How Grubhub successfully retains customers during mergers and acquisitions.

Megan Bowen


Chief Customer Officer


Megan Bowen
Megan Bowen

Episode Summary

Today on the show we have Megan Bowen, Chief Customer Officer at RefineLabs

In this episode, we talked about what a revenue engine optimization agency does and how they help their customers grow with their demand generation framework.

We also discussed how to measure churn and retention for technology software products that have a service delivery component and how Grubhub successfully retains customers during the mergers and acquisitions they undertake.


Mentioned Resources



What a revenue engine optimization agency does 00:02:05
What a typical RefineLabs customer looks like and how they help their customers grow with their demand generation framework 00:05:30
What has been a common thread across Megan’s roles in the past and where she is potentially today. 00:09:33
How Megan measured churn and retention for technology softaware products that have a service delivery component. 00:11:59
Megan’s role at Grubhub. 00:17:55
How Grubhub transitioned & retained customers from 5 different newly acquired companies. 00:21:10
What Megan takes away from a big acquisition customer migration and would she do it differently if she had to do it again. 00:30:37
How would Megan fix churn and retention for a company in the first 90 days. 00:32:31
The one thing Megan wished he knew about churn when he first started out 00:36:44


Andrew Michael: [00:00:00] Hey Megan. Welcome to the show.

Megan Bowen: [00:00:02] Thank you for having me. It's good to be here.

Andrew Michael: [00:00:04] It's a pleasure for the listeners. Megan is the chief customer officer at refine labs. A revenue engine optimization agency that helps B to B companies grow revenue, shorten sales cycles and lower customer acquisition costs.

Prior to refined labs. Megan was the VP of customer success at platters, COO of managed by Q and director of corporate accounts at GrubHub. So my first question for you, Megan, is what does a revenue engine optimization agency do? And what are you responsible for as the chief customer officer?

Megan Bowen: [00:00:37] Absolutely at refine labs, we help B to B companies, apply our innovative demand generation framework, to drive organic inbound demand for their product.

our approach is very buyer centric. we have a strong belief that instead of having, an outbound sales team. Cold calling prospects to educate potential buyers. That [00:01:00] there's a better way to do it today, where you can use digital marketing for education and awareness building. and when your customer is ready to buy, you can make it really easy for them to come to your website and raise their hand, letting you know that they're ready for a sales conversation.

So we work with all of our customers to redefine their entire go to market strategy, to be more buyer centric. or, educational through content driven, digital marketing, so that you have your buyers coming to you when they're ready to buy.

Andrew Michael: [00:01:31] All right. And talk us through that a little bit more, like, how is this different from a company's currently doing today?

Like where do you see the big differentiator between what you do and where companies may be making mistakes in your opinion?

Megan Bowen: [00:01:45] Absolutely most B2B growth stage companies invest heavily in an outbound sales function. Sales is critical. You obviously need a sales team, but you'll often find that they'll defer investment in [00:02:00] marketing or even customer success.

In favor of building a large team of SDRs and sales executives is to acquire new customers. and through, through that, ultimately what you're creating is, a small army of people that are, cold prospecting, outbound to potential buyers. And, the reality is there's a lot of people out there that typically are ready to buy any companies.

Product or service and the challenge becomes awareness and education. And so our view is instead of reaching out to thousands of people who may or may not even want to use your product, focus on building your brand, building awareness. Educating the market on what you do, so that you can capture the existing demand more effectively and they can come to you when they're ready to talk.

When that happens, sales cycles are much shorter. Customer acquisition costs are much lower. overall satisfaction is also [00:03:00] higher, and it creates much stronger. Unit economics for a business to grow. So it's just really flipping the current model of building, not a large sales team and refocusing it on smarter marketing.

and given that, then you're also able to invest more, in your customer success function so that once you acquire the customers, you can really ensure that they're onboarded properly and that you're doing all of the right things to, retain them for the longterm.

Andrew Michael: [00:03:30] Yeah. And when you talk about this thing as well, cause I think typically in B2B SaaS, when you have a Salesforce and a have SDRs focusing on outbound sales, it's typically comes with the customer and a high opera and LTV per customer.

So you can afford to hire those. sales reps. And, that's typically how you'd go about trying to close these larger deals that typically doesn't work in the company where you have low our, and your typical customers paying you a couple of hundred bucks. and then that sort [00:04:00] of activity when you were sorts as well, too, a lot more of these tactics that you're talking like.

