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Drift’s focus on their customer’s success and it’s churn crushing effects

Julie Hogan | VP of the Customer Team at Drift

  • | Activation | Customer Success | Engagement | Metrics | Retention
  • May 2019
  • EP10

Leading the way to success

How Drift sets their customers up for success

In today’s episode, we have Julie Hogan, VP of the Customer team at Drift – a conversational marketing platform.

We chatted about Julie’s early days at both HubSpot and Drift and the challenges that come with building category-defining businesses. The impact that the stage of your business has on churn and retention, and the importance of focusing on your early adopters to convert them into lifelong customer evangelists.

We also discussed the 3 sins of customer success, how drawing inspiration from businesses outside your industry can improve your processes, and the importance of focusing on leading indicators as opposed to the final score.

Surprise, surprise this was a great conversation, enjoy the episode!


Highlights

Time
The impact of your company stage on churn and retention 00:04:15
How to identify the elading indicators of success for your customer’s 00:11:35
Defining input metrics that lead to net MRR retention 00:15:50
Drawing inspiration from outside sources to improve your customer success 00:19:00
The role of the customer success team in product development at Drift 00:26:50
What Julie would do in her first week at a new company to tackle churn 00:30:40
Staying hyper focused and prioritising key initiatives 00:36:40

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Julie Hogan

VP of the Customer Team at Drift

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, Julie, welcome to the show.

Julie Hogan:
Hi Andrew, thanks so much for having me. Excited to be here.

Andrew Michael:
Thank you for joining. It really is exciting to have you on the show today. Your country at Drift and working now. They’re in the customer team. Maybe you just want to give us a little bit about what Drift does and your role there.

Julie Hogan:
Sure, happy to I work at draft we’re based in Boston, Massachusetts, that’s our headquarters, we also have an office in San Francisco. And drift is a conversational marketing platform to enable the new way businesses buy from businesses. So it’s a tool that really is the faster way to move your marketing and sales buyers through the funnel in real time through real-time conversations.

Andrew Michael:
Excellent. And so you How long have you been there at the company now? And I think as you’re currently the VP of the customer team, is that correct?

Julie Hogan:
I am Yeah, so I joined in October 2017. So will be here two years this fall, which went by really quickly. And I’m responsible for all of our customers. So our customer team is comprised of two core functions, we have Customer Success managers, and they’re responsible for the full lifecycle of our customer. So as soon as you sign up with drift, you work with a member of our team for onboarding for ongoing success and ongoing growth. And then we have a customer advocate team, which enables our frontline support. So they work with the front lines of customers who have questions and areas that they need some additional help with. They run our knowledge base, and they work very deeply with our product team as well. So the reason we call them advocates is they not only take the inquiries and the questions from the front lines of our customers, but they then work really closely with product to really champion some of the trends we see and enabling some of the changes, we want to drive on the product side.

Andrew Michael:
Very cool. And then this whole falls under what you call the customer team internally adrift. Yeah,

Julie Hogan:
they do. They do. Yeah, it’s interesting. I think sometimes, and it depends on company. Sometimes we point all of it customer success. And I think, really, in the past five to 10 years customer success has become the focus team, where there their job is really to drive the enablement adoption, onboarding and education. And so as we were thinking about what we label ourselves for clarity, our customer team, or customer success theme is really the team that drives all of that post-sale, onboarding, adoption, and then the customer advocates become those who help support all under the umbrella of the customer team. So a little bit of a different way to put it together.

Andrew Michael:
Yeah, absolutely. You also have quite an interesting background starting out in consulting. You then move to HubSpot, where you spent around seven and a half years if I’ve got it correct. And you obviously saw quite a lot in that time with HubSpot to be scaling quite a bit. And then moving to join drift. What was some of the biggest differences that you notice joining the companies at those two different stages, seven half years until sort and then moving into sort of a earliest stage startup, like drift?

