Retention Talk
Retention Talk

Better email campaigns, tracking metrics, and aligning teams | CompanyCam's Kelly Danahy

Kelly Danahy, Sales Director at CompanyCam, joins us this week to talk about how CompanyCam has flipped the script to take a proactive instead of a reactive attitude toward retention, how they track and optimize metrics throughout the entire customer journey, and how they have a cross-functional approach aligning sales, marketing, product, and customer success to drive retention.

This episode might reference ProfitWell and ProfitWell Recur, which following the acquisition by Paddle is now Paddle Studios. Some information may be out of date.

Please message us at if you have any questions or comments!

It matters what you’re saying when a customer churns, but it also matters when you get to them. As soon as a customer churns, get to them as fast as you can. Just as with sales, the sooner you start the conversation, the better. In the case of CompanyCam, they track why customers leave so they can have a game plan. If you do the same, you’ll see a boost in retention.

On today’s episode of Retention Talk, I speak with Kelly Danahy, Sales Director at CompanyCam. We talked about being proactive with customer success, small wins adding up, and having a cross-functional approach to retention.

Key points discussed in the episode

Find a way to track your customers’ usage. Whenever they might be dropping off and whatever usage metric is important for them sticking around... If that starts failing, get customer success on that and get them using the feature again.”                                                                               – Kelly Danahy

Be proactive when it comes to customer success

You improve what you measure and CompanyCam has been disciplined about tracking and optimizing metrics throughout the entire funnel.

Small wins matter.

There are a number of tactics they have experimented and improved overtime from driving better email campaigns to even optimizing their upsell to an annual plan

Have a cross-functional approach

Above everything else, a cross-functional approach is crucial to retention and it shouldn’t just be up to customer success. Aligning sales, marketing, and even product gives CompanyCam a holistic approach to making sure customers succeed.

Take Action:

Metrics are incredibly important to track—anything from the health of your business to the movement of customers. There are several categories of product metrics that can provide helpful information about various aspects of your business.

The most common product metrics you can track:

1. Align team incentives around retention

What does that look like in practice?

  • For sales teams: Limit by geographical area or industry vertical the number of prospects each salesperson is responsible for, and modify commission structures so sales teams receive some percentage only after customers stick around. This keeps sales staff from running through leads too quickly.
  • For marketing teams: Focus on lead quality over volume. Instead of tracking the number of marketing qualified leads (MQLs), try tracking the number of sales qualified leads (SQLs) as a success metric. Also, integrate more closely with sales by embedding business development reps on the marketing team to better qualify leads.
  • For product teams: Make sure product managers have direct and open access to speak with customers. Without direct feedback, product improvements will be haphazard and, ultimately, won’t help retain customers.
2. Make onboarding your top priority

An effective customer onboarding process can make or break a customer’s decision to stick with your product. If your software isn’t intuitive and customers can't find value in it, they will quickly flee.

Most companies put more effort into improving long-term retention—but it turns out that improving early retention through better onboarding cascades into the rest of your customer life cycle, creating ongoing retention gains.

3. Engage with customers to help them succeed

Make sure you’re communicating with customers across multiple channels. In-app notifications target customers when they're actually receiving value and don't require switching programs, catching them in the right place at the right time. Phone calls are especially important for retaining large-ACV, enterprise-level customers. And SMS messages can be used very close to a customers' contract expiration date to drive immediate attention.

4. Deliver exceptional customer support

The best ways to combat churn with exceptional customer service? Be proactive. Look for patterns that might indicate customers are having trouble—recurring support tickets for the same problem, or customers having lots of tickets that remain unresolved. For every ticket, see if there’s an opportunity to proactively monitor for that kind of problem in the future, and either prevent it from happening in the first place or address it more quickly.

5. Optimize your pricing to promote retention

Optimizing your pricing to balance value with profit can have a huge effect on your company’s success, from sales and marketing to retention and profitability. Even though most companies only ever spend a handful of hours on their pricing strategy, your pricing gives you a number of levers you can pull to improve retention.

ProfitWell can help you create a value-based pricing strategy that maximizes both customer satisfaction and profit.

