The Executive’s 60 Minute Survival Guide To Customer Analytics

I’m not the youngest at the table, but definitely not the oldest. There’s 3 of us in our 20’s, and then the rest of the room seems to be spaced between 30-60.

I am however dressed like a child. I should have gone for the safe ‘smart jeans and white collared shirt’. Classic entrepreneur. It quietly whispers “I ironed a shirt today, because you guys are worth it”.

But I didn’t. I’m dressed like an intern, and people have assumed I’m an intern. Or perhaps I’m Grey Fox’s assistant.

Grey Fox is the guy sitting to my left. He looks like he came straight out of an IBM consulting gig. Very senior, with a strong presence. He’s dropping analytics acronyms so fast that he’s borderline beatboxing. He’s pretty much dominated the conversation for the last 2 hours.

To my right is Vendor Vanessa. She’s casually dressed, in her early 40’s, and wearing the largest pearl earrings I’ve ever seen. If it wasn’t for the fact I know which company she works at, I’d assume she was here on sales commission. She’s made it her personal mission to name-drop a vendor into the conversation every few minutes. Never anything useful, but just enough so that we know that she knows who they are.

Sitting directly over from me is someone I’m going to call Copycat Charlie. He’s early 30’s, dressed for business-casual, and has made it his sole mission tonight to try and finish the sentences of Grey Fox, and ends every one of Vendor Vanessa’s contributions with “Oh yeah, they’re great!”

I’m sitting in a private roundtable on “Customer Analytics For Subscription Companies”. There’s 10 of us in the room. Everyone here is an Analytics Director (or equivalent senior position) except myself and another vendor CEO. I’ve been listening quietly and intently for the last 2 hours.

And for the last 2 hours, the 3 people talking have been bullshitting.

Grey Fox has no clue about analytics strategy, he just knows the terminology. Vendor Vanessa has only memorised the names and feature sets of each tool in the analytics space, but has never actually integrated or used one of them. And Copycat Charlie’s only strategy is to align himself with Grey Fox and Vendor Vanessa in the hope of being associated with their thought leadership.

Please don’t be one of those people.

Before you attend your next customer analytics meeting or workshop, please read my Executive’s 60 Minute Survival Guide To Customer Analytics.

(p.s. despite the cute names, the above is a true story and the 3 people who stood out to me as total fraudsters were all from multi-million dollar turnover SaaS companies!)

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5 Steps To Becoming A Data Driven Organisation

It’s a seriously tense atmosphere. Even for an above-average height guy, I’m feeling pretty small right now. Every pair of eyes in the room is either on me, or on the VP of Product’s increasingly flushed face.

I’m suddenly aware of how much noise the struggling AC is making. The whir of the fan in the overheating windows laptop at the end of the conference table is especially loud. I try not to look at it. I can’t break eye contact with everyone in the room. Stand tall.

I know I’m correct. I need to stand by what I’ve just said. We need to accept it so we can move forward. Everyone else in the room, apart from her, knows I’m correct. It’s all over their faces. All I’ve done is guide them down a discovery path to answer a few questions – I didn’t actually tell them anything they hadn’t told themselves.

How Naive I am…

2 minutes ago, I called out the VP of Product in front of her entire team. Through a series of questions, we established they aren’t a data driven organisation. Something the VP of Product passionately protested. So I went on to point out all of the previous product decisions they made, and how all of the data available to them at that time actually pointed to a different path to the one they followed.

I’m here to try and help this company integrate data into their decision making process. But I’ve just unwittingly accused a self proclaimed “Data Driven Evangelist” of ignoring her data at every major decision.

(I will later learn from an inside contact that the VP of Product was previously responsible for planning and implementing the organisations “Data Driven Strategy”, a project which contributed to her promotion to VP Product.)

Unsurprisingly, I’m swiftly (but politely) removed from the board room due to ‘an early end to the meeting’. In less than 5 minutes of declaring this organisation is not currently data driven, I’m in an Uber and on my way back to the office!

