In b2b premium information products, consumption of content is not necessarily value. Time on site does not always mean value – maybe the opposite. Visits may be infrequent. So, how might we unlock the connection between engagement and retention in b2b subscriptions?
The Substribe SubsLab is about compressing learnings – often built over a long period of testing – into a one hour meeting of minds. It is exclusively for b2b subscription leaders. This time, we explored a measure of engagement that takes in three measures to create one overall score. Our hypothesis is the measure can be used alongside cohort revenue and sentiment analysis to unlock retention.
Sharing these experimental results, Ellie O’Connor of S&P Global shares how she quickly diagnose product performance. It is one measure, made up of three metrics, to understand how customers interact with your product/service. The three metrics are growth, adoption and stickiness. So, if the number of users is growing there may be expansion opportunities. If adoption is weak, you lean in to work out why and this has led to scalable customer success initiatives.
Use cases for the score range from:
Creating Individual account management views and a baseline for accounts in similar industries or personas.
Segmented views across groups to understand what is normal behaviour, basic or advanced usage.
White space insights identifying low adopting accounts; high-adoption/power users/champions.
Upsell opportunities identifying key workflows or features being/not being adopted.
How to start
The first place to start, and arguably hardest, is defining no more than 10 meaningful actions (‘core events’) in your product. The discipline is knowing what to include and not include. Ask, “What is it about us that’s unique and offers value?” If your team don’t know, ask your customer. Better still, do both.
By focusing on meaningful actions for customers, you gain focus and strip away a lot of the noise and personal opinions to make more data-driven product and business decisions. One of the pitfalls to avoid is using a vanity metric, not an important baseline.
Often, organizations want 80% of features used but your customers may only really leverage 20% of your features. However, that may truly indicate success for them. Defining core events forces the business to really define key workflows. This also helps to uncover items that are not being adopted that support key business objectives. Teams can develop strategies to encourage adoption or make critical decisions to retire or refine.Ellie o’Connor
How it can be used
- PM – Gather baseline scores for the product and different user groups. Account level health scoring. We extract and include in other reports that include revenue #s. Measure effectiveness of training, messaging, new features, dev improvements.
- CX – Used in conjunction with NPS, CSAT and other financial data to indicate Health of key accounts. Develop strategies to increase adoption or help to prevent churn.
- Commercial – similar to CX–measuring health and helping to understand/prevent churn. When the PES begins to drop, this often can indicate an account is about to leave. Conversely, major adoption can also indicate someone will leave so major spikes can often trigger an alert to sales groups.
- UX – Persona development, platform trends, account and user-level understanding. Inform research or development roadmaps.
- Leadership – HIgh-level platform metrics for various products; measuring KPIs for products. Portfolio view of all products.
- Development – Evaluate and understand different persona groups (early adopters, power users, admins, infrequent users, key accounts)
An aha moment is looking at power users who are in platform more than three times per month – this reveals key features for power users and therefore useful as a baseline for other accounts.ellie o’connor
Turning this into action
The goal is to help teams speak above the transactional and to have more value-based conversations with – and about – customers. Our hunch about how to approach this is:
Step 1. Go through the exercise of defining a meaningful event because it involves understanding how you align with customers. You’ll need a facilitator to get cross functional teams thinking this way.
Step 2. Retro-analysing renewal intelligence from your customers – those who grow, contract, and churn – to test your thinking. In other words, using net revenue retention optics on your theory.
Step 3. Monitor your core events and their impact on growth of users, repeat visits, and adoption in a segment of similar accounts. Starting in something like excel is ok.
Step 4. Use customer sentiment to overlay on the engagement score. We are curious to see if ‘ease’ sentiment aligns with adoption. ‘Satisfaction’ with stickiness. How NPS compares with MHS (Must Have Score) on the propensity to grow.
Want to start the journey?
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