Sujan Patel On Strategies To Reduce SaaS Churn Rate

#BiteSize is a video series where leading experts answer some of the most pressing questions entrepreneurs have while building or marketing their startups.

In the latest episode of #BiteSize, Sujan Patel talks about what a SaaS founder should do with people who signup for their SaaS software once and never return again. He gives detailed advice on how to minimize SaaS churn.

Sujan Patel

Sujan has 12 years of experience in digital marketing and co-created Content Marketer, a tool to help automate and scale content marketing. He is also an avid blogger and writes for Forbes, Inc, WSJ and Entrepreneur. In his spare time, he authored the Growth Hacking eBook 100 Days of Growth & Content Marketing Playbook. When he’s not working 80 hours a week you can find him at the racing cars/motorcycles or jumping out of planes.

[Transcript of the video below]


Transcript of the Video

First and foremost, the simplest way to do this is to actually start talking to your customers. When they signup for a freemium model, you need to understand who your customers are, talk to them and help them. I always recommend going to out and just auditing and randomly calling if your product’s more on the high end or enterprise or if you have information to call people.

Or you can just email them and say, “Hey! I’m the CEO here and I just want to talk to you.” Ask them questions about what they do, what they thought the tool did and how can you help them. And really just coach them through it. It really doesn’t matter how much time you spend.

Alex Turnbull from Groove did a really good blog post about this exact thing. He talked to about a 100 customers. And he got so much good information, it really helped him understand the problems that people were solving and what he could do better to solve it.

The issue of getting people back or SaaS churn is not always a product/market fit issue, that’s not always your product doesn’t do what its told – it’s that people are busy and they always gear towards the shiny object and they use it for 5 minutes. If in that 5 minutes they can’t immediately get it, they may leave and forget to come back.

People forgetting to come back is not a problem with the product necessarily. It’s something you can do with something like email nurturing to get them back. So, what I recommend is setting up email drip campaigns after you start talking to customers. So that way, first you’ll understand who your customers are, what they need, what positions they’re in – then you can start to write email nurture campaigns to get them back.

We launched ContentMarketer two weeks ago and we had the same exact issue. It was a great product, we got so much good feedback, but still, we had 700 people signup when we launched on ProductHunt and on Day Three, there were only a hundred or so people actually going back and re-using it.

So, what I recommend is doing these drip campaigns. I setup a day 7 and day 14 drip campaign because we have a free trial. And literally when I setup the day 14 saying ‘your trial expired’ with a funny GIF of somebody crying and saying, “Sorry to see you leave, but if you come back and need any help, let me know.” And it’s by me personally, but is triggered when your trial expires and we got like 10 customers.

We’re a bootstrapped company so we didn’t have the resources to do everything. Email nurturing was on my list of things to do but it works. I got responses saying, “I’ve been meaning to play with this, just haven’t had a chance.”

People are busy, so email drips or campaigns should be written to help with that. Second thing is, understand who your customers are and their pain points. And the third thing to me is actually figure out how you can get the AHA moment in the first 30 seconds, or in the first use of the product. That’s the ultimate thing. If you knock that out, everything else is less important.