Building Smart Conversion Metrics For Freemium Business Model

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How do you grow from trial to paying users? The freemium business model is popular with many cloud-based companies but depending on company size, the user experience for trial users is different each time. We sat down to discuss smart conversion metrics for the freemium business model with Vik Chaudhary VP of Product Management and Corporate Development from Keynote Systems. Keynote is experimenting with free mobile apps to drive demand and leads for their paid enterprise solutions.


To read the full transcription of the video, click here

It’s important to figure out how deeply your trial users are using your product. Here are some metrics to consider:
- Are they downloading your software?
- Are they registering for your service?
- How often are they logging in to the service?

The ultimate goal is to figure what they are doing within your service and how to get them to upgrade to your paid features. Identifying the right conversion metrics will allow you to more accurately target your users and extend the lifecycle of your relationship with them.

 

Video Transcript:
Hi, my name is Vik Chaudhary and I’m VP of Product Management and Corporate Development at Keynote Systems. At Keynote, what we do is test and monitor the online user experience for companies that are online or have a mobile presence. When you talk about premium business models, there’s really two kinds of premium.

One is if you’ve got a product that’s used by hundreds of thousands or even millions of users. Starbucks is a great product for that. The other one is a product that may be a premium product used by a smaller number of enterprises. We’re talking about maybe tens of thousand of companies using this.

When you have a premium product for the latter, it’s a very different kind of experience that you have to measure. When we talk about premium business models, you really have to think about who is buying your product. On one end, it could be a product like DropBox, which is bought by consumers or by small businesses.

And that could be used by millions of users. On the other side, it could be a product that’s used by tens of thousands of enterprises. So when you think about a premium business model, you really have to think about who’s gonna be buying it and how do you build conversion metrics into the process of going from trial to paying users.

When we start thinking about how do enterprises evaluate and use our products, we really have to go for metrics such as downloading a product, registering for it. But how do they deeply begin to use the product? Are they creating a test script, for example? Are they begging to play back the test script?

How many websites are they testing? How many times are they logging into the product? So as we begin to look at our funnel, we’re really thinking about, what are the users doing here? They’re logging in. They’re logging in many times, they’re creating test scripts, they’re testing their own websites.

Are they coming from existing customers, or are they completely new to Keynote? Those are the kinds of conversion metrics that we think about.

Engagement Technique: Are you a Mad Man or a Math Man?

Anneke Seley

During Sales 2.0, I’ve met Anneke Seley, Founder of Phoneworks and author of Sales 2.0.

Anneke was presenting there about the modern ways to sell a thought, a product or a concept to your executive team or your board and anticipate what is going to make them more engaged once making a decision.

Anneke has quoted the All Things Digital article: The “Mad Men” Years Are Giving Way to the “Math Men” Era, making a point that nowadays more and more executives are acting like math men rather then Don Draper in Mad Man…

And indeed, we can see decisions are being made more and more based on metrics and cohort analysis rather than on our guts feeling. It’s not enough to feel it inside – you should base your feeling on numbers and know which metric to measure – that would not only increase your customer engagement but can also increase inside engagement while selling an idea to your team!

Once a business understand which are their most important metrics, they should stick to it and measure them in order to create a clear view of its consistency over time.

Need some help measuring your metrics? try Totango free!
To read the full transcription of the video, click here

Video Transcription:

Hi, I’m Anneke Seley and we want to talk about justifying Sales 2.0 investments such as technologies, training purposes, marketing programs, and making an inside sales team, and in my presentation today, Sales 2.0 conference, I quoted All Things Digital who last month said that we are moving from the era of “Mad Men”, as in Don Draper, to an era of Math Men, and I used Albert Einstein as an example, and it’s really important to understand how to sell a thought, a product, a concept to your executive team or your board and know what is going to make them engage and make a decision, and more and more executives are acting more like Albert Einstein in the Math era than Don Draper in the Madman era, so understand what metrics are important to your company, whether they are revenue per head, average sales cycle, average deal size, these are some of the standards.

