sales

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

SaaS Churn (aka customer attrition)

Sales and Marketing leaders have lived in the US through an expansion period over the last ten years.  It’s easy to fall into bad habits here when customer growth becomes the exclusive focus.  Reflecting back on recessions in 2001 and 2008, quite a bit of attention was THEN focused on customer retention initiatives.  By the time a recession hits, it’s too late for many organizations to then make that shift to hugging their customers.

More SaaS companies are assigning resources to the existing customer base, because they realize hitting their bottom line numbers are a function of not just retaining clients, but growing their revenue.   With high churn SaaS models, companies are forced to work harder and more ineffectively on the sales side of the equation.

Here are some valuable churn statistics echoing the case for why it is important to allocate sales and marketing resource on both ends of the funnel:

✔️The median annual unit churn for SAAS companies was 10% in 2016. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️More than two thirds of SAAS companies experienced annual churn rates of 5% or higher. (Totango)

✔️If your Net Revenue Churn is high (above 2% per month) it is an indicator that there is something wrong in your business; this will become a major drag on growth. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️Net-revenue churn improves with larger Average Contract Value (ACV), likely due to more structural churn among SMB customers and higher switching costs associated with larger contracts. (Mckinsey)

✔️Between the SMB and Enterprise customer types, the top-quartile performers not only have net-revenue churn that is 14% to 23% percentage less than the average performers but also have net-revenue churn that is negative in an absolute sense. (Mckinsey)

✔️Gross dollar churn among companies with an internet go-to-market strategy saw a meaningful increase, up from 8% in 2015. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️The fastest growing SAAS companies averaged $250k in MRR and were only losing around 3.2% of that revenue each month to churn. (InsightSquared)

✔️As companies scale their growth engines, a slightly-above-average churn rate becomes harder and harder to offset with net new revenue growth, especially when the goal is to outpace it by 4x. (InsightSquared)

✔️The median SAAS business loses about 10% of its revenue to churn each year and that works out to about 0.83% revenue churn a month. (Tomasz Tunguz)

✔️The very best SAAS companies keep monthly revenue churn at around 0.58%, that’s only about 7% revenue churn a year. (sixteenventures)

✔️The very best SAAS business has a negative churn rate and will have a Dollar Retention Rate of greater than 100%. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️Median annual gross dollar churn was 8%, 7%, 6% and 8% in 2016, 2015, 2014 and 2013. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️The best SaaS companies achieve 5-7% annual revenue churn – equivalent to a loss of $1 out of every $200 each month. (sixteenventures)

✔️As with unit churn, companies with longer contracts (2+ years) tend to report lower annual dollar churn. (forentrepreneurs)

✔️ Non-renewal rates are higher than gross dollar churn rates and higher for shorter duration contracts. (forentrepreneurs)

Credit for stat aggregation:  Despina Exadaktylou of Bad Ass Marketers Forum.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Boston Marketo User Group – June Summary

Here are my notes from the June Boston Marketo User Group.  It’s a terrific user group having attended a few others on the east coast (DC, NYC, ATL), Boston seems to have the lead on making a great user group experience.

Thomas Zimmerman, Localytics

  • Compared the Marketo summit session topics and year over year summit performance
    • Lead Gen and Lead Lifecycles are ‘dead’ content wise vs. discussions around ABM and how to measure ABM (see below).
    • Underlying concern around budget and the ability to invest in new technologies – planning to use those technologies was a key conversation ahead of making the purchase of those technologies.
    • In slide two below (Buzzwords Y/Y), the percentage change is in topics year over year – so 0% represents no change in total topic count year over year.

 

MJ Hahn, Op Focus

  • Discussion around how companies could measure Sirius 2.0 waterfall
    • Discussed a SiriusDecisions measurement model in Salesforce that was persona driven where marketing creates the opportunity (which has process implications), avoids leads object altogether, and manages opportunity process through conversion
      • There was some customization to Salesforce but the SFDC customization was not entirely clear – eg. contact roles, related lists, custom objects, etc.
      • The discussion sounded like a ‘poor man’s’ Engagio implementation using a customized SFDC approach with weighted scores based on prospect sales and marketing engagement, difficult to tell how the model scales on score or persona change (e.g. do you need to manually update new scores?) but an intriguing model nonetheless.
    • Observation from Boston Marketo User Group leader – since Sirius 2.0 waterfall is new and typical sales cycles are 6-18 months long in B2B, the case studies at summit were basically implementation only, none spoke about actual ROI or results yet – but they expect at next year’s summit to start seeing results.

