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Email Marketing, Tools, Visual Communication

Here’s How GIFs Can Fire up Your Brand’s Email Open Rates ft. @CloudApp

gifsthatkeepgiving

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

I could watch Patrick Stewart facepalm all day. Through the wonder of GIFs, I’ve actually done just that, going into giggle-fits on every rotation.

Looped hilarity aside, GIFs are quickly spreading beyond Reddit and Tumblr and into mainstream marketing, and for good reason. They’re highly effective at achieving the KPIs every marketer wants: Better open rates, more views, and higher conversions. Also, people love ’em.

Email marketers can especially benefit from adding GIFs to their campaigns. In this post, we’ll cover exactly what you need to know about using GIFs to make your email marketing more convincing — and more fun — than ever before.

Read More on Moz


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Customer Success, Tools, Visual Communication

Words Are Awkward — Respond Faster, Visually, Without Typing a Word of Text ft. @SlackHQ & @CloudApp

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Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Slack-based Customer Success Ideas to Amaze & Delight Your Customers

Slack customer service has been making headlines in tech communities. Some say it’s a crowd-pleaser and a time-saver, others say the opposite. In short: A few forward-thinking companies are using the Slack not just for internal team communication, but also for customer communications.

If you’ve ever gotten into an argument with a significant other via text message, you know that you can’t express everything with words alone.

Words are awkward.

They can be misleading and confusing or imply the wrong sentiment all together. Use too few words, and the reader thinks you’re callous and uncaring. Use too many and they’ll just think you’re weird. Without the benefit of visual aids, vocal inflections and physical gestures, communication, especially between strangers, is tough.

When it comes to customer service and customer success, clear communication is vital. But clarity isn’t the only goal. That communication also has to be fun and engaging. It has to tell the customer “I care about you, your experience, and your success.” And, each communication should make the client stop and think “Wow, I need to tell my friends about this company.”

That’s a tall order to place on faulty words, so some companies are beginning to bring in visual communication tools to use with Slack, like CloudApp.

Read More on SaaScribe


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Content Marketing, Tools, Visual Communication

10 Creative Visual Tools & Where to Share Your Visual Content by @NikkiElizDeMere

Visual-Content-Tools

Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Gone are the days when a simple infographic would cut the mustard. Today’s content marketers have to be agile, ready to take on everything from photo editing, to video editing, to creating memes guaranteed to go viral. Considering that many content marketers aren’t designers (or even former film majors) – that’s a considerable challenge. I’ve compiled my favorite tools that make visual content marketing easy for everyone, in nearly every medium. No expertise required.

But wait – there’s more. Creating visual content is only half the battle for marketers – I get that! So at the end of this post is a list of 10 Places to Share Your Designs That Will Bring You Way More Traffic Than Twitter or Facebook.

Happy visualizing!

10 Visual Marketing Design Tools for Non-Designers

1. PicMonkey (for collages & basic photo editing)

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Picmonkey is a free, web-based photo editor and graphic design tool with a surprising number of ever-changing fonts, trendy color schemes and fun designs to choose from.

2. Placeit (for product mockups)

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Placeit makes it easy to generate product mockups without Photoshop, and costs far less (one download costs $8, and monthly plans start from $12).

3. Visage (for data visualization)

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Visage makes it easy to bring great design to data by making it simple to create charts and graphs, and visually design them with colors, fonts, clipart and high-res image backgrounds. You can also use it to super-impose words on background images (many of which are included in the freemium version), or to create infographics.

4. Free Stock Photos (for all of your royalty-free photo needs)

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Free stock photo sites:

  • Unsplash – Adds 10 new royalty-free photos every 10 days, best for breathtaking landscapes, cityscapes and still-lives.
  • Picjumbo – High-res photos, no attribution required for almost all images, best for food pictures.
  • Gratisography – Quirky, fun, provocative images by Ryan McGuire.
  • NewOldStock – A random assortment of vintage photos ranging from the Sphinx to the Rolling Stones, and everything in between.

5. Awesome Screenshot (for annotated screenshots)

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Awesome Screenshot, available on Mozilla, Chrome and Safari, allows you to take screenshots of whole pages or parts of pages and annotate them with shapes – exceptionally useful for critiquing pages and images.

6. Social Image Resizer Tool (easy resizing for those who don’t think in pixels)

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Social Image Resizer Tool makes it extremely easy to resize your images according to where you want to use them. Just upload your image and choose where it’s going – no need to know the pixel count.

7. Dissolve (a resource for video stock footage for commercial use)

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Dissolve has HD quality, royalty-free stock footage available for commercial use, making it easy to create a jaw-dropping video. Footage isn’t free, so expect to pay a few hundred for a 10-20 second clip.

8. Stencil (basic words on image generator for social media)

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Stencil is a Chrome extension that lets you quickly put words on images that are pre-sized for social sharing. $9/month.

9. Imgflip (for making memes)

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ImgFlip is a meme-creating tool that lets you customize font and text, and make GIFs from images or videos.

10. Qzzr (for creating quizzes)

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Qzzr is an app for creating interactive quizzes for free (with basic customization) or $299/year for Pro-level options.

10 Places to Share Your Designs That Will Bring You Way More Traffic Than Twitter or Facebook

As a content marketer, you likely spend as much or more time promoting your content than creating it (or you should be). But with so many content marketers flooding the main arteries of social media, it’s getting harder to get your content noticed, which is why many of us have found much better results from sharing our visual content via these networks.

