Product Love Podcast: Shay Howe, VP of Platform Strategy at ActiveCampaign

This week on Product Love, I sat with Shay Howe, VP of Platform Strategy at ActiveCampaign. ActiveCampaign is an email marketing, marketing automation, sales automation, and CRM software platform for small- to mid-sized businesses.

Shay Howe comes from a design background, but his experiences at previous hypergrowth companies have given him insight into engineering and product management as well. Like all good product leaders, Shay is oriented around solving a problem.  He originally started at ActiveCampaign to lead a design team, but as the company scaled, he ended up in a variety of roles. Nowadays, he’s the VP of Platform Strategy which encompasses integrations, and partnerships.

In this episode, we talked about prioritizing customer feedback, and platform strategy.

Managing 130,000 Voices

What’s interesting about ActiveCampaign is that they have to keep up with 130,000 customers and represent those voices. How? They use NPS, and also leave room for feedback on their cancellation forms, online communities, ideas form, community forums, and even through their integrations on G2 and Capterra. In an older episode with ActiveCampaign’s CEO, he reveals he reviews customer feedback every single day. As for Shay, and the rest of the core leadership team, they follow feedback just as closely.

Shay notes every NPS survey and every cancellation report. In order to break down that feedback and communicate it to the correct teams, they’ve built out a customer experience advocacy team. The organization also built out a Voice of Customer report for the team to review.

Their design team also has a very robust system of collecting feedback. They have their own NPS channel, so any feedback that mentions words such as “UX”, “UI”, “usability”, or “difficult” will surface. The designers will self-select the feedback and follow up with the customer about their learnings.

When it comes to prioritizing feedback, they lean onto their customer experience advocacy team to surface issues that come up frequently. Shay also breaks down prioritization to what is most commonly heard versus what is opportunistic enough to be tackled quickly.

Tech Ecosystems & Integrations

ActiveCampaign has a very successful tech ecosystem, but I was curious about how this affected the customer experience, as well as their own business model. One of their core beliefs is that one business not just going to run on one single platform. Every business should be able to use the best platforms, and tools, which brings about the question – how do you get lens and visibility into the customer experience across all of that?

Shay shares that the average small business has over 100 SaaS applications that they’re using. All of those tools should be able to work together. As people drive more integrations, Shay thinks about how they can deliver that customer experience well and then into the ethos of the business.

Shay goes into detail about how these integrations go beyond our initial beliefs that they’re just point-to-point solutions around efficiency. To him, it’s more of a deep layer of platform extensibility that has a larger impact than we think. Check out the episode above to hear more about tech ecosystems, how he built a high-performing team during a time of hypergrowth, and why design deserves a seat at the table.