6. Know your metrics and choose the right tools

Tools and metrics can’t fix your churn problem, but they can take care of a lot of heavy lifting for you:

Do us a favor?

Part of the way we measure success is by seeing if our content is shareable. If you got value from this episode and write up, we'd appreciate a share on Twitter or LinkedIn.

I find that it almost doesn't matter what you're saying at that point, it's when you're getting to them. So what you want to do is as soon as they churn out is get to them as fast as you can get to them.

They're engaging with our app. They're there, they're ready to talk about it. It's the same thing as sales, right? Like if somebody signs up through a landing page, obviously, chances of closing that deal go up the sooner you contact them.

The same thing with churn. So as soon as that account churns, call them. At least in our case, we have why they churn. So we kind of go in there with a game plan or go, OK, like you left for a competitor or something, or I couldn't figure it out.

I don't know whatever it might be, but at least you have a game plan to go in there and work some magic. You know, try to spin it in their favor, try to show them some value trying to make him stick around because you know why they left and you can preemptively have a conversation with yourself in

your head about how you would convince someone to come back because they left for x reason. Welcome to retention talk. I'm Neil Ossai, and we're talking to the best minds in the world of product and customer success to bring you actionable strategies on reducing churn and boosting retention.

This week, we're talking to Kelly Dennehy, who's a sales director at Company Cam, leading up all things sales and customer success. Today, we're going to talk about how company Cam has flipped a script to take a proactive instead of a reactive attitudes towards retention.

We're going to learn about how they tracked and optimize metrics throughout the entire customer journey and pay close attention to how Kelly describes company Cam having a cross-functional approach to aligning sales, marketing, product and customer success to drive retention.

Let's dove in and. Kelly, welcome, welcome to the show, I'd love to kick us off by having you tell the audience who you are, what you do and what company camp is all about. Thank you. Super excited to be here.

I love profit. Well, I think this is my first podcast, but I feel extra famous today. A love profit will go to your reoccurred conference is great. Use your tools. I run like you said, our sales department at company camp that involves customer success, sales, business development support.

So basically anything that deals with our customers and strategic partnerships and things like that, I run those departments. Yeah. Company camp. We're based out of Lincoln, Nebraska. We've been around since 2014. We are a camera app for contractors.

So basically all contractors ever, probably especially in the United States, are taking photos out in the field. And what we do is we make it extremely easy for them to organize their photos. So instead of using, they're all taking photos on their camera roll, right?

And what happens is those photos get lost. You don't know who took them there, texting them and emailing them back and forth and just communications all over the place. So what we do instead of taking, you know, the photo on your regular camera phone app you open company can take it through there and automatically organizes all your

photos based on the GPS. So your job site and you know who took it when they took it and where they took it. And then it does a lot more than that. So you can kind of communicate through all this stuff.

So I almost call it like a slack slash Dropbox for contractors. I mean, we don't do as much as Slack, obviously, but that's sort of how I think of it. Cool. No, I love it. I mean, I feel like I'm obviously not in that space, but I have an insane amount of like screenshots and random things that

like, I take photos of that I I never look at again. So I can I can probably imagine, especially like when you're out in the field, that's helpful. Cool. Well, thanks for being here, Kelly. one of the reasons I'm really excited to talk to you guys is one like how proactive you guys are about thinking about retention

and especially in your role, customer success. I guess just to set the scene, what percentage of your customers are sort of self-serve versus assigned to perhaps a customer success manager, if at all, all of them are assigned to a customer success manager?

Obviously, some get more attention than others based on size and other data points, but all of them get assigned. Got it. OK, now that that makes sense. So clearly you guys put a lot of thought and attention into retention, right?

To make sure that customers are coming around every month and getting value overall. How does the team think about this? You're leading sales, customer success, marketing, how do you align the three teams and and making sure that retention is a core sort of competency across these teams?

Really good question. I mean, there's a lot to unpack there like, obviously. OK. Hey, company, can't people anybody listening here is a team game, product marketing, sales, everyone. You know, it takes everyone to do this well. one thing that we really do and everybody should do is we have like cross-functional teams, right?

And one of them, we call it like an activation or retention team so that they really just focus on, like, you know, retention. So it's not just customer success sitting in that meeting, it's our marketing team. Product person might go to that meeting occasionally.