  1. Pinterest – Some bloggers have cultivated followings of thousands just by using Pinterest, or a combo of Pinterest and Instagram (see The Dabblist). Sharing is free, but there is a science to which kinds of posts do best. They’re image-heavy, informative, and list-centric.
  2. Instagram – Instagram is a powerful tool for visual content marketers, especially for sharing customer-centric photos (pictures about your customers), employee-centric photos (pictures about your employees or CEO) and contest photos.
  3. com/oggl/ – If you use Hipstamatic’s photo effects to stylize your photos, you can share them on Hipstamatic’s community via their app. No one is as likely to appreciate your creative efforts as other creatives, and you might just up your game by getting ideas from your peers.
  4. com – Describing itself for “show and tell for designers,” Dribbble is where you come to really strut your stuff, or get ideas from the best. Top designs get thousands of page views and hundreds of likes.
  5. net – Another showcase site for creative work, Behance also allows you to get peer kudos in the form of thousands of views and hundreds of likes. You can submit your work to several categories, including Branding, Graphic Design, UI/UX and Web Design.
  6. Tumblr – Incredibly sticky with a hip, young audience, Tumblr can be a great resource for marketing to millennials, especially if you’re marketing to a tight niche and have an amusing image.
  7. org – If your design skills are ready to turn pro (and freelance), you might want to check out Designers Couch. It’s like a collection of portfolios for designers, illustrators, web designers, and other visual creatives.
  8. Slideshare – For B2B marketing, Slideshare is a happening place for sharing slides, infographics, and other informative visual materials. Don’t use it for blatant ads, but do use it for publishing exceptional original high-value content.
  9. Vine – With channels like “DIY” and “Gaming,” and a young, tech-savvy demographic, Vine is practically made to foster viral videos. If you’re trying to reach younger millennials, this is where they are. Prepare to entertain them within 6 seconds.
  10. Sub-Reddits & Reddit-Infographics – Finding the best Sub-Reddit for your niche is the hard part (there are so many). Uploading your infographic, meme, GIF or image is the easy part. But watch out for Mod rules like “no more self-promotion.”

Each social media outlet has its own style and its own user demographic, but that just makes them better tools for finding and attracting your target market. But one characteristic rings true for all of them: These are users who love good humor, great visuals, and truly innovative creativity.


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Customer Success, Tools

25 Tools to Integrate Customer Success into Your Business ft. @Segment

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Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

Predict churn, reach out to customers at just the right time, improve retention and increase new sales, upsells and cross-sells—the promises of a robust customer success program are practically a recipe for success. They might even sound too good to be true, but they make fundamental sense. When you provide your customers with the support they need to achieve their desired outcome, your success and their success go hand-in-hand.

That is the philosophy behind “customer success.”

But don’t think of customer success as a handful of tactics to reduce churn. It will serve you much better to embrace customer success as a high-level strategy to accelerate and sustain growth in a competitive market.

With the right stack of tools, integrating customer success practices into your business is relatively easy and painless. Here is a list of our favorite solutions for helping your customers reach their desired outcomes.

Read More on Segment


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Customer Success, Tools

The Customer Success Toolkit – And Why We Shouldn’t Even Call it That ft. @LincolnMurphy

The-Customer-Success-Toolkit---and-why-we-shouldnt-even-call-it-that-
Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

When discussing tools for Customer Success, let’s first address the elephant in the room: Way too many companies approach Customer Success from a tool-first perspective. If you look at Customer Success like it’s something that can be accomplished with the right “stack,” you’re missing the most important part of the picture.

The tools will help you manage Customer Success, but it’s more of a philosophy – one that belongs in the very DNA of your business. For an outstanding definition of everything Customer Success is, and can be, read The Definitive Guide.

As of now, Gainsight is the leader in the very new space of Customer Success Management. The company’s tagline is “The Customer Success Company,” promising reduced churn, more up-sells, and more sales in general. Big claims, but it delivers.

Customers are deeply impressed by Gainsight’s ability to predict churn and help them reach out to customers at just the right times. These genuinely actionable insights come from analyzing several data sources, including product usage, support, billing, as well as marketing and survey data. Then, out of this primordial soup of numbers, Gainsight forms analytics and workflows so customer success teams know what’s happening – and what they should do about it.

This last detail is what has boosted Gainsight into its leading status. As Lincoln Murphy, Customer Success Evangelist at Gainsight says,

“Lots of systems can analyze data and present dashboards; but what do you do with that? How do you ensure all CSMs are working with customers in the same way? From a consistent customer experience to onboarding CSMs, this centralized workflow system powered by customer ‘insights’ is so powerful.”

Gainsight makes it possible to operationalize a rather complex process in ways other products in the category don’t. But with a little elbow grease and the right tools, you can build a customer success stack.

But first, a question: What type of Customer Success do you want to embrace? Lincoln Murphy puts people who say they want customer success into two camps.

“‘Customer Success’ is either a handful of tactics you use to save customers who might churn out… or it’s a high-level strategy used to accelerate and sustain growth over the long-term regardless of market conditions. Customer Success is just glorified Support with some Account Management (Quotas!) thrown in, or it’s a total shift in how you view – and profit from – your relationship with the Customer. Hint: If you’re not looking at it as a high-level strategy, you’re doing it wrong.