Julie Hogan:
Yeah, it’s really interesting, because I think you see a movie right you to go from when I joined HubSpot, we were still in an incubator space in Cambridge. And so very early stages of building and growing, and then growing into a publicly traded global company, and which, which was really, really fun to be a part of. And then jumping back into, again, the beginning stages of where things are at. And I think, coming from the customer side of the house, what’s been really interesting is to think about the journey that buyers are on. And so back, when I first joined HubSpot, I was I was on the front lines working on implementation and adoption. And you were having conversations with marketers about adopting the tool, and adopting this idea of inbound marketing. And in those conversations, a lot of the pushback you got was, well, my buyers aren’t on the internet, my buyers are still responding to my paid advertisements in radio, and a newspaper and in billboards. And that’s where my investments going. And that almost sounds crazy in 2019. To care companies say my buyers aren’t on the internet is almost absurd. But back then that’s that was the place where we were really navigating, this was a new thing. And I think there are a lot of similarities, because 10 years later, and that has changed in the sense that people know, you know, you pick up your iPhone, you can buy something in two seconds, people know that their buyers are on the internet, buyers are no longer waiting for you to respond, they’re not as willing to wait for the lead automation process to filter them over to a sales rep and get a phone call a few days later, they’re less tolerant of email campaigns that are going to give them more information about something they want to know now. And so the conversations we’re having with marketers is that your customers are on line, and they want to engage in a personalized customized conversation, they’re not going to fill out a form anymore. And and that is similar in the sense that this is a new category. conversational marketing is not something that is yet widely adopted in and how people market and how people buy. But it’s it’s the direction that we’re moving toward. And so I think having those two, having these two experiences has been really helpful to know that, you know, 10 years ago, this was a very similar place in terms of where sales and marketing was. Absolutely. And definitely there’s a very big shift in the landscape in terms of what customers accept, what they used to accept, and what they accept today. And the acceptance criteria is a lot higher. I think as well, like personally like product is slowly becoming the new marketing where you need to deliver this excellent service and product in order to be able to compete in today’s market.

Andrew Michael:
You mentioned something as well, that was interesting in the sense that you now basically meaning to understand and educate users. And I think one of the things that thinking about retention and engagement as a whole is, is typically when you start out and you launch a product, you have your early adopters that tend to be very forgiving, and allow you to sort of make changes and adopt and they’re willing to try those new things out with you. And I think now we talked a little bit just before we got started with the call the drift, when you started out was at this stage and moving sort of transitioning to that early majority and then later majority, how have you seen the impact of moving from these different phases of the customers lifecycle, and the impact it has had on retention and engagement adrift?

Julie Hogan:
Yeah, it’s a really, it’s a really interesting topic. And I think one that doesn’t get discussed enough when considering the impact of the stage of your business on retention and churn. You know, often when, when you have conversations about retention and churn, you automatically get into strategy, health score cohorts. And what’s in the other piece, too. And I know this is something you talk a lot about, you know, discussions of the silver bullet like who is you’re in this churn thing out, as well as the leaky bucket. I feel like in the world of churn and the world of customer success, you always hear people talking about the leaky bucket. And and you end up in a place where people are really firefighting, and running around with buckets of water, instead of taking the opportunity to stop and say, Where, where are we in terms of the stage of our business and our growth, and where are our customers and who are our customers. And so, you know, really going back to where we were in 2017 conversational marketing, was at the very early stages of becoming a category. And many of our customers were those early adopters. And I think of early adopters, as you know, people who are more tolerant of new technology more willing to try something out, more willing to adopt something that’s less known and also know more willing to champion it within their organization, they’re going to take a risk, they’re going to take something and bring it into their tech stack. And and for for us a I think consider during that stage, and for any company, understanding where they’re at in terms of revenue, and product, market fit and adoption, focusing on making those customers wildly successful. Because those customers then become your evangelists. Those become your first case studies, those become your customers with whom you can build really strong relationships when it comes to the additional product pieces that you want to develop, and you want to enhance. And so I think if you are in the early stage of growth and early stage, if you’re creating a category, or you’re building a product for a market that maybe has not used this yet, understanding how you make those customers wildly successful. And often in the conversation of churn, you end up focusing too much on the saving. And so I think what we learned was that we needed to very quickly pivot from what I call like the three Sins of customer service, what you’re thinking that you’re only focusing on things like swag satisfaction, and saves. If you’re doing that, you’re not setting yourself up for scale and long term, long term success and strategy. And so being able to understand at that stage with these early adopters, what it takes to get people to adopt the product, set up the product get value from the product is step one, until you have that nailed, you end up stuck in this pattern of trying to do things to make these customers happy. And happiness comes from value realization, the product that they’re spending money on.

