Feb. 11, 2021

The Rise of Customer-Led Growth with Georgiana Laudi

The Rise of Customer-Led Growth with Georgiana Laudi

Technologies come and go, but your customers are forever. So why then is it so common for marketers to build a growth strategy dependant on a single tool? Georgiana Laudi joins Katelyn Bourgoin in this episode of Customer Show.


Technologies come and go, but your customers are forever. So why then is it so common for marketers to build a growth strategy dependant on a single tool? In today's episode of Customer Show, Georgiana Laudi joins Katelyn Bourgoin to share how to think like a customer-led growth marketer. 

On this episode of Customer Show, Katelyn and Georgiana discuss:

  • The Difference Between Customer-Led Growth and Product-Lead Growth
  • How She Used This Method To Grow Unbounce 900% In Only A Few Years
  • How To Get The Necessary Insights To Become Customer-Led Without Buy-In or Budget

Georgiana (Gia) Laudi is the co-founder of Forget The Funnel and is a SaaS marketing & growth strategist.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/georgianalaudi

Twitter: https://twitter.com/ggiiaa

Forget The Funnel: https://www.forgetthefunnel.com/

--------

Follow Katelyn for daily marketing & buyer psychology insights: https://twitter.com/KateBour

Get your free Customer Ranking Calculator: https://customercamp.co/calculator

Transcript

Gia Laudi: [00:00:00] It's really about gathering qualitative and quantitative insights so that you can develop a hypothesis about what your customer's job to be done is. And with the insight and all this rich data that you get through this research, you can then apply it to the entire span of a customer's relationship

[00:00:18]

[00:00:18]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:00:18] All right. You guys are in for a real treat. I am so excited to have JIA with me today on the podcast. Thank you for being here.

[00:00:26] Gia Laudi: [00:00:26] I'm so happy to be here. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:29] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:00:29] So a lot of you probably already know who JIA is. But for those of you that are new to JIA and the work that she's doing, she is an expert when it comes to the whole customer experience.

[00:00:39] And specifically does a lot of work with SAS companies through forget the funnel and her consultancy elevate. So brilliant. Brilliant work. You have to check out what they're doing. I'll definitely link to it. And today we're going to talk about a bunch of things JIA and I actually, before we hit record, talked about a bunch of things.

[00:00:56] So I wish that we would have been playing. So you guys could have heard some of the amazing insights that came out of our pre-call conversation, but now you get to hear the recap of them. So. Before we jump into all the tactics, we're going to be talking about how to use jobs, to be done, to map your whole customer experience.

[00:01:13] Before we get into that, though, I really want to talk to JIA about this, this term that they coined her and her co-founder Claire called customer led growth. So I want to learn a little bit more about what is customer led growth.

[00:01:28] Gia Laudi: [00:01:28] absolutely. I don't know that I would credit us with coining it, honestly, I think it's a term that has been kicking around for a while, but when we were discussing it for the first time and sort of like, yeah, this is exactly what we do. This is the perfect encapsulation of what we do and how we work with companies.

[00:01:46] And, and like what we stand for. I did some. Light research and realize that like, wow, this is really, it's not really a thing. There's not really many people talking about this, which surprised me. Because I, again, it just so perfectly encapsulates what we stand for as like marketers, especially in the tech space, especially for subscription businesses, like software as a service.

[00:02:10] So the idea behind customer led growth is that before you can decide or before you really make a decision about the types of sort of growth you're going to leverage as a business, you really need to understand what is the most. Appropriate experience for the customer that you solve. So a lot of people talk about product led growth or sales led growth or marketing, like growth or engineering led growth.

[00:02:33]And there's, I even heard somebody talk about design wide growth at one point. There's all of those strategies, all of those growth strategies are amazing. If used in the right way and in the right context. And if thoughtfully sort of applied, the problem is, and this is especially with product led growth as of late, which for the record, huge fan of product led growth.

[00:02:54]But the problem there is, is if you just sort of by brute force apply product led growth without really thinking about the appropriate experience for your customer. You're not going to get very far and your it's just going to be a much harder job. So the idea with customer led growth is. Before you sort of make that decision.

[00:03:11] If you didn't learn about, you know, what's motivates your customers, what is their struggle? Like, what do they need in their life? What's how is, you know, how is it, how is it that they make decisions or come to conclusions or, you know, discover you, evaluate your, your product in this case you know, what would make them become, you know, truly engaged?

[00:03:30] What, how would you define a sort of life or customer somebody where the likelihood of them leaving you, you know, drops significantly. There's a process that you need to go through in sort of identifying some customer insights so that you can then validate, you know, some hypotheses about what you think a good customer experience will look like for them.

[00:03:50] So it's really about gathering qualitative and quantitative insights so that you can develop a hypothesis about what your customer's job to be done is. And with the insight and all this sort of, you know, rich data that you get through this research, you can then apply it to the entire. You know, span of a customer's relationship with you from experiencing the problem that you solve all the way through to, you know, screaming, her name from the mountain tops and, you know, telling everybody they know about you and expanding their usage of your products potentially.