If Customer Success really is as important to a business as people say it is – and I believe it’s actually much more important than most people say – than it needs to be operationalized at least as well as other parts of the business. You can’t afford to buy a real Customer Success Management solution? I’d say, you can’t afford not to.

You can't afford to buy a real Customer Success Management solution? You can't afford not to. - Lincoln Murphy Click To Tweet

Are you ready for a change in the paradigm of how you view your business in relation to your customers? Or are you just looking for a new term to boost the morale of your customer service department, or maybe a new way to talk to your sales team about up-sells? These tools will help you do that too – but, from personal experience, I can tell you: Customers can tell the difference. They sense it when their interests are truly your own. They also feel it when you’re out for yourself first.

Customers sense it when their interests are truly your own. They also know when you’re out for yourself first. Click To Tweet

To truly reap the rewards of a customer success program, the end result should be vibrant, active, energized customer advocacy of your product – and that can only happen when the relationships between you and your customers are based more in their successes than your own.

Here are the tools to make that happen.

The Customer Success Toolbox

(Not all of these tools are necessary, and many can be used with each other)

Customer Success Frameworks

Customer success starts with your ideal customer – if those last two words result in a vague mental image of a happy customer, you need this:

  • Ideal Customer Profile Framework – Your Ideal Customer Profile – ICP – dictates (or should dictate) everything from the features and functionality of the SaaS product you build, to the words you use and the emotion you invoke or tap into in your marketing.

Customer Communication

A huge part of customer success is actually talking to and connecting with your customers.

  • GoToMeeting – Work can happen anytime, anywhere. GoToMeeting with HD video conferencing is a simple yet powerful way to collaborate in real time.
  • Intercom – Intercom is one place for every team in an internet business to communicate with customers, personally, at scale—on your website, inside web and mobile apps, and by email.
  • Respondly – “Way to Tackle Twitter as a Team” Respondly keeps your team perfectly in sync on Twitter, so you can deliver support in a fraction of the time.
  • Talkus.io – Chat with your website users from Slack.

Vianney Lecroart, Founder at Talkus.io:

“We started Talkus with a blank page asking ourselves “Slack as a platform? So what would that look like – a help desk designed and created only for Slack?”

It’s a live chat + email helpdesk (phone and SMS support is in alpha) where you never have to leave Slack to talk with your users.

Basically, you have one Slack support channel where your support team is. It works like an email inbox (not like a chat). Each time you have a new request for chat or email, Talkus posts a sentence (ticket) in this channel and it updates the ticket when things happen (someone is handling the request, close the ticket and so on). So if the channel is empty, it means you have nothing to do (congrats!) and if it is full of tickets, good luck!

Here are a few nice things we have:

As you see here, we display users’ weather, location, and local time. It’s really useful to create very personal introduction like if it’s 4AM, “Hello John, how we could help you in the middle of the night?” or if it’s snowing, “Hello, made a snowman today?” You cannot imagine how happy people are when they receive personalized messages.

Since customer support teams never have to leave Slack to do support, it’s much faster to handle a new customer. Change channel, click and chat. The user is slow to answer? Just go back and you’ll receive a slack notification and CMD+K to switch again. No need to switch between your email ticket system, live chat system, Slack, and whatever else you have going on.

You can use all power Slack features. If you chat with a user who has a technical problem, just /invite your dev in the channel so he can directly help. You want to send a file? Just drop it in the channel. You can even use all other Slack integrations, like /giphy!”

Customer Health

How happy (and successful) are your customers with your product? Put your finger on customer pulse with these tools.

  • GoodData – Powered by advanced business intelligence tools and technology, the GoodData platform leads the industry in SaaS Business Intelligence.
  • Wootric – Measure Net Promoter Score inside your web application. It just got easier to improve your product, increase your promoters, and woo your customers.

Lisa Abbott, Director of Marketing at Wootric:

“Wootric is the in-app Net Promoter Score platform for boosting customer happiness. ‘In-app’ is important, because it is often the best way for SaaS businesses to engage with their customers. Our elegant survey delivers off-the-charts response rates (vs. email), and runs automatically for a constant pulse of rich, contextual feedback.

And, with our Javascript or SDK, it is a quick 5-minute install. No need to set up campaigns, or constantly update customer email lists. Our dashboard handles analytics and provides an easy way to close the loop with customers. This means teams can focus on aligning around their customer’s success, and do less NPS administration and number crunching.”

  • Totango – We help you know when your customers are ready to move to the next level, need a little more product coaching, or are doing just dandy.

Kaiser Mulla-Feroze, Chief Marketing Officer at Totango:

“Totango has a unique, differentiated way to manage customers based on a deep understanding of user engagement, service utilization levels, business results and ROI delivered to customers. Totango monitors customers much the same way a Fitbit monitors activity levels and vital signs. Totango’s software then goes a step further to help teams put in place action plans, best practice playbooks, and automated campaigns (e.g., a “get well” plan or an “up-sell” campaign) to improve customer health.”

Customer Support

Ideally, you’ll be able to catch problems before they rise to the level of a customer submitting a support ticket. For those times when you can’t…

  • Desk.com – Customer support software that makes customers happy.
  • Zendesk – Zendesk makes it easy to support customers when they need your help. Zendesk also makes it easy for them to help themselves when they don’t.

Customer Success Training

Because a crack-customer success team doesn’t happen by accident.