How do you see this converting as well? How is it lowering costs as well? Because it is a little bit of a different flip on the approach to acquisition. I think. What are your typical customers look like? am I correct in saying that typically higher ARPA, higher LTV customers.

Megan Bowen: [00:04:19] Okay. So our model can really work for, the series a to the series D series E company.

we can work with customers, from 2 million annual recurring revenue up to a hundred million annual recurring revenue. So the tactics will work in all of those scenarios. certainly, For more complex enterprise products that have a higher annual contract value. often the tactics are, supplemented with, a sales process as well.

So it's not to say that, you don't have sales people involved at all. but that the motions of the [00:05:00] sales team are different and are optimized for. discovery and, qualifying whether, yeah, the customers coming inbound are the right fit and moving them through a more complex sales process.

so yeah, we can work with all sorts of companies. the approach will vary slightly, but it can work well.

Andrew Michael: [00:05:19] Okay. cause almost that's what it is. It sounds is, startups and companies like series editors, D that have started out with an STR approach, trying to potentially close more deals with sales, might even have a mismatch in sort of their channel, customer fits product fit by trying to go the sales route.

When there could still be closing some of these deals, maybe potentially lower ACV. Inbound marketing and then setting the right people up for success. Further down the line with customer success.

Megan Bowen: [00:05:48] Correct. And also most digital marketing campaigns that are run today, are really focusing based on, continue the buyer wherever they are.

So whether they're on, LinkedIn or [00:06:00] Facebook or Google, all of the content or the calls to action are around, buy now. Call us, contact a sales rep, re request a demo. And so the other nuance to our approach is, oftentimes there's an awareness and an education period that has to happen for buyers.

And looking at content creation, in a way that's not intended to sell. But to educate. and that's an important distinction, because it allows the buyer to learn and understand what that product or service does and make a determination that they're ready to use it. versus a lot of traditional digital marketing is really focused on those sales focused calls, call to actions.

Not that those aren't. those have a place certainly, but, our approach is a little bit different as well. Even with some of the traditional digital marketing campaigns.

Andrew Michael: [00:06:53] So it sounds like your campaigns that you focus has when maybe potential customers are problem aware. They realize they have a [00:07:00] problem, but they're not sure what solutions are out in the market there.

And you're truly trying to educate them on what your client's product or service does and how they can help us really looking at the top end of the funnel around education. And then by the time they need something or they need to buy solution, they already have your client's product or service in mind.

Megan Bowen: [00:07:19] Yeah, exactly. And so what all of our customers see is an increase to organic traffic, to their website and an increase in people coming to them, raising their hands, saying I'm ready to have a sales conversation. And that's really the outcome that you want.

Andrew Michael: [00:07:34] Yeah. So you're focusing on like a specific stage of the buyer's journey then as an agency and then really trying to round that off.

With the different other services that you offer as a whole, the next thing then I was interested as well. Just looking at the background where you come from. so being a VP of customer success, a former CEO at managed by Q and a GrubHub, what would you say is like one of the things that's been a common [00:08:00] thread across the roles that you've had in the past and, where you are potentially today.

Megan Bowen: [00:08:05] Yeah, over the course of my 15 year career always been in the B2B startup scene in New York. all the companies that I've been at have had a combination of a, technology software product. but also. some component of service delivery in the real world. so whether it was GrubHub, I know use an app to order food that food arrives I was at Zoc doc.

You make a doctor's appointment online, but then you show up to the doctor, at Q you order. Cleaning services, a cleaning crew comes to your office. it's, it's fascinating to me because it's a combination of optimizing for the product user experience that they have, but also ensuring that, the subsequent physical delivery of that product or service, also is a good experience.

So there's the technology layer and then the human operational layer. and so even though I've been across [00:09:00] different industries, every company I've been at has had a mix of that. And now at refund labs, we, effectively are, a hundred percent of a services company. so it's really taking that experience that I've had in, creating a great experience in real life with humans, which can be hard to control and bringing that with me to, help design our service delivery experience at refund labs to make our customers successful.


Andrew Michael: [00:09:27] I can see like the huge challenges that must come with working in a company where you not only have to worry about the services layer, but then, and also an additional like people, layer where they have interaction directly with your product or service and people are actually the product or service.