[00:04:23] So really getting clear on what is the, what does that entire picture look like and diving into? Each of these sort of milestones in their relationship with you, so that you can be really strategic and really thoughtful about how you build experiences for them throughout the customer journey. So again, the quality, the qualitative and quantitative is really important here.

[00:04:47] And then the, you know, so you can identify your customer's top job to be done so that you can then sort of operationalize that customer, that end-to-end customer experience.

[00:04:57]Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:04:57] We have talked about jobs to be done on a previous episode, we actually had Bob molesta come on. And he talked about his new book, which is all about how to apply jobs, to be done South thinking to the sales process. But now what you and Claire have done, which is so exciting is you've taken jobs to be done.

[00:05:14] And you've. Created it as kind of like the starting point to understand how to map out that whole customer journey and create this incredible customer experience. So, so with that in mind, talk to me cause like, are there some tangible examples of their company and these women that you've worked with, or maybe it's your experience as a customer where you can talk about, you know, this was the job.

[00:05:36] And from that, these were some of the positive things that we were able to map out along the, along the experience.

[00:05:42]Gia Laudi: [00:05:42] I think there's very few companies that who say that they're customer centric.

[00:05:47] That actually mean. You know, anything really meaningful beyond they've got great customer success or, you know they're, they have, you know, weekly active users, you know, and, and they're doing, you know, they're, they're experimenting with growth tasks and tactics and things like that. And they're being very customer led and they're running a lot of tests and things like that.

[00:06:08] So people would call themselves customer led.  I was on this trip to San Francisco and a friend of mine. Lenny had ski who's Lenny San on Twitter, who has, he's just exploded recently. And I recommend if you are in SAS or in product, I highly recommend following him and subscribing to his newsletter.

[00:06:25] So he was at Airbnb at the time and brought me down to where the product team worked. And I. Again, like customer journeys were nothing new to me, but we were down in this like very messy office and I was there with the head of customer success, me, head of marketing. And they had their customer journey sort of taped to the wall, but it wasn't a customer journey.

[00:06:47] Like the ones I'd ever sort of used or seen before, it was really through the lens of the customer. And it was the first time that I saw a customer journey mapped out in a way that was through the eyes of the customer. So as opposed to. You know, a new visitor or you know, trial signup and MQL SQL and those, you know, credit card entered those transactional moments.

[00:07:14] It was wasn't like that at all. It was a hundred percent about these value moments in the relationship with their customer. Now, Airbnb has obviously a pretty complex customer journey, much more complex than you know, our simple SAS at the time when I was at Unbounced, but I sort of had this. The light bulb moment.

[00:07:31] And I was like, we have to think about our customer journey like this. We need to be thinking about the leaps of faith that our customers take in their relationship with us. And so. Head of customer success. Obviously it was like nodding along like a hundred percent. We got to do this. This is Ryan Angley, who is actually still at bounce to this day.

[00:07:49]He and I, and our head of product. And co-founder at the time we sort of went through this process of identifying what we thought were these sort of leaps of faith in our customer's relationship with us, everything from again, experiencing the problem, which often gets left out right in typical life.

[00:08:04] Life cycle journey is marketing automation, you know, software. They start at like lead, but really the story begins so much earlier to that. I know I'm preaching to the choir and I'm talking to you, but this Kaitlin, so. Anyway, we, we sort of forced ourselves to think about this end-to-end customer experience and really think about what are the, not transactional moments in our relationship with our customer, but what are those more sort of value moments?

[00:08:30] And we were able to do that. We, you know, we came up with, I think it was six. Six steps or six stages rather. And we identified new KPIs for those stages. So it wasn't, again, it wasn't the typical MQL SQL. It was, you know, what does it mean when somebody activates in our product, what does a truly engaged sort of life or customer look like?

[00:08:50] What's the actions that they take inside of our product, maybe with our team. And we built strategies around that. We mobilized our team around that we really sort of. Operationalized it within the company. And it was, you know, am I going to credit the growth of this company the next, the following year, which was insane?

[00:09:09]I don't know that I can a hundred percent credit to this process, but we did grow 900% in revenue in two years following us, you

[00:09:16] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:09:16] smokes. So you can't take all the credit, but I guarantee you, there is a lot of credit due for the work that you did it.

[00:09:25] Gia Laudi: [00:09:25] to get executed on, right? Like a strategy is one thing, but like, it actually has to get executed on well, and I will say that, like, we were able to mobilize because we had a lot of people who really gave a shit about delivering a lot of value. And I think that at the end of the day, this just gave us the tools to.

[00:09:40] Talk about how to deliver value. It did a lot of the heavy lifting for us. One of my favorite sort of outcomes of this was, you know, when we would have meetings with the product team, I didn't really have to do as much explaining as I had to before. So there used to be a lot of conversations around, you know, when we would do a product launch, I would talk about how our.

