We recently hosted a webcast conversation between Jason VandeBoom, CEO and Founder of ActiveCampaign, and Hisham Ibrahim, Lean Startup Co. Faculty Member, focused on the importance of leaning into your customers and learning from them in order to grow your business.
In Jason and Hisham’s conversation, they discuss:
– The importance of letting customer feedback guide the product development
– How to scale up while staying close to your customers
– The key lessons learned as Jason looks back on the startup story of ActiveCampaign
And much, much more…
When Jason VandeBoom launched ActiveCampaign in 2003, he wasn’t trying to start a business or grow a company. He was just trying to make some money to pay for college. All of his customers were small businesses and they all started wanting the same thing: to communicate with their customers. At the time, the options for small businesses to implement something like this was somewhat limited.
Instead of building one-off tools and products for each company, Jason decided to create a contact management package and sell that instead. “[I had] no idea of what that could be,” Jason says, “and then as someone bought it, I just glued onto them to learn as much as I could.”
In fact, for a while, Jason says he didn’t even care about the revenue he was generating. Rather, “all I cared about was the interesting work and ensuring I was providing a ton of value.” His focus on listening to the customers helped him learn a lot about what customers needed and how to add to ActiveCampaign’s product catalogue.
So much so that by the end of the first decade his company was up to eight products, all of which impacted a piece of the customer experience. “We learned a lot about each piece,” Jason says, “but the tool didn’t actually matter as much as moving data throughout their entire experience and making that feel like a unified experience.”