  • Learndot – Software that integrates with your existing systems that is designed to train customers to achieve success, fully branded and customized to attract and convert prospects.

Internal / Team Communication

Customer success is a team effort, and team efforts require some coordination.

  • Calendly – Say goodbye to playing phone and email tag for finding the perfect meeting time with Calendly.

Claire Suellentrop, General Manager at Calendly:

“Calendly is a scheduling tool that helps customer success teams scale their efforts and stay proactive. This looks different from team to team, but some of the biggest value-adds we’ve heard from our users include:

Making the onboarding process more efficient, since customer success specialists can offer regular group training calls to clients with similar needs

Giving customers a better experience, since they can book a support or training call at their convenience (no need to wait for confirmation of their proposed time or reach out only during office hours)

Freeing team members from phone and email tag, allowing them to run their day—not be run by it.”

  • Confluence – Create anything your team needs – meeting notes, product requirements, knowledge base articles – on the web so everyone can contribute.
  • Gmail – Google-owned, web-based email service.
  • Google Apps (Docs, Sheets, Calendar, etc.) – An all-in-one suite to communicate, store and create.
  • JIRA – JIRA Software offers flexible issue and project tracking with best-in-class agile tooling for software teams.
  • Slack – Slack brings all your communication together in one place. It’s real-time messaging, archiving and search for modern teams.
  • Targetprocess – Visually manage complex work and focus on the things that matter – Targetprocess gives the visibility and transparency you need across your organization. From Kanban and Scrum to almost any operational process, Targetprocess flexibly adapts to your management approach and organizational structure.

Alena Kuzniatsova, Marketing Director at Targetprocess:

“Targetprocess helps its customers to achieve success by enabling agility: you can use Targetprocess as a project management tool supporting any flavors of Scrum, Kanban and other Agile approaches and the tool adapts to your own processes and workflows. On top of that, Targetprocess is a visual tool which means it gives your superior visibility across projects, programs, teams and departments. The visibility is very important for understanding what is happening in your organization at each given moment and where you can improve. The remarkable flexibility and visibility provided by Targetprocess set it apart from other Agile project management tools.”

Analytics & Metrics

Data-driven doesn’t even begin to cover the importance of tracking data for customer success. These tools make it possible to see what your customers are doing, and where they might be failing.

  • Heap – Heap is web and mobile analytics that automatically captures everything. You can analyze data instantly and retroactively.

Lenny Eskin, Head of Demand Generation at Heap:

“Heap is a new approach to analytics. Whereas other analytics tools require manual tracking code, Heap automatically collects all user interactions such as clicks, form submissions, page views, etc. This lets people get the business insights they need instantly and retroactively, without writing any code. Anyone in an organization can use data to drive their decisions.

Customer Success teams can use Heap to better understand user churn and engagement. Heap provides insights into retention over time, indicators that help predict churn, and potential up-sell opportunities. Every granular detail on a user’s activity is available, which lets Customer Success teams flexibly segment users to truly understand what keeps them engaged.”

  • ChartMogul – Reporting and analytics designed for SaaS and subscription businesses.

Ed Shelley, Direct of Content at ChartMogul

ChartMogul allows subscription businesses to go far beyond simple metrics and reporting. Our powerful set of tools such as Segmentation mean that you can access much deeper insights into your subscription revenue, leading to more informed decisions towards the rapid growth of your business.

Customer Success executives use ChartMogul to give a laser focus to their efforts. Churn analysis tools like Cohorts identify trends and critical periods for customer churn, whilst Segmentation unlocks a range of Customer Success-specific views of the data – for example, correlating product engagement with churn rate.”

  • Popcorn Metrics – Tag and send user events to mixpanel, KISSmetrics, google, Intercom.io, Customer.io, Trak.io, Segment.io (…) without needing developers.  

Paul Boyce, Founder of Popcorn Metrics:

“If there’s one key lesson I wanted to share, it’s this: Build your customer onboarding process with the single goal of helping users become successful in their job, help make it easy for them, and if you can do that – then they’ll become your customer as a natural consequence. Even better, you’ll have customers that you’ve invested time in and started building a trusting relationship that should last a long time – as both yours and their business grows.

Most of the value from event-based customer service tools (like Intercom.io, Mixpanel and Customer.io) depends on knowing what a user has done on your website – and typically that means needing IT to integrate the tools.  

Popcorn Metrics is unique because it replaces the need for developers, with a low-tech point-and-click service to capture and send user data, allowing Customer Success Managers the freedom to use their favorite Customer Success platforms without being constrained by IT resources.  

Rather than being just another metrics platform, Popcorn Metrics is built for Customer Success Managers to capture and send individual user behavior data to multiple Customer Success platforms. We push data to Mixpanel, Intercom.io, Customer.io, Segment.com, and more.” 

Subscription Management

So much of churn happens through failures to renew – in other words, poor subscription management. This tool makes that part easy.

  • Recurly – Subscription billing and recurring billing management. Recurly offers enterprise-class subscription billing for thousands of companies worldwide.
  • Chargify – Streamline your subscription management and recurring billing. Chargify offers tools proven to reduce churn, provide better customer support, and grow recurring revenue.

Adam Feber, Director of Marketing at Chargify:

“Chargify has been in the subscription management space for 7 years, and in that time, we have become experts at what features and functionality it takes to build and grow a successful subscription-based business. Outside of being easy to create your plans, integrate your website/app, and be up-and-running, we give all of your teams tools to succeed.

