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Guillaume Cabane is the VP of Growth at Segment. Prior to joining Segment he was Head of Marketing at Mention. In addition to other marketing roles at French companies, Guillaume spent 6 years at Apple as the Business Development Manager for Europe Online B2B.

Outside of work, Guillaume is a startup advisor, husband, father, cheese-eater and Pastafarian.

You can follow him on Twitter: @guillaumecabane 

He will be live on July 6 starting at 930 AM PT for one and a half hours during which he will answer as many questions as possible.

He will also be speaking at GrowthHackers Conference in San Diego on Feb 6 '18. 

  • DS

    Dharmesh Shah

    5 months ago #

    The pursuit of growth can sometimes have a dark side -- and dark patterns of behavior. You folks have done a great job avoiding that. How do you ensure that your team stays on the right side of truth and justice and doesn't go too far? What's your advice on building a team culture that reflects your values?

    Thanks for taking the time to do this.

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Hey @dharmesh, thanks for the top question!

      The first thing I have to say is that each of us needs to find what they consider an acceptable limit between persuasive marketing and straight out scam.
      I worked for 18 months in IT security focusing on Phishing & social engineering, so I have a good idea of how far things can go. And I know my limit is further along that dark path than most.

      The second thing I believe in is that time changes what we are ready to accept as “normal marketing”. Five years ago retargeting was new and brought a lot of uneasiness for consumers. Now it’s common. Personalized emails, Chatbots are just other examples of strategies that were new & potentially offensive at one point. People get used to it. Not only that, but we’ve, collectively, mostly given up on complete data privacy.

      So to answer your question, where’s my limit? What’s our culture? Easy.
      I only work for products that I believe in, and I strongly think brings value to our users. And my strategies are always meant to create a better user experience. Less friction in the funnel. More relevant (personalized) content & messages. And long-term improvement.

      We’ve rejected a lot of ideas that could bring short-term benefits at the expense of the brand.

      Almost all our experiments are built as long-term projects that we monitor for months. Does our test cohort really have a higher LTV?
      Giving serenity to your growth team, instead of short-term revenue goals, will help them get the right culture.

  • QD

    Quentin Durantay

    5 months ago #

    What would be your only advice for a first-time Growth Hacker? (The first thing to focus on)

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Hey @quentind,

      It depends if you’re a growth hacker within an existing company or working as a freelancer.
      If you’re working for a company I’d go for a clear win within the first 100 days. That’s going to help you get the freedom you need to build more ambitious & interesting projects.

      Don’t forget that GrowthHacking is still seen with a (much deserved) strong layer of doubt. Many people in your org will think of your role either as something sketchy or marketing bs.
      Prove them wrong. Prove to them you can make money rain (or signups, whatever your North Star metric is).
      You'll get all the buy-in you need.

      So my strategy is to:
      - Get good data (if it doesn't exist)
      - Create solid conversion funnels, break them down by sub-audiences
      - Find a huge low hanging fruit. The biggest conversion drop
      - Attack it with a few innovative ideas. Something's bound to work

      It's crazy how many organizations have accepted their fate on a given metric. "Our churn is bad" or "people don't sign up. We tried everything last year!".

      Prove them wrong. They surely haven't tested what you can come up with.

  • JD

    Johnathan Dane

    5 months ago #

    Hey G! Super excited that you're doing this :)

    How many growth experiments do you and the team at Segment run per week/month, and what minimum amount of traction are you looking for before dedicating more resources to something that's working for you?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Not as many as I want!
      To be honest we’ve run maybe 15 individual experiments in Q2, for a team of 3. Most of these are fairly large projects.

      That is of course, in part, the problem. The other issue is that we have limited resources and are not very good (yet) at doing POCs that attain escape velocity. We either go all-in and reach test significance of fail at delivering the project.

      That’s also pretty bad.
      We are trying to change that, but to be honest, as we are not working on the product (we focus on the top of funnel, acquisition & conversion) we need to build a lot of things from scratch (vs. UX changes in the app).