Of course, they are probably metrics that are more meaningful to you. And use those metrics before you install your product, after you install your product on a trial or something like that or similarly for marketing program or a new sales 2.0 initiative and hopefully that’ll get you the results that you want.

 

 

Improve Trial Conversion – Focus, Filter and Analyze your Data

Adon Rigg

Do you know how it is that your company gets more and more leads then your sales people can handle but it’s still won’t justify hiring another sales person for your team?

Well, in many cases it’s just the case that your sales people need a “small push” that would help them understand which leads to refer first and that would make the difference on your customer onboarding picture.

Being at the Sales 2.0 conference, I’ve met Adon Rigg, the author of Insightful Selling, which told me that he too was enlightened to find tools which help in capture data, filter it and then analyze it in a way that could direct salespeople to focus on the most converted opportunities.

So how do we know who to focus on? easy – we’re gathering information from your metrics, build your cohort analysis and make the thinking for you. All you need to do is focus on the opportunities we offer and watch how your trial conversion is being increased!

Give it a shot now! try Totango free!

To read the full transcription of the video, click here

Video Transcription:

Hi, my name is Adon Rigg, author of Insightful Selling, and I’m just finishing up the Sales 2.0 conference here in San Francisco, which was absolutely fantastic.
My main takeaway would be that there are a lot of tools available such as some of the vendors here today which allows you to use programs and tools to capture information, filter that information and then put analytics or numbers to help make the efficiency of a salesperson a lot better and to help make them more effective in the field

The Power of Measuring Customer Engagement

Mark Kofman-300mg

Talking about Customer Engagement, there are many metrics that could show a user engagement level, i.e. user are considered to be higher engaged if they refer your app to other potential user. Another example would be for returning users – users are more committed to your app if they keep coming back and use your app.

Talking to Mark Kofman, CEO and Co-Founder of 300.mg, these 2 metrics are what’s on his company’s schedule these days and using tools like Totango, help them calculate them correctly and exempt them from developing their own solution in-house.

Sometimes, understanding your users is not as simple as it looks, as it involves human behavior which is not always expected. Also, there are many metrics in the puzzle which complete a whole picture and any SaaS company should be measuring its most converting metrics and properly analyze them in order to grow customer lifetime value and accelerate revenues.

To measure YOUR customer engagement and increase your revenueSignup here for free!

To read the full transcription of the video, click here

   

Video Transcription:

My name is Mark, and I am CEO. and cofounder of 300.mg.
We’ve built an education center for all your collaboration activities. so we like consolidate all the indications which comes from Dropbox and Google Docs and other things at work with the team. I’d say a couple of months we are in beta right now and doing lots of tweaks and lots of experiments with the application right now.
Since we are coming from 500 start-ups. So, as you might have guessed if you know about Dave McClure’s activation acquisition of AARRR metrics. So, this is probably one of the core things what we do and in addition to the beta we also use a lot of metrics called Virility to understand how our current users actually referring the product to other users.
So, these are the two core things which we do. I think right now one of the most important ones is returning users. Basically, in this we track it simply, if user has been signed up last week like before last week, and if he is still coming back to the applications, so, this what we call a returning user in our system.
Just basically the only thing we are doing, and yeah its like lots of experiments we try out different positioning, ideas, different products, feature improvements. I would say everything what we do is to actually to increase that part, to measure the things which we are trying to achieve, have less metrics probably, not more, and focus on two or three things which we are trying to once and not more.
We try to use the tools and Totango is one of them but clearly something with other people who has built in that, and ideally we would not like to do any calculations or full metrics for this part and overall but there are some components which neither of the tools do, so we to need to do that ourselves.

Communicate with your Customers from within your Application

CloudForce Interview DreamSimplicity

Interview to DreamSimplicity.com

I met Matt Childs from DreamSimplicity again at the CloudForce 2012 event and had another opportunity to share what Totango is up to lately. I wanted to share with you the interview I gave him at the show.

