"Customer-led growth is not a term that I coined. It's the idea. As a business, we've got metrics that we're trying to measure and goals we're trying to hit, but they're always around our goals as a business. It's like trying to sell a product or get a subscription that those milestones that we measure do not speak to customer value. We focus on jobs that need to be done: framework, understanding our customer needs, and having empathy for what problems they're trying to solve—then understanding the customer journey, what they're doing, thinking, and feeling, and how they're measuring.
That will come if we provide value to our customers and prospects at each of those stages. It's about putting our metrics secondary. Of course, we're still measuring that. We still need to drive revenue and MQL and all of that, but it's secondary to how our customers measure success at those stages."
- Jennifer Vogel, VP of Marketing, Voxpopme
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From Revenue Rhino, I'm Brad Hammond, and this is The Lifelong Customer Podcast. We're interviewing successful sales and marketing leaders in discussing ways in which they're building lifelong relationships with their customer.
Brad Hammond: 0:20
Welcome to The Lifelong Customer podcast. I'm your host, Brad Hammond. Today, I have Jenn Vogel from Voxpopme. And Jenn, it’s nice to have you on. I love that company name. Very unique.
Jenn Vogel: 0:31
Thank you. It's great to be here. A lot of people always ask us what Voxpopme means. And it's after the Latin for vox populi, which means voice to the people. And so yes, we capture video response from consumers for brands.
Brad Hammond: 0:49
Jenn Vogel: 0:50
And so we bring the voice of the people to companies that care about the voice of their customer.
Brad Hammond: 0:54
I love that. That's awesome. So maybe you can tell the audience a little bit about yourself, who you are, what you do and then a little bit about Voxpopme.
Jenn Vogel: 1:02
Sure, yes. I'm the VP of Marketing at Voxpopme. I've been with the company about 4 years, kind of running their marketing strategy and helping to grow revenue for the business. I started my career on the B2C side of marketing and had an opportunity in my early 20s to move into the market research and experience management space. And I thought, well, that would be good on my resume as a marketer. And now I've been in the industry for more than 12 years and have really discovered SaaS marketing and enterprise B2B through that space, which has been really exciting.
As I mentioned Voxpopme, we do video surveys essentially. So you can think of it as an alternative to a written survey with checkboxes and open-ended text boxes. We allow people to just tell their stories and then our technology helps to take that unstructured data and turn it into something that people can understand easily and use to make decisions.
Brad Hammond: 2:06
Very cool. So what does marketing look like in this space? Tell me about who you're targeting, what some other programs you're running looks like, all that.
Jenn Vogel: 2:13
Sure. Yes. So we're targeting enterprise, primarily CPG businesses. That's our sweet spot. We do a lot of work with retail and quick-serve restaurants, consumer tech as well, but CPG is really our primary. So we work with Pepsi, Coke, Mondelez, Mars, McDonald's, like some really great brands. And typically, we're working with the insights teams. And they are tasked with bringing consumer understanding and consumer empathy throughout their business and working closely with their marketing teams and their product innovation teams to let them know what consumers care about, what they're struggling with, to help them innovate.
So it can be a tough group to crack sometimes. They are pulled in a lot of different directions. And there are a lot of emerging technologies in the sort of data analytics and consumer insights area. So they're being bombarded constantly by companies trying to sell them a shiny piece of technology. So really like that idea of consumer empathy that we bring to our customers, we try to embody that in our marketing as well and bring that empathy to our customers and prospects.
Brad Hammond: 3:37
Very cool. So one of the things you mentioned to me that you guys are doing is customer-led growth or customer-led focus to marketing. What is it? Why are you doing it? Tell me a bit about that.
Jenn Vogel: 3:50
Sure. Yes. So I mean, that customer-led growth is not a term that I've coined. I totally stole that from Gia Laudi from Forget The Funnel. Check out her stuff. She's got some really great content out there. But I worked with her closely a few years ago, and she really introduced this concept to me. And it's basically the idea, as a business, we've got metrics that we're trying to measure and goals we’re trying to hit but they're always around our goals as a business, like trying to sell a product or get a subscription. Those milestones that we measure do not actually speak to customer value.
