How Social Proof Actually Works in Marketing

How Social Proof Actually Works in MarketingI’m not a psychologist, but I play one every day as I try to figure out why people (users, customers, visitors, etc.) do what they do… and how to get them to do more of what I want them to do.

I spend a lot more time reading books about – and otherwise studying – human psychology and the way our brains operate, than I do on specific marketing techniques, growth hacks, or the latest viral sensation.

Those things are fleeting, but the way our brain works is much slower to change.

One of the people I’ve learned the most from when it comes to human behavior is Dr. Robert Cialdini, starting with his game changing book Influence. He and others from his Influence at Work group have released other books that provided real-world examples of how to leverage the principles of Influence – or avoid them – but Influence is still my go-to resource.

Dr. Cialdini has posited that there are six principles of persuasion – Reciprocation, Liking, Consensus, Authority, Consistency, and Scarcity – each of which has the power to elicit certain behaviors (simply due to how our brains work) in those at whom the principle is focused.

In this article I want to explore the Principle of Consensus, otherwise known in marketing as “Social Proof” and in Customer Success as “Advocacy.”

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Customer Success Starts at Sales Done Right

Greg Pietruszynski - CEO - GrowbotsAfter getting a demo of their new product from their Chief Data Officer (Luke Deka) while I was in Poland, I was excited to catch-up with Greg Pietruszynski, CEO of Growbots, when I got back to San Francisco.

We talked about lots of different topics, but the post that my friend Steli Efti from close.io shared a while back – 4 Sales Mistakes That Lead To High SaaS Churn – came up.

Greg said the post was a brilliant summary of tactics that can help you focus on the right customer segments and therefore decrease long-term customer churn.

But then he said something that I thought would make a great post… it’s one thing to know who to sell to; it’s quite another to actually make the sale.

It’s yet a another to make the sale with Customer Success in mind.

Luckily, Greg agreed that this topic would make a great post.

I have a few things to say in the After Word about how churn hurts your Total Addressable Market, but until then, take it away Greg.

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Achieve Network Effect on a Smaller Scale

Piotr Zaniewicz - Right HelloI was talking to my friend Piotr Zaniewicz the other day about the importance of network effects on SaaS businesses.

I mentioned how the common misconception around network effects is that, in order to achieve a real network effect (this is the reason some people say B2B SaaS can’t be “viral”), the level of critical mass necessary for network effects to take place usually requires a lot of time, effort, energy, and resources to develop, on top of that ‘mass’ of users and customers.

But Piotr, the CEO of RightHello, an outbound sales startup based in Poland, and I know different. We started talking about this really awesome way he came up with to generate network effects, but on a small-scale. This is exactly what he did for his company.

I told him – as I do – to write it down and let’s publish it so everyone can learn about it. He obliged and his post is below.

I have a couple of notes and some more resources for you at the end that you’ll want to read, but for now… take it away Piotr.

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3 Secrets of High-Converting SaaS Free Trials

3 Secrets of High-Converting SaaS Free TrialsWhile just about every B2B SaaS company offer a Free Trial – especially those with self-service sales models – in my experience, the percentage of SaaS companies that feel their Free Trial is “successful” is fairly low.

Disappointingly low, actually.

And it absolutely doesn’t have to be that way and in this article I’ll show you how to create high-converting Free Trials!

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How To Get Sales To Help Test your Ideal Customer Profile

How to Get Sales to Help Test your Ideal Customer ProfileI was talking to the CEO of a SaaS startup on Clarity about a dilemma many companies go through.

They’ve decided it’s time to get deliberate about their progress and start testing their Ideal Customer Profile… but there’s a problem.

They already have sales develop reps (SDRs) generating leads and account executives (AEs… aka sales people) closing deals. Both of those groups carry a quota; SDRs on the number of touches and AE the number of closed deals.

So while they know they need to make a change to ensure their long-term success, they know that the SDRs and Sales orgs will want to stick to what works (for them).

Here’s what I told them… hopefully it’ll help you if you run into this situation, too.

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Stick Point: When Your SaaS Customer is Truly a Customer

Stick Point - What it is and Why it Matters in SaaSIn my recent article on accurately calculating your SaaS metrics, I mentioned how some customers shouldn’t be considered customers yet.

I referred to the fact that there’s a “stick point” or that point in time in the early part of the customer lifecycle where – if a customer makes it that long – they’ll likely stay the entire estimated or typical lifetime.

Let’s deep dive on this topic so you really understand what it is and why it matters.

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Free Trials Do Not Devalue Your Enterprise SaaS

free-trials-enterprise-sales-buidling-trustThe CEO of a SaaS company reached out to me on Clarity the other day and he had a very dangerous misconception that could seriously impact their potential as a company.

I hope by talking about it here I can save more SaaS companies from falling into this trap.

They sell to large customers and the dangerous misconception was that offering a Free Trial would devalue their otherwise “enterprise” product.

That couldn’t be further from the truth!

Free Trials DO NOT devalue your offering.

Let’s explore why that is and what you can do if a Free Trial simply isn’t something you can offer right now.

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4 Undercover Ways to Hack Social for More Sales

max-altschuler-sales-hackerHow often do you hear the term “Social Selling” and either can’t figure out what it actually means or just want to call shenanigans on it?

You know you’re not going to close a six-figure deal on Twitter, right? That’s not reality. But that doesn’t mean that Twitter (or any social network) can’t be leveraged to accelerate that same six-figure, high-touch B2B Enterprise deal.

In fact, this was the subject of a conversation I had the other day with my good friend Max Altschuler, founder of Sales Hacker. We talked about all the super-cool ways you can leverage social these days in both the business/market/sales development phase as well as in the sales phase by the Account Exec / sales person.

As we talked it occurred to me that this would be a great topic for an article, and Max agreed.

I have a couple of things to add in the After Word at the end… but for now I’ll give it over to Max to share 4 of his best social hacks to accelerate sales.

Take it away, Max.

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The Success Gap: A HUGE Opportunity You Haven’t Considered

success-gapThere is often a gap between the functional completion of your product and the customer’s Desired Outcome.

I call this the Success Gap.

And this Success Gap that stands between what your product does and your customer’s Desired Outcome is a huge risk for you.

It’s also a huge opportunity if you bridge the gap for your customers.

This Success Gap also has another meaning… it’s the gap between what you think represents the customers’ successful use of your product and what they think equates to success.

As you’ll see, if you mark a customer as being successful just due to certain use patterns within the product – as far too many SaaS companies do – you could have a distorted view of how successful your customers actually are.

That just expands the risk potential within the Success Gap.

Let’s dig into this a bit more, shall we? We shall indeed.

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Your SaaS Metrics Are Wrong if You Include These Customers

customer-user-definitionA user is someone that uses your SaaS product, right? Or is it someone that signed-up? Or someone that’s active? Or someone that logged-in a few times? Hmm.

Okay, so maybe defining a user is hard, but defining a customer is easy, right?

A customer is someone that pays you for your product or service. Even if they’re still within the legal timeframe for a refund? Or a contractual “cooling off” period? Or if they’re within the 90-day “stick point” (if they make it past 90-days they’ll stick around for a long time)? Or…

Wow, so even defining a customer isn’t as straightforward as it might have seemed.

And it gets even messier if you’re in a market with a more transient customer base (i.e. the level of real unavoidable churn is high), if you offer a completely free or freemium product, if you just launched with a lot of early adopter interest (i.e. the “Product Hunt effect”), etc.

To get honest about what’s going on in your company, you need to modify the customer (or user) definition, which is the main input into how you calculate the core metrics of your SaaS business.

Let’s explore this a bit…

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