  • PF

    Pauline Fumeron

    5 months ago #

    Hi Guillaume!

    Thanks for doing this AMA!

    1/ Could you share how your team is organized? How many people? Which background? Who does what?
    2/ How do you organize role & responsibilities between your team, sales team and product team?

    Thanks a lot!

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      1/ We're a (very) small team of 3:
      - @amillet89 is our Growth PM and interim engineer. He comes with a consulting background but I'll let him say more about this. He focuses on taking an idea we approved as a team and executing on it.
      - @markmiller1127 is our growth marketer. He comes from a sales background and focuses on managing campaigns.
      - @lambtron is our trump card. Though not officially in the growth team he works on a lot of growth projects.

      4 Share
      • GC

        Guillaume Cabane

        5 months ago #

        @pfumeron great question. What's my role?

        I'm the crazy guy. Because I have a lot of experience in the field I can come up with a lot of ideas that need testing. I also sometimes build POCs to prove there's value to an idea.
        Our Reveal loop outbound strategy and the Livechat with Drift were both POCs that I built by hacking together Segment, Zapier and the end tool.

        I also maintain relationships with all our vendors. It's critical for us to get first dibs on a new tool. It gives us a competitive advantage.

        But mostly I'm the crazy guy.

      • PF

        Pauline Fumeron

        5 months ago #

        Thanks for sharing! So impressed by the work of your team! :)

        And you as a VP of Growth, where do you stand? :) Do you have specific projects/tasks you take care of? do you jump in when someone in your team needs some support?

      • GC

        Guillaume Cabane

        5 months ago #

        BTW we're hiring a growth Hacker!
        https://segment.com/jobs/728189

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      2/ That's a tough one.
      Ideally, the sales team owns anything after lead qualification (we share this metric atm).
      The Product team is in charge of everything after Signup.

      So what are we in charge of? Well mostly top of funnel acquisition and conversion for both enterprise and self-service markets.

      As you see we're not doing anything in the product. It's a shame, but it also reduces the friction between teams a LOT. So I think it's a good compromise.

      4 Share
  • SE

    Sean Ellis

    5 months ago #

    Thanks G for doing this AMA with us! What is your biggest growth challenge at Segment? In other words, what parts of the job do you really struggle with?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Pace of experimentation.
      We’re not testing nearly as many things as we should. As you pointed yourself a lot of times, one of the key factors to success is the pace of experimentation. So why are we not testing more?
      Mostly because we lack technical resources.
      I usually manage to get engineers dedicated to Growth, but after landing in the Bay area I discovered that engineers are (surprisingly) a rare thing around here, thus hard to get.
      Most of the interesting growth experiments we work on are fairly technical and require some kind of engineering.

      Then, the honest answer is internal politics. As most heads of Growth, we’re facing the reality that this role is new and not ingrained in the organizations yet. So we face a lot of pushback from the product/engineering teams when we try to push significant experiments in the product. As a result, we’ve retreated to a safe space, outside of the product, where we can still have a ton of impact but face much less overlap.

      8 Share
  • EF

    Ed Fry

    5 months ago #

    Hey G,

    Thanks for doing this.

    Getting resources (tools, team, whatever...) for weird and wonderful growth ideas can be a challenge - how do you do it? What's your secret sauce?

    And what's your best* (*with the disclaimer's it's been untested) idea you've not been able to execute, and why?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      2/ Can't say! Comon'!

      OK, ok I can give you one that I talked about but didn't execute on yet.
      I want to test changing our opening livechat message.
      Instead of having something like " Our scoring algorithm predicts company XYZ is a good fit for Segment, do you want to know why?", which is our current message, I want to have "How do you like your coffee?".

      Then with a livechat bot (thanks Drift!), a bit of NLP, some Zapier, and connecting to Sendoso it will trigger a Postmates coffee order to deliver the hot drink within 20minutes at the front desk.

