Trainer Spotlight | Sebastian Almnes on Customer Retention

Posted by Sofie Penn-Slater

In this series, we're going to place our amazing trainers in the spotlight! We'll be quizzing them on their areas of expertise, discovering why they chose to work for Growth Tribe and taking a look at our growth hacking, A.I. and Blockchain courses from the trainer's perspective. This time we're talking to Lead Trainer Sebastian, an expert in customer retention strategy.

Hi Seb! Thanks for meeting with me today. Let's get started with the easy questions!


 Sebastian Almnes.


Customer Retention.

What's customer retention?

Retention is all about increasing the likelihood of a customer using your service or purchasing a product again, with a focus on increasing the profitability and lifetime value of each customer rather than simply focusing on the acquisition of new customers.

Where are you from?


How long have you worked at Growth Tribe?

Almost 6 months!

What initially drew you to Growth Tribe?

The ability to continue to work on growth, but also be able to teach. Coming from doing growth in startups, it was important to me to be able to continue that and combine growth with education.

How did you develop your interest in retention?

It came quite naturally to me. I’ve founded two start-ups myself in the past, so my experience doing that helped me to understand that retention really is the most important part of the funnel - at least it is to me, and it was for the companies I founded. Essentially, it doesn’t matter if you’re pouring huge amount of users into the top of the funnel if your retention is poor.

It’s like filling up a leaky bucket...

I’m interested in retention primarily because it’s very product-driven, which sets it apart from other parts of the funnel. To be good at it, you need to have an innate understanding of how products work, or to be able to run a tonne of experiments.


What’s something about retention that people frequently misunderstand?

A lot of people think that they understand retention, but when we show them retention’s full potential, they realise that there’s a lot more to it than they realised. They know that retention is crucial for the wellbeing of the business, but they often don’t have a clear idea of how to actually implement a proper strategy.

If we take one step back before retention, there’s a lot of emphasis on product-market fit. Most startups believe that because they’re returning X number of dollars a month, they must have good product-market fit, but the reality is that very few startups do.

Another thing would be that people have very little idea how to do deep dives into retention statistics. They can look at a churn graph, but they don’t understand what do do with the data they have or how to gain valuable insights and actually start to implement change. Even experienced growth hackers struggle to look at why people are leaving and put together actionable next steps.

If you didn’t specialise in retention, what do you think you would focus on?

Activation. There’s a nice synergy between activation and retention, and there’s something very interesting about understanding the most impactful moment in a product or a user journey and helping users to experience that as quickly as possible - really being able to create that ‘wow’ moment.

What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learnt/read/heard about retention over the last month?

The VP of Product at Amplitude put retention very simply - “you have to remember that every single user that signs up to your platform wants to be retained”. It’s simple, almost too obvious. Users want your product to be the dream solution that they’re looking for. They want to be retained by your product because they want it to be the solution to their pain.

What question are you most frequently asked by course participants?

“What do I do if I don’t have retention?”

I'm asked this question so frequently that it's now on slide three of the retention section of the course. Typically, participants have been told by their CEO that they don't have retention, but that simply isn't true. Unless you started your business yesterday (in which case retention won't do anything for you), you do have retention.

Thanks for taking the time for this Q&A. It's really interesting to understand a bit more about retention and how you developed your field of interest.

Are you interested in learning more about retention practices and tactics? We regularly run courses in Growth Hacking covering all areas of the pirate funnel!

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Written by Sofie Penn-Slater