For example, sales and marketing can quickly spin up campaigns or apply discounts on the fly to close deals faster. Customer success can identify and engage with at-risk or past due accounts to reduce churn. Support can easily locate plan information and billing history, issue credits, process refunds, and make account changes. Management can understand the health the business through a variety of reports and analytics.

And most importantly, your company can scale without having to worry about building or maintaing proprietary code. This allows you to focus resources on serving your customers and growing your business.”

Up-sells & Cross-sells

Ah, the real meat and potatoes of what customer success has to offer. And these tools nail it.

  • Salesforce – Provides on-demand customer relationship management (CRM) software services to help companies with global customer communication.
    • ToutApp – (Records email communication into Salesforce.) ToutApp helps salespeople close more deals and increase productivity with the power of tracking, templates and analytics.

Integrate Your Toolbox

It’s always nice to have everything you need in one place.

  • Segment – Collect user data with one API and send it to hundreds of tools or a data warehouse. Tip: If you think you’ll be interested in investing in a full-blown CSM tool (like Gainsight) in the future, make sure you leverage other tools that have a Segment integration. Then when it’s time to invest in a CSM, Segment will easily integrate your data.

Diana Smith, Director of Marketing at Segment:

Most companies want to use a lot of tools to do different jobs: customer success, email marketing, advertising, analytics. Segment makes it easy to use all these tools without wasting needless time integrating them one by one. Plus, you’ll operate on a consistent dataset in each tool. Integrate Segment. Flip a switch to send data to every new service.

For example, you can use Segment to automatically start sending your website and app data to customer success tools like Gainsight, Preact, Client Success, and Intercom. Or, if you’re more of a DIY kinda gal, our Warehouses product gives you all of the data you need to understand what your customers are doing. You can create custom dashboards on top of your SQL instance showing everyone on an account, the last interactions they had in the product, their overall usage, the marketing channel they came from, and more.”

All-In-One

The full enchilada. All the bells and whistles. The product that practically created the customer success movement as we know it.

  • Gainsight – “The Customer Success company.”

Lincoln Murphy, Customer Success Evangelist at Gainsight:

“When it comes to Customer Success Management, like any other part of the business, you need to be clear on what you’re doing before you select a tool, otherwise you end up shaping your strategy around the tool or selecting bad-fit tools that waste time, energy, and resources to move beyond. You need to have a clear Customer Success strategy, know how that strategy will play out across the customer lifecycle and organizationally, and know what success will look like for your Customer Success Management initiative.

Then you can – and should – operationalize by leveraging technology, and Gainsight is the only true Customer Success Management product on the market, that allows you to fully operationalize across the entire customer lifecycle, and across all customer segments (from very low-touch to super high-touch), from ensuring your customers are achieving their Desired Outcomes and triggering appropriate intervention if they aren’t (or if they could use more seats, add-ons, training, etc.), to ensuring your Customer Success Managers are all working from the same playbook and accurate customer information.”

Customer Success Stacks in Action

How do companies combine these tools in the real-world? I asked a few of my favorite startups to share their stacks.

Product Hunt

According to Ryan Hoover, Founder of Product Hunt, their Customer Success stack is a combination of Respondly and Intercom.

Unbounce

According to Tia Fomenoff, Customer Success Manager at Unbounce, their Customer Success stack is a combination of:

  • Intercom for auto-messages and looking up conversation history/general user data
  • Gmail for some personal inbound account questions
  • Calendly for customers to book meetings with us
  • Slack/Google Apps (Docs, Sheets, Calendar, etc.) for team communication
  • Zendesk for ticket management and transparency
  • Recurly for customers’ subscription/billing management
  • Targetprocess for delivering feedback to our Product Team
  • and are just beginning to adopt Totango for customer health

ServiceRocket

According to Kendall Beckelhymer, Customer Success Manager at ServiceRocket, their Customer Success stack is a combination of:

  • Toutapp – Records email communication into Salesforce with my customers and allows me to set follow-up reminders that pop-up in my inbox.  Additionally, I can send out personalized email blasts on specific things that are of interest to all of my customers, like key new releases, events, etc.
  • Google Calendars/GoToMeeting – Most of my days are spent talking to customers either in-person or remotely. Google Calendars is my life and GoToMeeting is the tool we use for remote meetings.
  • Salesforce – To track upcoming renewals, up-sells and account status
  • Desk.com (hooked into SFDC) – This support channel which also pushes into SFDC so the CSM’s can get a single view on their accounts including escalated support tickets.
  • JIRA – To communicate with PM/Engineering team on bugs, new feature requests, etc.
  • Confluence – For internal collaboration and this is also where we host our externally facing documentation.
  • Google Drive – For collaboration with my customers.
  • Learndot  – Big fan of getting my hands dirty to solve problems, getting in our product and putting ourselves in the customer’s shoes is the way to do this. Our product Learndot allows customers to run successful training businesses. If business is good than this is an indicator of our team’s success as well. If business is not good then it’s important to discuss this with our customers as well to brainstorm on initiatives, integrations and features to leverage to move the needle.
  • GoodData – This gives great business analytics dashboards on the overall health of each account  

Proven 

According to Alex Bakula-Davis, Head of Customer Success and Sales at Proven, their Customer Success stack is a combination of:

  • For our CRM we went classic with Salesforce
  • For support we use Zendesk, Zopim (chat), and Yesware for email
  • Customer analytics / tracking we use a combination of Fullstory, Google Analytics, along with some home-made tools that have survived the test of time
  • For Customer Engagement and task management we use Totango
  • We use HubSpot for both customer education (blog posts, FAQs), and for reactivation campaigns (workflow emails for cancelled or dormant accounts)
  • Venngage for infographics (mostly for ROI or usage infographics)
  • Join.me for screen share
  • Last but not least, we use the phones! When in doubt, we try to call customers as we’ve found that it’s the best way to get to the problem, or proactively delight them.

