A SaaS Metric designed to Increase Free Trial Conversions
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A SaaS Metric designed to Increase Free Trial Conversions

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CCAs & Engagement – An Uncommon Way to Engage & Convert Prospects in Your SaaS Free Trial. ...

CCAs & Engagement – An Uncommon Way to Engage & Convert Prospects in Your SaaS Free Trial.

A few years ago I came up with a set of metrics that I called Common Conversion Activities – or CCA – that I defined as “The things that all or most paying customers do during their trial.”

In July 2012 I gave a 54-minute presentation where I introduced the next version of this ever-evolving set of metrics for measuring Free Trial success, the CCA, and I want to share that with you now.

See the video of this presentation here: http://sixteenventures.com/free-trial-metrics

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    A SaaS Metric designed to Increase Free Trial Conversions A SaaS Metric designed to Increase Free Trial Conversions Presentation Transcript

    • Lincoln Murphy presents...Engagement & CCAsThe UNCOMMON way to engage & convert Prospects in your SaaS Free Trial
    • This is from an 54-minute presentation I did in 2012... if you’d like to watch the video of that presentation, you can here:http://sixteenventures.com/free-trial-metrics
    • Prerequisites for Optimization 1. Product that solves a real problem 2. Market that knows they have a problem 3. Scalable, sustainable, and repeatable way to reach that market (Distribution, Personas) 4. Product that conforms to User Experience + User Interface best practices (Usability) 5. A way for your customers to buy the way they want to/can buy (Commercialization)Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • Deep Thoughts • Perception of Value = Buy Now! • Realization of Value = Conversion • Continual Realization of Value = Retention • Productized Expertise vs. Software • High-Tech allows for High-Touch... in a scalable way!Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • What does a successful trial look like to... • You? • They convert • Your Customer? • Customer is able to see the difference our app will make to their business (perception of value!)Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • Change your Free Trial Mindset 1. Reactive ➔ Proactive 2. Perception of Value ➔ Realization of Value 3. ProfitCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Defined • Common Conversion Activities • Old Definition: The things that all or most paying customers do during the trialCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Defined • Common Conversion Activities • New Definition: CCAs are a set of story-driven actions defined by falsifiable hypotheses that, when completed as a set during the trial, lead to conversionCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Story Driven • Story-driven: not just a step in the on-boarding process, but tied to something meaningful to the user, customer,influencer, etc. • They should be based around a customer goal(s) for a use case where possible (almost everywhere!) • Whats the customer story behind these steps? • Sign-Up • Import Contacts • Send an emailCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Hypothesis • Hypothesis: Educated Guess, sometimes based on historical data, other times complete leaps of faith • Falsifiable: Capable of being tested and generating a valid true or false responseCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Measure & Monitor • Are people doing all of these prior to converting? • Are they not doing all of them? • Which ones are they not doing and why? • What other things are they doing before converting that are not on this list? • Some of this is easier to monitor than other parts • You will pivot your CCAs or persevere with them • This might sound counter intuitive, but dont over think itCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • How to develop CCAs for an Email Marketing App • Why is the customer going to buy your product if the trial is successful? • What does a successful trial look like for them? • Are they going to purchase your email marketing app because they want to pay for an email marketing product every month or is there an actual reason?Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • How to develop CCAs for an Email Marketing App • Lets say as an Email Marketing vendor, youve decided to focus on the segment of the B2B market that uses Direct Response Marketing via email • This market segment - whether theyre selling stuff, promoting content, etc. - wants click- throughs • All your prospect knows is that they want results • So you need to build your CCAs around the overall story of resultsCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • How to develop CCAs for an Email Marketing App • Overall Free Trial hypothesis: If we can get the customer results, theyll convert • Detailed hypothesis: if they use our product for 30 days, they should get a better/higher response rate each time they send an email and that over the course of 5 emails to a max of 200 contacts during the trial, they should see a significant improvement due to the great tools and guidance we provide, thus making conversion a no-brainerCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • How to develop CCAs for an Email Marketing App • Overall Free Trial hypothesis: If we can get the prospect results, theyll convert • This is falsifiable at a high-level by proving that results do not equal conversion • And also at a low-level, since it has a specific number of emails for them to send (5) that we can modify later (5 was too many, 3 not enough, etc.). • This is very different that any other approach Ive ever heard of/seen regarding Free Trials.Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • How to develop CCAs for an Email Marketing App • And this is a different way of looking at the on-boarding process of most email marketing systems: • Sign-up ➔ import contacts ➔ embed sign-up form ➔ send email • Are those steps required? Probably. But how do they play into the story-driven hypothesis? • Our hypothesis is that value isnt derived from the product until the first email is sent... then the hard work begins! • So get ’em to start sending emails ASAPCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • How to develop CCAs for an Email Marketing App • This does raises questions/concerns like: • You cant send an email to a nonexistent list, right? • What about blank screen syndrome? • But we think - above all - that getting an email out the door is the most important thing, so everything revolves around that goal because that is the only thing that will produce results for our customer • Nothing else will get them new business, happier customers, informed members, etc.Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • How to develop CCAs for an Email Marketing App • We can flip the script and get them to do something first - like create the email - and then figure out who theyll send it to • Sign-up ➔ create email ➔ who to send to ➔ import list or embed form ➔ send email once or create autoresponder • Get them to take the action that will lead to them reaching their goal faster, first... and also get them more invested by crafting the message. • After they do that they’ll be closer to their goal and will be more willing to add contacts; without contacts to send to, they can’t reach their goal!Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - The Uncommon Approach • This is a different way of looking at "on-boarding" or engagement • Traditional engagement theory - where and if it is actually applied - says to focus on those "functional things" they need to do • Most "first run experiences" are based on a functional view of the software: I need to do x before I can do y • Not focused on “why” they should take action; only the most motivated will do so; others will bounce • This is why manual intervention is often requiredCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - The Uncommon Approach • You aren’t selling software... it’s something else • Its a solution to a problem • Software powers the solution, but they arent buying software! Don’t get confused! • Put another way, if youre selling software, youre selling a commodity; someone can undercut you and youll lose them based on price • Your goal is to get the prospect to the solution, quickly!Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Goal Drivers • The CCAs cannot be in place for the vendor’s benefit! • The CCA as a set is complete when a goal is reached • Goals can be reached before entire set is completed, resulting in early conversion • The CCA is story-driven with a goal in mind • Individual CCA can have goals associated with those • The goals are the customers’ - not the vendor’s!Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Goal Drivers • We can ask specific questions to drive engagement; don’t design a static, one-size-fits-all path • We can flip the script and get them to do something first - like create the email - and then ask who theyll send it to • We can even ask them to set goals - to define success for themselves • And then once theyve done what we wanted them to do - in this case send an email - it is up to us to continue that engagementCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Goal Drivers • Hypothesis: they reach their goals, theyll pay • If they reach their goal early - before the end of the trial - that is a trigger to ask for the sale • If they don’t reach their goal before the end of the trial, that is something to monitor as a churn threat • Sometimes you can’t let someone fully reach their goal - send thousands of emails, export a PDF report, connect to an internal system, etc. - until they pay (often referred to as an ‘abuse point’) ☜ Good problem to have!Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Goal Drivers • Hypothesis: they reach their goals, theyll pay • The goal can be explicit and we can ask them to set a specific goal or even a goal type (increase sales, for example) • We can set a goal for them, explicitly • Or... we can do it behind the scenes • Then we measure what happens against those goals • We might continually modify those goals based on benchmark network-effect data from other customers!Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Goal Drivers Email Marketing App • For instance, a behind-the-scenes goal for a first email might be a 25% open rate & 30% CTR on those opens • Once they send their first email the goal is to get them not just to send a second email, but to send a second one and get a better result • Better results lead to customer goals being met • Goals being met leads to a realization of value • Realization of value leads to conversion • Continual realization of value leads to retentionCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Goal Drivers Email Marketing App • Playing around in software just leads to more perception of value which leads to less frequent conversion • Buying based on a Perception of Value requires a leap of faith on the part of your prospect; this is the opposite of the real purpose of a Free Trial!Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs - Goal Drivers Email Marketing App • Better result can be a higher CTR % or a larger number of click-throughs and we can offer guidance: • If they had a low CTR, go down this path to fix it in your next email. (higher CTR is the goal) • Did you have a high one, awesome... lets crank up the success... convert today and add/send to youre whole list! (more CTs) (they realized value after one email... convert em!)Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • What CCAs are Not • CCAs are not "Core User Actions" you use to measure "engagement" in a dashboard... like Totango says • Activity Time • Frequency • CUA • They aren’t DAU/MAU • They can be all of those, none, or some... • Engagement during the Free Trial is not the same as post-trial engagement... but successful FTE leads to PTE!Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs Must Change Behavior • If were like "hey, do this, then this, then this..." nobody cares... it becomes noise • When they get busy, they stop doing those things and the "do this next" emails just pile up... how do they catch up? • Ideally.... trigger a message based on activity • The message shouldnt be "do this next" it should be "get this result" (by doing this next) • The hardest thing to do is get ’em to change behaviorCopyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • CCAs Must Change Behavior • People will revert to old behavior easier than continuing to change their behavior in the way required to fully adopt your product • Your app - no matter what it is - requires a change in behavior • You have to know this and work against the natural instincts of your prospects • This is especially true if your product does something difficult, complex, new, or all three!Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com
    • Need help optimizing your Free Trial for Maximum conversions? Contact me and let’s talk about that... lincoln.murphy@sixteenventures.com (972) 200-9317Copyright© 2012 Lincoln Murphy. All Rights Reserved. http://sixteenventures.com