      Stay tuned!

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      1/ I hide a lot of things. Seriously!
      If I try to present a half-baked crazy idea to executives they are going to (rightfully so) tear it apart.
      So instead I talk to the marketers and engineers I think would be a right fit for the project. I call vendors. The first ones work on their spare time, the second ones get their teams working with no financial commitment.
      Everyone does it because it's exciting to push against the limit.

      Once we get traction, then I go the whomever and I can say "hey, we tested / launched a crazy experiment, and it seems to be working. Do you want to know more?"
      ;)

      2 Share
  • MH

    Max Hodges

    5 months ago #

    What do you know now that you wish you knew 5 years ago when it comes to marketing and growth?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Quick, let’s look into my Linkedin, where was I 5 years ago? Oh right, I was a co-founder at Homeloc (closed since) in charge of Product & Marketing.
      Well I would have stopped sooner and gone to a high growth company 😃

      More seriously though, I should have explored untapped channels (at the time) instead of being conventional.
      I should have realized that the shelf-life of a marketing strategy is dwindling super fast and that innovation within marketing is key.

      Oh, I would have raised the price of our SaaS to unlock better marketing actions.
      It’s crazy the number of things I can do at Segment because of our high LTV. I can really spend hundreds of dollars on the right lead. This opens any channel I want and helps me be creative.

      5 Share
  • GB

    Gilles Bertaux

    5 months ago #

    Salut Guillaume ;)

    Thanks for hosting this AMA!

    1) Do you need expensive tools to build great hacks?
    2) What do you look first in a marketing candidate?

    Cheers.

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      1/ No, but it helps. Clearbit, Zapier and Segment are my magic combo. Are they expensive? I guess it depends on your company's funding situation.

      Interestingly enough, I used to rely more on engineers to build great hacks when I used to work in France. Amazingly talented engineers, even interns (hat tip to @yanael). And super cheap.
      In the silicon valley, there is no such thing as talented cheap engineers (even interns). And even with the right cash, they are hard to source and hire. So great tools are the way to g!

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      2/ Personal projects and Love of technology.
      The stuff we do is too complex to be excited about if they don't like pushing the limits of what's possible.

      3 Share
  • AL

    Arsene Lavaux

    5 months ago #

    Bonjour Guillaume,

    Merci for doing this AMA and sharing your growth expertise with us.

    1) What is your favorite non-french cheese?
    2) Same as 1) for French.
    3) Is there a way of doing growth marketing that is different in Europe vs. the U.S.?
    4) What is Segment's core differentiator in the MarTech stack?
    5) Where do you see the future of AI-driven growth?

    A bientot!

  • SS

    Sean Smith

    5 months ago #

    Favorite marketing channel & why? Also to that end, any new marketing channel approaching that you're more and more interested in?

    Also favorite pasta you've ever eaten?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Outbound!
      Clearly most of the fun stuff I’m doing these past years revolve around some kind of unique data point and an email to reach the person.
      We get >70% open rates and >16% response rate on cold emails, so to all those who say email is dead …

      Recently I’ve turned my attention to other ways to use hyper-personal data. LiveChat has worked really well for us: https://blog.drift.com/segment-growth-secrets

      Now I'm going up-funnel even more and focus on dynamic web content injection on our HomePage

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      I like where the second question is going! All pasta is holy, and I’m very much pasta-inclusive. But one of the first dish I mastered really well and served to my then-to-be-wife is Carbonara.

  • LA

    levent aşkan

    5 months ago #

    Hi Guillaume,
    I have read one of your articles on Drift Blog related to the usage of Clearbit for outbound. Have quick questions about that scenario:

    - How do you understand that the prospect that Clearbit shared is the right person to get in touch with? via Linkedin Check?
    - Which channel do you use to reach that person? Email vs Telephone.
    - Do you announce that you find the email address of him via Clearbit?

