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October 5, 2022

Leader Spotlight: Chris Cunningham of ClickUp on how LTV-based UA helped them make better-informed marketing decisions

Ben Malka
Growth and Operations Manager

ClickUp has been on a roll lately! This cloud-based collaboration and project management tool is one of the top PLGs, with over four million users and 800K teams worldwide. Hmmm, well that explains their $4 billion valuation!

So how did they achieve this massive growth? A lot of factors came into play. The product itself has a lot of growth loops set in place, making certain growth elements a no-brainer. Then there was also the efforts of their stellar growth and marketing team, which includes the outstanding Chris Cunningham

We actually had Chris as one of the speakers in our recent webinar on LTV-based acquisition, where he spoke of how he and his team went about using, and benefitting from predictive UA. The webinar also featured the following esteemed speakers:

In the webinar, the speakers made the case for LTV-based acquisition, and discussed the advanced methodologies of optimizing campaigns for maximum ROAS. In our previous “Leader Spotlight” post, we featured Fabien David of Notion. In this one, we’re featuring Chris Cunningham.

About Chris Cunningham

Chris Cunningham is the Head of Influencer Marketing, and a Founding Member of ClickUp. He became a founding member with his friend Zeb Evans in 2017, which was actually a huge risk at the time. As he stated in an interview with Shoutout LA, they “moved to Silicon Valley and went all-in on a new project management software. Every single advisor told us that this space was too strong and crowded. It took years but we went from four people to about to cross 1,000 employees today and a four billion dollar valuation.” He and Zeb have been friends since college, and the story of ClickUp’s initial growth and traction is simply WOW.

Before ClickUp, Chris was the Vice President Of Business Development for Elevator Studio, which he joined with a strong technology sales foundation; Mango Technologies, and Cvent—all in the business development and sales development capacities at the enterprise level.

Rundown of Chris’s insights

Challenges experienced by ClickUp

Before their series A, Chris shared that ClickUp was completely a PLG, and since then, their goal was to only become better. 

They are always working towards scaling their spend, and naturally won’t do so without having great numbers. As such, their team is testing like crazy, and learning from the experts who have already been down that path, such as Fabien (who is also on this panel.)

The ClickUp team is constantly testing new strategies, new creatives, and also testing new channels, “because in times like these, you have to pay attention and not just stay on the same channels as you always have.”

ClickUp’s main KPIs

CAC to LTV ratio, in addition to payback, are both huge for ClickUp. As they have grown, they just cared about getting more clients in general as well. On that, he said, “We definitely look at these numbers and push as hard as we can. At the same time, we're excited about whatever we can get. A client's worth a lot to us.” And with their premium model, moving up is a big thing for them. “We're very cheap to start—five dollars a month for a limited plan,” he says. “And then, you know, they can go from there to our business program, which most people do.”


Current decision-making process

Every single week, the ClickUp team goes over everything that went well weekly. “We're talking about all the numbers, and from that everyone weighs in. So our creative team is seeing what works so they know what to create. They’re gonna look at the numbers of what they could have done better. So we have kind of everyone weighing in, even our CEO. He's checking as much as he can as well.” They try to improve on their numbers each and every week.

Barriers to LTV adoption

For Clickup, the biggest barrier was really putting the focus in, and getting experienced people who've done it before, who have good processes in place. He acknowledged that assembling the right team, and having the right tools and tech goes a long way.

Efforts that showed ClickUp the greatest value

In this part, Chris enthusiastically talked about the onboarding quiz, and why it needs to be made as quick as possible.

“It's for two different reasons. One is, you know, you're gonna get more answers. People take it more seriously. But two—it also makes you think about what's more important, rather than just being a bunch of questions and making it, you know, much much harder to go through.” Make sure you think really carefully as to what you’re asking.

How you can achieve results similar to Clickup

The results seen by Chris and the Clickup team can easily be duplicated by your team! Yes really! If you’re a data-driven B2B PLG company of a similar size that is ready to use predictive AI to put your growth, scalability, and profitability on hyperdrive—there is no time like the present! 

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