And obviously, but a B two B SaaS companies have support and you could argue that people engage with the support, but I think it's a different expectation when you have. Say doctor at the end of the booking or you have a delivery guy arriving at you at your door with the product service. I think [00:10:00] you really need to think more holistically about your product and it's not just software when it comes to training and retention that could like potentially.

Cause people to leave your product or service. So I'm interested to hear from your side then, like at these three companies you mentioned, how did you go about measuring return and retention and the specifically like where the main pain points or dropoff was happening? Obviously I think it can be a lot more complex to try and figure out where you have opportunities to try and improve retention.

Megan Bowen: [00:10:31] Yeah, so let's, we can unpack a couple of the companies I've been at. Zoc doc was the first company where I, I built out the post-sale function. I joined very early and there was a S a customer support team and a sales team. And we were, doctors were the buyer. They would, they would pay to be on the marketplace in order for them to acquire new patients.

And the service was free for patients to book and doctors paid monthly. And the [00:11:00] goal is that they needed to get a few appointments a month to get the return on their investment. And so what would happen is when a doctor would be sold, there wasn't a formal process for them to be onboarded to the site.

And, as a result, there was just a lack of consistency and a lot of issues that would come up. they would have availability. Patients would book an appointment, it would get canceled, something would go wrong. And so churn was a real issue. doctors would cancel within, a fairly short period of time they're getting started because the onboarding process was not smooth and they weren't getting the return on their investment for a variety of reasons.

and. Also the patient experience was negatively impacted if things weren't set up correctly, I'm on the doctor's profile. churn was a problem. One of the things I was on the support team on the front lines for nine months. and I had really synthesized, all of the issues in the patient and the doctor [00:12:00] experience.

And, I was able to work with, the leadership team and they gave me an opportunity to build out the post-sale function. And so my view of this is. So many of the problems that happened in the experience that resulted in doctors, churning could have been prevented. Had we have had, we had them more intentional and proactive onboarding process.

So the first major initiative to. Improve the experience, reduce churn was too to develop a launch team boarding team, if you will. And so we, had dedicated people that would work with brand new doctors, as soon as they completed the sales process. And we went through, a. Very specific sort of 30 day roadmap of, items that had to be completed in order to ensure that the doctor was set up for success on the site, information was accurate and that they were, set up, you get as many patients as [00:13:00] possible.

And when patients book with them that they were going to get what they expected. Because we ensured that information was accurate, et cetera. So that's one story to unpack the issue. We had churn greatly improved NPS improved. it was a positive, significantly positive change all around.

Andrew Michael: [00:13:17] There's a couple of things as well on that. I think one of the things, this is definitely a recurring theme with the show is that. oftentimes when we think about onboarding and, like new customers, trying to get them to value as fast as possible, we often might miss out on some crucial steps of really educating customers on how to use our product or service correctly, and actually like maybe slowing down the onboarding process, being a little bit more deliberate in terms of what are the key actions that need to be taking.

we'll let you set you up for longterm success along the way. But I'm most actually interested in, you mentioned something now, and it's probably not even to do with the show, but I think it's a valuable lesson is you said, that leadership gave you the opportunity to take on and get getting head and set up this team after you sitting and support [00:14:00] and synthesizing this feedback.

Do you honestly believe that leadership gave you the opportunity or did you create the opportunity yourself?

Megan Bowen: [00:14:06] it's funny you asked that question. I, it was, I think it was probably a little bit of both, but when, I had joined doc, I had been an account manager for seven years at an education technology company.

And I was really ready to step into a team lead or a management position. and, at the times, op doc offered me this customer support job. I was obsessed with the idea of the product and wanted to be part of it. so I took it. And, I knew that they were missing this team. I knew that they probably needed it.

And I said, you know what, I'm going to build my business case. And when you're on the support team, you're on the front lines, you know exactly what's going on. And I was able to be really diligent about recording the themes and the trends that I was noticing, and put together a pretty solid business case of why they should decide to invest in this function.

And. and it took me a couple of months of [00:15:00] campaigning around the office, if you will, to ultimately you get them to, agree that it made sense. And, give me the go ahead. So definitely I. I pushed for it and I felt really strongly. And I didn't give up even at first when they were a little bit hesitant.

and then ultimately they let me a shot. Yeah.

