Earlier this week, I was on the phone with a customer going through their Variance setup, and they said I should write more content with tips on how customers can get the most out of our platform. So I thought I’d start simple and offer up a few tips that everyone can use to get more out of Variance.
#1 Make sure you’ve got a Milestone stream
One of the biggest reasons companies use Variance is to monitor their customer Milestones like Onboarded and Product-Qualified Lead (PQL). While many folks take the first step of setting those Milestones up, not everyone knows you can also get notified of customers entering and existing those Milestones in real-time by creating a Milestone Stream and hooking it up to Slack. Any Milestone in Variance can be monitored this way.
To set it up, just go to your Milestone and click the + Stream button on the top right:
Add it to a new stream, and you’re good to go. Make sure you connect the Stream to Slack if you want to be notified there. If you want to skip the Milestone Updated events, you can hit refine and add Milestone Completed. That means you won’t be notified as the Milestone works towards completion, only when it reaches 100% done.
#2 Track accounts that are on their way to PQL (but not quite there) with a view and a tag (and a stream)
The way we track Milestones in Variance is as a percentage. That means if your Milestone has three criteria (invited user three times AND signed in 10 times AND searched four times), progress will be measured in 33% increments to completion. We chose to build it that way because it makes Milestones even more powerful by allowing you to track progress to competition and treat accounts in progress differently than you treat accounts that are complete.
A perfect example of this is to create a View (and reusable Tag) that looks for accounts that are > 49% complete but < 100% complete on their PQL. These are the ones that might need a little push to get over the hump.
You can see that I’ve also checked the Save as tag option to create a reusable tag. Why’s that? Because these are some of our most important accounts, and I want to know when they’re in the app. Specifically, I want to know when any user from any account that is almost at PQL completion signs in. That’s easy now that we’ve got our tag. Here’s a simple Stream configuration to get you there:
You can see that we are:
- Following our Near PQL Completion tag
- Filtering by Clicked Sign In (this could be whatever event makes the most sense for you)
That’s it. Now we’ll know whenever these users are in our app, and we can track their progress.
#3 Track all your billing and pricing events in Slack
This one is a no-brainer. Everyone wants to know when prospects and customers interact with pricing and billing. So we will set up a Stream with these events. To make this simple, let’s create a new Event Type tag called Pricing & Billing Events.
From there, it’s easy to tag all our pricing and billing events.
Finally, we will add that to a Stream and send it to Slack.
One pro-tip: you may also want to toggle on specific properties from your pricing and billing events, so they flow through in Variance and Slack. That’s easy. Just go to the event and toggle on whatever you want. Any properties you toggle will show up on the event every time it fires in any system.
#4 Use Contact-level Milestones to determine user roles within an account
I went into this idea in some depth in a recent post about using data to understand buyer roles, but it is definitely worth repeating. While many folks have thought about how to use Milestones at the account level for PQLs and the like, few have thought about how to use contact-level Milestones. One really powerful way to use them is as a quantitative way to describe your buyer roles. If you aren’t sure who is the technical buyer or the economic buyer, or your product champion because you haven’t spent time speaking to the customer, you should be able to suss it out based on the data.
For instance, in our Variance account, we have our Champion, Economic Buyer, and User Buyer defined as contact-level Milestones.
This helps us understand who we should be reached out to at accounts as they move further into their buying journey.
One other fun thing related to this: we also have a Superuser Milestone which is pretty hard to achieve. When users reach 100% on the Milestone, it triggers an email that is links to a form to request a free Superuser t-shirt from us. These people are deep in our product, and we want to celebrate them.
#5 Create a New Features Stream and cycle in and out new features
Last but not least, a personal favorite is our New Features Stream. Every time we launch something new, I add it to this Stream (and try to remove old stuff). That way, I can monitor the progress of the new features, reach out to early users for feedback, and generally make sure the rollout is going smoothly. Like the other Streams, this is hooked up to a Slack channel.
That’s it—five tips for getting more out of Variance. If this is something you enjoyed, reach out and let me know, and I’ll try to write up more in the future. Also, if you’ve got some cool stuff you’re doing that you think I should share, definitely send that over as well, I would love to feature customer use cases and stories. Thanks for all the feedback and inspiration.