Thank you Kim for covering how to scale our startups and go-to-market this week!
We really appreciate the insights you’ve provided for us. At our core, we’re a customer-driven application. We want to put the future of our application, Chromabill, in the hands of our users. That’s why starting from Day 1 when we launch, we allow users to submit feature requests, vote on features by others, and keep track of the development progress right from within the application.
We want to provide our users the personal finance application they deserve and to do that, we’re focusing on (Option B like you mentioned in your video) which is Customer and Revenue Retention in order to create a sustainable application for the long-term. As you said, it's far easier to keep current users than to acquire new users. We’d much rather have fewer customers and higher retention rates vs. a ton of customers and very low retention rates. Here are some questions we had, appreciate all the help and insights! Looking forward to the Live Q&A.
1. What tools or services can you recommend for tracking retention?
2. In regards to the 'Align for Customer Happiness' slide that you presented on, for early new hires, do you have a recommendation on which key hire would make the most sense for very early on when we launch our MVP? Marketing? Sales? etc.
3. What kind of questions can I ask my users who are nearing the end of their free trial period to gauge if they would be interested in continuing the service with us?
4. I know the more data, the better -- but what core metrics should I start measuring on day 1 of going to market?
5. I really enjoyed the section you discussed regarding operational excellence for new hires and the mindset we should be looking for in terms of vetting candidates. In respect to these bullets that you had mentioned, what key interview questions could we ask to gauge if they’re a good fit?
Thanks for your questions, talked with the team and we've got some answers below:
1. A couple tools that are great for tracking retnetion: Pendo.io and Gainsight are both products that are great for this. Here is a guide to customer retention you might find valuable.
2. Typically when you are very early on I would recommend highering a generalist who has some experience across these functions or is a quick-learner and will be able to flex these muscles. This will likely be a temporary role that will lead to them specializing in something specific later, but to start, most startups do not hav the luxury of having any one role being particularly limited in scope. Everyone needs to step up and bring their skills where they are needed. Often someone with expereince in Sales/Marketing is a good hire at this stage because they are typically comfortable working cross-functionaly.
3. Kieran discussed the topic a bit at the beginning of his live AMA you can find here https://offers.hubspot.com/elevate/lms#attract, but typically we find that straightforward communication at this point is the best option here. When they trial is cloe to coming to an end you want to ask them if they are interested in purchasing or if they want to talk to someone at your organization before purchasing possibly. You may even want to ask if they want to downgrade to a free tier after their trial. Overall, we recommend not trying to hide a hidden message or be indirect in your questioniong.
4. Traffic, Conversion Rate, # of customers, Product NPS, average time to close, Average Sales Price. Those are the most crucial at the start. Lots of softwares (like HubSpot )will measure these for you from day one so its not necessarily your responsibiilty to track them.
Hi, @cpieri thank you for taking the time to answer our questions thoroughly, I really appreciate it. Also, thanks so much for pitching the majority of the questions we had to Kim and Mia during the Live Q&A this week!
1. Thank you for sharing these great tools! I reached out to Pendo.io to learn more about their plans for early startups. I appreciate the link! That was a really thorough read on how to calculate retention and the value of it. I also downloaded Customer Service Metrics and KPI Calculator tool HubSpot has so I'll make sure to use that for our launch. You guys always have the best tools handy!
2. This is really great advice! I agree wholeheartedly. The person that will join our team early on must be a quick learner but also experienced and comfortable with working in multiple roles and wearing many hats. I'm a solo-founder but I've taken on multiple roles such as leading my team, doing the UI / UX designs, working on all our inbound marketing, building out the website, optimizing for SEO / ASO traffic, working on strategic partnerships and being the go-to person for customer support. That being said, the sales/marketing professional I bring on should be able to do the same by helping our team with cross-functionality.
3. Language is critical to building a solid brand voice as Mia had mentioned so we'll do our best to keep pricing transparent and assist our customers when they near their trial end date.
