Got a little chicken or the egg situation here. Except in this case, we’re talking about CAC or ASP (cost of acquisition vs. average selling price). More context…
My company’s recent little pivot is called Burner Rocket. We help B2B companies break through the noise to reach key decision makers. Our secret sauce? We send burner phones. Yes, a little like that scene from The Matrix when Neo gets a phone and gets an immediate call from Morpheus.
It’s crazy effective(~65.5% turn-ons and 75.3% conversation rate)
… and fun (you can’t help but feed off the fun energy from “folks recording personalized videos” to “recipients turning on the phones”).
This isn’t the cheap direct mail piece like coffee mugs or keychains. Sometimes, you gotta go big to break through the noise these days.
When I pitched a local entrepreneur recently, he immediately said, “wow, your customers must have a high ASP”. I thought he would, for sure, go with “wow, your customers must have a high CAC”. It’s a chicken or egg situation where you could ask which came first?
In the world of ASP vs. CAC, they both influence each other. My focus on CAC is to isolate the costand difficulty of acquiring a customer. I want to focus on the customer, and her buying cycle. The burner phones really cut out a ton of time, especially, when it comes to breaking through to net-new leads. They also get conversations because of the novelty (prospects may now associate the brand and product to be novel).
ASP should take into account CAC, too. However, ASP does not cover the longer-term revenue that could come from a customer – lifetime value (LTV). ASP may not actually cover cost of servicing a customer. Instead, the lifetime of the customer should take service into account.
Our new business may not influence ASP, or LTV for that matter. Instead, our new business can accelerate the pipeline via the top-of-funnel conversions (cold to conversations, to demos) and likely the mid-funnel with stalled opportunities. Thus, our phones can materially impact CAC.
Then again, I focus on all three metrics with a priority on both CAC and LTV before ASP. Prime B2B companies who have high CAC and LTV are good candidates + our other ideal customer profile (ICP) facets.
What are your thoughts? How are you considering your go-to-market strategy?

I reserved a flight by calling Delta recently, and this was one of the few times I stuck around to take a survey. What intrigued me from the beginning was that the integrated voice recording (IVR) told me I would be invited to take a 1-question survey after speaking with the customer service representative (CSR).

Maybe because I have an interest in customer success, customer experience, IVR systems, etc., but the 1-question survey had me thinking.

What kind of question would’ve been enough for Delta to know how my experience went? Are there enough takers where Delta could ask several one-question surveys to get a good feel of how I would’ve answered to other questions (they knew me given my SkyMiles number)?

First, I want to share a little detail of what I was reserving because the complexity had me calling in.
  • I was traveling outside of the country with a single stop each way.
  • I wanted to use an “open ticket” from an earlier cancelled flight due to medical reasons. This meant the CSR had to authorize the ticket and ensure no change fee was incurred.
  • My girlfriend booked separately, and I was trying to get the seat next to her and link our tickets together (in case of flight changes).

It’s not the most complicated reservation, but the CSR had to have some experience to know exactly how to look up everything and make the necessary changes. She handled it all perfectly.

At the end of the call, I was directed to the survey after one ring leaving me with little time to hang up. The question:

On a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being definitely “yes,” and 1 being definitely “no,” how likely would you be to hire the last Delta representative you talked to, if you ran a customer service company?

I’ve heard of this type of question before, but I had never been asked it. As I was with the CSR, I was already thinking of how well she was handling my case, so this question wasn’t too difficult for me to answer – I said, “5” (definitely yes, I would hire her). She was courteous. She knew exactly what she was doing. Prompt. I’m good. Exactly what I needed and wanted.
Why I liked this question:
  • You have to think about the whole experience. The take-rate for surveys is typically real low. Prompting the caller that this would be a single-question survey mitigated dread on my end. Dispatching me into the survey after one ring made taking the survey that much more seamless. I was done with what I needed – the call with the CSR. Any other time would be my “donation”, and thus, would need to be seamless for me to participate.
  • It gets to the point. We can talk about how courteous was she? We can talk about if she was knowledgeable. We can even talk about the wait times. However, Delta wants to know about the customer service rep. The question was focused about the rep. Other more detailed questions about the rep would require additional supporting questions or would be incomplete. However, those details are all proxies for what Delta wants to know – did I value their rep that I would want her on my team? Would I want to work with this person again and again and again (let alone the one time)?

This question can be complicated if someone were to be especially critical. In this case, I could’ve said, “whoa, whoa, I need more information. Send me her resume.” How does she handle an even more complicated, irate customer with a language barrier? Is she a team player? What’s her compensation package? This is a much simpler question. It’s focused on the caller and the rep.

In that vein, who around you would you hire? Or, who would you hire again? Who would you stake your company’s reputation on? Who you stake your personal reputation on?

I stumbled on this cartoon recently that I thought was funny and relevant to perspective bias.

If you don’t see why this is funny, maybe we appreciate different types of jokes. Otherwise, it’s about the rhino painter’s distorted view of the world – always obstructed by her horn in front of her eyes. It’s omnipresent in all of her paintings.
The relevance on bias, then, is about our biases to things without knowing we have biases. This is touched on my current read Thinking Fast and Slow and a recent read The Mom Test. Many folks are quick to see the world in their own perspective only, and they are less perceptive to differing views.
This happens to me, too. I can be at fault of dismissing other ideas quickly, choosing to listen to what I am thinking. It can get me in trouble. In more specific cases, I can dismiss a colleague’s effective, authentic language style in prospecting, choosing to adopt my more structured, market-y messaging. Then, we find my colleague’s method is 3 times more effective than my own.
When I focus with my view only it’s about ego – Andrew Carnegie points this out, too, in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People. My perspective has me as the envisioned “winner”. A holistic perspective including others has the goal of a team win.
We have blind spots that have been there all of our lives (personal and professional). Because they’ve been there for so long, we’re not aware of them. That shouldn’t stop us from challenging our own perspectives. If anything, that means we should be morecognizant of what we could be blind to, and actively look to be more inclusive.

I am on a tear finishing books. I just finished Donald Miller’s Scary Close. Donald highlights his personal journey to finding intimacy in relationships. In many specific examples, Donald writes about his courtship of his wife Betsy.
This is much different from my other business-oriented, self-improvement, sales-y books. Not even sure why or how I stumbled on this, but hey, intimacy in relationships is good, right? This is even more true in today’s age of spam and automation.
I don’t have a laundry list of take-aways. Instead, there’s one recurring and clear point – be authentic.
Donald’s book focuses a lot on Betsy calling out Donald when he wasn’t being genuine. Further, Donald learned that he could never fully engage in a true, successful relationship without being himself.
In years past, Donald played some role (acting) that he thought he wanted to be… impress others with who he acted out to be. Each role –and relationship—ended up unsatisfying and short-lived. He found authenticity to be the key to meaningful relationships.
Even in his observation of parents who pushed their kids to be someone or do something they weren’t naturally, Donald realized it was the parents’ lack of self-awareness and lack of authenticity that “motivated” the parents to push their kids in a different direction. He found that the more parents looked inwards (at themselves), they could more fully appreciate who their kids were – their individual selves.
Perhaps because of all the other books I’ve read or the highly personal nature of Donald’s writing, I likely won’t remember too much from this book beyond the theme. The last several years have been transformative for me in being truer to myself – to being my authentic self.
However, good to hear a story of a man who realized the importance of authenticity, and how it helped him find Betsy.
I don’t have to always put an entrepreneurial, self-improvement, sales-y twist on every book I read. However, it’s important to be authentic in all of our relationships. Business, after all, is made of lots of micro-relationships, let alone the macro B2B relationship.