Browsing Tag


Churn, Community, Customer Success, Human-to-Human (H2H), Products, Retention, SaaS, Startups

Slack’s community superpower for SaaS is all about churn

This article was originally sent as an e-mail as part of my newsletter, Sunday Brunch with Nichole: A Weekly Missive on Community Growth

For SaaS products – whether B2B or B2C – Slack is where it’s at. By which I mean Slack is where your customers are already. But Slack has more going for it than just that. The platform is remarkably well-suited to creating exactly the kind of communities and engagement we’ve been talking about. The kind that fosters loyalty.


Subscription-based businesses require strong customer relationships to prevent churn and increase customer lifetime value (the metrics that make or break your business).

Creating a community is one way to strengthen customer relationships and improve loyalty.

This is really – really – about eliminating churn.

Eliminating ‘Champion’ Churn

One of the leading causes of churn, especially for B2B SaaS, is when your ‘champion’ (the person who’s been talking you up to the boss, convincing everyone that you’re the solution they need) leaves. But if the whole team is on Slack? You’re already cultivating relationships with everyone, and they understand the value you bring.

Eliminating Churn among VIP Customers

BubbleIQ reported ZERO churn among the customers they shared Slack channels with. Now, they only began opening up private channels for their VIP customers who were already loyal and engaged, but still. Zero is a good number.

“Most companies rely on email or chat for support — but it turns out that’s a surprisingly high friction method of support for business customers today. Forcing customers through a formal contact form or into a long email thread creates a barrier between you, and makes it difficult to respond quickly to high priority issues.” – BubbleIQ

ProdPad’s Slack Community Experience

ProdPad also has never had a customer churn who was part of their Slack community.

Customers who join our Slack community were not cancelling their ProdPad plans at all. In fact, 99% of our cancellations were (and still are) coming from customers who weren’t part of our community.

In fact, ProdPad published a fantastic 40-minute video about their Slack community, and you should watch it. But I particularly loved what they said about how their Slack channel fostered and strengthened their relationships with their customers.

Andrea Saez, Head of Customer Success, talks about the “happy accidents” she discovered when their Slack community went live.

  • Users were helping other users to troubleshoot issues – out of the goodness of their hearts. So for those of you who might be concerned about the increased pressure put on your Customer Service teams, you might see the opposite effect. Cool, right?
  • The whole ProdPad team became involved and made themselves available to chat and answer questions, even the CEO, which meant that customers were taken care of even if the primary Slack designees weren’t immediately available. The “side effect” of this was that the whole team became more customer-centric, adding “a human touch to everything.”
  • Engagement levels rose – to the point where customers made friends with other customers.

As with any community, moderation was a challenge. They help set expectations with a Welcome Bot named Winston who greets new members and tells them the basics: how to submit feedback and ticket requests, and how to reach ProdPad members, as well as reminding them to be kind. I love the use of automation here!

There are so many good ideas in in this video for how to set up and use your Slack product community. It’s definitely worth the watch.

If you’re considering using Slack for customer support, Robbie Mitchell wrote a comprehensive Playbook for Working with B2B Customers in Slack that I recommend.

This article was originally sent as an e-mail as part of my newsletter, Sunday Brunch with Nichole: A Weekly Missive on Community Growth

If you’d like to receive emails like this one, sign up for my newsletter:

Community, Human-to-Human (H2H), SaaS

#ForgetTheFunnel: [Slide Deck + Video]: Boost your SaaS product with a community that grows itself

From Claire & Gia:

“If anyone could be considered a community-building expert, it’s definitely our friend Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré. Not only has she played an instrumental part in growing the famed,, and Product Hunt communities…she also now maintains several of her own thriving Slack and Facebook communities for SaaS marketers and founders. As members of some of Nichole’s online communities ourselves, we can attest: they’re the most positive, engaged, and fast-growing online spaces for SaaS folks to hang out, learn from each other, and form new friendships. If you’ve considered starting a community as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll 100% want to hear Nichole’s process:”

Watch the 30 minute workshop

I teach SaaS founders how to build, engage, and grow communities around their products. I am happy to help you with your community, too, just send me an email at nikki.elizabeth [at] gmail if you are interested in potentially working with me.