Andrew Michael: [00:15:19] Yeah. Cause I think this is definitely a recurring theme and I've seen as well, at least in my careers, if you see a problem and you spend the time to be diligent and figure out a plan and you go to present it, with an action, like very rarely are people going to say no and turn you down.

I think Always within companies, specifically a fast growing companies, there's problems all the time. People are looking for others to come and solve them. And, like a lot of the times it's not about new waiting for opportunity is really about creating opportunity for yourself. just like that you phrased it, the DOE was given the opportunity, but I didn't believe that for a second.

I thought you definitely had something to do with it. Cool. Moving on then, from your side as well, like we talked a little bit about now, your experience, from the first company, then you, [00:16:00] I think after that, was it a GrubHub then you moved to

Megan Bowen: [00:16:04] yeah, exactly.

Andrew Michael: [00:16:05] so Grubhub as well, then I think, yeah, maybe that's a little bit of a different experience because the customer then who's paying you is also the end person who's experiencing that people, that person at their door and showing up, how did things like play out of GrubHub?

Like what was your role there as well specifically? And how do you see like the theme continuing then from your previous experience?

Megan Bowen: [00:16:27] Yeah. when at GrubHub and seamless, I was actually building out an account management function for their B2B division and so separate from the consumer product that they have.

They have a B2B arm that works with companies that feed their employees in the office. and so our customers were, banks and law firms and tech companies. and there were sort of two sets of customers. If you will. We have that are our primary point of contact who might be an office manager and HR admin finance [00:17:00] person, who would be our main point of contact for the account.

but then of course you have all the employees at that company. In, using the product to order food. And putting the consumer business aside, we had to design nine a customer journey for our business customers, for our primary administrator. and then secondarily, we also had to make sure that we were.

Supporting both the administrator and the technology on the rollout to the rest of the company. and food would be showing up to the office for lunch or for late night dinners versus, a sushi order to someone. so that was the context of my role at GrubHub. and so the first two years was spent.

Building out that function. Interestingly, similar to Zoc doc, they had a sales team and a support team, but no post-sale function. so a lot of the things that I had learned at SOC doc, I was able to take with me, and really build that out. my last two years at GrubHub was also very interesting project as it [00:18:00] relates to.

Like the customer experience and retention as well. I joined a post-merger of GrubHub and seamless pre IPO post the GrubHub IPO. They then acquired five other B2B food delivery companies. And I was tasked with transitioning the customers from each of those five brands. Over to the GrubHub brand so that we could sunset those other brands and the technology.

And so that was fascinating experience, change management because, effectively of course they wanted to retain all of the customers. So how do you. Take a group of customers, move them from one technology to another inherently. There are lots of differences with features and restaurant selection and price and support all of these different things.

And so we had to map out a migration plan, by brand, to ensure that we could facilitate this type of transition in a way that would retain. [00:19:00] Ideally all of those customers. So my time was split up into both of those projects, which were really interesting and fun to be a part of.

Andrew Michael: [00:19:09] Yeah. So I think that's very interesting. Like I'd, maybe we're going to go a little bit deeper on the topic sort of around the acquisition strategy, how you manage to sort of keep customers happy if you did at all.

Uh, what sort of the, the playbook look like for you? I think, um, managing the process, you probably have like multiple, uh, areas that you need to look into, tend to say not only bringing over customers, but then you also have the internal team and the politics that go along with that. And, uh, there must be many other variables.

So. What did that process look like? What did its big acquisition look like for GrubHub?

Megan Bowen: [00:19:42] Yeah, it was a really wonderful experience to be a part of, I feel like a true lesson and really, um, understanding change management. We wanted to make it, um, uh, an easy transition and easy migration process and of course protect the revenue. And so it was a [00:20:00] complex.

Project that, um, involved, really assessing, um, what were the features, the pricing, what was the customer experience like? Um, for each of those five separate companies, you know, there are a lot of nuances in food delivery and each one of them did things a little bit differently. And so. Really assessing for each cohort of customers.

Um, what was that experience? What was the new experience going to be like for them identifying the major, changes, the things that would stay the same and putting together a communication plan with the, um, employees, the account managers, the customer success managers of each of those companies, um, so that they could be the ones, um, that had those relationships with those customers and communicate.