Andrew Michael:
Absolutely. We talked about this as well, quite a bit says it’s typically like the first reaction knee jerk reaction when it comes to looking at things like churn is like trying to figure out why people left and what was the main reason when, in actuality, it’s probably a better approach to focus on what were the reasons that made people successful? And how can we make more people successful? What was your approach and realization when it came to this? And then I did you go about trying to understand like, what were the leading indicators of success and how your team should be focused energies and efforts

Julie Hogan:
to our and it was interesting because it was definitely transformation and how I had I think grown up in SAS thinking about churn were forever, you sort of think that you learn from churn by investigating all of those who have left. So I have done probably every version of post-cancellation survey analysis, digging into churn reasons, I’m sure people listening to this who have lived in customer success, who have built to the same reports and stack charts for leadership meetings on percentage of reasons why customers churn, and I got advice from somebody named Greg Danes. He is someone who coins himself the churn whisperer. And his feedback was to completely reverse our thinking. And instead of focusing on why customers leave and start becoming more curious about the customers who stay What is the reason for them staying both in the value they’re getting from your product and your service, and also in in what they’re using. And so understanding their behaviors. And so we went through, we went through a few pieces to really nail this one was taking a look at what usage looks like in our product. And so making sure you had that measurement in place. For us it was diving in, we think about what Drift does, and the value of drift is conversation. So we started looking at how many people are using drift? And how many conversations are those customers having? And we looked at that to understand of the customers who were having these conversations, what did their behavior look like? And what did we do early in the process to set them up for success. So it helped us start to create a model to better measure and better understand those leading indicators that then drive retention, I think often you focus so much on the final score. And the final score for us is net retention, meaning that companies are staying with you. And not only are they staying, but they’re staying and expanding. But in order to get to a place where your customers staying expand, you have to set a strong foundation. So doing that first bit really digging into understand the number of users and then those users who are then having conversations and driving results for their business. How can we start to get better at surfacing that data to our team and holding our team accountable to understanding the implications of that data. And then moving back even further into the onboarding process, so that we could get really clear on ensuring steps were were taking place. And we were measuring the percentage of step completion. So thinking of onboarding, as a place where you set your foundation in order to get that customer to the value realization of what they needed the tool to produce for them. And it really just change our behavior. And you can have the prettiest charts and all of the health scores in the world, but your team is going to be activated by what they’re measured against what they’re held accountable to. And if you’re only focused on that end result of net retention, you end up unintentionally building a team you call customer success. But that team will be incentivized to drive sales and upgrades. And that’s what they will focus on. And they won’t focus on the onboarding, and the success and adoption. And so making that real and really tying and connecting the dots between the value of correct setup and the value of what good usage looks like, based off of what we saw our most successful customers doing. And then the output that that drives toward net retention became the pieces to the puzzle that have helped us. Absolutely,

Andrew Michael:
yeah, I think that’s also like a typically a common mistake as well as setting like a target of net Mr. attention to the smaller team level, when actuality it’s one of those metrics that has so many different inputs that is affected by so many different aspects of the teams across product to marketing to customer success, that holding a single team accountable for a metric like that just isn’t just doesn’t work. And then when you look at sort of the the lag time as well, to measure the impact of those changes is very difficult. So you mentioned as well, like you had a couple of different input metrics that you looked at initially. How did you go about figuring out what was some of those inputs that you felt were going to lead to that greater admitted more attention? What did that process look like?

Julie Hogan:
Yeah, it was, it was a decent amount of trial and error, to be honest, you know, when you take a look at what you measure, and and what using the product look like, it started first with really looking at it through the lens of a customer. So if I’m a customer, and I start to set up draft, and I start to use draft, what are the parts of the tool that will enable me to see success and success for a drift customer means that these customers are able to have more conversations with leads and prospects. And in return, they’re they’re getting the ROI that they would expect from from lead conversion. And so for us, it’s backtracking and making sure we’re able to say when you tie the intended outcome of your product, back to what needs to be set up in order for that to happen. And you it’s almost like a mapping exercise. So we went through that exercise and said, Okay, if I’m a customer, and I am expecting this result, how should I get there, and what is the path to success to get there. And what we’re doing that exercise illuminate you is often where you’re not focusing enough energy in terms of tracking. And we’re also not putting enough energy when it comes to behavior, or your your customer success team. And the third part is it also helps eliminate where I’m maybe this isn’t as easy as we used to be in product. And what are some of the things we can do to better enable our customers to do this. without necessarily having to have a customer success manager walk them through it. That was part of our exercise. I think and sharing a quick story of what what’s been fascinating to me as well as getting on site and seeing your customers use the product. And and you have, I think it an impression of how a company is using your product. But then when you really go on site, and you talk with marketers, and you talk with sales reps, and you’re over their shoulder and you’re seeing and then use it that shows you so much more than what you and for people on an ops team could try to figure out on a whiteboard. So it has to be the balance of the quantitative analysis of the data you have or what what you expect to be done and what you expect to work. But also qualitatively, getting out into the field, seeing how your users are adopting, using that to understand the path through which people are seeing value or getting stuck and not being God.

