Claire Suellentrop, Founder of Love Your Customers on how customer-first marketing can save your startup


Interview by Breanne Thomas

Hi Claire! Can you tell us a little about what you do and how to came to work with SaaS companies?

Sure! I work with high-growth SaaS companies on their “product marketing” — an umbrella term for many efforts including customer research, product messaging and positioning, and more.

This work comes on the heels of my time as Director of Marketing at Calendly, where I wore all these hats at various stages — and fell completely in love with the customer-focused model of marketing.

Many SaaS companies focus all their marketing efforts on acquiring new customers, but when you consider the fact that increasing customer retention rates by 5% increases profits by 25% to 95%, and that 80% of your company’s revenue will come from just 20% of your customers, it becomes clear that the real money comes from the people who already know about you — not strangers.

So I help companies tap into that group of people — the ones who are already on their website and in their app — to learn more about what’s really going on in their worlds, and maximize opportunities to convert those people into happy, long-term customers.

Plus, I share everything I know (and everything I’m learning) with the folks who subscribe to my Love Your Customers newsletter.

What is the #1 thing tech companies misunderstand or miss completely when it comes to their customers?

There are two huge things tech companies misunderstand when it comes to their customers:

#1. If the copy your visitors read before signing up is weak (e.g., on a landing page or across your website), you are definitely leaking money right now.

#2. As a founder or early-stage team member, it’s impossible to unlearn everything you already know about your product — you’re inherently biased. And building a signup or onboarding flow from that biased standpoint results in terrible adoption rates because your new users just don’t have all the information in their heads that you have in yours. So instead, they’ll struggle to use your product successfully.

If a company wants to see the 25–95% profit increase that comes from higher retention rates, it’s crucial to get out of your own company’s bubble and experience firsthand what your customers are actually doing.

That’s why I’m such a cheerleader for Jobs To Be Done customer interviews(which I conduct for companies, and which I teach companies how to conduct themselves long-term). And it’s why I believe every company selling products online needs a way to watch what people are doing on their website. FullStory is a great option for this.

Where do you hope to take Love Your Customers in 2017 and beyond?

In 2017, I want to work 1:1 with a bunch of high-growth SaaS companies to amp up their product marketing and get more value from the people who already know about them.

I also want to teach marketers and founders what Jobs To Be Done is all about, and how it can help them (which I’ll be doing in June at Unbounce’s Call To Action Conference).

Beyond that, I want Love Your Customers to play a major role in tech’s shift toward customer-focused marketing. It’s too early to know what that will look like yet — maybe it’ll become a series of workshops? A conference? A community? A library of “how to” resources? Who knows!