Jon Russo, B2B Fusion

  • Discussion around framework for ABM that was discussed at the Marketo Summit.
    • Starting point – baseline assessment
  • 5 key issues of ABM and MarTech we see in our engagements:
    • FOMO, Technology, and ABM Starting Point
    • Selecting the right targets (ICP, Accounts, Contacts)
    • Lack of the right ABM Intent Data strategy
    • Missing system and process requirements for ABM
    • Not hiring the right internal and external talent

 

Very few audience members had used intent data (2 in audience of 50) – a function the audience said of not having a clear enough need or the budget to execute on it, though most agreed the concept sounded interesting and relevant.

Of the 5 key issues, the topic of talent seemed to be the most challenging aspect many enterprises face.

Summary from BMUG Leaders:  Paul Green, Jody Spencer

Overall observations on Marketo Summit and SiriusDecisions Summit:

  • Reporting and analytics – there are not that many companies that figured out.
    • No one has Sirius funnel 2.0 figured out.
  • There aren’t a lot of companies embracing Artificial Intelligence (AI) – the feeling was AI is so over-hyped.  One audience member was using Conversica to handle lead responses.  Marketo has content AI.  Audience AI in Marketo.
by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

GDPR – Sales & Marketing impact

(Please also consult your internal counsel and data privacy officer for how your company should approach GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)).

 

While there are several strict laws of data privacy throughout the globe to include countries like Canada, Australia, and China, GDPR is a European-wide framework that is the strictest treatment of data globally and is consistent pan Europe effective May 25, 2018. GDPR enforces accountability for ANY company selling or marketing into Europe and emphasizes the collection and processing of data.  This law impacts all companies, and their sales’ and marketers’ communication.

If you are a company considering implementing GDPR, there are several business advantages to following this law:

  • With clean, opt in data, better chance of demonstrating meaningful metrics internally
  • Improved targeting for selling and nurturing purposes
  • Less infrastructure carrying cost on dead contacts or contacts that have no conversion chance
  • By following the law, there is no 4% penalty on global revenues that could be assessed

There are several elements of GDPR legally to abide by, but the two largest concerns are making sure that Individuals give consent to data use and that the 3rd party has a legitimate interest, this link shows examples of the definition of legitimate interest.

 

Tips for planning for GDPR:

  • A plan should be put in place around the collection and storage of information that can identify the person, such as IP address, first name, last name, mobile numbers, and phone numbers among other information.
  • The company itself is accountable for GDPR compliance regardless of whether the data was sourced by a 3rd party or not, so it’s important to understand how data is collected and how it is processed.
  • It is critical that the marketer think through opt-in procedures, updates preference centers, and ensures sure that sales and marketing systems are properly processing data consistent with this new law.
  • The law also includes unstructured data – for example, an email that is sent from Outlook must ensure that the individual receiving the email has consented to receiving information.
  • A double opt in email approach is highly recommended as best in class way of ensuring clean data practices and is more likely found in a marketing automation system than in that of a sales automation system.
  • Data input from 3rd party sources, whether purchased lists or through trade show uploads require specialized treatment from a data governance perspective.
  • Consider a double opt in approach for all events, as an example of this special data governance treatment.
  • Some sales technologies enable phone calls to be recorded and collected. Explicit consent will be required to record phone calls.  You should clearly communicate to customers why their data is being requested for collection and how you intend to use it in any future activities.
  • Other outbound phone calls must not be listed on a ‘do not call list.’ Other calls must give explicit permission for follow up communication to occur.
  • Lastly, it is important that all tools are in compliance to governance – which would include sales automation tools (Outreach, Salesloft, etc.) as well as marketing automation tools. Marketers, make sure your sales team is compliant with their email automation tools.