So what we focus on is jobs to be done framework, understanding our customer needs and having empathy for what problems they're trying to solve and then understanding throughout the customer journey, what they're doing, thinking and feeling, and how they're measuring success. How do they feel that they found value from the relationship at each of those stages? And those KPIs that we're measuring are no longer like somebody purchased. Like a purchase is not a KPI for my team at the moment. That is going to come if we provide value to our customers and prospects at each of those stages.
So it's about kind of like putting our own metrics secondary, which, of course, we're still measuring that stuff. We still need to drive revenue and MQLs and all of that stuff. But it's secondary to how are our customers measuring success at those stages.
Brad Hammond: 5:32
I love that, yes, because from a customer standpoint, they don't care how many sales you need this quarter and all this. They just care about their needs and all that. So I love that. So for those listening, can you give us an example of what this would look like in practice?
Jenn Vogel: 5:48
One example is, say, one stage is like value realization like within our platform. So we'll do pilot programs prior to a subscription with potential customers. So signing on to a pilot is not a KPI. Like moving on to the subscription is not a KPI. It's a specific activity in the platform during that pilot that we have associated with value realization.
And a lot of that is through the research we've done with our customers. So we do a lot of win/loss research and NPS surveys and things like that. So when we ask our customers, hey, what was the moment? Tell me about the moment you knew that our technology was going to solve your problem. So once we kind of aggregated that moment, that becomes the KPI. Can we get people to that moment? It falls in between the pilot purchase and the subscription purchase, but it's aligned with the value. We know that the subscription purchase is going to happen because they've experienced that value.
Brad Hammond: 6:50
Interesting. Yes, that's really interesting. It kind of aligns with, I feel like, there's this trend in marketing of instead of just a bunch of lead generation that doesn't turn into sales or deals or actual customers, measuring those metrics that matter. And that's really interesting that you've gotten and even taken it a step further instead of, oh, they signed up to the pilot but they actually did something specifically in that pilot that we know from research has proven to lead to a long-term customer relationship.
And how exactly did you find that key factor? I'm sure it will be different for every marketer listening with their product. But what was the bit of the process to go through to find that?
Jenn Vogel: 7:33
Sure. We look at a lot of different data from different sources. Our product team is measuring usage data and looking at every click and every like timestamp of how people are behaving in the platform. As I mentioned, we do all different types of research. So I'll give you some examples.
We do with – first of all, I mean, we've done like website surveys. We're just popping up for anybody on our website to try to understand, hey, what brought you here? What problem are you trying to solve? Like that's always the question. What's your job to be done essentially? We do a pain survey, which is a quantitative like on a scale of 1 to 5, how big of a pain is this statement? So that's one way that we kind of do some discovery on the front end.
As I mentioned, win/loss, that's a video-based survey using our own technology. So any time a subscription closes, won or lost, you get 5 video questions asking, what problem were you trying to solve? How do you know that this is going to solve your problem? Or why didn't it? So there's that work that we do.
We do NPS at quarterly with our subscription customers. And then we do actual one-on-one customer interviews in-depth on a regular basis. So we are I think – I don't know if our customers love it or hate it, but we are constantly asking them for feedback and trying to understand them and have empathy for the problems that they're trying to solve. So that, combined with the behavioral data of what we see them doing and the technology, helps us to define some of those metrics.
And as I mentioned before, we still have – we're still trying to generate a certain number of MQLs and still trying to get a certain percentage of those to convert to opportunity. But we have moved away from more – we just need more leads. We just need more leads at a lower CPL. That's always the demand. But I can give you a lot of MQLs at a very low CPL if they're bad quality. So we're trying to be really intentional about making sure those leads are ICP, and that they're actually moving through the journey.
Brad Hammond: 9:47
Totally. So how does this all play out with the dynamic of the sales team? I think in a lot of companies, those silos exist between sales and marketing. And sales will be doing one thing, and marketing will be doing another. When you do this research and you're talking to customers, do you lean into the sales team to do that? Or do you do it within marketing? Or how does all that dynamic work?
Jenn Vogel: 10:10
That's such a good question. It is so cross-collaborative. It has to be - like, it can't be done in silos. And we try to implement programs that are beneficial to all the different departments. So I mentioned the pain survey that we do. Our sales team uses the individual responses for their discovery and their sales process, whereas marketing uses the aggregate of the results for messaging and positioning.