    Thanks a lot.

  • EF

    Etienne Fischer

    5 months ago #

    Hi Guillaume, what would be your 3 first advices for initiating an inbound and outbound strategy for a small B2B startups with almost no budget ?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      I can speak towards outbound, where we had most of our recent success.

      1/ Identify your target customer, or at least one of the personas
      2/ Find where you can find them. Clearbit? Online communities? Scrape the S* out of it
      3/ Build an awesome outreach strategy.

      Example?

      At Mention (brand awareness company) with @yanael and @gilles_bertauxcit we identified "startups launching on ProductHunt" as a good target market.
      So we connected to the PH API, pulled the list of new products being launched every day.
      Then we pre-created a Mention account with the right company name, waited to have something to show. Automatic screenshot. Merge into a tweet, "Hey @ XYZ congrats for launching, we though you might need to monitor what's going on so we created and set up an account for you".

      Boom! Proof of value. No friction, no effort the customer needs to do. FOMO. Of course this works:)

      Everything was automated, and @gilles_bertauxcit or @yanael can tell you more about it.

  • BK

    Brianne Kimmel

    5 months ago #

    Does the growth team at Segment share any metrics with the sales team?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Great question Brianne!
      Initially we didn’t … and it was a terrible mistake. It’s so easy to look at a failed experiment and put the blame on sales execution. We all know how that goes.

      Now we have a common KPI, which is Qualified Opportunities.
      It’s a good middle ground between time to conversion (a few weeks) and certainty of future revenue. Would each of our teams prefer to have a KPI that’s closer to our interest? Initially maybe, now we’re quite happy because there’s no debate on the impact we have.

      Over time as we get better and better at predicting the value and conversion rate of lead → opportunity → qualified opportunity → revenue we’ll probably shift to pipeline dollars.

      4 Share
  • DH

    Dani Hart

    5 months ago #

    Hi G!

    Great to have you on for an AMA today. :)

    a. What has worked for you to rally your entire team behind sustainable growth?
    b. Do you have a formal growth team over there? If yes, how is it structured and where does it belong organizationally? If not, why not?

    Looking forward to learning more!

    Cheers,
    Dani

  • FL

    Felix Langlet

    5 months ago #

    How did Segment (or you) generate their first 100 customers, and has your overall marketing/CAC strategy changed since then?

  • TB

    Tuan Bui Anh

    5 months ago #

    Hi Guillaume,

    Thanks for hosting AMA with us :). What SAAS metrics do you monitor daily and why?

    Thanks,

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Qualified Opportunities.

      Mostly because we sit within the Sales Org, and that's our goal. And most of what we've succeeded at is creating valuable leads for our sales reps.

      Of course, it's a super lagging indicator, so we have a few leading indicators.
      Opportunities <- Leads <- Qualified traffic

      What's this last one? Our secret sauce.
      By combining Clearbit Reveal with Madkudu we are capable of qualifying and attributing value to anonymous traffic ... per channel.
      So we can predict if a new channel is going to perform .. 3 weeks down the road.

      4 Share
  • AA

    Anuj Adhiya

    5 months ago #

    Hey G! So cool to finally have you on!

    Correct me if I'm wrong but one trend I've seen with a lot of the recent growth hacks you've spoken about is that they include a lot of user data enrichment (along with tons of crazy workflows). The end result of this, of course, is that the user/customer lands up having an extremely personalized experience.

    So my question is whether you feel that this is the natural course (and end point) of all growth hacks - ie they become scalable ways to provide a highly personalized experience, raising the odds of conversions to be as high as possible?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Thanks for having me!

      Yes I think that's the natural course. I strongly believe our job is to create better customer experiences throughout the funnel.
      One way to do that is by reducing the friction (effort) the customer has to input before getting to value.
      Another is making each step more relevant and helpful.

      I try to do both, and for this I need data. A lot of data. The challenge is to get and use that data without being creepy.

