How to Drive Success through Community Cohorts

CS Insider


๐Ÿ” The Norm

Success for subscription software is heavily based on achieving certain outcomes โ€” Whether itโ€™s getting someone to take a certain action to become a customer or increasing their usage as a current customer, there are many approaches to driving growth and reducing churn, often formed around playbooks and programs.

Playbooks and automated programs are a fantastic way to achieve these results but often focus on individual businesses, working solo, rather than bringing people together to solve a challenge as a community.

The nature of these journeys are often:

  • Automated and behavior triggered
  • Based on individual relationships with the provider and the customer
  • Stand-alone and experienced in isolation

๐Ÿ’ก Our Idea

Community has always been a big part of GoProposal. People sharing their experiences, challenges, wins, and advice in the GoProposal community is something we are incredibly proud of in our business, and we believe it's an incredible way of improving results.

So we wanted to take our passion for community and see if we could increase the value we could deliver not just to one business, but a group of businesses, all aware they were in it together. This is where the cohort idea originated from.

We work with Accountants and Bookkeepers, and this is a common challenge so many of them have to overcome, undercharging and overservicing. The reason this is a challenge is because of the nature of the work. Accounting and Bookkeeping services are complicated, and the businesses they have to deliver these for are complicated.

We have worked with 1000s of accounting and bookkeeping businesses that have all had the challenge of conquering this landscape, and the theme is always that they need to be able to navigate this complexity.

So led by our talisman and founder James Ashford, GoProposal formed a cohort of customers around the challenge of using our pricing and proposal software (GoProposal) to increase the fees of current clients and get paid for all the hard work that was currently being done for free.

This was going to be different because it wasnโ€™t just us trying to inspire action through data or automated sequences, it was going to be the customer saying โ€˜YES Iโ€™M IN, I wanna make this changeโ€™ explicitly.

๐Ÿ”Ž The Process

  1. Get willing participants

The first stage is to get people who understand the challenge and want to accept it. Our challenge was aimed at getting our solo-level subscribers to increase their usage of GoProposal past that of a solo subscriber. So our founder and all-around chief motivator James Ashford did a call to all of our members with a quick video, inviting them to the challenge.

All members were then added to a separate group on Facebook and introduced to each other as fellow cohort members.

2. Set the goal

Once we had the people that were up for the challenge, we set the goal. This was for every participant to increase their monthly revenue through fee reviews with clients by an agreed amount.

3. Set the milestones

It was agreed what key steps had to be taken for every member of the cohort to have achieved success during the challenge.

4. Track progress

Everyone in the cohort had to track their progress in a live document that would show what steps they had taken and the progress they had made towards their goal.

5. Set the rules

This was a big change-up from our normal messaging in that we had key rules you had to follow otherwise you were out of the challenge and out of the cohort.

You had to:

  1. Remain outcome focused
  2. Be accountable and always update the tracker
  3. Achieve what you said you were going to do

Some people didnโ€™t do this and were taken out of the process.

6. Buddy up

All participants were given a buddy that they worked with during sessions and on their assigned tasks. These paired-up businesses held each other accountable, got to know each other, and had someone with them so they always felt like they were in it together.

7. Celebrate and share

Participants of the challenge were given the space to share their progress and the big wins they had in their journey. This is different from a standard community because the cohort was a time-based challenge where everyone was laser-focused on a very specific goal.

There were so many ways we did this. There were printed newsletters that went out to the members, individual video messages to each individual to celebrate their wins and encourage them, and peer to peer celebration where they would join together organically to congratulate each other on their successes.

8. Regular sessions exclusive to the cohort

Throughout the process, regular sessions were run with the members of the cohort. Whether it was a mindset session or a best practice session for using GoProposal, everyone was able to join together and get to know each other in the process.

๐Ÿ“ˆ Our Results


In just 4 weeks the members of the cohort added almost half a million of annual recurring revenue onto their business.

How we can see this:

  • That's half a million more going into the accounting industry, helping these hardworking firms serve their clients better.
  • That's half a million of increased investment being made by small businesses into the finance function of their companies, helping them to save time, have greater insights, and be better protected.

โœ๏ธ Key Takeaways

Cohorts and communities increase key things we need to get people to take action on. Here's how:

  1. It increases accountability because people can see the action others are taking, and they explicitly opt into the cohort at the start of the process.
  2. We can still scale this because the more people we have in the process, the more we can deliver our core content to at the right time.
  3. Community is vital for getting people to take action. Seeing that others are in the same position, are making progress towards their goals, and that they are not alone is inspiring.
  4. It's is easier for people to stay positive, to be outcome-focused, and not to give up when they are doing it together.

๐Ÿ‘‰ Your Turn

  1. Think about a program that benefits both yourself and your users. It could be about increasing efficiencies by training more of their team members to use your software, which in turn will add more users to your business.
  2. Create your cohort by bringing these people together with a clear timeline, a clear set of rules, and a partner in the process
  3. Make sure there is a physical community, whether this is on Facebook or another platform.
  4. Always share successes, and hold people accountable to strict rules. If they do not want to be part of the journey, they can get off the bus.
  5. Have a clear program of targeted sessions that will educate the people participating in the program.
  6. Time and goal-based groups like this can be exclusive. Think about a first-come, first-serve process, with a limit to the number of spaces. This could be 20 or it could be 200 based on your customer size.

Jack is the head of Client Success at GoProposal, the leading pricing and proposal software for accountants and bookkeepers.

If you have any questions on the content, please feel free to reach out to Jack at or on LinkedIn.