💗 Check out Nichole’s Services for SaaS startups 💗

Acquisition, SaaS

Growth Channels to Acquire SaaS Customers [Webinar Recording]

Freshsales CRM partnered with Nichole Elizabeth for a webinar on “Growth Channels to Acquire SaaS Customers” on April 10, 2018. In this webinar, Nichole talks about:

  • Different growth channels to acquire SaaS customers
  • Developing a compelling value proposition
  • Identifying quick wins and long-term channels for growth

Watch Webinar Recording on FreshChat
💗 Check out Nichole’s Services for SaaS startups 💗

Content Marketing, Podcasts, Product Management, SaaS, Startups

#ForgetTheFunnel: [Slide Deck + Video]: 4 Steps to Align SaaS Content Marketing & Product Management

I was absolutely honored to be on Forget The Funnel, with hosts Georgiana Laudi and Claire Suellentrop to discuss four steps to align content marketing and product management.

Check out the video replay for the 30-minute workshop.

Take the growth out of guesswork and get our Playbook to Grow Your Saas Business With Your Customers.

Customer Success, SaaS

Budgeting for Customer Success in 2015 [Video, Slides & Budget Template] ft. @GainsightHQ

Budgeting for Customer Success

Budgets are boring – as a rule. But Customer Success, once you realize how much it can do for your SaaS company, is thrilling. Customer Success has been an up-and-coming concept, and this year, it’s safe to say, it has arrived. More and more companies are looking for ways to shift their perspectives towards Customer Success, especially in SaaS industries. It’s the next big step towards ongoing, sustainable SaaSy success.

Gainsight’s CEO, Nick Mehta, took part in a webinar with Byron Deeter (Partner at Bessemer VenturePartners) earlier this year to talk about how to budget and plan for Customer Success in 2015. Here are the parts of their conversation I found the most useful, although they into far more depth on the numbers than I will here.

In a discussion of budget, these two surprisingly didn’t open the conversation with proving ROI, how much to pay new hires, and how many people to bring on board (although all of these issues were addressed later). Instead, they opened with what Customer Success is really about: a proactive strategy for drilling down to what delights your customers, and delivering it.


When planning your budget, before you break out the calculator, you have to break out the whiteboard and sketch out your Customer Success objectives for 2015. As Mehta says, “Customer Success isn’t ‘rinse and repeat;'” it’s about improving customer experience and predicting their changing needs and wants. However, it’s not just the customers’ needs and wants that may change over time – your company’s needs and wants will change too.

SaaS companies just starting out will likely want to focus their Customer Success efforts on retention, renewal and churn avoidance. But, a few years in, that focus may well shift from preventing the negative to promoting the positive (ie. up-sells and forming strategic relationships). Figure out what your focus is for this year, whether that is mitigating risks and reducing churn, or building on an already strong foundation. Define measurable goals with an eye to improving your ROI in order to gain support from the higher-ups.


When your goals for 2015 depend on bringing more people into your Customer Success department, you’ll have to really sell it to the boss. To do this, you need a value proposition to explain how these additional people will affect the long-term value of new and existing customers. When pitching, be prepared to explain the ROI already gained in terms of reduced churn and increased up-sells, and be ready with a plan to increase those numbers with more staff.

As a rule, fast-growing companies should have a lot of Customer Success staff. Gainsight, for example, is a 140-person company, and by the end of next year they expect to have 15 people working on Customer Success. That’s nearly 11% of their workforce! As Deeter put it, hiring five people may cost a million dollars, but if you can prove that you’ll make a million dollars on an ongoing basis, that’s a good trade in the long-term.