The future around e-privacy and cookies is likely the next law to come out next.  It is an exciting time to be in Sales and Marketing in 2018!

by Jon Russo Jon Russo 1 Comment

Marketing Credibility: 2015 and beyond

credibility

Here is a valuable blog today from what appears to be a US head of sales in how he views marketing in his business in a tech company contrasting to a non-tech company – it can be inferred from the post that marketing’s compensation is getting tied to revenue performance, that’s where we also see the puck headed for all companies and where true marketing credibility comes into play – it isn’t just in the gymnastics or theory of SLAs, scoring, definitions, or dashboards – it’s in the output of where he (and others) can depend on marketing’s annual growth, lead contribution, and bookings for the business overall and where marketing can belly up to the bar with their own revenue contribution.

The most salient excerpt:

We are fanatical about complete sales and marketing team alignment.  In addition to corporate and product marketing, our marketing department is responsible for directly contributing to 50% of our annual pipeline growth and 50% of our new business bookings every year.  Marketing has SLA’s (service level agreements) with sales for qualified lead definitions and we have specific target goals for those numbers as well as the top stages of our single, shared lead/opportunity funnel or pipeline.  We track, measure and report on our performance at each of those stages in terms of both the actual number and the conversion ratios for lead movement from stage to stage.  We also benchmark our performance for all of that against an industry standard for comparably sized SaaS technology companies.

We see these trends in enterprises as well – though sometimes it is easy to lose sight of the forest through the trees when a company needs to embark on transformational change.  They get bogged down in tactics (predictive analytics, scoring, SLAs) – which are all fundamentals – but lose sight of the overall goal.

Excellent article.  What are you seeing?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

4 Lessons Learned: Sales Training

Selling is one of the toughest professions in the B2B world today.  I think non-sales people underestimate how challenging selling really is and can be.

keep-calm-and-do-more-sales-2

 

To keep sharp, I recently completed a Dale Carnegie Sales Success course to refresh my own selling practices.  My philosophy in life is ‘student always’ and ‘continuous improvement’;  despite working with sales people my entire professional career and also leading cold to close inside sales organizations, I figured it was time to really dig into the ‘how’ a sales person sells beyond my own experiences.  There were several concepts I picked up to sharpen my sword and refine my own knowledge:

Lesson 1 – Attitude determines altitude.  In the face of frequent rejection, a sales person needs to keep fresh and balanced.  This is something I’ve seen repeatedly of sales people I’ve worked with.  Those with the best attitudes, sold the most.  Some really good additional ideas came from the Carnegie class about listening to podcasts from Brian Tracey to Zig Ziglar among others.  While I’ve heard of both authors, I’ve begun listening to both as part of my day to day gym routine.

Lesson 2 – Giving away value – the largest lesson I learned was how infrequently as a buyer, I’m receiving value add information to help me in MY role in a company.  Too many vendors keep pushing the unilateral ‘here is my widget, are you interested?’ message ineffectively.  Carnegie with a partnership with Jeff Gitomer encourages to build a relationship over time from seller to buyer by the seller offering up consistent value in the relationship pre-sale.  This value could be in the form of industry information that may be relevant for that buyer to succeed in their position independent of the selling process or sales person.

Lesson 3 – Sales is a structured process, it’s up to the seller to walk the buyer(s) through the process.  Too often in my own situation, I’ve held off on walking through an explicit end to end structure.  Listening to the philosophy of taking a step by step approach pays dividends in the end – especially in a consultative sale.  This structure is somewhat proprietary to Carnegie but very logical in terms of a progression of establishing credibility, determining current state vs. future state, then pivoting toward a solution.

Lesson 4 – The power of asking – there is a direct correlation to the success of an individual and how often that person asks – asks for referrals, recommendations, more business, the business, etc.  Although the timing has to be right, frequently the seller lets fear overcome the need to ask for the order or ask for the referral.  Asking sincerely is critical as is the timing of that.  This is no different from marketers (or any other org function) asking for promotions or additional resources.

While none of these struck me as ‘rocket science’, the sharpening of fundamentals was helpful to think through my own selling situations to continuously improve.  I think as a CMO or executive, sales training at a junior marketing level should be a ‘must do’. What have you learned as part of selling your ideas or concepts to others?