[00:09:59] Customers could really help amplify a product launch for us when, when we roll out new features. And I used to have to do a lot of explaining about how marketing could leverage that. But after we mapped this customer experience, I had a lot less explaining to do just like our meetings were more efficient.

[00:10:17]You know, people sort of got it instantly. There was a lot less sort of friction and I think it was just a. A bit of a level setting across the team that we all got it. And we had this like shared sort of source of truth. So that was my first like, Real implementation and real like usage of this process.

[00:10:36] Now I left out like little, little low me back in 2013 and doing this. Like I skipped a lot of steps. Research was a massive step that we skipped. We base it on what the team knew, what we knew about our customers at the time, which was. Don't get me wrong, but you know, quite a lot. But I now know like th that process, especially through my work with Claire, my God has really, really sort of it's morphed into something so much more powerful now because we, I now have been, I've been fully indoctrinated into customer research and the value of it and the applications of it that like, Now we have this process.

[00:11:15] When I work, when I do this type of work with Claire, where we can, you know, very quickly, honestly, like when people say customer research and I'm sure you've heard this, you know, people are like, yeah, yeah. Customer

[00:11:25] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:11:25] Eyes roll. Right. People get bored. They're thinking it's going to be like, you know, it's going to take a lot of times and it cost a lot of money. It's not going to tell them anything. They don't already know it's cause they're probably not doing it right.

[00:11:35] Gia Laudi: [00:11:35] Exactly. So we tread lightly right on that. And, and we have, we've come up with this way of doing research, especially applicable for software, you know, in SAS businesses, in the B2B space particularly where, you know, we can ask a number of questions in, within a survey and within that. I, you know, not, not a ton of interviews, just a handful of interviews to develop a pretty solid hypothesis about what your customer jobs are.

[00:12:08] Now, the thing that I'll say next is that like probably another objection that I'm sure you've heard is like, you know what, what's the, what's the, what's the quote about the faster horses?

[00:12:19] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:12:19] this one all the time. So Henry Ford, if I would have asked people what they wanted, they would've said faster horses. So fed Henry Ford did not say that.

[00:12:27] Gia Laudi: [00:12:27] No. I know he didn't. I know it's, it's the favorite sort of scapegoat, but why I bring it up is because I think a really critical part of this that is a very easy, like from the sidelines, objection to this type of work is like, well, you know, our customers don't necessarily know what's best. And what if that's like, you know, should we just like blindly follow what our customers tell us?

[00:12:51] And so at this point of the. Process of after you've done some customer research and you can identify, you know, why, what were the reasons that your customers came to you to begin with? So like of your, obviously there's all I can get into a ton of detail about how we actually would run these, these you know, these surveys and interviews, but.

[00:13:09] The TLDR is our really important component of is, is identifying. Like, why do people come to you the first place? What was the problem they were trying to solve? What was the moment that they, you know, started seeking out a solution? You're probably going to identify that there's a number of reasons, right?

[00:13:22] There's not always one reason. I mean, I, I don't know that I've ever gone through this process with a company where it was one reason why you know, their customers came to them more power to you. If that's. Actually the case, but I doubt it. So you as a business, have a decision to make at that point.

[00:13:36] So you're going to see, Oh, look, there's like three to five likely, you know, themes or reasons, trigger moments. You know, why customers sought out a solution like ours and you as a business, get to decide which one are you best suited for today? You know, which one are you most excited to solve for? And then here's where the fun part comes in.

[00:13:57] Which one, if I'm excited about product led growth, which one lends itself most to a product led you know, approach or a sales led approach or marketing led approach, right? Like you have a decision to make, what kind of company do you want to run? So there, there's a really important sort of inflection point right there where when, once you make that decision, You can then take that jobs to be done that hypotheses about what your best top priority job to be done is you can take all that amazing voice of customer and the quantitative data that you have so far on how you're doing across the board in serving those customers.

[00:14:33] And then you can, you can map that end to end customer experience for that customer job. And then really have like, you can really operationalize it and mobilize your team around it.

[00:14:44] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:14:44] This is so good. And as you're listening, you're probably thinking, Holy smokes, I need to do that. How do I do that? And luckily JIA and Claire, this is what they teach in their membership community. So their membership community forget the funnel. There's lots of stuff. That's there available freely that they just share.

[00:15:00] But if you're part of the community, they give you access to even more. And I believe this is one of the things that you teach is that right?

[00:15:06] Gia Laudi: [00:15:06] Oh, yeah. A hundred percent. Yes. We have a program called customer led growth and it essentially walks companies through, again, this is like the ideal case scenario for this is really SAS businesses at various stages. Cause luckily this framework can be used to apply and solve for a lot of You know, a different sort of business challenges and growth opportunities, but yeah, the, the program is four parts.

