So lately I’ve listened to a few calls from churned customers from portfolio companies.  It’s been a while since I listened to or talked to struggling customers.

On the one hand, arguably, their feedback is not fully representative of your customer base if you’re growing.  If you’re growing, generally, you’re focused on a market or market segment that’s also growing.  Not shrinking.

But these are strange times, where the overall U.S. economy remains strong, the stock market is at all-time highs, AI is fueling Cloud growth, and yet … many folks are cutting their tech budgets, and especially, those that sell to startups are struggling.

Last quarter, ZoomInfo grew 9% at $1B+ ARR, but its non-tech customers grew 20%+.  That tells you their tech customers didn’t really grow at all.

So what have I learned listening to customer calls of struggling customers?

They tell you how important you are.   

To the department, to the organization, and to the executive team.

This is something I find startups often don’t get 100% right.  How much of a vitamin vs. a painkiller are you?  How much value did you actually deliver?  And importantly — how much perceived value did you deliver?

Get on the phone with all your churned customers, if you can.  But don’t forget the ones that are struggling.  Because even if they cut you, they didn’t cut every app.

Ask them where you sit, who valued you and who doesn’t, how and why they replaced you, and importantly — who they didn’t cut.

You’ll learn so much.  And about where you have to provide even more value.

And a related post here:

You’ll Lose Customers. It Hurts. But Don’t Let Them Become Angry Ex-Customers.

(Image from here)

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