Know your ideal customer. Communicate with your ideal customer. Understand what that customer wants, and track whether or not they’re getting it. Then, help them get more of it. These are the basic tenets of customer success, and when you’re a brand new company, you can achieve them with nothing more high-tech than a phone. But when your business grows, your customer success solutions have to scale with you. That’s when you need a stack of tools designed with your customer’s success in mind.


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Content Marketing, Data Science, Metrics, Tools

Data Storytelling 101: Helpful Tools for Gathering Ideas, Designing Content & More by @NikkiElizDeMere

data-storytelling

It’s an exciting time to be a content marketer. But it’s also a challenging time.

As more companies continue to jump on the inbound marketing bandwagon, the influx of content seems to be turning into a bit of a traffic jam. And few things have the power to cut through this noise like data storytelling.

Combining the visual appeal of images with the trust engendered by raw data, data storytelling is a force to be reckoned with. Marketers are using data storytelling to support every part of the buyer’s journey, from attraction and consideration to conversion and delight. What better content to offer a consideration-stage buyer than a comparison chart between your services and your competition’s?

Not a data analyst? No worries. Check out the list of tools below. From data collection to design, this roundup of resources is designed to make it easy for anyone to get started with data storytelling.

Read More on HubSpot


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Customer Development, Tools

Most Useful Tools, Tips & Checklists for Collecting Qualitative Data ft. @sgblank

qualitative-data

Qualitative data – information gathered from ideal customers by open-ended questions – is the foundation of success for startups, SaaS companies, and anyone else who thinks they have a solution to a problem that could potentially make money. Asking real people pertinent questions allows entrepreneurs to avoid making costly assumptions, and most importantly, lays the groundwork for the kind of customer success that leads to retention and the potential for wild, insane, Google-level growth.

Steve Blank and Bob Dorf, authors of The Startup Owner’s Manual, recommend that founders interview 50 potential customers – in 10 to 15 in-person visits per week – which could require contacting 200 customers or more. While we’re sure the data collected from such interactions is worth the time and effort, we also realize that some of your ideal customers are located around the globe, which makes face-to-face time difficult (and expensive).

Here are the most useful tools, tips and checklists we’ve come across for collecting qualitative data without using up all of your frequent flyer miles.

Read More on Inturact


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Curation, Social Media, Tools

Twitter Stack Used by @NikkiElizDeMere

twitter-stack
Image created by Yasmine Sedky (@yazsedky).

I have almost 60,000 followers on Twitter (as of February 2017), and while that might not be Lana Del Rey numbers (she’s in the millions), it’s enough for people to ask me which tools I use to manage my Twitter account. If you’re into Growth Marketing or Customer Success, and want to meet other people in your industry, find mentors, market your products and services, or just want in on the conversation, here’s how I do all that and more.


Grow with TribeBoost and FollowerWonk

TribeBoost helps you increase your Twitter followers by monitoring real-time hashtags and keywords that specifically relate to your niche. Then they go one step further by looking at biographical data, location and influence, and automatically follow the most promising leads. You know how it works – to gain followers, first you must follow. What I love about TribeBoost is that it doesn’t unfollow users who follow you back.

FollowerWonk lets me look at who my followers are, where they are, and what they’re talking about, which means I can find people with common interests that much faster. Hey, we might have even met that way.

Automate Twitter with Buffer and IFTTT (or Zapier)

I use Buffer to schedule my Tweets in advance, Start A FIRE to promote my brand and content, and IFTTT to, well… this takes some explaining. IFTTT is a semiacronym for “if this, then that.” You enter an if-then statement, like “If new Twitter follower, then send LinkedIn invitation.” It’s really amazing and can be used for everything from social media to getting alerts on your phone when the book you’ve been waiting for finally hits Kindle. Well worth your time to investigate its possibilities.

Chat with TweetChat and HashTracking

All the best conversations are happening in Twitter these days. It’s the best way to reach other people in your industry, like mentors, bloggers and thought-leaders. TweetChat makes it easy to chat by letting you just enter in a hashtag to follow a conversation. From there, you can save your favorite conversations on FavePages (sorted by date and hashtag) and even share FavePage Stories – all the Tweets in a conversation, curated by you (i.e. you can hide and re-order Tweets as needed).

HashTracking literally optimizes your conversation by telling you stats on the hashtag being used, lists of contributors and influencers, and giving you the ability to create shareable HashTracks™ infographics.

Make it Pretty with Canva and Pablo

I remember the days when 140-characters was all you got – now we’ve got a thousand words we have to come up with! In pictures, I mean. I use Canva and Pablo to create quick images that gain a little more attention for my Tweets.

Share Faster with Pullquote

Pullquote makes it easy for me to Tweet quotes or images from articles I find online. Just highlight the quote, select Tweet from the menu that pops up, enter your thought, tag it, and it’s Tweeted. A content curator’s dream.