[00:15:28] The first one is really getting really good and clear on what your opportunities are as a business and identifying like where you want to sort of zero in when you go to the next phase, which is the research phase. Again, nothing like. Crazy scary. This is you know, we've got tons of like templates and tools and you know, our favorite questions that we'd like to ask and, and our favorite types of research to do, depending on what problem you're solving and depending on what stage of company that you're at.

[00:15:55] And then in the third part, we, we basically unpack all of that and then map that customer experience like I was describing. So once you've identified your top, top customer job to be done, then you'll map the customer experience. And basically like. You're basically unpacking the entire customer experience into these milestones where you then as a business, I mean, you can do so many things from that point forward, but one of the things that you can do is identify your KPIs.

[00:16:22] And another thing that you can do is really like get you can zoom in on different. Stages and milestones of the customer experience so that you can solve for the ones where you have the biggest opportunity for improvement in growth and where you identify the success gaps that, you know, you need to fill.

[00:16:38]So it's, it really sort of helps you mobilize, but anyways, there's an after the third part, there's actually a fourth part, which is all about like building a strategy on top of what you've learned and really sort of applying everything. And yeah, like I said, it's. It's ideal for a subscription model business and a SAS business, because what we've seen is that a lot of the, the marketers product folks, CS folks, and founders who've run through it.

[00:17:02] What they tell us is that it makes these conversations internally so much easier. And also it makes it really obvious that things like more leads isn't necessarily going to solve, you know, your problems and isn't necessarily the biggest opportunity for growth for you. Many of them discover that, you know, their activation rates Have a massive opportunity or their engagement rates, the way that they try to engage their customers over time and retain them over time needs, massive improvement.

[00:17:30] And a lot of time, that's the sort of their aha moment when they go through this process. And they're when they figure out, Oh, here's what my customers want here. And here's what I'm actually doing. And like, There's this big, long list of sort of opportunities that pop up when you actually look at your customer's experience in that way.

[00:17:48] And so the fourth section is really about building a strategy around it.

[00:17:53] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:19:23] So-so good. Okay. So looking at this as somewhat of a a tangible example in your own life, one thing you and I were talking about prior to this is that you have recently invested in a short-term rental property and that you're looking at software, right? To help you run that property. So thinking of this from kind of like your own buyer journey, as you're kind of evaluating different software, that's out there, like, what would you say if you had to kind of like assess you personally, what is your job to be done when it comes to choosing, like, you know, what are you looking for that software to do for you?

[00:19:56] Or are there a few different things and that's, what's making it so hard to find it.

[00:19:59] Gia Laudi: [00:19:59] Well, no, I mean, it's funny because I,

[00:20:03] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:20:03] Okay.

[00:20:03] Gia Laudi: [00:20:03] I am so early in the journey because this property. Isn't going to be available until the summer. It's a, it's a cottage property, right? Like it's not a four season property. So I'm trying to do my due diligence and learn everything that I can about, you know, what do I need to have set up?

[00:20:20] What do I need to have in place? What are the sort of business decisions that I need to make? I don't know what I don't know at this stage, but I want to do it. Right. And I'm, I'm just like, like, I know, I know how to do the marketing. I got that. We know what Renno is we want to do.

[00:20:37] And, and like, I know how I want to furnish it and like all those things, but it's like, it's the other stuff. It's the, the more I'm not going to say technical, but like the, how we run the business that. I'm looking for software around it now. And it's obviously anybody in the software space, that's in the sort of short-term rental spaces, helping people automate processes.

[00:20:57] That's what the, you know, are there software to help people do interior decorating? I mean, I'm sure, but that's not the problem I'm trying to solve. The problem I'm trying to solve is like, What don't I know about what I can automate about this business. What do I, what do I, I just don't really even know what I don't know.

[00:21:11] So I'm, I'm doing my research online and a bunch have popped up and to be honest, I don't. There's there's maybe one or two software that are targeted at my specific job. Most of them are targeted at like people who run hotels and, you know, they, the, the way that they describe what their software does, I'm like, I'm sorry, what does that acronym mean?

[00:21:37] Like, I don't even know what these acronyms mean. Right. I'm so early in the game. So I say that knowing full well that a few of these companies, based on how they're positioning themselves and based on the, you know, the, their features. I know they're looking for customers like me, they're looking for customers like me who will, you know, start with one and then grow and then continue to invest.

[00:21:58] And, you know you know, maybe add another property or two or three. It's just such a classic. They they've all moved up market. Maybe. I don't know. It's just, it doesn't feel like there's like, it doesn't feel like there's anybody there to serve my exact job, even though they say they're there to solve my exact job.

[00:22:15]There's one software, which was the one that I was complaining to you by email when, when we were talking about this and it's like, they've got a seven day trial,  I'm like, wait a minute, seven day trial. Doesn't help me at all. I can't make this decision in seven days. Like it takes months to set up a rental property. And so you know, I, especially for the first time, I mean, I would imagine even if you're getting your second or third or fourth rental property up and running, it takes at least a couple of weeks.

