Trial Conversion “The Early Days” – Lean Startup Presentation

Lean Startup Meetup

We’ve held yet another very interesting lean-startup meetup on Thursday to discuss free to paid conversion best practices for cloud applications.
First, please find within the presentation I’ve used. It’s a collection of many ideas we’ve been working on at Totango collected into idea presented by this presentation.

I emphasized during the talk the need to focus on the ‘evaluating’ users – the ones that their actions indicate genuine intent to come up with a buying decision.
Many people still wanted to understand what to do with the other group. The short out of the sleeve answer would be: “It depends ;) ”. Seriously, this question deserves a blog post on it’s own which I’m going to write later this week.

In the mean time, please feel free to enjoy the presentation. You will be able to learn a lot also by starting a ‘free trial’ for the Totango trial conversion product. So here’s the link for that as well.

If you enjoy this content, please be kind and share it with your friend. The links are above and below.

Top-of-Funnel Strategy

HubSpot Tip

Another tip from VP sales at Hubspot Mark Roberge at the Sales 2.0 convention re top-of-funnel strategy.

Mark recommends on keeping the top-of-funnel as wide as possible and worry about the filtering and the quality further down at the funnel.

Most companies don’t know what type of a customer will convert and this will allow tracking a whole bunch of data that can be analyzed later.

However, the danger in that strategy is when passing all those customers to your sales team, it could lead to ineffectiveness and waste of their time so it is recommended to use filtering at this stage so that the most quality stuff is being transferred.

As mentioned in my previous post: “Top 3 Metrics to Measure Customer Engagement“, there are ways to set your filters by. Choosing the right metrics and measuring them correctly will assist in screening out the non potential buyers and keep the high potential ones is essential to any successful SaaS business.

Once the data is gathered and there are more and more leads you can continue optimizing this process.

Tomorrow I will publish another tip by Mark Roberge regarding how to pick your sales model – zero touch vs. low touch vs. high touch.

To read the full transcription of the video, click here

SaaS Key Metrics Survey Results

 

Want to know which metrics are usually used in top and bottom of funnel?
Download SaaS Business Survey Results

 
 

Video Transcription:

Mark Roberge. VP of sales at Hubspot.

I highly recommend at the top of the funnel keeping it as wide as possible and worry about the the filtering and the quality further down to the funnel, and the reason being is especially when you are stunning out and most people are starting out with inbound. You actually have no idea who’s going to work out, what type of marketing tactics are going to work, what types of buyers are going to actually work well in your funnel, so keeping it why it is, possible allows you to capture a whole bunch of data to see what actually progresses through.

The danger in that strategy comes when you pass everything to the sales team, because that can lead to a lot of ineffectiveness in recent time by that sales team so with that process you want to have a lot of filtering to make sure that the most quality staff is actually getting down to the sales team.

And as you gather data and gather more and more leads, you will continue to optimize that process.

Tip on How to Reduce Churn (Even in Low-Touch Models)

HootSuite Tip

Another tip taken during Sales 2.0 from Darren Suomi, VP Sales at HootSuite – this time regarding self service model and how to adjust it to reduce churn.

You know how it is that you get many leads and you just don’t know who to refer first? This situation is common in many SaaS companies.

With the right metrics and cohort analysis, it’s easy to decide who are the more engaged customers that are ready for sale and it’s usually more likely that if you’ll approach those customers, they’ll signup for your product.

Darren is also claiming that even in a self service model (low-touch model) like HootSuite, once they find out who are their active users in their service, they proactively reaching them and by that they reduce churn.

Tomorrow I will publish a tip by Mark Roberge, VP Sales at HubSpot who will explain the difference between the hunters and the farmers skill sets.

To read the full transcription of the video, click here

 
 

Video Transcription:

I’m talking to Darren Suomi, VP of Sales from HootSuite.

Bring me a model which where we play, it is a self-service model. So, we’re really trying to look at it from turning down the churn. I guess I’m looking at what people are trying to play instead of going from just a self-service. We’re actually just playing with the model in terms of a little bit of more of a high touch point. So, we are really taking a look at our customer who are quite active on social media. We are actually proactively reaching out of them and seeing where we might be able to help them versus just letting them fend for themselves.

Totango Team in Dreamforce 2011

If you’re part of all the excitement around Dreamforce 2011 be sure to come and meet us. You’ll recognize us right by the Tango dancers (what can we do, rhymes with Totango…).
We also thought that this would be a great opportunity to introduce Totango to a wide audience of SaaS sales and executive teams. For that end we’ve started a twitter campaign at www.totango.com/win-ipad2. People who help us spread the word may win a new iPad2 and more importantly will be able to use Totango to get meet their quota.

