Lenny Rachitsky | Lenny’s Podcast – Lauryn Isford (Head of Growth at Airtable) Podcast Summary

Mastering onboarding | Lauryn Isford (Head of Growth at Airtable) | Free Podcast Summary

Lenny Rachitsky | Lenny’s Podcast – Lauryn Isford (Head of Growth at Airtable)

Lauryn Isford is a product growth leader and practitioner, who most recently led Growth at Airtable, and is about to start something new.

Lauryn describes how overhauling Airtable’s onboarding led to a 20% increase in activation rate, the company’s unique segmentation process, and why North Star metrics are so vital. Lauryn also shares her framework for a PLG growth funnel, and how to use a reverse trial to leverage the benefits of both freemium products and trials. If you’re looking to find growth opportunities within your funnel, this episode is for you.

Importance of lower activation rates and consideration of other factors for long-term user retention

  • A lower activation rate (5–15%) is better than a higher one because it indicates a stronger correlation with long-term retention.
  • In other words, if a company is working hard to get most of its users to a state they’re not currently at, it’s more likely to retain them in the long run.
  • Experimentation shouldn’t be the only focus for growth, especially for consumer growth at scale.
  • While experimentation is important, it shouldn’t be relied on too heavily, and other factors such as optimizing onboarding flow should also be considered.

Airtable is a product that helps people create, organize, and collaborate on anything.

Balancing Experimentation with Product Development

  • Experiments can be expensive and time-consuming, with the precision of the results sometimes not having a significant impact on decision-making.
  • Growth teams experiment for two reasons: to understand metrics’ impact or to mitigate risk.
  • To balance experimentation with product development, spend more time understanding customers’ problems, getting mockups in front of them, and having more conviction when shipping something.
  • A culture that measures success beyond precise metric improvements is necessary to escape the trap of experimenting with everything.
  • The goal is to deliver results and improve the business, regardless of whether they are due to precise experimentation or rigorous product development.

Personalization and segmentation key for onboarding success and activation milestones drive business results.

  • Personalization and segmentation of the onboarding experience are crucial for different users with different needs.
  • The activation milestone for an activated user plays an important role in driving business results.
  • To determine activation milestones, companies need to focus on the north star metric that represents the team of people activated on a product and use it in a way that suggests they would be long-term retained.
  • The activation rate falling in a lower percentage range—maybe for most companies, five to 15%—is better than one that falls in a higher percentage range because it means that there’s likely a much higher correlation with long-term retention.

Breaking Down the Main Metric for Effective Activation and Onboarding

  • When working on activation and onboarding, it’s important to break down the main metric into its component parts to understand how to improve it.
  • It’s not just about how many people sign up and make it to week four, but also about how many teams sign up versus individuals, how many have more than two people invited and active, and what behaviors constitute contribution or being active.
  • Additionally, using multiple metrics, such as retention and sophistication scores, can provide a more well-rounded understanding of activation and allow for celebrating success in different dimensions.

Overall, every growth team needs a north star metric.

Choosing key metrics for growth teams

  • Growth teams need to be agile and open-minded when it comes to choosing key metrics to focus on.
  • While stability in metrics can help with momentum and building expertise, it’s important to recognize when a metric may no longer be the best focus for the business.
  • This may be due to inefficiencies or a shift in strategic goals.
  • For example, while revenue may be a key metric for some businesses, others may value user growth and customer growth more in the long term.
  • It’s important to have stability in a North Star metric for at least six months, but be open to changing it if it’s no longer effective.

Building a growth team: identifying opportunities and leveraging resources for impact

  • When building a growth team, it’s important to start by identifying where the biggest opportunities for impact are, and what resources the team has to drive that impact.
  • Every growth team is different, with different strengths in marketing, product, and engineering, so it’s important to be open-minded when considering different approaches.
  • One effective strategy is to map out a funnel and brainstorm together to find the most important opportunity to pursue.
  • Instead of focusing solely on a north star metric from the beginning, create a metric that reflects the output of your work and delivers results for the business.

How to use the reverse trial approach to drive long-term user growth

  • The reverse trial approach can be effective in building user growth for a long-term business strategy.
  • The focus should be on helping customers discover value and build loyalty before monetization.
  • While freemium and free trials tend to work best when the user can explore the product on their own, there are other creative options available for products that require more hands-on involvement.
  • It’s important to figure out what would bring value to a customer without human intervention, and to avoid building what you think customers want instead of what they actually want.
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