[00:22:43] Cause you've got like. This stuff you got to pull together. So and there's decisions that you need to make, and there's like, you need to start marketing it before you need a software like that. Right. Cause like, if you're not, if you don't have any rentals coming in and how do you justify spending $50 a month or a hundred dollars a month on software?

[00:23:00] So I was really frustrated that I wanted to call them up honestly, and be like, do you know who your customer is? Because seven days is not enough for me. And like, now I'm going to sign up for your seven day trial and I'm going to load every email that you send to me about upgrading, because I'm just not ready.

[00:23:19]Other things too, that I've seen Is like kind of predatory pricing. It's a strong word, but like there's all these like hidden things like in the background. So it's, there's like an additional fee, for example, to send your emails to your renters with your domain. It's like I hidden $50 a month extra or something.

[00:23:40]And it's the stuff that. People like me. That's not top of mind for me when I'm evaluating a software, but when I get in the door and I actually invest my time into that piece of tech of my business, I'm going to be pissed. Right. If I hadn't looked for that, I would be furious and I would probably bail and be like, and just feel like it was predatory.

[00:24:00] So. Anyway, I'll get off my soapbox there, but I, I wanted to call them up and be like, do you know what you're doing? You don't know how much you're pissing me off and probably losing so many potential customers who are coming there who just really like, they just give them the opportunity, do freemium straight up, give them the opportunity to get to get a listing up, to see what it looks like, get a feel for your software and just don't let them, you know, book anything until they're willing to start paying.

[00:24:26] I'd be happy. To do to do that type of thing. Of course I'm not everybody, but I would wager that straight up freemium model would actually work a lot better in that scenario. And just like, don't let them publish their listing or something. But anyway, that's, that's just one little example. And honestly, I'm like so early in that journey that I'm sure if you talk to me in six months from now, Caitlin, I will have a whole other set of things to complain about.

[00:24:56] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:24:56] Well, it's so fascinating as you CA you picked up on a really good point. So there's a founder that I interviewed for the podcast. His company has proposed to buy, and they help people with making proposals and prior to them actually going out and doing customer research. Yeah. They had, I believe it was either, it was a week or two week trial period.

[00:25:11] They just picked it like out of the blue. They were like, this is what some of the competitors are doing. We're going to pick this and do it this way. And I believe if I'm getting the story right. Of what he told me, this was not on the pockets, but a separate conversation when they actually then went out and started talking to customers that had signed up for that trial people who headed continued with it, what they learned was that it, you know, the time it takes to actually put together a proposal that you're comfortable sending out to them.

[00:25:36] Client is not a week. Right. And oftentimes they were moving all of their processes into this software. And so they had to do a lot of redesigns. And so this one week trial was absolutely absolutely a waste of their time. They weren't getting value. They, you know, sat on it for a few days now. They didn't have enough time and now they weren't going to try it anymore.

[00:25:55] And so when they actually expanded the trial and gave them more time and also hit on this massive opportunity around templates, they learned, Oh, People need templates, then the company just exploded. And now they're going to be like, you know, a $10 million company they're growing really quickly. The whole insight around people need more time because they're having a hard time getting their content in.

[00:26:17] Well, maybe we can help them solve for that with giving them really awesome templates and then giving them a bit of a longer trial period that for them was like lightning in a bottle. And it came out of these conversations.

[00:26:29] Gia Laudi: [00:26:29] For sure. Especially when it involves like changing the way you do something in that scenario, like a B2B scenario, a little bit different in the, in the scenario that I'm in. I, I, you know, I'm, I'm more flexible. There's, I'm starting from, from like nothing, but in that scenario that you're describing.

[00:26:46] That's a big shift to make in the way that like you, you do things and that you operate and the, and, and very likely are offloading to a team member, right? So somebody, you may have a sort of economic buyer looking for a better solution or a functional user looking for a better solution, but chances are, they've got to use this tool with a team member and a seven day or, or even a two week isn't enough time to actually change their internal process, to like, Onboard another team member into the product.

[00:27:15]Also they probably shortened their activation rates by using tra by implementing templates as well. Which is, yeah, definitely a good idea. Look, there are some scenarios where a seven day trial is like the perfect, perfect thing, but I actually, that was a, I E that was something I did recently with a company that I'm, that I'm working with, where they had a 30 day trial.

[00:27:38] We shortened it to a 14 day just. Just to shorten it because we knew that nothing was happening in the, like the latter half of the trial. But then when we started to dig in, like after doing some research, we re we knew what to look for in the, in the actual numbers and how people were using the product.

[00:27:57] And we realized everybody who activates, I think it was like 87% of people who activate on this product activated within three days. So they didn't need a 14 day or 30 day trial. So like the reverse is also true and, and it just like, it goes to show you that there are best practices out there. There's, there's lots of there was like articles about, you know, the fact that like at the end of the year, I think like from a, from a sort of a finance perspective, There is no difference between a seven day trial and a 14 day trial.

