Our Points Of View On Sales & Marketing

Thought Leadership

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

Top 5 MarTech & ABM Challenges for Marketing Leaders

At the 2018 Marketo Summit (#MKTGnation), we covered five common mistakes for MarTech and Account Based Marketing (ABM) deployments.

If you don’t have time to watch the embedded video, this is a ‘tweetable’ summary of each bullet point of our findings.

We began with some background.   Not every company uses the words ‘ABM’ but many companies are on a journey of account based selling and marketing.  Then we jumped into each of the five points below.

  • FOMO, Technology, and ABM Starting Point
    • Most companies have a ‘fear of missing out’, react, buy technology, realize that none of integrates.
    • Like a gym membership, people think having a gym membership (ABM technology) gets you in revenue shape (ABM strategy).  In reality, you need personal trainers to accelerate your progress with your gym membership.  Technology is not a strategy.
    • There are common elements of ABM deployments:  assessments, strategy, targeting, measurement, and XDR cadences.
  • Selecting the right targets (ICP, Accounts, Contacts)
    • Define your ideal customer profile based on qualitative and quantitative data.
    • Bounce it up against total addressable market and technologies to derive TAM.
    • Assess your data completeness at the account and lead level.
  • Lack of the right ABM Intent Data strategy
    • Account intent can be valuable when used for a personalized outreach.
    • Intent requires careful keyword selection and integration into business process.
  • Missing system and process requirements for ABM
    • Defining the customer experience on ABM is key.
    • Account disposition treatment is a critical arrangement across sales & marketing.
  • Not hiring the right internal and external talent
    • Internal talent needs to be well rounded across sales, inside sales, marketing, XDRs.
    • External talent needs to be a virtual extension of your team, agile, knowledgeable.

At the conclusion of the presentation, the sharpest audience issue that was felt was surprisingly the talent side of things – finding the right partners to augment the skills internally.  Initially, I would have thought Data as the #1 issue.

What trends are you seeing in Account Based Marketing?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Account Based Everything – Podcast

Devon McDonald, a Partner at OpenView Venture Capital spoke with me on a recent podcast on Account Based Marketing best practices.  Our conversation covered areas of how to get even more out of your ABM people, process, & technology investments based on our experiences to date.

Here is a helpful checklist summarizing that discussion and assumes the organization has already defined and agreed upon what the term ‘account based marketing’ means to them.   

 

  • ABM Roadmap to align Sales, Marketing & Executives

 

    • Strategy:  who is the ideal customer profile (ICP), what does he/she need?
    • Data:  how are leads connected to accounts?
    • Programs:  how customized is the content for the ICP?
    • Technology: what is the right mix of tools to enable your strategy across sales and marketing teams.

 

 

 

  • Developing an ABM strategy for long term success
    • Organizational ABM Framework:  are the key stakeholders defined and a roadmap for launching and optimizing ABM over the next 18 months?
    • Defined KPIs:  what are the key metrics essential to track during the early, mid, and late phases of your ABM program?
    • Pilot program:  what is your gameplan around creating a pilot program?

 

  • Baseline performance to set organizational expectations

 

    • Systems Health:  are existing systems supporting the right strategy and maximum capacity?   
    • Data Status:  are your account and contact universe complete?
    • Conversion and/or Business Process:  how will you treat accounts across sales and marketing?

 

  • Measure for impact & improvement

 

    • Data – what are the metrics around your target account profiles?
    • Data – what is the current state of account and contact data completeness?
    • What account waterfall metrics are applicable to your historical lead based model?

 

  • Lead Generation/Prospecting with ABM Accounts

 

    • Frequency:  how have you optimized for frequency?
    • Message:  what value add are you creating in each interaction?
    • Account intelligence:  how are you capturing intelligence around your target accounts?

 

  • People

 

    • Internal – are the right team skills in place?
      • Marketing
      • Sales
      • xDR
    • External agencies – agile?  Understand ABM & Systems?

Be sure to check out the full podcast here!

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

GDPR April 2018 Update

Building on our December learnings, GDPR is a hot topic within many of our client companies and all companies right now – even if they are US based selling into either US locations or selling outside US.

The fines for non-compliance are heavy at 4% of global revenues per year and the risk of inability to sell/market in the European region on an ongoing basis.  Surprisingly, many companies are not putting much energy behind compliance of their data processes or systems.

What sometimes gets lost on the compliance penalty is the actual benefit of embarking on this project – for the first time, Marketers will have true intention indicated by relevant database prospects.  GDPR forces out the ‘great unwashed’ of disinterested prospects or non-relevant contacts.  Said differently, reporting from a Marketing viewpoint will be pinpoint accurate in the EU region or on EU affected records.  Never has there been a time with such Marketing measurement precision.

We’ve conducted nearly a dozen free diagnostic tests (let us know if you want one?) to benchmark performance for our clients on their databases and have a few observations on the GDPR projects and data results:

  1. We see GDPR projects falling across two lines:
    • Part 1: prospecting part which impacts primarily systems and processes that are outbound oriented in nature (eg Marketing Automation, some aspects of Salesforce, and the processes that touch those)
    • Part 2: customer data which primarily impacts systems and processes that house or store customer level data (systems like Salesforce, Salesforce communities, and any other IT system that houses billing information or product information, etc.)