What that transition would look like. Um, and so it involved, you know, training a lot of internal employees and onboarding them into the broader GrubHub family. Um, putting together communication plans, actually handling the technical cut-over of moving the accounts. [00:21:00] And then a lot of customer communication emails, phone calls, of course, for the larger customers.

I'm a lot more proactive notice and ensuring that we were doing everything we can to, um, create a smooth transition. The first couple that we did, um, certainly with projects of that scope, um, you know, They, they don't often go perfectly. So we, some learnings, um, we were staggering, a lot of the migrations, um, in an attempt to try and handhold.

Um, but we actually realized that caused, um, more complications than it actually solved. And so as we moved on to the remaining migrations, we found having the cut-over just happen on one day, it's like rigid often. It was actually a little bit better. Then prolonging it further. And of course, sometimes it created a little bit of shock if maybe, you know, they didn't see the email or they weren't able to pick up the call from their account manager.

Um, but once we got through moving everyone [00:22:00] over, we were very successful in retaining the customers and the revenue. Um, but it involved a lot of coordination. A lot of planning, a lot of over-communication the role of the account manager and the customer success manager was critical and leveraging those relationships to make the customer feel as good as possible.

Um, and in many cases their experience improved. Um, so it was a positive change, but in some cases, um, you know, there were things that they got from the old company that just weren't part of the GrubHub process. And so being really upfront about that from the beginning, And managing those expectations was another really important part of it.

Um, but what's so funny about change is once enough time goes by, people get used to the new thing, you know, they don't really remember the hiccups that happened. Um, and so that the big learning for me was really investing in the internal employee training because they're the ones that are on the front lines, working with those customers.

And then also for big [00:23:00] changes, sometimes ripping off the band-aid is the better approach. Um, and with making the change happen quickly and doing your best to get everybody through it, um, uh, seamlessly as possible.

Andrew Michael: [00:23:11] Yeah, definitely. I think that's also. One of the things that comes up, a lot of things in pricing and packaging, as well as like, when you think about, okay, let's, we're gonna experiment.

Now we can introduce new processes and you then say care, like, what is the grandfathering strategy going to look like? And then you start developing this plan that could lead down to months, if not years, in terms of like how you transition customers and more often than not as well. Like you say, just like ripping that band off, making that change.

But being really transparent, upfront and clear about it is really a lot more impactful and a lot less strenuous on the team. And also on the customers.

I think one of the things like lessons for me as well at Hotjar specifically. Was when we, updated our pricing and packaging. And, we really focused on the radical transparency component. And also then just speaking through the rationale of why these changes needed to be made and what was our commitment to [00:24:00] our customers.

and I think something that was really powerful that we did was. Communicate back to the customer, how much the product had changed and updated since we launched the product. So we hadn't changed pricing since launched. It would be the first change. And we really just talked through, obviously went from one perspective, like where the product was when you first launched and the price was.

Versus where it is today, but then also how much money we had invested ourselves into the product. So Hotjar being a bootstrap company, pretty much everything, that is earned is re-invest it back into the product itself. and having that open, transparent, nature of your customers where you can say, okay, yes, we are raising prices, but.

This is the value we've delivered. This is how much we've reinvested ourselves into making a product better. And to redistributing that, I think there's always going to be the best way to communicate some of these tasks, things when they need to be done.

Megan Bowen: [00:24:49] Yeah, I totally agree.

Andrew Michael: [00:24:51] The thing I'm interested in though as well is like, There's a lot of moving parts in, um, in the sort of acquisitions for sure. And you mentioned, and I think even [00:25:00] more so like for GrubHub B2B side.

So I think like if it's an acquisition of a B2C delivery products, like I think this experience there is pretty. Much the same. It would just be like how they interact with the app and how they order food might have improved or got worse slightly. But on a B2B perspective, I think you have a whole lot of other excesses to consider.

So, uh, you have the relationship, like you say, with the account managers, you have, the pricing structures might be different. You might have the different features that go into it. So. What does that process look like bringing in an external, cause I'm sure there must've been things you saw from these other companies that you acquired, that might've been better than the processes you had ever grab her bull.

Uh, in other ways, like you mentioned before, like things that you just wouldn't do in your business. So how did you go about prioritizing the changes that you were going to make for each one of these acquisitions, either to your own internal processes or to the customers at the end of the day, like them experiencing having a different experience.

