crazy and that you're not going to solve this in 90 days. But the very next thing that I would do is in any thing that I do agree is really identifying that one channel. I think one of the biggest mistakes startups made today is they think we'll just cover all the channels and like one will hit and we'll do fine. That is so flawed from our point of view because it takes so much energy to figure out how each channel works and so much time and focus. And that's the reason why they work. It's the consistency behind it and those micro breakthroughs that turn into big breakthroughs.

[00:42:38] Rob Kaminski: And so I don't worry as much about maybe in this case, the 90 days, Anthony's answer is better because you only have 90 days. We're not gonna teach the team a new channel. But I would essentially pick the channel that I think is the one where my customer is gonna be. And I would go all in on that. And I think we were realign is evangelize the problem first before you talk about the product. Another big thing that we see over and over and we ourselves are a really good example, probably 99% of the content that we share is all evangelizing the problem. We very rarely talk about our product and services. We take very much more of like, let's help people in public in a consistent way with the assumption that they'll find us and so far. They found us.

[00:43:24] Andrew Michael: So good. Nice. Yeah. All throughout this conversation as well, I've been scrolling through your home page, I'm busy putting together something new for myself as well again, which I'll talk a little bit more about in the show. I recently shut down a startup and made a lot of the mistakes we talked about earlier and now busy like figuring out what's next and I'm going to start experimenting again. So there's been a really, really valuable conversation for myself personally. Before we wrap up, what's one thing that you know today about channel attention that you wish you knew when you got started with your careers?

[00:43:51] Rob Kaminski: I think the biggest thing for me, having done tours of duty around product marketing and sales is retention is a go-to-market problem and not a support customer success problem. To me, it's something that you fix way upstream and it only shows up downstream. I didn't quite understand that until spending time and actually seeing it over and over, but go for it, Anthony.

[00:44:17] Anthony Pierri: Yeah, the same thing. I would say the systems thinking around how they all connect, where even just when we tell founders this, people will say, well, if we work with you, are you going to boost our conversion rate? Are you going to get us more deals? Whatever it is. And we say, we're going to do one thing and one thing only. We're going to make your homepage clearer. That's all we can promise.

[00:44:39] Anthony Pierri: If you have the right go-to-market strategy, pointed at the right people, using the right materials, higher up the funnel, and they hit the page and they see a clearer message, and you have the right product strategy of what they're gonna onboard into, and then the experience, yes, you're gonna see all the things go up. Your revenue's gonna go up, conversions are gonna go up.

[00:44:57] Anthony Pierri: But if we change your homepage and you've been sending bad fit customers there, and the new positioning now is actually clarifying what the product is, what we're gonna prevent is churn from happening because the people are gonna bounce earlier on. So your conversion rate after working with us might actually go down. Because if you're sending them there and you had a weird, vague homepage and they hit it and they go, I don't know what this is, I'll jump into the product to figure it out. They get in the product, oh, this is something different. They churn.

[00:45:23] Anthony Pierri: So when we clarify on the homepage, those people, if they've been sending the wrong ones there, they're gonna actually not even get into the product in the first place, which we would say is a win, and they'll bounce, which means, actually we gotta fix the problem higher up the funnel anyways. So it's a very systems approach churn, anything, conversions, churn, revenue. They're a combination of so many different groups, which is why we kind of like reject their traditional case study, ROI calculator type stuff that all the SaaS companies do because they're essentially lies. You know what I mean?

[00:45:54] Anthony Pierri: They're like, we adopted this project management software and our revenue 5X. It's like, really? Did Asana really boost your revenue? I'm not sure about that. It probably helped your people be maybe more efficient, but there's so many variables between any software and revenue that anyone who's claiming to influence revenue is in a sense, at very best overstating their case, at worst case is lying. So that, I think those are the big learns for me.

[00:46:23] Andrew Michael: Nice, yeah, definitely it is like a very big interconnected piece of work. And I think it's one of the reasons I started the show in the beginning was that there is no sort of silver bullet for children retention. There's so many different inputs and positioning messaging can be one of those biggest pivotal moments. Like, as you said, Rob, like being really up early in the funnel, having that influence later down the line as well. So thanks guys for joining today. I really, really appreciate the time. It was great getting to talk to you through this. Is there any final thoughts you want to leave the listeners with? Anything they should be aware of or how can they keep up to speed with your work?

[00:46:55] Rob Kaminski: Yeah, the best way to find us is on LinkedIn. We're sharing posts every day. We're also very hands-on. Send us a DM. We try and get to every question. That's our market. That's how we interact. So feel free to drop us a line there. Anything else, Anthony?

[00:47:09] Anthony Pierri: Try putting pictures of your product and talk about the features and see what happens. I bet you'll get better results. and start showing what you actually do.

[00:44:17 Andrew Michael: Nice. Thanks so much, guys. For listeners, we'll make sure to leave everything we discuss today in the show notes so you can find that there as well. And yeah, wish you too. But best of luck now going forward and into New Year.

[00:47:31] Anthony Pierri: Definitely you too. Thanks for having us.

[00:47:36] And that's a wrap for the show today with me, Andrew Michael. I really hope you enjoyed it and you were able to pull out something valuable for your business. To keep up to date with and be notified about new episodes, blog posts and more, subscribe to our mailing list by visiting Also don't forget to subscribe to our show on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you listen to your podcasts. If you have any feedback, good or bad, I would love to hear from you. And you can provide your blunt, direct feedback by sending it to Lastly, but most importantly, if you enjoyed this episode, please share it and leave a review as it really helps get the word out and grow the community. Thanks again for listening. See you again next week.


Rob Kaminski and Anthony Pierri
Rob Kaminski and Anthony Pierri

The show

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 this podcast, you will hear from founders and subscription economy pros working in product, marketing, customer success, support, and operations roles across different stages of company growth, who are taking a systematic approach to increase retention and engagement within their organizations.


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