[00:28:32] Therefore you should just use a seven day trial. Like that is is a thing that I've read in a couple of places, but that may be fine for you out of the Gates as a first guest, because you've got nothing to base this on. Like if you, you know, God forbid or launching a product without doing any customer research, I had a friend like, yeah, maybe you want to experiment with a seven day.

[00:28:55] But then do your due diligence, go back and talk to those customers and like, you know, validate that you made the right call there and do exactly what you're saying, which is like talk to their customers and learn, and then like, Actually make a change, like iterate based on what you learned and don't just take best practices as like the way you have to, because this company over here did it that way.

[00:29:20] That's such a classic move too. Right? Like marketers are super guilty of that too. You know, they they'll they'll look for, you know Wait, marketing campaigns that other people have run and be like, Oh, we're going to run a campaign just like that. And they'll emulate it. They'll do, you know, their version of it.

[00:29:37] And then it fails because it had nothing to do with their customer that had nothing to do with like the problem with our customers or we're solving, or it wasn't in the format that was appropriate for their customers. It just like, we're so guilty of that as, as marketers. I say that as like, you know, I've, I've been marketing for decades now at this point, and we're very guilty of that, where we're like, we want to, especially when we're working in house, we want to get, we want to get campaigns and programs out the door very quickly, especially in a tech environment where it can sometimes be hostile territory for marketers.

[00:30:11] So we're really desperate to just like, Get results really quickly get campaigns of the door and get these, you know, get some numbers in. But at the end of the day, if you're not putting together campaigns based on like some level of customer insight, at least you are just like throwing spaghetti against the wall.

[00:30:29] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:30:29] It's so true. And it's so funny as you've been talking like this whole idea of customer led just keeps coming back because I think a lot of us. Do make the mistake of looking at what competitors are doing, looking at what the market's doing, gathering, you know, like market research at a high level, and trying to use that as a signal to guide us when the real answers that we're searching for, they're buried a little bit deeper.

[00:30:54] Cause you have to go and actually talk to customers to get them you. Can't just scan the internet, but they're so much more useful. I've been thinking about this. Analogy around. Have you heard the term, the poor man's boots? You know, the poor man has not enough money to go and buy that high quality pair of boots.

[00:31:08] So he buys the $10 pair instead of the $40 pair, but he ends up having to replace them so many more times because he bought the less quality pair. And I think this happens in marketing a lot where people want. to move Quickly, they don't have time to do research. They want to get something out the door and when it hits, they say they were brilliant.

[00:31:26] And when it fails, Oh, you know, there's some something to blame. It's not that they didn't do the kind of due diligence of understanding the customer

[00:31:34] first. 

[00:31:35] Gia Laudi: [00:31:35] Yep. Yep. Exactly.

[00:31:37] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:31:37] Okay. So where do you, Margaret, as you work with a lot of different you work with a lot of marketers, a lot of SAS companies specifically, where do you see them making mistakes?

[00:31:46] When it comes to identifying their customers jobs to be done, like that's kind of the first step, you know, or the opportunity is the first step, but then you go off and do your, so to validate that that opportunity is true. So when they start doing that research, where do you see them falling off?

[00:31:59]Gia Laudi: [00:31:59] Well, honestly, the vast, vast majority are falling off before they do the research. It's it's the making the decision to prioritize. Customer insights like gathering customer insights. That is by far and away, the biggest blocker. Once you can get over that hurdle again, like it's a hurdle once you can get over that hurdle.

[00:32:24]Then it's, it's, I mean, there's a whole slew of things, obviously that you need to be sort of diligent about, but that, that crossing that hurdle is the biggest thing. And I think there's a lot of, I mean, not to like, Poopoo on founders or anything, but there's a lot of pressure for the small tech companies to grow very quickly.

[00:32:47] And it can be really difficult, especially for very product or tech minded founders to sort of stop for a minute and like take a breath and really think about, you know, What are our biggest opportunities and how can we sort of leverage our customers and what can we learn and how can I help my team learn how to think more strategically?

[00:33:11] So, you know, the, again, like the biggest blocker tends to be that. Marketers are all in like so many of the marketers that we talk to and consultants that we talked to in product leads and we talked to they're all in the hardest part of their job is convincing leadership and the founding members like the founder founding team that this work is worth it.

[00:33:33]Once that happens, then they're kind of off to the races. Honestly, I, you know, Interviews are easy to mess up. I mean, that's a gimme I see a lot of companies, like once again, once they, once they've sort of crossed that and made that decision that like, okay, let's, let's do some lightweight research projects.

[00:33:50] I'll see people make a lot of mistakes with like survey questions and interview questions. And they just, I mean, honestly in their defense, I mean, if they've never done a research project before, I mean, me, you know, 10 years ago, I wouldn't, I would have made exactly the same mistakes you know, poorly wording questions or asking leading questions or letting too many adjacent teams jump on board of the research that Izzy  That happens a lot you know, T too many teams trying to solve a problem with one survey and one set of interviews is like pretty classic.

