At SaaStr, Our NPS Doubled. Then, So Did Our Ticket Sales.

We’re running our own interesting NPS study at SaaStr Inc. labs 🙂

’18-’19 represented an interesting NPS point for our events. Our first ever SaaStr Europa in Paris generated our highest NPS ever. But the 2018 SaaStr Annual was a bit of an NPS setback.

In ’18, we had the best speaker line-up ever (the CEOs of Slack, Atlassian, MongoDB, Box, Marketo, Qualtrics, Blackline, Trello and so much more), and better mentorship than ever. But the event was poorly planned and the venue was way too cramped. We had large crowd problems on Day 1, and many of top sessions were beyond capacity and folks couldn’t get in. The evening parties were a bit of a mess and run by a firm that didn’t care. In the end, our speaker NPS was 70 (you can see that in the video right below), our sponsor NPS was 50 … but our attendee NPS was 31. 🙁 . Not terrible, but not what we wanted.

Fast forward to Annual ’19 — #5. We upgraded the team (in the end, the most important change). We attacked the ’18 issues with vigor and gusto. We had triple redundant registration (reg times went down from 32 minutes to 120 seconds on average). We used better tools to gate top sessions, so everyone got into every session they wanted. We 5x’d the floor space, and added a super-cool coworking space, and a much much better expo hall and a much bigger SaaStr Squar Park (3x bigger). We had 3,000 mentoring sessions. And we made the evening parties, from SaaStr Nights to Night at the Museum much better. Everything except the food and coffee was improved (some learnings on food for next year, we’ll improve!).

The net result? 73 attendee NPS. Woo-hoo!!

But did +30 NPS points really matter? Early evidence suggests a resounding — Yes. Our ticket sales are up 204% Year-over-Year. While it’s a bit crazy to sell tickets to an event one year ahead of time (you actually lose some money doing it this way), now that we’re coming up on Year 6, we do it anyway because the data is super valuable. It fairly accurately predicts where we’ll end up in terms of attendance.

We’ll see what happens with sponsorships. Even though a 30 NPS for attendees was a bummer in ’18, the sponsors had higher NPS in ’18. Even at the cramped and problematic Hilton in SF that year, the sponsors had constant traffic and constant engagement. The gains there were real but smaller, because there wasn’t as much room to grow. Early evidence does suggest a better experience here will lead to about a 50% revenue growth at a minimum, however.

Everyone and every situation is different. But I’ve always found driving NPS up is worth it. It takes longer than you’d hope, and the feedback loop can be a bit frustrating. But happier and more engaged customers always seems to lead to more revenue.

Published on March 3, 2019

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