If you’d like to schedule sometime to discuss Totango in more details please write me at guy@totango.com

Head over to win-ipad2

 

 

About TOTANGO:
TOTANGO analyzes in real time customer engagement and intention within SaaS applications to help you grow your business

 

Increase your sales revenue!
Try TOTANGO free for 30 days
sign-up1

Tools to Manage a Successful SaaS Business

Managing a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) business isn’t trivial. Successful SaaS companies are able to deal with a high volume of leads and turn those into a high volume of loyal customers with fast response and turnaround time.

This is often referred to as the ‘sales and marketing machine’ – a highly optimized, massively scalable and controlled business operation that is capable of:

  • Generating, managing and nurturing leads;
  • Converting leads into paying customers at high conversion rates;
  • Ensuring customer success and preventing churn;
  • Continuously increasing the service value, differentiation and offerings.

In order to build a ‘sales and marketing machine,’ companies need to invest in the tools that will get them the business scalability that is required and reduce the learning curve.

Many startups begin with homegrown solutions using spreadsheets and databases (with a bit of integration glue in between). This is sufficient for small scale, but quickly becomes unwieldy as the organization grows. Luckily, there are excellent tools available for SaaS companies to leverage.

Many vendors have a “starter” package, so there is really no excuse not to start building your tool-chest sooner rather than later.

The Customer Life-Cycle

To best understand where the different categories of tools fit, it’s best to look at the various stages of the customer life-cycle, as they evolve from early prospects to mature customers.

At Totango, we use the following customer life-cycle terms:

  • Visitor – Anonymous user on the website
  • Lead – Person who has expressed some interest in the service. This can be anything from downloading a white paper to signing-up to a trial
  • Evaluating – A user (or company) who’s actively evaluating the service usually during a trial period or fermium
  • Onboarding – A paying customer in the initial usage period
  • Mature – A paying customer who has been loyal to the service beyond the initial usage period

With those definitions in mind, it’s easier to associate solutions and tools to help carry customers through every phase of their life-cycle.

CRM (Customer Relationship Management)

CRM is a common way to keep a reference of all customers’ life-cycle stages. CRM organizes all contacts’ information and account details in a single database, so it’s vital you select a tool that fits your needs and can grow with you.

Primary users
Specifically, your CRM software will be the main working software of your inside sales teams as they organize account work mainly during the sales life-cycle phases.

Select list of CRM solutions
Salesforce.com, SugarCRM, Highrise, or the ever promising Pipedrive

Web Analytics

Web analytics tools keep track of visitor activity on your website and various other marketing properties; this is where you keep track of your top-tier leads funnel, measure the initial success of marketing and advertising programs, and work to improve visitors’ experience with your products’ properties.

Primary users
Mainly the marketing team, though other users in the organization (product team, IT) will need to use it as well.

Select list of Web Analytics solutions
Google Analytics is the most commonly used tool. It’s immensely powerful, feature-rich and free. But there are other good tools your marketing team should look at, such as Clicky, WebTrends that provide additional useful views into vistiors’ actions.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation takes you beyond basic web-properties and aims to help you interact, build, and cultivate a relationship with leads, so they can ultimately be passed on to your sales team and “convert” to happy customers.

Primary users
This is your marketing team’s main toy!

Select list of Marketing Automation tools
Hubspot, Marketo, Eloqua

Post Marketing

A post marketing (sales & customer success) solution stack for SaaS companies does not exist yet. Enabling the buying process (converting leads), ensuring customer success, and increasing service value, is something that I feel is needed and missing in the market, and this is what we’re building in Totango.

SaaS Dashboard

Having all the above tools in place enables marketing, sales and customer success teams to effectively do their jobs and be an integral part of the ‘sales and marketing machine’.

Having said that, it’s crucial to have a single business dashboard available to the executive teams that allows them monitor the business end-to-end.
The SaaS dashboard should include operational metrics, trends and key business performance indicators (KPI’s), which allow the business owners, get ‘the full picture’ of the business, identify bottlenecks and allow to teams to take appropriate actions.

Summary

The SaaS model presents an opportunity to run a predictable and high-volume business. The first step is to put the required business infrastructure in place in order to monitor, analyze and optimize the sales and marketing machine operation continuously.

In coming posts, I’ll discuss in further detail the actual attributes of the SaaS dashboard.

Get your FREE copy of our latest RESEARCH:

The 2012 SaaS Free Trial, Freemium and Pricing Benchmark

get-your-free-copy


About Totango:

Totango analyzes in real time customer engagement and intention within SaaS applications to help you grow your business

 

Want to have a successful SaaS business?
Try Totango free for 30 days