And really what they're doing is strategizing around ways that we can get in front of retention. So we have those meetings, like it's almost like, you know, we have a typical org chart company can where you know, you're you're in sales, you're in marketing or whatever.

But a lot of people's like identities at the company are these teams like This is my job. My job is to collaborate with this team and to make retention better, although they may like functionally be managed by somebody else.

So we've started doing that maybe a year ago. We have been doing it that long, but we've been noticing a lot of good success by doing that and really working like cross-departmental with our teams on retention specifically. Got it, OK.

And and I guess like tactically, what does that look like? Because obviously each team has their own set of KPIs or carers or whatever each quarter whenever you set them, like how how does that manifest itself everywhere? Is this like a weekly meeting that happens?

Yeah, it's weekly. And we we share goals, actually. So marketing shares a goal with customer success. So tactically, you know, obviously, we do all sorts of different things. I was saying kind of at the top of this really what we do or we try to do anyway, as anybody, as soon as you become a customer, you get

assigned to a customer success rep. And then what we do is we call it like an onboarding period and we use our data, we use profit well, data we use. We have a thing called mixed panel. If you don't use mixed panel in your SAS company, I recommend checking it out.

So shows like usage data and stuff like that love expand. Yeah, what customers as well? Yeah. Yeah, it's great. So we really look for trends and it's like, OK, so onboarding. We noticed especially we have really good like revenue retention here at company camp.

But we noticed, OK, our customer retention dropped a little bit and we're noticing it like that 90 day mark. OK, that's dropping down. So what we do is we make a KPI around that, so we want to get that better.

So we make our 90 day onboarding period and we educate them, try to get them, upsell them, upgrade them, whatever. And we have the entire customer successes doing their thing. They're calling those customers with their own talk tracks and their own strategy.

But marketing is over there too, providing some content, email drips, text messages, webinars, podcasts, whatever, right? And we're putting this in front of those people so they can learn as well and just give as much context as possible because we know if they stick around, especially parcels, 90 days, everything LTV, their CPU, everything is better, right?

So tactically, we really work together as a team shared goals and that that was just like. one example of something that we that we typically, you know, we'll look at retention. No, I love that because I think like what's funny is not all retention is created equal, right?

Like when you just look at blended monthly customer retention or revenue retention, it can mask issues you might have in the onboarding or renewal, right, twelve months later. So I think breaking it down to the cohort level and saying, Look, we have a drop off on day 90, what can we do leading up to that raid to

improve that? I guess, like has there? Speaking of that example, specifically has has any of the experiments you guys have done around driving 90 day retention helped drive drive that KPI? Absolutely. Was that like for customer retention? I'll just throw percentages out there, Jared, if you're listening, I used to know this number.

It was like we were at like 85% customer retention or something like that really invested in customer success, pointed at that and where we were, I think we added last month, like 95 or something like that. So it just really drove it up on the customer side specifically.

That's awesome. I mean, that's a massive jump, right? And especially the implications it has not only in that month, but for LTV is obviously compounding. I love that you guys are aligning marketing and see us here because I think at least, you know, approval of certain folks that so laser focused on, OK, I need a marketer or

some acquiring more customers or I'm focused on content, but failed to see sort of the ripple effects downstream. And and I love that it's like a weekly thing for for you guys to make sure everyone's on the same page.

You're building off of that. It sounds like you guys set that goal. You guys are clearly making strides in improving customer retention. one thing that I know you and I were talking a little bit before the show was this can't be reactive, right?

Like companies that really, really kick. But when it comes to retention are proactive. What does that look like? And from a ghostwriting perspective, like, you know, what does it actually look like when you're trying not to respond to all the fires that might be happening on a day to day basis?

I'll bring back Nick's panel again. That's just like apparently selling Nick's panel here. But what we do is we look at usage and we know that there's a certain amount of usage that a healthy, healthy company looks like.

And you would have to find that with your own company, obviously. And we know when it's like, OK, if you're dipping below this point, we know that's like unhealthy or you're likely your propensity to churn is like higher.

