SaaS-y Data: Interview with Pierre Lechelle

Written by Sarah on 22nd February 2016

pierrelechelleOn his blog (and on Twitter), Pierre Lechelle shares all sorts of great advice on SaaS Marketing & Growth Hacking. As a SaaS ourselves, and a lover of all things data, we thought we’d have a chat with Pierre to find out more about how SaaS’ can do more with their data, particularly when it comes to growth.

So without further ado…

Tell us a bit about yourself 🙂

I’ve been building businesses for the past 10 years. I’m now focused on helping SaaS entrepreneurs to reach more customers and grow their business.

I’m passionate about this industry because the Digital gave us the ability to track (and optimize) every interaction. Besides that, meeting with entrepreneurs is always amazing because they all share the same excitement about their project.

If you want to know more about me, feel free to read my blog. Anyway, enough about me, let’s get SaaS-y.

For a business that’s just starting out, what data should they focus on primarily?

If you’re just getting started, you should be focusing on Engagement data. How can you make sure that your software becomes a must-have in your customer’s minds?

Retention and stickiness should therefore be your top priorities when you’re just starting out. Starting with Acquisition & Virality will just move you away from your end-goal (sustainable growth). Never forget that your product comes first.

As you move towards your Product / Market Fit, you can then start to focus on other set of metrics like AARRR.

Tracking the right data and having the right analytics setup should be done from the get go, but what can SaaS’ do with their data if they haven’t done this?

When data wasn’t tracked from the beginning, that data is lost and there is no way to recover it.

For those of you who haven’t been tracking anything, I’d advise you to start setting up an Event-Driven solution (like Amplitude or KISSmetrics) in order to start tracking data and analyze it as you move forward.

Data won’t be very useful if you only have a handful of people using your software because you can talk to all of them. However, as soon as your user base grows and talking to all of your users becomes cumbersome, you need a way to analyze their behaviors.

I detail what to track and when each Analytics stack should be implemented in The Analytics Lifecycle.

One of the main pieces of advice you give is to focus on actionable KPIs/metrics, whereas Vanity Metrics tend to get a lot of stick, do you think vanity metrics still have any value at all?

The main issue with Vanity Metrics is that people tend to drive their entire business on them.

Focusing on the number of visitors that you get is simply useless. You’ll focus on “How can we bring more traffic” and fail to see how this traffic eventually converts to new business.

The main value that I see for Vanity Metrics is for Press Relations and bragging about your business. It feels good to say “Last month, we had 1M of visitors on our website”. Just don’t drive your business with them.

Besides vanity metrics, make sure that you choose metrics and KPIs which are deeply correlated with your growth (Revenue / Users) and that are actionable.

What’s one of the simplest ways to use data to grow your business?

The simplest way that I can think of is simply to analyze your traffic sources and to see which channels have higher conversion rates.

This should enable you to focus on what matters and avoid working on channels that don’t bring in the right type of customers.

Besides that, it’s terribly important to analyze your data regularly in order to move your focus in the right direction. You’ll often realize that working on a specific area of your business could have more impact than what you’re currently doing.

Most people will focus on Traffic Acquisition. What about Retention? Or Free Trial Conversion?

What’s the best growth story you’ve seen and what did you love about it?

Uber. I love Uber. Uber’s story is awesome because it shows perfect execution. Of course, they suffered from some hiccups (like everyone), but overall it’s an awesome growth story.

What I found particularly fascinating is that they created an entire playbook. They systemized their business. When Uber is going to a new country, they have a prioritized list of task of what needs to be done to go there.

They also started small and didn’t make the mistake of “going worldwide” too early. They validated their idea and scaled it in a record time.

Finally, what’s your no. 1 piece of advice for growing a SaaS business?

Focus on your Product. Get it ready before you start massively investing into Customer Acquisition. Nothing else matters before you can truly satisfy your users and make your Value Proposition appealing to your target market.

Once you have a product worth shouting about, start experimenting and launch many ideas in order to discover what works.

So there you have it, some great advice from Pierre.

Thanks for reading, and of course, thanks to Pierre for having a chat with us! If you’d like to find about more about marketing for SaaS, be sure to check out his website – or follow him on Twitter.