 

  1. Every company is approaching GDPR differently organizationally
    • Usually the initiatives are marketing led initiatives for prospecting processes, IT led initiatives for customer processes
    • Legal is almost always involved regardless of the prospecting or customer aspect
    • Legal/Finance/IT are often funding the initiative that Marketing and/or Sales is executing

 

  1. Benchmark data
    • We’re finding US companies with US focus surprisingly having some records in their database that would cause them to be in jeopardy of violating GDPR. We’ve seen upto 1% of the database contain GDPR records on our testing.
    • Of the non-US focused companies, we’re finding global SaaS companies having a 4% or more impact on overall database of records that would also be considered GDPR eligible.
    • We’re finding there are two levels of testing records – matched and unmatched records.  Unmatched records require a deeper investment to assess properly but statistically fall in line with matched records relative to the entire database.

 

  1. What is less noticeable are records that are tabbed as GDPR records but are NOT in the EU but are owned by the EU.  These types of records are the ‘gotcha’ records so be careful!
    • Primary territory records (eg French Guiana – and others – owned by France)
    • Outermost territories (eg Aruba and others owned by Netherlends)
    • These kinds of records are not going to be as easily detected by automation systems and are the ‘gotcha’ type records.  Studying your record types and origins is important!

 

A prediction – I’d expect to see GDPR for US based companies in 2019.  We’ve seen the recent data issues with Facebook in the news, so expect to see more, not less, privacy regulation in the US.

What trends are you seeing in GDPR for your company?

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 4.  Lessons Learned in an Account-Based Approach (ABA)

 

As published in MarTech Advisor

 

In our industry conversations and experiences with over 100+ Account based deployments, we find that many marketers, particularly SaaS companies or large enterprises, believe they’re “already doing account based marketing.” When we dig a little deeper to uncover what that means, we find it means their progress is very different for a lot of companies.

 

(See article on MarTech Advisor)

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 3. What kind of talent is required for ABM success?

 

As published in MarTech Advisor

As Gartner recently pointed out in their October 2017 survey, nearly half of all discretionary marketing spend is dedicated toward internal people or external agency support.

In today’s series, we’ll talk about key resources needed to successfully pull off an ABM strategy to build on our earlier ABM posts of when to create a strategy and how to convince stakeholders of the strategy.

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 2 – How to convince stakeholders ABA is worth doing.

 

 

As published in MarTech Advisor

 

In Part 1 of our series, we talked about when an Account Based Approach (ABA) should be embarked upon.  In today’s piece, we’ll talk about how to enlist stakeholders that ABA is worth doing.

 

Account-Based Marketing or selling can not happen only within the Marketing department, which makes it very challenging for those of you in cultures that need to prove success out before embarking in a larger initiative. You need executive support, as well as the support of your peers in sales.

 

(Click on the link above for the rest of the article as published in MarTech advisor!)

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

Part 1 – When is Account Based Marketing needed?

 

As Published in MarTech Advisor

 

We have all heard the buzz; Account-Based Marketing, Account Based Selling, Account Based Revenue, Account Based Everything…the acronyms are plentiful.  I’ll add one more to the mix.

 

An account based approach (ABA) represents an omni-channel coordinated sales and marketing approach, one that reinforces B2B sales and marketing fundamentals, but more hyper-targeted than in times past.  It includes very personalized and customized experiences across ANY automation tool for sales AND marketing.   Analysts are catching onto this trend:

 

(See MarTech Advisor for full article)

 

by Jon Russo Jon Russo No Comments

2018 Salesforce Lightning Migration for Marketers

In March 2018, Salesforce will soon stop support of bug fixes within their classic version of CRM, moving toward the next generation capabilities.  Client wise, we’ve begun helping some organizations make the move over to Lightning, though clearly it is very early days of such a move.
There are several sales and marketing benefits of such a migration – better visualization, cleaner account level hierarchies, improved productivity with fewer clicks to name a few benefits.  Marketers will need to make sure their marketing automation software can in fact be used properly in Lightning as several have the classic application installed.
Before embarking on a migration, there are key questions to ask internally before making a switch:
  1. What is your business objective of a migration (e.g. sales cloud to improve sales performance, service cloud to improve support perf., etc.)?
  2. How documented are your existing sales and marketing processes?
    • How accurate and optimized are those processes?  This will help speed up an installation (and give an opportunity to freshen up an old set of sales processes).
  3. How are you thinking of this as a migration strategy – a fresh brand new instance or a migrated classic one?  This impacts strategy/timing and marketing.
  4. How much customization in terms of SFDC custom objects in Classic exist?   That will impact time to convert as custom object migration is more challenging.
  5. How proficient are your internal resources at JavaScript understanding?  That could impact time to migrate from an existing classic instance to Lightning.

What are you seeing in terms of 2018 migration plans?