So what we do is we have these things. They're called at risk campaigns. And so basically every customer success rep every month gets a list of their customers that are at risk. And what we do is we try to kick them all to like, you know, not at risk anymore, healthy customers again.

And we do that again with different talk track messaging. We do that with all sorts of different marketing and all that stuff. So really, what we're trying to do is get all of these companies that aren't using our app and they're at risk.

They have churn. Yet nothing has actually happened. They're still paying us money. Like by all means, our revenue and everything looks good, but we're trying to get ahead of that. So we just have better chances at retaining that customer.

And so every month, they're calling these people running campaigns, Adam, and we're trying to get as many of them back to healthy as possible. And we set KPIs and targets around a percentage of, you know, if you have if you have 600 of those people, companies and at risk, we want to get that to, you know, like

80% of those back to healthy or something like that will set a KPI around that. Got it. OK, so just just to play that back, make sure I understand every month you guys are looking at the next panel and identifying accounts that fall below a certain metric of usage to see his team gets a list of those

every month and then run campaigns to effectively boost that metric right over and over again. OK, more well-said than I probably said it. No, I think that's I mean, so because like everyone, I'm realizing doing this right is like it's so much of it's like focusing on the fundamentals.

I guess as silly as it sounds like, the job of customer success is to make sure your customers are able to get value from the product every single month or a year, or whatever that interval is. And I think the earlier you can sort of get signs of someone that's unhappy, right?

You increase your likelihood of intervening and saving them, I guess. How do you know if you're effective? Is it just the price that goes up? Is it a certain threshold as a benchmark and there's going to be specific care?

But how do you know if a certain CSM is is effective in driving the actions you guys are looking for? Yeah, we use Salesforce as our CRM, so they all get obviously assigned that we work in pods. So like we have the sales team, they convert it and they're always working with the same customer we call CSM

Customer Success Rep. They're funneling their sales through. So the customer success and the salespeople are always working in like the same pod, so they kind of know who to talk to if they have questions about the customer or whatnot.

So they're all funnel sales every month. Their accounts, I guess, if you will, all these KPIs are broken out into like how many accounts they're getting onboarding. So we're going for like a 95% activation rate, is what we call it.

But basically what we're looking for is onboarding is 90 days. We want 95% of those to make it through those 90 days and not churn out. That's one way we measure customer success. Also, their accounts might churn out right.

Some of them do actually churn out. They got to go save those accounts. We're looking for a certain percentage of those to get saved, the at risk campaigns. We're looking for them to go save those companies that might churn out too.

So there's a few different KPIs they have and that they go work for, and that's how we incentivize those too. Of course, right now, that's what we do. We're looking at getting a little more sophisticated and things like that.

But right now, those are the three main metrics. And then we also have renewals too. We have an annual pricing and things like that. So those four things I. It activation, it's like a 90 day onboarding period. There's a certain percentage and threshold we look for for at risk companies, so people that might be churning out, but

we want to save them churn accounts go save those too. And then finally, redoing annual accounts, that makes sense. Cool. No, I love that. So it's like onboarding middle of the funnel and then obviously at cancelation or renewal, right?

What is the feedback loop look like for those that end up? Do training right? Like inevitably, churn is a fact of life in some certain number of folks end up turning, assuming they churn what happens with that data they churn out.

Obviously, we have the profit will retain product. If you're not using that, go use, it's awesome. It does all the work for you. You don't have to do anything, and it really helps again with the delinquent churn side.

So we obviously we send them the emails or you guys send them the emails and the text messages and stuff like that. But when they actually churn out, like I said, I think I said at the top this podcast, I can't remember, but it's not hard to cancel company camp.

We don't really have contracts. It's whatever you can go click a button and leave. But we make sure you have to ask us or answer one question. And that is why did you leave? And we have some preset answers there.

There's also like another that you can just type whatever. And so what that pumps into Salesforce, that data goes in there. So as soon as it turns out, and the really important thing I want to say here is I find that it almost doesn't matter what you're saying at that point, it's when you're getting to them.

So what you want to do is as soon as they churn out was, get to them as fast as you can get to them, they're engaging with our app. They're they're they're ready to talk about it. It's the same thing as sales, right?