Andrew Michael:
Yeah, I love the focus as well for drift. And I think it’s one of those is like whoever gets the customer closest to the customer is the one that wins. I think there was an episode podcast episode listen with David cancel on the topic. And I actually came across a blog post that you wrote, Julie, that was I find it very fascinating and intriguing is that you actually invited out a guest to come and see you as a program manager of patient experience Boston’s Children’s Hospital, and you spoke to the team about sort of their processes. And what was the idea behind that? And what was some of the key learnings that came from that experience?

Julie Hogan:
Yeah. When we when we talk about success, I think often our conversations stop here, right? We we’ve talked for 2020 minutes about retention and churn and really the meat of the operation that runs that part of the business, which you need. But what often doesn’t get talks about and what I think we often only only end up engaging with other software companies on is service delivery and experience. And so one of the things that David cancel is really challenged me to do and joining is to step out of our comfort zone of the world of SAS, and start looking at people who think about customers with a different lens. And so two places we we’ve really been inspired by has been what patient care look like. And we’re lucky to be in Boston where some of the best hospitals in the world exist. And I built a relationship with this woman at Children’s Hospital and learning a lot more about what it means to deliver an experience. And in patient care, particularly when you think about where where a patient is at and and the needs of those were involved in working in a situation like going to Children’s Hospital. Usually these are under really stressful conditions. And every experience matters. And I think what it highlighted for us too is how similar a life cycle is when you think of a lead coming in through a website and how we can be better at experience. When a patient walks in starting from the moment that someone parks their car, how are they engaging with the parking attendants to help make it easier, they’ve been able to really great value service to take that stress off of a parent who’s probably trying to take a child out of a car seat into a very stressful situation. They have people who help you as you get in the door. Then when you get into your appointment when you get into being a patient and need to spend more time they talked a lot about handoffs. And literally when we started that part of the conversation, you saw people and in the audience, you saw their eyes light up, because in customer success, you talk about handoffs, a lot the handoff between product, and marketing the handoff between sales and customer success, and how important it is to acknowledge where information gets dropped where people feel left behind. And so understanding the similarities was really critical for us so that we can humanize what the experience is like when your onboarding through relationship with the CSM, or when your onboarding in your experience and just using the tools. So looking to places outside of you know the world of SAS and software to figure out how we can improve and get better. Same goes for Four Seasons Hotel is a place where we’ve recruited from our one of our managers. And frontline customer advocacy comes from the four seasons. And a lot of the things that she’s helped us learn when it comes to providing White Glove five star six star service and experience come from what she did working at the front lines with customers.

Andrew Michael:
Yeah, super interesting how you take these different perspectives from other industries, but then really applying them into the SAS business. I love it. You mentioned as well, something like the handoff experience. And I think this is something that typically like you tend to see sometimes misalignments when it comes to promises being made in sales, and then what the product can actually deliver on what customer success can actually help with. How do you go about aligning your sales and success teams when it comes to setting up your customers and your users for success?