      2 Share
  • RV

    Rojo Villegas

    5 months ago #

    Do you think that our industry (marketing) will be absorbed by engineers and consulting companies?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      I think we will all be absorbed by AI.
      Seriously, I have seen projects of self-coding AI systems that use Github (ALL of Github) to "auto-suggest" the next line of code.

      I have seen AI suggest the correct way to reach out to a customer. Find the right message.

      I think there will be 2 jobs left: finding training data and fixing broken ETL pipelines.

  • JO

    Julien Ott

    5 months ago #

    Hi Guillaume, I saw your post about email outreach automation with clearbit, madkudu etc. What's the price/month of those services combined together?
    Thanks!

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Well it depends a lot on your volume.
      They all start at a few hundred dollars, and you, of course, get discounts for large volume deals.

      We at Segment thousands per month for those tools. People find it expensive, but you know what? I've calculated the ROI, and we cover the cost ... around noon each month.
      Just with the revenue created from campaigns built on top of these tools.
      The rest of the month is positive ROI.
      Think about that...

  • MY

    Mico Yuk

    5 months ago #

    Hi Guillaume, what is do you think is the 3 keys to focus on when it comes to growing a start up? Also what are 3 things that you need to focus on less?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      1/ Product. Create a god damn amazing product. Sure A good growth person can make any piece of crap sell, but is that exciting?
      We all talk about product market fit, but honestly if you have an amazing product the market will come to you.
      2/ Clear message. 96% of your visitors will bounce because they don't understand what the value is or why it applies to them
      3/ Clear target market. You don't need a market of millions of people. Let me correct that. You don't WANT a market of millions of people. It will be huge pain to acquire them, retain them...
      What you want is a market of thousands that clearly understand your product, get the value, and are ready to pay immediately.

      4 Share
    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Stop.
      1/ Stop doing slides. Unless it's for a public speaking gig. You're wasting your time.
      2/ Stop trying to build instead of buying. If it's available out there just buy it
      3/ Stop negotiating compensations down. What's the point to have employees who think they got ripped off?

  • JD

    James Dunn

    5 months ago #

    Could you answer the Salesforce related Qs here from the discussion that happened around the frictionless signup form you'll released some months ago: https://growthhackers.com/articles/open-source-increase-form-submissions-by-20/#comment-62651 (you may have to scroll up a bit if you need more context).

    I'll summarize the Qs below for everyone:

    a. If you use Salesforce as your CRM, they have a Clearbit integration that could do all of the data enrichment at the back end: https://clearbit.com/salesforce. So could you still not use a shorter form vs the longer one that was open sourced?

    b. If I have Salesforce as your CRM, what's the downside of just integrating Segment with it (almost as a hub) and running downstream integrations off of SF vs integrating SF & each tool individually with Segment (ie none of the downstream tools are integrated with SF)?

    Thanks!

  • SV

    Steve Valencia

    5 months ago #

    Hi Guillaume -- thanks for doing this! How would you characterize the experiments (channel-wise, engineering effort) that your team typically run? In particular, I'm curious how you also measured success given that Segment largely B2B sales model versus self-serve... i.e. there's somewhat of a dependency of a Sales team (as opposed to consumer/self-serve when you have more direct impact to revenue)

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      We usually run fairly large projects that take weeks to months to build.
      I don't think it's a goal in itself, but it's where I get most fun per effort unit!

      Yes we have a huge dependency on Sales because of the B2B model. But I like it, because we're slowly starting to be their primary source of leads.
      Let me rephrase that: we are the hand that feeds them.

      What's the benefit? We can ask them for a lot of things. Use their names on our outbound emails, slap their faces on our dynamic chat.
      Sometimes they get a negative email response, but they get it. They know the game.

      And we have a lot of leading indicators to help us!

      2 Share
  • MF

    Mike Fiorillo

    5 months ago #

    Hi Guillaume, thanks for doing this AMA!