[00:34:21]But you know, we try to address and solve for all of those things, as much as we can by sort of forcing people to make a decision about, like, what is the actual problem you're trying to solve with this research so that you can always reference back to what the problem is and what the opportunity is that you're solving for.

[00:34:41] For anybody who, I just want to add this one question, or you should ask it in this way or let's, you know, let's add an NPS, you know, to our survey or whatever. So I there's a lot of like very. There's a lot of very small things that can go wrong in a research project, which I'm sure you know, very well.

[00:35:00]And so just like not asking for feedback, not getting out of the room, not getting out of the building. I'm sorry that, that's another thing that I think that a lot of marketers won't do, they'll try to like run research projects, sort of like in the corner. That's another thing that happens a lot. And they won't, they won't get out.

[00:35:16] Of the building and get, get feedback on the surveys. I've I've we ask our members in our community whenever possible. Like if you're going to send out a survey to, in order to generate some, some interviews post the survey questions, like give us, give us the TLDR and what you're solving for. Give us the survey questions and put them in the community.

[00:35:35] Any one of our members who have put their questions to the community. Have left. Like, thank God we did this. All of them are like, we would, this would have been botched. Had we not gotten like a second and third set of eyes on this?

[00:35:48] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:35:48] So good and what I'm hearing too. And I think that's really important for people to pick up on is you very much are living your like advice. You know, what the work that you do in your consultancy and the work that you do in building the forget, the funnel community and your customer growth program, you're learning, you're watching what your own customers are doing, how they're applying, and then you're shifting your approach and you're giving them right.

[00:36:11] New resources. And I think that that's what we need to think about as marketers. And also as innovators is really eating our own dog food. It's, it's pretty

[00:36:20] Gia Laudi: [00:36:20] Drink your own champagne. Come on.

[00:36:22] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:36:22] I liked that's a better one. So good. Okay. So like just some things I have to get people leaving on a high note, thinking about like, you know, what could this look like for me?

[00:36:30] You gave the Airbnb example. Like so often, like we see companies like, you know, Amazon, like Jeff Bezos says that they're the number one thing that's made us successful by far as our obsessive view of the customer, Steve jobs says, you know, you have to start with the customer needs and work backwards.

[00:36:45] Drifted, one of the fastest growing companies in history, they're all about the customer, but there's, they're big companies. And sometimes we think, okay, can we do what they've done? So looking at some of the companies that are coming through your program, or maybe that you're working with your you're in your consultancy, can you share any smaller wins that teams are getting just from that customer insight and then operationalizing that in their business?

[00:37:06] Any examples, maybe you don't have to. Say who maybe you share your own, but any that we can kind of use as a inspiration, going out to think about doing this work.

[00:37:16] Gia Laudi: [00:37:16] Yeah, I'm actually, now I'm wondering if I can name them. I might be able to name them. So we I've been, I've been working with a, I wish I, in an ideal world, I would give you a member example and I totally could. This one just happens to be more top of mind for me as a recently. I'm advising a company right now where we ran through a very simple research project that consisted of surveys.

[00:37:39] They've got. A decent amount of customers. They've got like a low price point a low ACV product with lots of customers. And so when we ran a survey, we got such like amazing insights that said the insights that we got actually came back from the it's not like they had hundreds of responses necessarily there wasn't, you know, we, we got to a relatively modest number of survey responses.

[00:38:05]I wanna say like 30. Right. Like that's achievable by a fair amount of people to get 30 survey responses. The thing is, is that we, you know, we were careful in how we segmented, but also how we parsed the survey data. We identified the, the, not only do we identify the customer job, but we also identified by looking at the voice of customer, these value themes that just came up over and over again.

[00:38:27] And we applied that to the, just the, the. Pricing page, honestly. And the conversion rate on the website from new unique visitor to a trial start increased. And this is like an obscene number. I was in like the hundreds of percent. I want to say 130% since over a six month period. Like. We started making small incremental changes starting in April, and then all the way up through to the end of the year.

[00:38:56]The increase, the conversion rate on the website has increased 130%.

[00:39:01] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:39:01] That is amazing

[00:39:02] Gia Laudi: [00:39:02] Yeah.

[00:39:03] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:39:03] would not want to have 130% higher conversion rate on your sales page?

[00:39:07] Gia Laudi: [00:39:07] Yeah, and it wasn't like a one, a one and done thing. Like we made small iterative changes, but we based them all on like one very simple survey. Right. Like, we, we didn't even get to conduct interviews. Like we didn't even get to that stage yet. And we ran, we ran these surveys and like a bunch of the responses were thrown away.

[00:39:29] Don't get me wrong. Like we had a bunch of throwaway responses, of course, but we based, you know, we, we identified patterns that were meaningful enough and significant enough patterns that we, that we could apply it to the website positioning. And honestly, like, that's the, that's the. Often an easy win, like updating the website in general.

