How Zendesk and CloudBees Increase their User Engagement

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Yesterday, the SandHill Magazine have published an article about Managing Challenges of Onboarding SaaS Customers and Converting from Free Software Trials where 2 of the very popular app services providers – Zendesk and CloudBees, were quoted about their success in increasing engagement level and therefore their free to paid conversion rate.

Both companies, who are using the Totango technology, managed to increase their visibility on what their users are doing in their application and therefore optimize communication with them to make sure they’re gaining value out of their product.

Many app services in the SaaS industry lack that visibility. This problem is especially in onboarding new customers and in converting free trial users into paying customers.

“Understanding user behavior is critical to success in the XaaS model”, states Sacha Labouray, founder and CEO of CloudBees.

Zack Urlocker, COO of Zendesk is happy that this solution exists and therefore saves the time on self development: “Rather than trying to build the technology to do this in house, we love the fact that Totango has already figured this out, giving us tremendous insight into what is going on with our users during that trial period.”

Zendesk’s goal was to increase customer engagement for their 30 days trial users and increase the free to paid conversion that way:
“We changed how people experience sending and receiving customer service tickets during the trial. Totango helped us figure out ways to try different approaches to highlight key features which and see ones got the most usage” says Urlocker.

Since Zendesk has massive amount of daily downloads and thousands of customers, they needed visibility into who to focus on in order to gain the most success and Totango is helping them to achieve that and thus increase their conversion rates.

Similarly, CloudBees needed to understand, in real time, how developers in its freemium model use their platform. “We need to see where they start using specific services and using multiple services,” says Labouray. “Before implementing Totango, we tried using analytics to track user behaviors. It gave us overall trends but no insight into what specific teams or specific users within a team or group are doing on our platform. You don’t know what you don’t know. Totango showed us what we didn’t know. We’re using those insights in working a lot of services and reaching out to our users.”

He says they had a big “aha” moment when Totango revealed an unexpected spike in usage all of a sudden. They then realized there is often a lag between when customers sign up for the freemium model and when they actually get ready to use it.

Creating value for customers is the most important activity for retaining customers longer, so all customer-facing teams need to align around that objective. With the right data, you can get real insights into which customers are likely to convert from free to the paid model as well as where those customers come from, their overall lifetime value and the customer acquisition cost and with all of that information, you can build an effective marketing/sales model!

We want to help ensure our customers not only improve their communications with their users but also gain the ability to drive to monetization and unified value-creating goals for acquiring and retaining customers.

 

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Zack Urlocker is chief operating officer at Zendesk and heads up Sales, Marketing, Business Development and Support. Zack came to Zendesk from MySQL, where he was Executive VP of Products. Besides building the business model for MySQL, he helped grow revenues to more than $100 million annually. He has more than 20 years of experience in the software industry and has held executive management positions at Active Software, webMethods and Borland.

Sacha-Labourey-CloudBeesSacha Labourey is founder and CEO of CloudBees. In 2001, Sacha joined Marc Fleury’s JBoss project as a core contributor and implemented JBoss’ original clustering features. In 2003, Sacha founded the European headquarters for JBoss and in 2005 he was appointed CTO. After the acquisition of JBoss by Red Hat, Sacha became co-General Manager of Red Hat’s middleware division until leaving in 2009 to eventually start CloudBees.

CloudBees Use case – Automate Customer Engagement with Totango

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“For the first time, we have visibility into what our users are doing on our platform and can interact with them based on usage.”
Sacha Labourey, CEO, CloudBees Inc.

Those of you who’ve read my posts before probably know how I preach for customer success and customer value, especially in the zero-touch and low-touch sales models, where your success is actually your user’s success.

This week I’ve interviewed Sacha Labourey, the CEO of CloudBees Inc. Cloudbees is running a freemium business model with zero-low touch sales which is based on pure customer success and is using Totango for their performance measurement and level of engagement with their service.

Sacha Labourey-CloudBeesWho are you and what do you do?
My name is Sacha Labourey and I am the founder and CEO of CloudBees. CloudBees provides a Java Platform as a Service (PaaS) for enterprises and software developers.

What is your business model?
Our business model is based on the usage of our platform for the building and running of Java applications. We also utilize a freemium business model to enable developers to try our platform for free while they become familiar with many of our core platform services and their value.

What is your sales model?
We strive for a zero touch or a very low touch selling model.

What problem or problems are you solving with Totango?
We are using Totango to gain visibility into user activities and to automate customer engagement, especially via e-mail for now. Instead of nurturing our user database based on a fixed timeline, we personalize content based on their actual usage of our product. Depending on how they are (or are not) using specific features we may be able to offer helpful tips via e-mail.

How did you do this?
We monitor how developers are using our platform. Based on their actual usage of the product, we send helpful e-mails. We have integrated Totango with Salesforce.com and our e-mail marketing system to automatically send the right e-mail to the right users at the right time. The goal is to make our users more successful with the CloudBees Platform. If our trial users are successful they will hit the paid tier of our service at some point. In this sense the interests of the customer and of CloudBees are completely aligned.

What results did you achieve so far?
We have been able to see how our users are using our platform and engage with our trial users providing them with information to ensure their success with CloudBees.

Who was responsible for the Totango implementation and how long did it take?
This integration was all very easy to perform. It took us a few days of work (over a few weeks time) to establish an initial monitoring of our platform and an integration with Salesforce.com. It took us a few more weeks of ramp-up to define how we wanted to best leverage the collected information to automate our interaction with our users and customers.”

Did you look at other, similar, services? If so, what did you like about Totango?
We considered building some of these capabilities into our platform, but decided against it. We know our requirements in this area will continuously grow and strategically prefer to rely on a partner like Totango for ongoing enhancements, as well as industry best practices.

 

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