Chargify’s Director of Marketing On Leveraging Data
Adam Feber – Chargify
Adam Feber is Director of Marketing at Chargify. Chargify provides billing software that streamlines subscription management and recurring billing for thousands of companies from startups to Fortune 500. They’re also our billing software provider here at PredictHQ and have been with us right from the start.
Adam has worked in the SaaS space for over 10 years, when the term and concept of SaaS was still in its infancy. Throughout this time, Adam has seen the issues that SaaS companies experience as it relates to building and maintaining a reliable recurring billing solution. When a marketing position was available at Chargify, Adam immediately jumped on the opportunity to join their amazing team.
Read on for our Q&A with Adam to learn more about Chargify and how they use data to leverage their business.
What is the ultimate vision of your business and why is it important?
One of our big hairy audacious goals (BHAGs) at Chargify is to have 100 million subscribers being managed through our software. This goal is important to us because it isn’t only tied to the number of paying customers that we have, but how many customers our customers have. We want the subscription-based businesses that use Chargify to grow and succeed – when they succeed, we succeed as a company.
What’s one of your favourite features of your platform or service and why?
This is a tough one because there are so many!
One of my favorite features is not really a feature but a benefit of using our software – billing reliability. In my 10 years in the SaaS space, I have seen first hand how ad hoc solutions can be buggy and unreliable. It is a resource drain on support who has to deal with billing inconsistencies. It is a resource drain on development teams who have to maintain a custom solution. When you use a best of breed tool like Chargify, you simply know your billing is secure and reliable so teams can focus on what is important – improving their product and serving their customers.
Outside of billing reliability, I love how Chargify’s user interface provides access to a wealth of data and functionality without relying on other team members. If I need to modify the welcome email, create a discount for a marketing campaign, look at signups from last week, or view a customer’s billing history, it is all available in a matter of clicks.
What advice would you give a business who wants to leverage their own data?
Be careful, data is extremely important but it can also be a slippery slope. Don’t get lost creating and tracking a ton of vanity metrics if they do not relate back to your core goals. Every team should define a narrow set of key performance indicators (KPIs) and focus in on moving those needles. Unless you have unlimited resources, focus on quality over quantity.
How does your business use data and what problems are you solving with it?
From a marketing standpoint, I’m hyperfocused on the acquisition position of the customer lifecycle funnel. This includes what channels traffic is coming from (organic, social, referral, paid, etc.), how they interact with our marketing sites, and who ultimately signs up. KPIs such as conversion rates and customer lifetime value (LTV) help determine acceptable customer acquisition costs (CAC) and whether marketing campaigns are successful or not. Unless you have a ton of money to waste, it is mission critical to understand which channels and campaigns provide a positive ROI and which are money pits. Data provides this clarity!
From a product standpoint, data is used to understand activation, engagement, and retention metrics. For example, when looking at boosting free to paid conversion rates, we analyze common conversion activities and where users drop off (pain points). This data can then be used to improve the onboarding process so new users get to the “aha moment” quicker and with less friction.
The key with any data is to not only use it to guide your decisions, but then follow up to see if your data driven decisions were effective. Not every hypothesis and experiment is successful. Failure is OK if you learn from your mistakes…
How do you see the data economy evolving?
When I started in the SaaS world 10 years ago, decisions were made more on “gut feeling” and intuition than data. But back then, data was much harder to come by. There were less data/analytics tools available and those that existed were expensive and time consuming to implement.
In today’s data economy, there are so many tools available to extract and analyze your own data or provide you with industry related data (like PredictHQ) to help guide your business decisions. The data economy has rapidly evolved, and it will only continue to grow.
What SaaS (Software as a Service) platforms excite you and why?
KISSmetrics: This is my go-to tool for acquisition, activation, and engagement metrics. I use it on a daily basis and do not know how I would live without it. Mixpanel is another similar solution, both provide a quality product.
Inspectlet: The only way to truly understand how users interact with your app is to watch them. Inspectlet records every session so you can actually watch how users interact during the onboarding process, using new features, and anything else on your website or in your application.
Pushcrew: This tool allows blog visitors to subscribe to browser notifications for new blog posts. We recently implemented this and have already seen a dramatic increase in subscribers over simply offering updates via email. I’m very happy with the results to date.
There are so many great communication and and collaboration tools that have made distributed teams more efficient. Check out the 13 tools that connect our remote team at Chargify.
What integration or partnership opportunities would you like to see created within your business?
Chargify acts as a central hub for a company’s recurring billing data – accounts receivable, revenue collected, taxes collected, etc. In 2015, we released an integration with Xero’s accounting software which has worked well for many of our merchants. We’re currently working on an improved Xero integration and a new QuickBooks Online integration. The seamless integration between your billing software (like Chargify) and accounting software only makes sense, and I’m excited to release our improved offerings in the near future.