The product team is looking at the behavioral data in the platform, but they're also sharing that with customers’ success to make sure that they're helping to guide their customers to the best use cases or give them tips and tricks that maybe they don't appear to be aware of. So all of the research that we do is very cross-functional, cross-collaborative.
I have been in ups and downs of like marketing being really aligned with sales and marketing not being really aligned with sales. It doesn't work if you're not aligned, like you’ve got to be talking the same language and thinking about the same things.
So most recently, we have been really focused on – we kind of did a reset on our ideal customer profile. Like, hey, just checking, everybody's still on the same page about our ICP? Yes? Good. Okay, great. And then build programs around driving those quality ICP leads and no longer looking at how many MQLs were hitting or how much each lead is costing, but how much are opportunities costing? Looking at that metric instead, are we improving the conversion rate from lead to opportunity and having not be a focus just a little further down the pipeline helps us all to ensure that we're driving more quality and not just more volume.
Brad Hammond: 12:02
Totally. So if I'm a marketer out there, and I really want to focus on this initiative around customer-led growth, metrics that matter, all this stuff, what are the mistakes I can make, like where maybe you've gone down a wrong turn and made a mistake? And what are those things I should be aware of?
Jenn Vogel: 12:20
That's a good question. So I think one thing to be careful of is taking on too much at once. So a lot of businesses, ours included, we have different profiles, right, different personas that we're selling to. And each might be a little different in their journey or what they're thinking about, what their problems that they're trying to solve are. So I would suggest, like if you're just embarking on this for the first time and you're building your first customer journey map, doing your first set of research, choose one persona because it can get really confusing if you're trying to do a bunch all at once.
And take your time with it, give yourself some time to like really dedicated to doing it right, like rather than kind of rushing through it to get to the next one and get to the next one because I think there's a good chance you could just give up right in the middle if you try to do too much too soon.
Brad Hammond: 13:15
Totally. And how about data and tracking and all that kind of stuff? Is that a really challenging thing to implement, present? And how do you know what data to gather and what to track and when to present it and all that stuff?
Jenn Vogel: 13:30
Right. So that is like the million-dollar question. We have access to so much data now, and this is one of the challenges that our customers have to that if you're a B2C brand, you've got shopper behavioral data, you've got passive measurement data and social media data on top of like primary research that you're doing. And same with B2B, like you're just looking at user research and all different types of stuff.
I guess I would say you probably want to prioritize, like do you have a really good understanding and empathy for the problem that your customers are trying to solve? There's probably a lot of different ways you can get to that answer depending on what resources you have. Like there are some companies that are going to have huge budgets and do huge research studies, like we have the advantage of having our own technology to use.
There's really scrappy ways you can do it. Just talking to customers is really the key. And yes, getting to that job to be done is the key thing. And you can do it as easily as putting together a few questions and sending it out via email. It's going to be a pain in the ass to pull it all together, but you'll get to the same destination as if you spent a ton of money on a big research study. So yes, maybe don't overthink it and try to get to that job to be done.
Brad Hammond: 14:57
Totally. Well, as we're wrapping up here, what final advice do you have for the other marketers out there when it comes to all this?
Jenn Vogel: 15:04
Yes. So I would say my advice would be to just fail more and fail quickly, experiment with all different types of campaigns and strategies and tactics. I started kind of giving up on my own opinion, like I will see things all the time that I don't necessarily like or don't think it's a good idea. But as long as we're data-driven about how we're measuring, like what's working and what's not. We know what we're trying to test, then we can try anything. Try it for 6 hours. Try it for a week and fail quickly.
I think it was Karl Sun, who's the CEO of Lucidchart, did a talk at SaaStr a couple of years ago about like how everybody there hated their website. But every time they try to change it, it would impact their conversion rates, so they would have to change it back. Like it was such a good message to me of like we don't know what's going to work until we try it. And so just test and fail.
And try to like give that freedom to your teams too. I think my team knows that there is no such thing as a bad idea, and that helps us to be really creative and try things that are a lot more out of the box. And we find success in the most unexpected places. So I think when we kind of operate in a “this is how we always do things” kind of mindset, we miss a lot of opportunities. So that would be my advice is to fail more.
Brad Hammond: 16:40
Totally. I love that. Well, Jenn, thanks so much for joining us. It's been a pleasure to have you on.
Jenn Vogel: 16:44
Thanks for having me.
Brad Hammond: 16:46