    As an exec at a data analytics company, I'm interested in learning about your own analytics stack? What is your go-to tool for user insights? Is there any particular reporting you find most insightful for coming up with new growth experiments?

    Thanks!

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Great question!
      Personally, I use Amplitude a lot.
      Of course, a good reason for that is that I'm not SQL savvy. But I also find it way easier to explore the data with a tool like Amplitude or Indicative than doing SQL in Mode.

      I can build funnels and split those funnels based on a user trait in a matter of minutes...

      G.

  • NL

    Nathan Lippi

    5 months ago #

    Guillaume -- thank you for doing this.

    You/Segment have published some big out-of-the-box wins in the last year or two. Tons of people are talking about them and wanting to try them.

    The obvious downside of this is that your optimizations might expire a little bit faster.

    What do you see as the main upsides of giving your big wins away?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      I get invited to do an AMA on GrowthHackers! If that isn't a clear upside ;)
      Also speaking at many more conferences than I used to.

      Why is that good? Because external validation creates retention within the team, and drive internal visibility.
      We get to do whatever we want to just because it drives results, but because our execs frequently get emails from their peers saying "You guys have an amazing growth team".

      Do note something interesting: we haven't published most of those stories, others have.

      4 Share
  • IB

    Ioana Budai

    5 months ago #

    Hy there, thanks a bunch for doing this for us!

    I'd be very interested in how you tackled the retention segment, growth-wise, at the companies you worked with throughout your career. For instance, let's take self-perpetuating loops. Did you specifically design a growth strategy beforehand, or was it something that came without much planning? Of course there's lots of experimentation involved, but maybe you noticed a pattern. :D

    Also: were there any moments you were baffled at results you got with growth projects?

  • FB

    Francis Brero

    5 months ago #

    Hi Mr G,

    Thanks for giving back to the community.

    One thing I've seen happen consistently at your talks is you share a lot of ideas and implementations that have worked which leads people to want to replicate without necessarily going through your thought process of impact/effort prediction.

    So my question would be what framework do you use to prioritize among all of your growth ideas?

    Cheers!

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Ha! Someone did notice that after all.

      So why am I sharing? Maybe because, long term, I'm like a dealer of growth ideas. And people who replicate (and get success) then become addicted.

      If it works for drugs, it's certainly going to work for me right?

      But to answer your question, we split responsibilities. I come up with the ideas and the team critiques them. And I try to built POCs that can de-risk most of the unknowns.

  • AP

    Aleksandra Pinar

    5 months ago #

    Whats are your best practices to build trust and engagement thru the users?

  • MB

    Maud Bisserier

    5 months ago #

    Hi Guillaume !

    Thanks for doing this :)

    I have a specific question on the internationalisation of the growth/acquisition team :

    Do you think it is better to implement an organisation by country manager or by channel ?

    Thanks

    Maud

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      Both!

      Some channels are easy (˜er) to internationalize. Those that have a good worldwide coverage. Facebook, Adwords are good examples.

      Other things are super local. What's the Craigslist for France (hint: not craigslist)?
      How do you do Outbound in Canada (hint: you don't).
      Why do people not pay online in Germany (hint: they pay the postman).

      If you don't understand all those cultural specificities you're going to fail in those markets.

  • AK

    Arul Karuppannan

    5 months ago #

    What do you believe are the must have qualities for an Entrepreneur?

    • GC

      Guillaume Cabane

      5 months ago #

      I’m a pretty poor entrepreneur myself, but I have the chance to have met and work for great ones.

      I met Steve (yes that Steve, met him only briefly), and I work for @reinpk. I've worked for @mvaxelaire and many more.

      What did I learn? That you must be passionate, believe in what you're doing.
      Whatever that is.
      Your drive is paramount, and you have a laser sharp focus.

      Why am I not a good entrepreneur? I'm definitely passionate, but I don't have focus.

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