Megan Bowen: [00:25:52] Yeah, absolutely. And so, yeah, I mean, there are a lot of differences with respect to pricing with restaurant availability, with, you know, [00:26:00] particular features on the website or the app. I think the, in going through the experience, I think the thing that was most surprising to me on the B2B side was how different the account manager or the customer success managers role was in what that experience was like.

For the customer. So for example, we, we really, it was across the spectrum on one side, you know, white glove, high touch service, where they were extremely involved, even showing up to the office, helping set up food, um, you know, where they were going above and beyond, um, sort of adding that human layer to the technology component.

All the way to the other side where, you know, they actually, there wasn't an assigned customer success manager or an account manager. Like they could contact the support team, but really it was very, you know, technology, uh, supported and focused. And so, um, because of the massive [00:27:00] sort of spectrum there on how involved the people were.

Which has a significant impact on what that customer is experiencing. That was one of the more challenging things to figure out and to coordinate. Um, and ultimately what we did, um, was we actually did our best to maintain that element as consistent as possible throughout the change, even though it was a little bit different per company, but for every company we were able to bring on those internal team members.

Who knew what those processes were, who were used to delivering that type of service to the client. And then we went through a process after that to really figure out where opportunities, where we can create some standardization. Can we pull back a little bit more. Can we add some additional layers of service to people that didn't have it?

Um, we actually also, um, created, uh, sort of a concierge layer, um, and we're able to sort of [00:28:00] monetize and charge for that, for that extra high touch. And so. That was really fascinating. It's like when you get the people involved, like the experience can feel very, very different for that customer. And so that was, it was a fascinating thing that I wasn't necessarily anticipating before we got into the project.

Yeah, I think that's incredible considering like they all had the same business and business model serving similar customers yet from a people perspective that a totally different service and like the, like the level of touch that the customer had with humans, uh, varied quite drastically. Well, it's interesting that you managed to as well, like see it as an opportunity for ons there and, uh, like find like a white glove service out of it.

So, uh, must've been a super, super interesting process. Like. If you had to do it all over again today and say, okay, like this was going to be something you're going to get started with. And you want to help a company through this acquisition. Like what would be the area that you would want to start with?

Like, how would you suggest to a company, like now that's maybe going through this [00:29:00] process of having acquired a company, getting them merged into their technology second to their people stack. Like what would the process look like for you doing it today? Again?

So it was really interesting and especially cause those five acquisitions happened over a pretty long period of time.

That there's a really weird limbo period between when the acquisition happens and when the change happens and it creates a lot of anxiety for lack of a better word. Where customers and even internal team members are what's going to happen. And often when an acquisition happens, that stuff isn't figured out.

And so I think one of the things that, um, in hindsight, if I were to do this over again, I would have a pretty strong sort of internal communication plan and customer communication plan of what they should expect, even if we're not really gonna execute a change for a while. Um, we didn't have a lot of answers and saying, I don't know, um, was unnerving to people.

And so I think, um, having a clearer path of what people could [00:30:00] expect and communicating that effectively, both internally to the employees and externally to customers, I think is my biggest takeaway.

Andrew Michael: [00:30:07] So being a little bit more prepared upfront. Yeah. I can definitely see that, especially as well, like from the internal people perspective, like it's always going to be unnerving a  still going to be available.

Like, are you going to be able to have a job six months or when this, when the transition happens and especially since like, this was such a. Big component was the people component with these acquisitions and the service that they were providing as well. So, uh, definitely makes sort of sense as well. Just being a little bit more preemptive from that side.

Uh, nice. Uh, so one question I ask every guest that joins the show.

let's imagine a hypothetical scenario now that you join a new company and you arrive there and turn, our attention is not doing well. The CEO comes to you and they ask you to try to turn things around, but they want to see some results in three months. What would you want to be doing with your first 90 days at this company? To try to turn things [00:31:00] around for them?

Megan Bowen: [00:31:03] Ooh, that's a good question. Knowing that they want to see some results vary fairly quickly. I would approach this from two angles. One is what can I do in the short term to, put out this fire and then secondly, what can I start doing soon? So that. This problem doesn't continue to happen.