[00:39:49] Shouldn't be that hard to do if you have, you know, if it's, if your website is like owned by product or dev or something, then it may be a little bit of a different situation. But hopefully if you're a marketer listening to this and you have ownership over the website, you should be able to make changes to the website.

[00:40:06] Copy relatively. Easily without needing a whole, you know, needing to get dev involved. Hope I hope. That said obviously like, The even bigger wins for this company will be when they get to roll out similar changes. Once somebody started a trial. So the closer you get to a highly engaged, you know, high retention customer.

[00:40:31] The higher, the more sort of the bigger advantage to revenue. And of course I have an increase in conversion rate on a website is fantastic, but if you're a SAS business and you can increase your, I mean, there is a, there is a stat on this, actually, if you can increase, is it retention and monetization by five, just 5%.

[00:40:53] You can increase profits by 25 to 95%. So it's just like,

[00:40:59] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:40:59] think about that, how big that is. And again, like this desire to move quickly and to just try new stuff and like get what's out there working, like if you do that and you're not basing it on customer insight, it's going to feel like a lot of momentum with not a lot of outcome.

[00:41:14] And it's going to be disappointing.

[00:41:15] Gia Laudi: [00:41:15] Yeah. So all to say that, you know, there are smaller wins like making updates to, you know, your, your your website or your pricing page, but especially again for subscription businesses, post acquisition, you know, improving your activation rates, improving your engagement rates. There is almost nothing that is more important than that, especially by the way, if you're in a volatile market, you know, because of the last year and you know, things have really changed.

[00:41:44] You can't control what your market is doing, but you can control how your product serves them and what experience you give to them after they do take the leap of faith, of signing up for your product that is all on you. And you know, if you can take. What you learned from pretty simple research projects and test them in your, you know, your product onboarding or your engagement campaigns or your customer marketing.

[00:42:07] Holy moly. Like the, the, the dividends that that pays is way more than just like let's increase traffic and let's get more leads in the door.

[00:42:16] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:42:16] So, so, so good. Okay. So JIA, you have left us with so much good stuff. Now, I also know that in addition to this podcast interview, people want to learn more about customer like. There is a wealth of resources waiting for them. So where can they find out about that? Is there a, you know, a particular webinars that you've done with for forget the funnel?

[00:42:35] Is there a blog post? We should direct them to.

[00:42:38] Gia Laudi: [00:42:38] Hm. I, my immediate answer is like, honestly, just go to the resource library. I forget the funnel. So we run we run events twice. Events every month that are completely free. We do a guest interview every month, and then we do a live event every month. We generally will do like a live Q and a, so people can show up.

[00:42:56] We'll be focused on a topic that people can show up and ask their questions in real time. And we'll like workshop stuff, which is. Super fun. That's my favorite format ever. And then of course, we also have like amazing guests on you've been a guest. We recently had Justin Jordan from Wildbit.

[00:43:12] We've had Heaton on recently. We had Patrick Campbell on recently, like people who really know their stuff. So those are really great and they're completely ungated and free to watch. And then of course we have a free membership where. Actually for the, I'm sorry for the free membership, that's how you participate in our live events, but you can always watch the replays for free that are, those are un-gated.

[00:43:33] But if you become a free member, then you can participate in those live events. And then our pro membership includes a community and the customer led growth program. And yeah. Also more, you know, time with us you know, workshopping your specific, you know, opportunities and challenges inside your team.

[00:43:50] So there's a lots of going on in there. We stay very, very busy but it's really fun. And, you know, we're all focused on SAS. There's marketers in there there's founders in there there's consultants, product leads. Like I said, customer success folks. We're all like obsessed with delivering customer value and like really.

[00:44:07] You know, being really good at what we do. We're like all really focused on what is like the best thing for the customer and how to deliver value.

[00:44:17] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:44:17] I love it. And what I can say is like having been on teams where, you know, there's a small marketing team having been a founder, that's leading marketing. There's nothing better than getting to go through this journey and learn from really smart people that have moved ahead of you that are happy. Gone through the journey.

[00:44:34] And then also to be able to just get out of your own head and feel like you're getting the support of the community. I think what you guys have done is just absolutely brilliant. I really encourage everybody. Who's listening to go check it out and it's, if you decide to go for the paid membership, it's going to be some of the best money you can spend.

[00:44:49]Gia Laudi: [00:44:49] Thanks Kaitlin.

[00:44:50] Katelyn Bourgoin: [00:44:50] Awesome. Well, I have learned a ton. I'm really excited for people to listen to this episode and learn more about customer life growth. I'm so glad you coined the term. I know you won't take claim over it, but I'm giving it to you. I'm so glad you guys did it because now we can, we can talk about it.

 

Katelyn Bourgoin

Host of Customer Show & Founder of Customer Camp

Katelyn is the founder of Customer Camp, a training and research firm that helps growth-ready product teams to get inside their customer’s heads so they can market smarter.

Georgiana Laudi

Co-founder & SaaS marketing and growth strategist.