You wont be surprised to hear I didn’t make a sale of our Predictive Analytics platform. But I did leave with a strong validation for my questioning framework to uncover if an organisation is really data driven!

Here is a condensed version of the questions I asked in that boardroom, and what to do about each point.

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YCombinator: Our Interview Experience After Flying 5,351 Miles for 10 Minutes

Today we’re flying home from San Francisco to London, after flying out here for an early interview with Sam Altman for a spot in the YC Winter 2015 batch for our company, Trakio. We’re flying home for a few days to pack more clothes and then we’re returning to SF to do some more meetings and participate in an accelerator!

This is a post about our experience in getting Trakio known stateside and interviewing with some of the worlds top-tier startup accelerator programs.

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Tracking Companies With Trakio For More Accurate Health Scores

For a long time, SaaS companies have hacked and botched tracking multi-seat applications in regular analytics platforms. (We even did this ourselves in the past). If you have a CRM app and you have a customer with a 10 seat license, how do you correctly analyse that customers usage?

Web analytics was about analysing our ‘visitors’. Then we evolved into Customer Analytics, which analysed ‘visitor actions’. But SaaS applications are a different use case – because groups of users might all belong to a single account. This account might have multiple roles, with different goals and expectations from our product.

To correctly analyse usage of a multi-seat SaaS app, ideally you want to group our users into companies, and have your analytics “intelligently” allow for this relationship & grouping in our reports and segments.

I’m going to run through why this is important in a quick practical walkthough (I promise this is leading somewhere…)

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Trakio and Doorbell.io Integration Now Live

We know that Trakio becomes far easier to create valuable insights when you have more data bout your customers. That’s why today we’re announcing our integration with Doorbell.io, an awesome in-app feedback widget.

Doorbell.io not only captures user feedback from within your web app or iOS app, it also performs sentiment analysis on the comment – which means it can tell if the comment as positive or negative.

Now with each submission, the response can be logged in your Trakio account and used in all of your dynamic segments and health scores.

This means you can create segments such as:

Feedback Sent where sentiment = negative in the last 30 days

This is the first of many integrations with other tools we are working on. From simple tools to more complex systems, we’re open to hearing your requests. Please email us or tweet us with any other apps you’d like us to integrate with!

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SaaS: How To Predict Customer Churn With App Usage Data

Churn kills SaaS companies. No matter how many growth hackers you hire into the marketing team or how many hustlers you hire into your sales team, eventually a ‘leaky funnel’ will at best, cause your company growth to plateau and at worst, cause your revenue to actually decline.

This is because eventually, you saturate out your niche markets and distribution channels. People begin to ignore your marketing messages as they’ve already “been there, done that, didn’t work for me…”.

There is also the reality that for most SaaS companies, the cost to acquire a new customer is not returned until the customer has been a subscriber for a few months (or longer). Most companies invest big into customer acquisition because they hope that the customer will stay around for years to come, paying their fees each month with the minimal of costs or effort involved.

But if we don’t solve churn, growth stalls. And to solve churn, we need to intercept before it happens.

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Tracking Customers & Visitors In Trakio Is Changing

After talking to most of our current customers and to many companies who have shown interest in using Trakio, we’ve decided to make some pretty big changes to the way our API and JS library tracks your customers and website visitors.

For 95% of our users, these changes will have a positive effect on how you use Trakio. And it means our upcoming feature roadmap will align exactly with your current business challenges and will mean Trakio becomes even more valuable within your organisation!

However, for 5% of our current users, these changes may remove functionality that you currently rely on and you may need to start relying on other tools (i.e. Google Analytics) to gain answers to some questions that you would usually answer from within Trakio.

This post will explain why these changes are necessary to allow us to focus our product strategy. With a laser-focussed approach we can create a more valuable customer success solution, something that’s simple and easy to use and which solves the problems facing companies who need to optimise how their existing customers are engaging with their products.

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