Yes, I love my tools, but their sole purpose is this: To make it easier for me to share really interesting, useful content with you. That said, the one thing that I think you should never automate is engagement (I hate automated DMs), but everything else is fair game.

What are your favorite tools? Leave a comment and let me know.


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Conversion Rate Optimization, Curation, Metrics, Tools

34 Tools for Conversion Rate Optimization ft. @MorganB

tools-for-cro
Image created by Yasmine Sedky (‏@yazsedky).

Qualitative, quantitative, testing, and workflow tools for conversion rate optimization.

Conversion Rate Optimization is one of the most powerful levers for driving online business growth.


The Conversion Rate Optimization process includes quantitative and qualitative data and testing with a scientific approach.

As Peep Laja mentions, “[CRO] tools aren’t as important as knowing what to do with them. Putting a scalpel in someone’s hand doesn’t make them a surgeon.” That said, building a CRO stack won’t make you an expert, but it’s a good place to start when familiarizing yourself with related methodologies.

The tools listed here were curated by Qualaroo and Segment.io during a webinar about how to build the perfect conversion stack. There isn’t an accompanying video for it, but if you have questions you can direct them here.


Quantitative Tools

The What

Google Analytics (@googleanalytics)
An ad click here, a page view there, a video watched on a tablet before bed… but which one clinched the sale? Google Analytics has the latest in full-credit measurement, so you see all the stops people take on the road to action. The result: a measurable way to improve campaigns and reach new audiences as they go through their days.

KISSMetrics (@KISSmetrics)
Google Analytics tells you what’s happening. KISSmetrics tell you who’s doing it.

Mixpanel (@mixpanel)
Mixpanel lets you measure what customers do in your app by reporting actions, not page views.

Woopra (@Woopra)
No more guessing what customers did on your site or app. Know how engaged each customer is, and exactly what actions they performed — all in real-time.

Omniture / Adobe Marketing Cloud (@AdobeMktgCloud)
Analytics, social, media optimization, targeting, web experience management — and now cross-channel campaign management with Adobe Campaign — Adobe Marketing Cloud does it all.

Clicky (@clicky)
Real-time analytics.

Adobe Analytics (@AdobeAnalytics)
Adobe Analytics helps you create a holistic view of your business by turning all customer interactions, including offline data, into actionable insights. The marketing reports and analytics, ad hoc analysis, and data workbench technologies give you access to easy-to-use, interactive dashboards, reports, and visualizations. With the market-leading solution, you’ll better understand the whole customer journey.


Qualitative Tools

The Why

Qualaroo (@QualarooInc)
Analytics tell you what people are doing on your website. Qualaroo tells you why. Qualaroo insights lead to smarter tests and faster improvements in your website’s performance.

Survey.io (@QualarooInc)
Create an initial customer development survey.

Survey Monkey (@SurveyMonkey)
SurveyMonkey is the world’s most popular online survey software. We make it easier than ever to create polls and survey questionnaires for learning about anything from customer satisfaction to employee engagement. Sign up to access our library of sample survey questions and expert-certified templates. Customize your survey questions, distribute your questionnaire on the web, and start collecting responses in real time. Our Analyze tool helps you turn survey data into insights and create professional reports.

Olark (@olark)
Experience the easiest way to boost your sales, help solve issues and understand your customers with Olark live chat.

SessionCam (@SessionCam)
Session replay, heatmaps, and conversion funnels.

Inspectlet (@Inspectlet)
Analyze user behavior instantly with eye-tracking heat maps, screen capture (record and playback actual visitor sessions), and user-interaction analytics.

ClickTale (@ClickTale)
ClickTale takes the guess work out of website optimization, conversion analysis and usability research. Knowing how visitors use your website will enable you better target specific audiences, improve customer satisfaction and increase conversion. Use ClickTale to analyze the performance of your online forms, keep visitors engaged in page content, and lead them through the conversion process.

CrazyEgg (@CrazyEgg)
The original heatmapping technology.

UserTesting (@usertesting)
Get videos of real people speaking their thoughts as they use your website or mobile app.

FiveSecondTest (@fivesecondtest)
Fivesecondtest helps you fine tune your landing pages and calls
to action by analyzing the most prominent elements of your design.

Silverback 2.0 (@silverbackapp)
Guerrilla usability testing software for designers and developers.

Hot Jar (@HotjarApps)
All-in-one analytics and feedback.


Testing Tools

The How & When

Optimizely (@Optimizely)
Increase engagement, interactions, and conversions.

Unbounce (@unbounce)
Marketers: build, publish & A/B test your landing pages without I.T.

Ion (@ioninteractive)
Easily create and test app-like digital experiences that generate leads, enhance brands, and drive revenue.

Visual Website Optimizer (@wingify)
Create and test different versions of your website to continuously discover the best performing versions that increase your online sales.

AppsFlyer (@AppsFlyer)
Mobile apps installation referral and conversion tracking service.

Adobe Target (@AdobeTarget)
Most marketers want to test and target but don’t think they have the time, expertise, or tools. Adobe has simplified it to a click.

Yozio
Yozio makes it easy for organizations with mobile apps to develop a deep understanding of their users and drive acquisition, engagement, revenue and retention.