Like if somebody signs up through a landing page, obviously, like the chances of closing that deal, go up. The sooner you contact them is the same thing with churn. So as soon as that account churns, call them. At least in our case, we have why they churn.

So we kind of go in there with a game plan or, oh, OK, like you left for a competitor or something, or I couldn't figure it out. I don't know whatever it might be, but at least you have a game plan to go in there and work some magic.

You know, try to spin it in their favor or try to show them some value trying to make him stick around because you know why they left and you can just, you know, preemptively have a conversation with yourself in your head about how you would convince someone to come back because they left for x reasons.

So that's how we handle like churn accounts that come out and then, of course, marketing back to the cross-functional team. They do all of their re-engagement campaigns and things like that for, you know, until they basically unsubscribe, you know, you just keep sending them emails.

And I mean, we don't hound them. Obviously, they're like in our newsletter cycle and stuff like that. So keep him around. That makes a ton of sense. Like related to that, what role, if any, does product have in this type of churn, right?

Presumably, those insights are collected in Salesforce. Like you said, what happens after that or is this analyze at a certain point? Is it aggregated? Like, What's the thinking around that? Yeah, I mean, like I said, they're also in those those meetings and things like that on occasion.

So they're privy to this data, too. But if we know that these features make people stick around, they might put more emphasis on these features or call it out some certain way in the app or experiment AB test with a button or something like, I mean, they can do all sorts of different things, right?

They get us the data right. Somebody fills out that form and then they make sure that data is passed to us. I don't know. That's that's sort of a vague answer, but they do all the things absolutely right because I think it's like there's the immediate, like a granular specific situation of a specific customer.

But but address at a systemic level, obviously issue around functionality or UI UX, right? Obviously, obviously, product can help there. This is super helpful. Tell me about like the nature between you guys have monthly plans and annual plans, right?

So what is the promotion to sort of like? Getting on annual is look like for you guys. We discount the rate, you know, so company can just 19 bucks a user per month. That's all it is. And that's just our monthly rate.

Come and go as you please downgrade, upgrade whatever you got to do. And then the annual rate is similar, but it's 16 bucks a month, but you do commit and pay upfront for a whole year. So we do incentivize that.

That's more of a more recent change we made. So I don't have like a ton of data on it. I think what prompted it, obviously, we read some of your stuff too. We read a lot of your guys's content.

You guys like to do some annual plans that'll help your attention. And we're like, Cool, we'll do. We'll try that out. We were planning it anyway, but you know, why not? So we do incentivize it with a lower price point that makes sense depending on the company's cash flow situation.

Like annuals are obviously better for for churn, but we're finding some companies like not even give the annual option to power users because they're unlikely to turn in the first place, right? You're discounting their memory. So it's just like getting into this weird like first place around like you offer.

I know Steve, but yeah, something something you I'm sure you guys will think about as as that becomes more popular. Yeah. So my theory is our finance tool in his system, he's going to be probably agreeing with you.

That was sort of his worry was like, Oh, are we just going to lose a bunch of money because we're discounting people now. And my theory is since we do have good retention, but we also have like contractors, have like busy seasons, they go up and down things like that.

My theory is we can really also help those downgrade rates throughout the course of the year because we can get people to pay upfront. And then maybe, you know, December Christmas time, literally no one's working. They might downgrade some users or something.

But if we have them in an annual contract, we can just keep them there and then they can always add people in to it or, you know, whatever. So I think that's sort of my theories will also not only does that help churn, but it's going to help our downgrade rate.

Right, oh, absolutely right, I think it's like finding that sweet spot. I think you're right, especially if there's volatility and and usage, right? You know, something we talk a lot about is like making it hard to turn as far as like the data assets you lose or the switching costs, right?

And so if you have a contract or I don't know, for three months of the year, not not taking a bunch of photos, then this obviously locks them up and finding a sweet spot. So. No, I love it.

And something you mentioned there too is like relationship with finance. Like suddenly now finance is involved in these conversations and products like we should give it to everyone in Seattle is like, well, like so yeah, exactly how it goes.