Full Customer Engagement Management

Totango is all about helping SaaS companies to increase their users’ customer engagement. With Totango you can listen to your customers within your application and then decide how you’d like to communicate back to them.

Introducing – The Appbox Application

In CloudForce, we chose to introduce one of our new tools that can help you communicating with your users from inside your application.

Appboxjs imageThe Appbox is basically an inbox that you can place within your app and which allows you to send messages to your users at all times – and of course it’s free, built in open source environment, available at your service and you can give it a try today!

View the complete interview to DreamSimplicity here:

How Zendesk is Successfully Utilizing Their Sales Team

Zendesk-Zack

Today I’ve interviewed Zack Urlocker, Chief Operating Officer at Zendesk.
Zendesk, is the leading cloud based help desk customer service software which uses a low touch sales model.

Low touch sales model companies usually keep small and focus sales teams, which saves a lot of money for their organizations, but can naturally contact fewer customers. How would these sales teams know where to focus on?

Zendesk, for example, have 10,000 customers and many new prospects are signing up for their service every day and they still very successful SaaS company as it intelligently using tools to help them figure out which users are more likely to buy. Those users are being referred to their sales team and the rest are being pushed for their self-service model which doesn’t require human resources.

Watch the full interview with Zack below to also learn what Zendesk use to keep their subscription customers using their service (hint: customer engagement)

CloudBees Use case – Automate Customer Engagement with Totango

CloudBees Logo

“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.

 

SaaS Executive Dashboard

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Our SaaS Dashboard can easily do that for you!
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Customer Success as a Main Metric

Customer Success

Today I talked to Dave Boyce, the CEO of Fundly to hear his angle about Customer Success.

Fundly is a social fund raising business which help people rase money for causes they care about. Fundly don’t charge anything to get started and rewarded only based on customer success, meaning it only get paid if the fund has been successfully raised and that makes customer success the main metric Fundly measures and analyses.

In order to push for customer success, Fundly set up the “Social Ninja” Program which is basically a collection of Social Media Marketing experts that their sole goal is to bring to their customers success and by that to increase company revenue.

In today SaaS and web application world, customer success become more and more popular as the customers are in the center and they decide which service give them value and help in “relieving their pains”. Of course customers will choose to only pay for what truly give them value and this is where customer success becomes the goal of any successful SaaS business.

What about you? do you know how to measure you Customer Success?

 

SaaS Executive Dashboard

Do you know how to measure your Customer Engagement?
Our SaaS Dashboard can easily do that for you!
Try it now for FREE

Understand Customer Behavior in Your Trial Period

Tracy Kaufman Cloud9

Today I’m going to share another interview with Tracey Kaufman, VP of Customer Experience at cloud9.

Tracey was watching the Totango demo and then answered some questions about what she thinks of the application from a Customer Experience point of view.

Tracey believes that anyone who has trial period in the SaaS business or has the need, like herself, to understand users activities and prevent churn, would want to actively know what customers are doing in their application during that trial period.

It is very important to understand users behavior – especially at the trial period in order to proactively prioritize customers to refer to during that time. This way you could know who is potentially at risk because they’re not using the product or – the opposite – you can spot customers who are using the product well and you can use them as a reference or a case study.

 

Tracey especially likes the integration Totango has with salesforce and the fact that sales people are exposed to information that shows the level of customer engagement. This will allow them to determine the priority of their calls – for example they can first contact the users who are actually evaluating the service and try and move them up in the sales cycle.

To read the full transcription of the video, click here

 
 

Video Transcription:

Q: Hello, who am i speaking with here today?

A: Hi, my name is Tracey Kaufman, I’m the a VP of customer experience for cloud 9.

Q: Since we just went through the demo of Totango, can you give me your first reaction and who do you think should look at the Totango product and what’s cool about it?

A: So i think, actually, you know, certainly any one in the SaaS business who has recurring revenue or has trials, whereas anything to do where they need to understand the activities of their users and really try to chart from the time that you say OK, we’re going and we’re deploying and I’ve launched you, then what happens?