Workflow Tools

The Learning

workflow_tools

Google Drive (@googledrive)
Drive starts you with 15 GB of free Google storage, so you can keep pictures, stories, designs, drawings, recordings, videos — anything.

Panic (@panic)
We make Macintosh software: Coda, Diet Coda, Transmit, Unison, Prompt, and more.

PowerPoint
Build the story, present with presence and inspire your audience

Excel
Unlock insights and tell the story in your data.

Experiment Engine (@expengine)
Build your testing plan, source variations, run experiments, and gather results–all from one platform.

Python (@ThePSF)
Python is a programming language that lets you work quickly and integrate systems more effectively.

Geckoboard (@geckoboard)
Use data to make better decisions and motivate your team.

Confluence (@atlassian)
Give your team one place to share, find, and collaborate on information they need to get work done.


Company Stage Matters

Company stage matters when conducting CRO. Morgan Brown goes into detail about that here.


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.

Startups, Tools

@Buffer’s Stack for Startup Success

Buffer

“Automagically” sharing just about anything is Buffer’s claim to fame. It’s their business to make being a contributing member of the online community easier. But when it comes to making the lives – and jobs – of the people behind Buffer easier, it gets complicated. The stack of apps Buffer uses to get the job done was four years in the making and is still changing as the company scales.

What tools does a growing company like Buffer need? Tom Redman, mobile developer at Buffer, shared not only their current stack, but their reasoning behind every layer.

“We are continually experimenting with new tools and systems, changing existing ones and seeing what works. We’re not really dogmatic about anything and try really hard to keep an open mind about tools.”

Tools for Navigating Instant Communication

Buffer is a tight-knit team, and when one person sees a need or pain-point, he or she researches available options and checks with the team to see if there are any takers. When Sunil Sadasivan, Buffer’s CTO, thought that having a more open, idea-based discussion forum would help foster new ideas (without cluttering up email or HipChat threads) he set up an internal Discourse site. Anything and everything goes, keeping HipChat and email for more focused discussions.

And yes, Buffer uses HipChat rather than Slack – but they didn’t always.

In the beginning was the Slack channel. And it was good. But Slack didn’t give the team much control over its notifications system, which lead them back to HipChat. “HipChat is our office,” says Tom.

Buffer also uses Small-Improvements for positive and constructive feedback. Small-Improvements is performance review software that allows users to set and track objectives, send messages, and most importantly, dish out lots of praise.

Face to Face, with Miles Between

To further create the feeling of a spontaneous office environment with remote team members, Buffer uses Sqwiggle for rapid-fire video chats. Sometimes, all the emoticons in the world can’t take the place of seeing the expression on your co-worker’s face.

Long-Form, Long-Distance Discussions

While instant message style tools like HipChat and Slack are ideal for keeping a long-distance team connected, sometimes you need to write more than a chat window or thread can comfortably hold. When this happens, the Buffer team switches to Gmail – with “heavy filtering and labels.” Each team member receives a lot of mail, and as the team grows, Gmail’s sorting and labeling features become more and more important.

Outside Communication

In the midst of flying emails from teammates, instant messages and video chats, it’s almost too easy to forget that clients, customers, and people outside your work circle might also want to speak with you. For these communications, Buffer uses HelpScout for email, and SparkCentral for Twitter.

A Place for Everything, When Everything Grows Like Crazy

When your company is growing as fast as Buffer, organization and project management become all-important. And, they can become all-consuming without the right tools. Buffer employs several tools to help them stay focused, organized and on track.

For product specs, personal task tracking, getting advice, or just about any other random thought, they use Hackpad.

When it’s time to orchestrate a Task Force, or perform any task that involves a list, Trello is the preferred medium.

iDoneThis is ideal for seeing which tasks have been completed in each person’s day (the Buffer team is completely transparent on who does what, when).

And, for document organization and spreadsheets, Google Docs is the tool of choice – for most things. For other types of files and resources the team wants to share, they use Dropbox. 

Tracking, Measuring, Monitoring & Keeping All the Balls in the Air

They say “What gets measured gets done” and by the number of things Buffer gets done, they must measure a lot. Here’s their list of tools for keeping all the balls in the air (and getting instant alerts should one ball go down).

  • Github for code repositories, versioning and, recently, issue-tracking
  • Jenkins for automated builds, running tests, and deploys (we have Jenkins hooked into HipChat for convenient deploys)
  • Compose/MongoDB for database requirements
  • Amazon AWS for hosting, data crunching, SQS workers, performance monitoring
  • Looker for data mining/exploration
  • New Relic for performance monitoring (we get notifications as soon as anything goes wrong)
  • PagerDuty to automatically assign engineers to rotating on-call shifts when something is urgent
  • BugSnag to receive PHP error/exceptions in real time
  • Google Analytics for general web analytics
  • Seamless, an internal metrics tracking system for detailed usage tracking

Buffer’s Advice for Startups Building Their Stack

When I asked Tom’s advice for how startups can begin to build their own stacks, he had this to say:

“From what I’ve experienced at Buffer, we’re always open to new things, to new tools and processes. If something’s not optimal, it’ll usually signal that something could be changed or at least re-visited. Don’t be scared of experimenting when you think things could be smoother or more effective. With that said, at Buffer we won’t really impose anything. We offer it out to the team, and see how and if others like it, and go from there.”

Try new things, keep what works, and add it to the stack.


Let’s Get SaaSsy – I’m offering a limited number of SaaS consulting engagements.