Julie Hogan:
Yeah, it’s a great topic, because it’s one that we recently worked on enhancing. And I think the first place where it gets broken, is even calling it a handoff, right? If you’re a customer, that’s a terrible way to think about your experience, you’ve just paid a lot of money, you’ve just taken a bet on a product and and feel like you’re being handed off to someone just even that phrase didn’t sit well with us. And so in working, working closely with our VP of sales, as well as our VP of Marketing, we talked about how we enhance that experience and the way we even talk about it internally. So we moved away from I’m thinking of that as a handoff, to the customer introduction, because that’s really what it is. And how do we get out of the cycle. And for those in the customer success and sales world, this probably resonates that cycle of well, the sales rep has to fill out these very specific field forums in their CRM, and then they must pass it over. And I must validate it because I on the CS team, maybe don’t trust or feel like it’s clear what the use cases. And it becomes this battle of internal documentation, that simply shouldn’t be the case. And so for us to rethink this as the introduction, how would we in fact, introduce someone the right way, who’s just spent a lot of money to what their experience is going to be now that they’ve purchased the product. And so the way that we’ve done this is, we’re working through an introduction form, or an introduction, overview rather than sales rep is responsible for and documenting, from our conversations, this is what you purchased. And this is the intention of what you want to accomplish with Drift. And so we create that we have the sales rep put it together and send it both to the customer and the CSM. So that is it is a visible piece of, of, of communication, that confirms what it is the customer wants to do. So in essence, we’ve really tried to take some of the complication out of it and some of the mystery out of it, where someone has to fill out a bunch of form fields. And by trying to understand what those form fields mean, in a CRM, we then decipher what the strategy is, why not just put it together in a very clear, clear paragraph and share it with all parties and introduce the CSM will then take it from there. So we It may sound silly, but we liken it to a really well organized and executed front of the house and back in the house of have a nice restaurant where there’s someone at the front end, who’s responsible for understanding and taking the order from from a customer on what they want, with all of the customizations and all their expectations. And they then bring it back and that person in the kitchen will execute. And they then the person will come back and present it to to the person who’s ordered. And so if we can think in the same way, and have the same level of professionalism and and expectations of high quality service to how we take on and think about our responsibility in servicing that customer, it becomes a much different type of experience than simply getting through the handoff process.

Andrew Michael:
Yeah, makes a lot of sense. And then at the end of the day, the customers getting really what they ordered and what they’re looking and what they’re trying to achieve. But I think this is also touches on another topic itself. And it’s something it’s quite a challenge as well to get right into being I think, often in products and product development, we end up just focusing too much on the features and solutions. And we end up losing track of the empathy side of things, and that we actually dealing and working and building products for people and we need to be thinking about their best interests. How does Customer Success play a role when it comes to like, being the voice of customer and showing that working that empathy into the product, it’s built adrift?

Julie Hogan:
Yeah. And, you know, I think this is all this is also similar to what we just talked about with handoff where the beauty is in understanding what has to happen, in order for us to create better experiences versus what is the internal business process that needs that needs to be developed. And sometimes we focus too much on in order for you to get a product manager or an engineer on a conversation with a customer, you must fill out this intake form, or whatever it is, we’ve avoided that and there are a couple of things that have worked really well at drift. One is similar to some of the things we’ve learned just from reading about companies we admire, Amazon, and also some of the car manufacturers have this idea of the end on cord. So anybody who’s at the front line of of either the inventory chain, or if you’re working at one of the car manufacturers, and you’re building on the assembly line, and you see something wrong, you don’t have to get permission from a supervisor for someone to say that something doesn’t look right into advocate for change, you’re able to just pull that end on cord. And so we’ve tried to enable a similar mentality adrift, we don’t have a cord like we don’t actually have a physical card in the office. But the way in which we’ve opened the lines of communication between our success teams and product teams are such that we set that expectation, if you see something, say something, and we make it very clear who the owners are of the product, who the Dr. Eyes are four parts of the product that are in development, or are currently being worked on. And I think just creating that level of transparency and communication has been vital. The other part two is is demonstrating our commitment, where product doesn’t sit behind a, you know a rose garden in the sense that we’re never presenting ourselves in front of customers for customers to see that product is invested that if there is a challenge, or there is an ass that would require a deeper a deeper level of explanation as to why something does or doesn’t work a certain way, being available to jump on a phone call, or what we find works even more effectively, is sending a video asynchronous communication, getting a video sent over from the pm who runs a part of the products that a customer has a question about our challenge with when it makes sense, is something that works quite well and builds a lot of trust and credibility. Now, all that being said, we still need our CSM team to be unable to speak confidently about our product and also understand the things that work as intended and to be able to talk through the technical components of the product. So we hold our team accountable to that. But in scenarios where we want to advocate for a deeper discussion on on anything, making sure that those lines of communication are open, and people are willing to jump on and engage with customers a huge difference in our ability to learn and get better, and also to build these credible relationships with our customers.

