If your SaaS product is like many with a free trial offering, then odds are, your customer journey probably looks something like this:
Arguably the most important phase in this journey (and the one that causes us all the most agita) is the “Activation” phase. You know this phase. It’s the one that keeps you up a night. It’s the one that carries both euphoric satisfaction (Yes…a new customer!) and crushing disappointment (Why aren’t they using the product? Why don’t they love us?!) During this phase, your goal is to ensure that the accounts testing your product get to a point of “first value.” The fact is, without getting to this point, there is no way for them to assess whether or not your product will be valuable to their business.
If there is no “first value”, there is no value, period. There is no way to convert a trial user to a paid user unless they first become “activated” within your product. This is why to the ability to track this phase of your customer journey is oh-so important—it’s essential for your entire operation to be able to tell both how many and which accounts reach this point.
Defining activated accounts
Simply put, an “activated account” is an account that has performed a series of actions which get them to the point of first value. This is different for every product. For a project management application, the point of first value might be:
• Account created
• Invited 2+ team members
• Created project
• Uploaded 2+ files
• Created 3+ calendar events
• Created 1+ tasks
• Completed 1+ tasks
For this product, accounts that do all of these things would be considered activated during their trial. It is clear that these accounts have used the product’s core functionality and should, at this point, be able to properly assess its value.
The specific events that determine an account’s activation are unique to every product. Activation for your product is going to be very different than activation for another product, even if they are very similar in nature.
As you can see, defining and tracking account activation is all about product engagement. Activation is defined by specific actions and engagement with your product. Given that Sherlock is all about product engagement, this is right in our wheelhouse.
Tracking activation metrics in Sherlock
Tracking account activation in Sherlock is very easy, and it’s one of the most important things you will do with your account. Here’s how to track activation metrics using Sherlock.
Step 1: Create an Account segment for Activated Accounts
From your Accounts page, simply click the + icon to create a new custom segment. Next, just select the events that define activation for your product.
When defining this segment, make sure that you are only including new accounts that signed up during your trial period (last 30 days, last 14 days, etc.). If you wish to align your activation metrics to calendar month, then you can select our month to date option with the Signed Up filter.
By selecting the month to date option, you will be able to report on the accounts that become active within a calendar month. Be aware that you will need to grab this number at the end of each month as it resets to 0 at the beginning of the new month. If this is how you are looking to track activation metrics, you can grab this number from Sherlock and add it to a spreadsheet that looks like this:
Regardless of how you define the time period, once you create this segment you will be able to find it on the list of segments on your Account page, as shown below.
Step 2 (optional): Connect this segment with other tools
Once you have your Activated Accounts segment created, you can use Sherlock to connect these insights to other important tools in your stack. This is an important step. While it’s really important to know your activation metrics, it’s even more important to have that information readily available in the tools that allow you to take action on these insights.
Here are three important places that you can connect to from Segment:
By connecting Sherlock to your team’s Slack account, you will receive a daily update letting you know if any new accounts have entered any segments you’ve created, including your new Activated Accounts segment. This will alert your team to any newly-activated accounts.
If you do most of your account management work in Intercom, then syncing your Sherlock account with Intercom is a great way to manage this activation phase. With this integration, you will see Sherlock account segments populate to Companies in Intercom.
Having this data readily available in Intercom will enable your CS team to always know which accounts are activated (and which aren’t) while performing their day-to-day work. You can also use this attribute to trigger messaging from Intercom, as shown below.
If you have a sales team working your trial accounts, then knowing when a trial becomes activated is essential for them. They need to be able to prioritize their leads on a daily basis. Knowing whether or not an account is activated helps inform when and how to engage with that account in a sales situation. It’s essential knowledge for a scaling sales team.
By connecting Sherlock to Salesforce, you will be able to import your account segments into Salesforce account records. From there, your sales team can create reports to show which accounts are actually activated and ready for that all-important follow-up call.
Step 3 (BONUS) – Track engagement of those activated accounts!
In Sherlock, all of your accounts are scored and ranked according to their engagement levels. This means that not only can you create a segment to expose your activated accounts, but you can also see how these accounts are ranked based on their overall engagement with the product.
This will help you give even more context to your prioritization of these accounts.
In conclusion, tracking account activation is essential for all SaaS products!
Thought I’d end by stating the obvious.
The reality is, accounts that are trialing your product are at the most fragile, most vulnerable point in their lifecycle. At this stage, they are like newborn infants. The world (that is, the world of your product) is huge, unknown…scary, even. They need support, they need nurturing, and they need attention. How you monitor and act during this period will determine whether your new account becomes a strong, happy, successful adult, or…well, not. By tracking the health of your accounts closely with Sherlock, you will put yourself in a much better position to see to their proper development. Happy parenting, SaaStrs!
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