And typically, with a customer base, depending upon the company and the product or service, but usually there are signals that can, Signal that a particular customer is at risk of churn. And so one of the first things that I would probably do is audit the existing customer base and try to identify, who is in a good place, who, who is probably churning tomorrow and maybe it's too far gone.

And then what's that group in the middle. That's at risk. And [00:32:00] I would deep dive into that particular cohort to really understand what contributed to that customer being at risk and would try to surface the top, two or three trends or themes. And develop initiatives that are designed and to, improve that.

And additionally would also run a playbook on a proactive, addressing the risk at the account with the customer and seeing if there's an opportunity to turn things around. So I would deploy that approach of, for the short term, the second. is, this exists because of probably larger fundamental problems in the business.

And so I would good for more of the longterm solution, I would be working with the sales team, the marketing team, the leadership team to really unpack what is our ideal customer profile? Are we really marketing and selling to those customers? Are we bringing on bad [00:33:00] customers? What does the sales process look like?

Are we setting the right expectations? are we selling to the right customers? what does that handoff look like? and then look at onboarding and see what can be done there. I often find that the root cause of churn is usually related to a poorly defined ICP. a bad sales process or a poor onboarding process.

those are the big three. And so I can deploy through short-term tactics to stop the bleeding, but I would at the same time be tackling those root causes as well. Yep.

Andrew Michael: [00:33:34] Where it starts, where it all starts. who's the customer, making sure you have a good definition and understanding.

And I like to, all you mentioned of sales is really. I'm not selling the wrong things to your customers and then letting them arrive and not receive the value that you've promised. interesting as all like the thing you mentioned in the short term, those well was looking at signals, for customers at risk.

What would some of the signals typically be that you're looking for?

[00:34:00] Megan Bowen: [00:34:00] I'm your main point of contact left the company or is no longer being responsive? If you're a software product, they're not using the tool. So whether that's, not logging in or not taking actions that they used to take any type of drop off of, usage, in recent, time periods, a significant spike or volume of support tickets that could.

mean that something's not working as it should. Those are some signals that I look at poor survey results, poor C-SAT or NPS scores. There's any survey methodology in place. often also speaking with the customer success or account management team, they often have a qualitative poll on which customers are not in a good place.

So those are some of the consistent things that you can look at, across organizations.

Andrew Michael: [00:34:53] Very enough, quite a few, a good list there as well to think about and evaluating your own companies. [00:35:00] then last question I have for today. I see we're running up on time, as well as what's one thing that you know today about general attention that you wish you knew when you got started with your career,

Megan Bowen: [00:35:16] How important this is for the longterm health of the business. And I still think many companies do not give it the appropriate attention and investment. like they do for sales and new customer acquisition. I believe that retaining your customers is like the number one thing you can do for the future success of your business.

and I don't know if anyone would disagree with that, but they're like in theory, but a lot of actions that companies take is not consistent with that belief. And I think it took me a while to really internalize that. and I find that when I go into a new organization that I have work to do to, shift leadership's [00:36:00] perspective to that frame of mind,

Andrew Michael: [00:36:03] Yeah, absolutely. And it's definitely one of the most powerful levers you can pull for growth. It is the most powerful lever when it comes to growth often, like we think shortsighted when it comes to acquisition and just to bring in new people through the door and closing more deals. But if you're closing the right deals and you bring in the right people, like for the long term health for the business, and then the compounding impact on growth retention is always going to be the number one leave.

I think. cool. it's been a pleasure chatting today. Megan, is there any sort of final you want to leave the listeners with anything they should be aware of or keep up to date with the work that you're doing now?

Megan Bowen: [00:36:37] the only thing I would say on this particular topic with churn and retention is it's incredibly difficult to, get retention, And to mitigate churn. I think it's one of the most challenging things in any business. I don't think that there are any silver bullets either. So I think it's important for people to remember that and, to, just do the. Correct in [00:37:00] order to ensure that you're doing the right thing for your customer.

otherwise, I am on LinkedIn every day. I talk about customer success and sales and marketing and personal development and leadership. anyone can find me on LinkedIn to continue the conversation.

Andrew Michael: [00:37:14] Awesome. thanks so much, really appreciate your time. It's been fantastic having you today and wishing our best of luck going forward.

Megan Bowen: [00:37:21] Thanks so much, Andrew. Great to be here.

Andrew Michael: [00:37:23] Cheers.


Megan Bowen
Megan Bowen

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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