Totally. I don't know if you guys have experienced this, but we have a lot of conversations to towards the end of the year, right? Because we're seeing, you know, my finest team saying, Neil, go upgrade every piece of sass we have to annual December 20th, right and vice versa on some of our vendors.

So it's funny how that also works in like the B2B world. It sounds like you guys generally have really strong alignment across teams and have a framework for not only deploying experiments to drive retention, but also measure its effectiveness.

If you had to, if you had to come up with anything, is there any area you guys still feel like you're struggling or could could still sort of like put more attention towards as it relates to retention? Oh yeah, I mean, everywhere.

Has that a good answer? No. I think a couple of things that, you know, making sure, especially our customer success, making sure like the individual customer success person feels incentivized. Sometimes when you're dealing with a bunch of percentages, it's like hard to be like, Oh, OK, cool.

Like, I did that thing, and maybe it move my percentage. Whereas like in sales, your Yes, I made that sale that happened. This thing, move the needle here. So just getting better at like making sure that our data is reflecting down to the customer success rep and like incentivizing way, I think that's something we could really work

on it. We're working on it now, getting product more involved too, just getting them more involved in retention. Looking at the things we're looking at, I think, is something we can always get better at. And then I think to something that we're trying to get better at, but I think we have some gaps is inside sales is

dealing with customers we have support that's dealing with customers. Customer success is obviously dealing with customers and we need to make sure we're all saying the same things, you know, and as we're growing really quick, we're especially in my departments, we're hiring a lot very quickly and just making sure that communication is like streamlined across the entire

company is has been a challenge. And, you know, sometimes somebody might say this thing or they get this discount because of this partnership thing or something. So there's just like 1,000,000 things that can go wrong in those like in those interdepartmental things with customers.

And I think that's somewhere where we really need to step up our game. I have a theory, and I think I'm not sure when it's going to happen, but I really believe in three to five years. Like more product teams will have retention quotas because like right now and sometimes it feels so separate from the folks doing

product development versus like, OK, here are the reasons people are leaving right. Like, You need to work together. So yeah, no, I think that resonates with me too. Cool, Kelly. I mean, this is this has been terrific. I really appreciate the time.

Where do people find the company cam? How do people find you if if they're interested in learning more company cam e-comm, this company can go there. You could try it for free. Even if you're on a contractor, try for free.

He might get hit by a salesperson, but you know, just tell him, I'm not interested. You'll be fined me. I'm not really on social media. I mean, you can find me on like Instagram or Twitter. Kelly Dan. Hey, in a while, but I'm not super active on there.

So do you want to find me? Go ahead. Luke Hansen is our CEO, Luke Hansen. He's he's a little more active, a little more entertaining on Twitter and stuff like that. Yes, I thought, Luke is great. Lucas? Yeah, it's great.

Yeah, he looks. He has a mullet right now. He looks disgusting. Love it. Well, awesome, Kelly. Thanks again, man. I really appreciate it. This is all super helpful. Just fun for me, but I think helpful for the audience as well.

So, um yeah, I always appreciate to talk about what's fun. Thank you, Neal. A huge shout out to Kelly for dropping all their retention knowledge. I learned a lot, especially how Kelly and the team has throughout all of the growth they've experienced over the last year has really put a specific emphasis on retention.

To recap, first and foremost, company Kam is proactive when it comes to customer success. You improve what you measure and company Cam has been disciplined about tracking and optimizing metrics throughout the entire funnel. second, small wins matter. Kelly described a number of tactics that they have experimented and improved over time from driving better email campaigns to even

optimizing their upsell to an annual plan. And lastly, above everything else, Kelly describes the importance of taking a cross-functional approach to making sure that customer success isn't the only one responsible for driving retention. They've made sure it align sales, marketing and even product to focus on retention and make sure that they have a holistic approach to making

sure that customers succeed. Thanks for listening to this week's episode of Retention Talk. Don't forget to subscribe at retention tocome, and if you want to help spread the word, tag me on Twitter and you'll decide. 23 unless dish out today's episode, please give us a five star review on the podcast platform of your choice and let your

friends know as well. It really helped the show grow and always, if you have any questions at all, send an email to Neil UNPROFOR dot com. This has been a profitable record production the largest, fastest growing media network dedicated to the world of subscriptions.