How to Close your First 1000 Customers Based Solely on Data
Co-founder & CEO, Gorgias
About the speaker
Romain Lapeyre is a Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Gorgias.
Conference: SaaSTR 2019
A Growth Machine for Your Company
In companies, every team member - from product, to marketing, to operations - influences growth. The creative team brings new ideas and never tried before growth tactics. While quantitative science helps to measure the largest friction points, validate areas of opportunity, and understand how users behave. Truly brilliant growth teams are the ones that figure out how to combine the nature of art and science to accelerate growth.
As Mr. Lapeyre said about designing a growth machine, “You have some inputs on one side, which are all the things you do. For instance, they can be trade shows like this one, they can be email campaigns, people you hire, content you write, and so forth. Everything you do goes into your growth machine and then produces outputs. These outputs are, of course, value that is delivered by your product. They can also be money. In this case, annual recurring revenue. And so what you want to be doing as a founder is to find a sustainable way to take the inputs to generate outputs in a repeatable fashion.”
He continued, by saying, “Most companies - when they get to 1 million, 2 million, 3 million ARR, they don't really have the machine yet. So they typically end up hitting a wall for a few months because they don't really know where the growth comes from. Now, we have access to lots of data points about the trade shows we go to, the payment information, the sales data in our CRM. We can combine all these data points and start building the [growth] machine early on.”
The Different Parts of the Growth Machine
The SaaS business model is attractive to business leaders, customers and investors alike. Predictable costs and revenue can and should lead to predictable growth. But to ensure this happens, you must execute flawlessly. You also need to build a sales and marketing engine that generates enough high quality leads each month.
Mr. Lapeyre said, “Let's start with the top of the pipeline, which is marketing. Here, what we want to do is build a growth machine that is based on data. The question is how you build a machine that uses data if you don’t have it? You buy it. There are two platforms: Datanyze - That is a platform where you can buy data about the list of domains, like what tools they are using, how many followers they have on Twitter... a whole bunch of information about these companies. And the other one is the Alexa Rank, which is the ranking of the websites on the internet.
What you want to do is to find signals that mean a group of people are ready to buy and in the purchasing decision right now. We basically looked at... what are these companies installing on their websites? Like, if they install a chat app, it's likely that [they] are on a free trial for a customer service app.
So we know who we think should buy from us, but we need to find a way to talk to them. For the ones that are already pretty straight forward, we just do outbound with emails.
The other one - that's a bit more tricky - is when we want to get the yellow circle, the 60,000 people to be aware of our products even though they are not ready to buy right now. So what we did is that we just spoke with the 50 customers we had and just asked them, ‘Where do you talk to other merchants?’ And they told us, we go to trade shows and we work with agency partners. Great. Okay.
So, when we went to trade shows, every time we had a conversation with somebody who was interested to buy, we basically just sent them a follow up email, and logged the conversation in the CRM. The cool thing is that, let's say, like a month after the trade show, you can see among all the people we had conversations with who closed. So now you know, okay we spent 10 K on this trade show, I made 40 K that's already helpful. So, basically after we did that, we had a sustainable way to generate revenue every month. There is no real value in just doing something that's going to be able to be measured and not able to be repeated. So everything we do, we want to measure the inputs and the outputs.”
About sales, Mr. Lapeyre said, “So we have leads that come a sustainable way every month to our pipeline, [and] they go to sales. What's great is that we have this data from Datanyze about our leads. What we want to do - as early as the seed stage - is that we want to have the most customer aware sales process that is possible. We predict what the deal size is based on [the information] we have about the customer.
What we can do first, is start to specialize our team; say you have two Account Executives, one of them could take the big customers, the other one could take the small customers; that need less attention and a faster pace. The second, is that we already know what tools they are using. So instead of giving the same pitch all the time, we can tailor it to the company. Another thing is, we have dozens of integrations. So, you can hook them up right away with the apps that they use because you know what type of value they are going to get out of this demo with your sales team.”
Product and Success
The best time to engage in a conversation with a customer, or potential customer, is inside the product when they have decided to invest time.
“We built like 20 combinations of different onboardings and we try to adapt it to the customer. So for instance, if they stopped somewhere in the funnel, we're not going to [send] them regular emails, like... “Hey go add some users.” We will know where they were stuck and then [we] send them a specific email - to bring them back - that is contextual to where they are in the product. After we did that, we went to 95% customer activation after they paid; meaning 95% of them start using the products and getting value. Put your team inside the app. If they are inside the app, the conversion is going to be higher.
We now have the usage data of the application. So we know who's giving a high net promoter score. We know who's getting a lot of value out of the app, and we can propagate this data from product all the way back to marketing.”
How to Build the Growth Stack
Mr. Lapeyre said, “We want to connect all the tools that we use to make sure that they talk to one another. A simple example is, we're going to connect to our application, our calendar, our payment - which is Stripe - Datanyze that enriches data, and we're going to send all this data through a tool called Segments, [which] repeats all the pieces of information it gets, to all the other tools. So Segment is going to repeat this piece of information to the CRM. In our case, the CRM is HubSpot. So when the account executive gets in HubSpot, they see that the deal has been closed and they see the revenue that has been generated.
The value is that we get a unified view of the customer so we can access [their] record and see when was the last time they booked a call with our sales team, when they paid, what are the events they attended… the whole big picture. Basically, as soon as the information changes, the dashboard updates and we know how much money is coming from each of the channels.”
Build a Data Driven Culture
Mr. Lapeyre said, “You want to have all the company data in one place. What you want to avoid, at all costs, is having marketing doing their thing on their side, sales doing their thing on their side and they don't really talk to one another. So build this company wide data hub [and] empower your team to make decisions using data.
The CEO of Glassdoor was saying the danger between 1 million AR and 10 million AR is that you start making decisions based on the intuitions that you have. Sometimes they are good, sometimes they are bad. So, what you want to do is minimize the bad intuitions you have by checking this data and having your team make decisions using it. The benefit of this [dashboard] is that everybody in the company knows what's going on live, and also it creates a sense of transparency, because everybody needs to align on the reality of the data that is collected.”
Gorgias helps independent e-commerce brands provide an outstanding customer service experience, by changing the role of support agents from responding to repetitive questions to being sales associates that advise customers. They also track the impact of customer service on sales so that support becomes a profit center.