4. Thanks for letting us know about the early metrics we should be using. Is there any way that you could set us up with a demo on how to leverage the tools HubSpot offers to track these metrics? I'm not too familiar with the service for metric tracking.
5. This is a great link! Thank you for sharing this. I think these questions + the sales candidate assessment (scorecard) that was mentioned in the masterclass will be invaluable for assisting with vetting new hires. I really appreciate all the help this week. Looking forward to the next masterclass.
As a marketplace startup my question is how to onboard servicers at the MVP level? Engaging with demand side is relatively easier since I know their problems intimately and what jobs they desire to get done. Its the supply side I'm having some trouble with as I gear up for launch come August. How do I onboard the services to properly utlize the platform when I don't ahve the resources to field a customer/sales team? Also since its MVP the features themselves are few.
Hi @donovanw! Thanks for your question - to make sure I'm understanding it correctly: you are worried that when you launch fully this August, you will not be able to keep up with the amount of people who you are trying to onboard? So you are wondering how you can best leverage your limited resources/time to drive the best experience for your customers?
If that is the case, I'd be happy to ask our instructors tomorrow on the AMA, but in the meantime here are a couple thoughts:
Assuming that your launch goes well and you are able to bring on more clients (and $$) are you planning on hiring someone to help with onboarding or finding a way to split this task across other individuals at your company (if its not just you)? We will talk about this more next week, but driving a great company experience is critical when it comes to keeping cutomers around getting more customers. As such, it may be necessary to invest in an onboarding specialist/support rep sooner rather than later.
Do you have many self serve guides or processes in place to help with onboarding? If you anticipate onboarding a great deal of uers, it may be necessary to develop some self serve resources or a knowledge base. Often these are created using content from previous onboarding processes/conversations so they can be less work than you might think.
Is onboarding quite intensive right now on a per-customer basis? Giventhat your features are few at the moment we typically expect that onboarding is not very lengthy/intensive but perhaps there is a reason that is not the case here?
@cpieri correct, I am a solo founder with a bootstrapped budget. Resoucres are the definition of scarce. When watching the masterclass it was a lot of great info, but seem more guided towards a VC/Angel backed startup. When youre just starting and still funding out of your own pocket a lot of these things are luxuries that you can't afford.
If launch explodes and cash flow starts generating then definitely, but want to prepare for the case of early user traction but low transactional volume. Need to provide a great customer experience but customers aren't paying me enough to do so
Not presently, plan is to build some out as I test the product in July with some demo users. Would video content be best for this?
For customers (demand side) its as easy as 1,2,3. However, for servicers (supply side) it does require some on-boarding. My hope, as stated above, is to use the testing demos to create loom videos that servicers then can refrence themselves on how to use it. Also the UI is some what intuitive and uses terms that they are familar with so I'm hoping that lifts some of the weight.
It sounds to me like you are thinking about it the right way. On your question about video, I think that is a great start and video is the way most people like to learn about how to troubleshoot tech issues these days (particularly loom style with screen recording). Over time you might want to develop some written resources (or pay someone to essentially transcribe your Loom's) so that people have more options on how to help themselves.
And got it on the customers vs servicers situation. In that case I would definitely recommend investing some time in creating some basic self service looms (they don't need to be perfect, as long as you are honest and authentic) that will enable you to answer the same questions over and over again without having to do the work multiple times.
And keep an eye out for places where people trip on the UI (we tend to call these sharp edges at HubSpot). You'd be suprised how a few sharp edges can end up costing you a lot of your time (vs just fixing them).
Hi @AlexandreSch, thanks for posting! I want to make sure I'm understanding your question correctly so I can appropriately pose it to our experts. Are you asking, if your product is the kind of product you might only purchase once or twice per year, what kind of success indidcators exist in that intermediary time between purchases? Specifically indidcators that customers are seeing success with your product or that they are likely to purchase again? Could you describe your situation in a bit more detail and I'll do my best to convey your question properly!
I am so delighted to have joined the engage masterclass live today. I must admit however that the streaming service was poorly so I had to compensate with the download pdf version of the material. I look forward to having more learning experiences in the upcoming events.