How To Track Customer Acquisitions:

Customer Lifecycle, Sales Funnel, and Content Strategy

Advisories:

Part 1 — Customer Acquisition Framework

1.1. What is the difference between a customer lifecycle and a sales funnel?

1.2. Customer Lifecycle Funnel

Customer Lifecycle
  • Subscription billing: connecting your payment options or bank account can be used to activate a user.
  • Platform connecting farmers, distributors, and chefs: activation can be tracked when a first order is placed.
  • Airbnb: an activated user could be a new visitor that saves their first listing.
  • Lyft (yes, I’m rooting for the underdog!): an activated user could be one who connects a credit card to the app.
  1. Do all of our customers use our product regularly?
  2. Are they happy with how much value your solution delivers?
  • Each stage that a customer goes through is preceded by a specific action.
  • The effectiveness of each stage needs to be tracked and optimized with conversion metrics.
  • For products that have free trials, it’s crucial to track ‘Activated Users’. This metric is an important checkpoint for measuring intermediate steps between the ‘prospect’ and ‘customer’ stages.
  • Companies need to know how often customers use their product/solution and how much value they derive from it.

1.3. Sales Funnel

  • How does your team prioritize leads?
  • How does your team nurture prospects?
  • What prospect actions correlate higher with closed deals?
  • How long does it take for your SDR team to reach out to leads that reach a qualifying lead score?
  • How long is your sales cycle?
  • What metric best represents the efficiency of moving prospects from one stage to the next?
  • When and how do your team handoff prospects in the funnel?
  • Do you have an onboarding plan?
Sales Funnel

Part 2 — Optimizing For Customer Acquisition

2.1. What Are The Most Common Leakages In Customer Acquisition Funnel?

Leakage #1 — Marketing-to-Sales Handoff

Leakage #2 — Sales-to-Customer Success Handoff

How to improve the customer handoff from one team to the other?

  • Prospect that hits a qualifying leads score should be contacted by SDR in 48 hours
  • Marketing should always pass “request a demo” leads to SDR immediately
  • Customer must receive an onboarding plan and schedule from your customer success team within 5 business days after the deal was signed
  • the average time it takes an SDR to reach out to the lead that hit a target lead score;
  • the average time it takes for a customer to set up the product;
  • the average time onboarding time for the customer.

Part 3 — Content Strategy

Infographic by Anna Iurchenko

3.1. How Content Strategy Drives Customer Acquisitions

Simplified content strategy
  • The common mistake companies make is creating too much awareness content and not enough educational, selection, and training content since it requires more resources.
  • Educational content impacts almost every step in the customer lifecycle and sales funnel. I have a strong opinion that customer education, if not yet, will become indispensable part of every enterprise.
  • While marketing should own content strategy, it is critical to have your sales and customer success teams participate in the content strategy formulation and content creation. As you noticed, content strategy spreads through each step of the customer lifecycle and the sales funnel.
  • We haven’t touched on important topics of how positioning and target customer profiles impact and influence content strategy.

3.2. What Are The Biggest Content Marketing Strategy Mistakes?

  1. Do we have a unique perspective to add to this conversation?
  2. Is the content quality good enough? Are we satisfying the curiosity of the sophisticated reader?

Mistake #1 — Content strategy is only for the marketing team

Mistake #2 — Not creating a clear positioning and story

Mistake #3 — Starting with content before creating target customer profiles

Mistake #4 — Focusing too much on awareness content and not enough on educational

Mistake #5 — Not taking content distribution seriously

Mistake #6 — Giving up too quickly

Summary

  • Customer Lifecycle helps companies understand how customers are experiencing your product and what actions they are taking. Each stage in the customer journey should precede with a customer action, for example, signup, creating a proposal, paying for the solution, renewing, and so on.
  • Not including ‘activated user’ and ‘active customer’ stage is one of the most common mistake companies make when designing a customer lifecycle. Tracking activation rate helps you improve product onboarding and 1st experience; while tracking DAU rate helps you track the consistency of value delivering to your customers.
  • Sales Funnel shows internal processes that companies need to follow in order to move prospects down the funnel effectively and efficiently.
  • Freemium companies like Dropbox, Slack are more focused on the customer lifecycle since everyone can sign up and pay for the product. Companies that sell higher-priced software that might require a longer sales cycle and implementation are more focused on the sales funnel.
  • Content strategy does not end with marketing. Your sales and customer success team should contribute to your content knowledgebase. At the same time, marketing has to plan for content that will be used to convert prospects at the bottom of the funnel.
  • Awareness content type has the lowest impact on converting prospects to customers but more and more we see companies produce mostly awareness and me-too content that is perceived as very low quality.
  • Educational content touches every stage of the customer lifecycle and sales funnel — this is by far the most important content category for companies to focus on.
  • Handoffs between different teams are an integral part of the sales process. If a customer passes through each stage smoothly (i.e., smooth handoff), they are more likely to sign up for your product. And if the handoff between your sales team and customer success team is also smooth, the customer is more likely to renew.
Infographic by Anna Iurchenko from Stanfy.

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