If you have a trial it’s absolutely critical to understand what is your leave conversion? Right who using this trial. Because what are you going to do? You’re going to call. You’re going to say, here you go, have this 30-day trial. And then you sit and you call them 30 days later so if you are a sales VP or a marketing VP and you actually want to know what happens, and you want to get a proactive look at some key trick so that you know when to call them or when to send off an email.

You know, if you’re like me and your running customer experience and you want to understand churn, and you want to understand who is potentially at risk because they’re not using the product or on the other side, obviously, people who are really using the product and gang busters and you can use them as a reference or case study think, you know, marketing, sales, customer experience, i mean, product, what part of the product you’re using. So i think it’s widespread usage, actually.

Q: That’s great. What do you think is the most sticky feature of the product?

A: So, i really love the fact that, of course you’ve got these great analytics and you’ve got people who are individuals in executive positions who love numbers. But what I think is the best thing you talked to me about, was how you’re actually going to put the information back in sales force and that way your sales reps can go in and figure out “Oh wow, I have this trial customer and I don’t know whether they’re using it, but wow now I can find out who’s actually using the product. So now I know I’m going to call them, because they’re going to be hot. Because I’ve got these ten people who’ve started and tried using my product and I can call them and now maybe move them down the sales cycle. I just think that’s great.

Your Customers Success is Your Own Success

Tracy Kaufman Cloud9

In today video post, Tracey Kaufman, VP of Customer Experience for Cloud9, speaks about how a business should aspire to its customer’s success in order to become successful itself.

I agree with that saying. Furthermore, I think that if a business is constantly supplying an added value to its customers and focusing on the quality of its service rather than on sales (read: How NOT to Sell in SaaS and Increase Paid Conversions), that would lead to a win-win situation as both the users will get added value and the business will gain loyal customers.

Tracey is also talking about how to count active paying customers, referring to Jeanne Bliss book: “Chief Customer Officer“. How do you measure how many customers you have? Do you count your customer accounts? buy do you include cancelled account in this amount? and did you count how many of them have actually succeeded and how many are going to renew?

In this blog I mention the importance of the measurement of the key metrics that any successful SaaS business should have. There are measurements which sometimes look simple but takes several metrics to calculate. Also should also keep in mind, that measuring is just the first step – the second step, which is just as important, is to interpret these numbers into customer behavior and make the right decisions by them.

 

To read the full transcription of the video, click here

 

Customer Engagement WebinarLearn How to Convert Free Users into Paying Customers in a 30 minutes webinar
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Video Transcription:
Hi, my name is Tracey Kaufman, I’m the a VP of Customer Experience for Cloud9. In a lot of times, I think people look at, when they look at their customers, they say, “OK, well how do we know we’re done and if you have a product you know are they using that product? Have you deployed that product? Have you gotten them implemented?” But really you have to ask yourself–the question is, “What is the greater vision for that product?” Are you telling this customer that they’re gonna grow their business or they’re gonna gain more revenues or they’re gonna gain more forecast accuracy like we talk about.

And so I really believe at the beginning of an engagement with a customer, you have to dream. You have to figure out, what is it that they really want so it isn’t just the tactical, and then gauge success and come up like with a little success curve so you have key metrics along the way and you can have, you know, individual wins along the way but at the end of the day you’re really reaching high up, and that’s when you’re successful, when they’re increasing revenues, when they’re growing their company because of using your application.

Jeanne Bliss wrote a book called, “Chief Customer Officer”. And it’s really the Bible that I use for if you’re trying to do a customer success. disorganization. You really should read that book. It’s asking yourself the very basic questions of, how do you count your customers.

So many companies You ask them how many customers they have. And they look at their active paying customers and that’s their customer account. But you also have to know other questions like how many customer did you have now many of them actually cancelled? And how many of them are successful? And how many of them are going to renew?

So you have to be a lot more granular and segment your customer base and understand what your patterns are. If you had a hundred customers and now you have fifty customers, well that’s a problem. Because now you have a fifty percent turn rate. So it’s really being much more honest with yourself.