Enter your budget meeting with a list of processes you’ll be improving in 2015, focusing on two main areas: Efficiency and Team Effectiveness. To get the best results from your team, you need to invest money in automation and great content, and invest time into prioritizing initiatives, training, and ensuring your Customer Success reps are contacting your customers at the right time.

To prove the ROI of your efforts, track the customers who enter the “watch list” (ie. those who may leave) that your Customer Success department end up managing, and keep records of how many accounts you save (those who renew). Add up the total dollar amount saved, and you’ll have a compelling reason to invest more in Customer Success.

Mehta and Deeter summed it up eloquently when they said “The important part of Software as a Service isn’t the software – it’s the service.” When you have a great product paired with responsive, proactive service, you’ll strengthen customer relationships, reduce churn, and make bank.

But, for that to happen, you first need a strategy, people, and processes with metrics in place – which will inform your budget.

Download this Customer Success budget template to get started!

Slide deck from the webinar:

Budgeting for Customer Success in 2015 from Gainsight

Video from the webinar:

Additional Resources

💗 Check out Nichole’s Services for SaaS startups 💗

Data Science

Digging into Data With #rStats [Video]


R is an open-source language and environment for statistical computing and graphics which has been described as: “The single most important tool for computational statistics.”

In other words, when you want to mine data, R helps you do it and allows you to present your findings in an attractive visual.

What’s so great about R?

  • It’s very well supported with a huge community, which means it’s constantly growing and evolving.
  • 6,000 libraries of pre-developed packages for a wide variety of applications.
  • The data frame is analogous to an Excel Spreadsheet or MySQL table.
  • No software licensing costs.
  • Reproducible analysis!

However, until recently, R didn’t have an interface to the Google Analytics API. Google being Google, they promptly fixed that problem by introducing the RGoogleAnalytics library. Now you can use R to analyze your Google Analytics data to do things like:

  • Custom reports with up to 7 dimensions and 10 metrics.
  • Batch data extraction.
  • Create larger queries with tens of thousands of records.
  • Predict product revenue.
  • Calculate the long-term value of marketing campaigns.

Let’s look at that last item: Calculating the long-term value of your marketing campaigns.

As you know, with Google Analytics it’s relatively easy to look at a given advertising campaign and see how many sessions and transactions it generated. GA shows you your sessions, revenue and transactions for each campaign, but doesn’t account for all of the people who may have discovered your business for the very first time as a result of one of those campaigns.

Those first-timers can result in a lot of revenue over the next several months. Wouldn’t it be nice to track the lifetime value of that marketing campaign? Yes!

The “R”ough Guide for Tracking Long-Term Value of Marketing Campaigns

Complete the one-time setup by creating a project on the Google Dev console, activating the Google Analytics API for your project, and copying your project’s client ID and client secret to your R script.

With R in your toolkit, you can now create a graph to visualize the cumulative transactions over time, adding incremental or daily transactions from users of a particular campaign to see the full value of that campaign.

Your query for new customers acquired from a specific campaign might look like this:

Query.list <- Init ( = “2015-01-01”, = “2015-02-01”,
Dimensions = “ga:date”,
Metrics = “ga:transactions,ga:transactionRevenue”,
Segment = “users: :sequence: :
^ga:userType==New Visitor;
ga:campaign==Campaign A;
sort = “ga:date”, = tableId)

Here, the segment we’re targeting is new visitors from a specific campaign. This should allow us to include all sessions for users who match these conditions. The “sequence” narrows the list down even further to those who visited during a specified time frame and made a purchase at some point.

From there, you can compare multiple campaigns to find out which result in more transactions over time. You may find that one campaign worked better for driving short-term revenue, and another campaign – which may have had a slower start – actually earns you more revenue over the course of a few months. Very valuable information!

Perhaps most importantly, you can then use R to make an attractive graph of this information to present to your non-techy clients. They’ll be very impressed.

Google Analytics Data Mining with R (includes 3 Real Applications):

Additional Resources

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