Andrew Michael:
Absolutely, I mean, because at the end of the day, the customer success team and your sales teams are really the ones at the front line. And then having that really good strong inputs from that side of services can really help get the product where it needs to before the customers. I want to ask a slightly different question now as well as and just put into a hypothetical scenarios or because I know you’ve previously HubSpot move to drift now and I want to see based on your experience, if tomorrow you had to move to a new company. That was an early stage of growth. But you realize as well, when joining the company was really suffering on the retention side? What would be some of the first things that you do in that first couple of months for after joining a company?

Julie Hogan:
Yeah, and it’s it’s a really, it’s a really interesting question. Because I think your reaction, or your initial reaction is to go to the the three sense of success that I talked about earlier, where in order to make an impact, you immediately want to start doing things. And often that comes from driving satisfaction. So basically doing anything you can to make customers happy, saving as many customers as possible, and then digging too much into the swag category, right? Let’s send customers things let’s get as much out to make to drive that success and happiness. And what I would do and what I would recommend other people do is first really evaluate what stage is the company? And so who are your customers? Are they early adopters? Are they people who are sort of tolerant of your newer technology? What do they look like? And then the second thing I would evaluate is, are these customers yet segmented by by specialty or cohort. And so you know, early stage companies often treat all customers the same way you have the same onboarding processes, you assume that all of these customers have the same needs as you scale. And depending on who you’re selling to in the market, it’s important to start figuring out the dynamic of your entire install base and really starting to segment. And so you know, for some businesses, that could mean, you clearly identify your enterprises segment from your mid market segment from your very small business segment. And as you then analyze turn across those segments, do you see different trends? Another could be depending on if you’re a domestic versus global. Are you starting to see trends in your companies outside if you’re a US based company, outside of the US and a Mia and then slicing them down even further? A Mia Mia countries that are not majority English speaking so that starts to help you isolate where turn is coming from, if you’re specifically looking at why customers are not staying with you. So going through that process, and really understanding what is the makeup of your customer of your customer base? And then how are you inspecting those specific cohorts. The other thing that’s important is when you look at what drives retention, retention, it’s a two way game, it’s making sure that customers are staying. But to enable and to activate net retention, it also means that they’re expanding and growing. And so when we talk about customer success being the responsibility of the entire company, and this also means that you understand what the levers are and product line and growth. And so are there opportunities for customers to expand? Is it a one dimensional product where there isn’t an expansion lever? What do your contracts terms look like? If you are on a monthly majority business versus an annual business, your retention rates will look much different, just based off of what companies or what what percentage of revenue, you have the potential to lose each month. So there are mechanics, beyond simply getting customers set up for success in terms of successful onboarding, that are important to inspect and investigate. So you understand the full picture of what you’re working with to then figure out your strategy.

Andrew Michael:
Very interesting. And I love the sort of full holistic approach of really trying to get to the core root and understand who your customers are, and how to best serve them. Because that’s ultimately, if your customers aren’t receiving value at the end of the day, they’re going to turn to really diving deep into understanding that and the reasons for it is the first great approach.

Julie Hogan:
And I’ll share, I’ll share a very quick story about that even from my learnings at drift where as we got into the stage of meeting two segments and really understand, you know, what success looks like and what value looks like for different segments, what we learned pretty quickly as for some of our very small businesses, so companies who maybe had one to 10 employees with one user, what they was a faster way to value. So understanding how they could get set up quickly how they could go live, and how they could get something working on repeat in order for them to book meetings. That was that was really important to them. When we when we investigated the needs of our enterprise companies where the multiple stakeholders and larger sales are innovations, a lot of their need was related to change management, there was continued engagement that needed to happen post sale to ensure that sales and marketing were aligned in terms of what drift would do. And so that expanded our notion of what onboarding looked like to be more inclusive of sales training, and the needs of sales enablement. And so those two plays are very different, but are what what help drive the success and adoption of draft? And so being able to really understand who are your customers? What do they need from you, those things carry a lot of weight and your ability to make sure that they’re set up for success longer term?

Andrew Michael:
Absolutely. And they also come with totally different challenges as well, when you’re looking at sort of the small self serve experience versus the handled onboarding approach as well. How do you go about sort of prioritizing the changes and the focus between the two within the team then?

Julie Hogan:
Yeah, and you know, it, it’s interesting now that we have a line. So when we think about the different cohorts and the different groups, you have to figure out what’s going to make the biggest impact. And so if you’re, I wouldn’t say that you are D, prioritize D prioritizing one segment over the other. And you have to have goals and initiatives across each of those segments running in parallel, at any given time. But you need to figure out what is going to move the needle the most in whatever period of time you’re trying to work towards. So it goes back to goal setting and initiative driving, I think it’s something that that we as a company have really started to focus our, our strategy and execution plans around where on any given month in any given quarter, you’re very clear on the goals of your business and the goals of your business by segment. And you have to identify the key initiative that are going to help get you to that goal. And so when I look at customer success, and I look at the goals we have when it comes to net retention, and it comes to the satisfaction of our customers, inspecting each of our business units, and really understanding where are we now where do we want to be? What is the one thing that will make the biggest impact this month or this quarter? And how do we then focus our initiatives against that. And so it becomes just becoming more diligent. And this is something I’ve had to work on quite a bit. I think especially coming from startup world where often often you sort of your you take pride in your scrappiness and just making things happen and getting things done. And I think moving away, you don’t lose the spirit of the scrappiness. But moving away from doing a lot of things quickly, in order to try to impact something versus taking that longer view of what are the strategic initiatives that will help us achieve the goals we have for this period of time, forces you, it’s a forcing function to be really clear on on what your what your work will be, and then what your team needs to focus on.

Andrew Michael:
Absolutely. And then when you have that hyper focus as well, that it really forces you to make sure that it is the absolute best thing you can be working on as well.

Julie Hogan:
Exactly, exactly.

Andrew Michael:
Just last thing before we end the call was I found really interesting as well reading through one of the blog posts and looking at personalization. And I think it was in a post you recommended somebody buying a whiteboard from Amazon, which cost maybe a couple of bucks, and it hasn’t had a really big impact in some of the work you do. Maybe you want to talk us through that and what impact it had.

Julie Hogan:
Yes. So when I when I talked earlier about the use of video, it’s something that we do quite a bit. So Customer Success managers here will often engage through video with customers. So instead of everything needing to be a call or a phone, a meeting or a video meeting, what we realized is that a lot of our customers have many CSM from different tech vendors in their tech stack, we’re trying to engage with them, I was at a conference last year where they said the average marketer has seven or eight CSM who are trying to get in touch with the given time. And so you know this, this is something that we’ve thought a lot about in terms of how to each of our interactions drive value for customers. And in using video, one of the things we’ve done is go and invest in literally like a $2 whiteboard that you can buy on Amazon, and simply writing hi Andrew and Julie from drift on the whiteboard, holding that while you create the video for your customer. That is maybe a two to three minute overview of areas of improvement or opportunity, you think that that customer would be able to get from the product this month, and a recommendation you’ve made our open rate, our engagement rate goes through the roof when we add that type of personalization, because when you scroll through your inbox, and a lot of the the information that’s in there, and none of it and in many cases feels like it’s really directed to you you’re part of a campaign. Or or it’s it’s some sort of noise, but when you stop and see somebody took the time to create something that’s just for me I’m going to engage with it makes a big difference. And it also it adds an element of understanding to to your customer knowing that, hey, if you’re interested in jumping on the phone, happy to but if working asynchronously, you know through this video is helpful, we can continue working in this way. And it’s it’s really created a new path of engagement. I think so much of customer success is still you know interrupted customer success, we will call you in the certain cadence, we are required to have X number of calls and email sent to you. And that’s not how customers want to be treated. We meet them where they are and engage with them in a much more personalized way.

Andrew Michael:
Absolutely. And I think as well, there was this sort of trend as all of late where it all started with email templates, and really trying to make things look as pretty as possible sending out emails and then have led people actually started moving towards more plain text emails, I’ve noticed this as well now and reach out. But at the end of the day is like marketers and as product people. We all know these automation. So really having sort of that picture with the handwritten notes as well, then you know that it’s legitimate, and it really is a personalized experience.

Julie Hogan:
Right. Yeah.

Andrew Michael:
And I mean on that as well again, so it’s been a pleasure having you on the show today, Julia really, really appreciate it loved hearing as well like the attention to detail and really hard to get close to customers well the end of the day, allowing you to win the drift. Thank you very much for your time, and wish you best of luck now with the future plans.

Julie Hogan:
Thanks very much. Great conversation. Thanks for having me.

Andrew Michael:
Thanks.