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Best Practices Customer Engagement free trial freemium freemium model metrics Interview Lifecycle Marketing metrics saas sales model trial conversion

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.

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anneke seley cohort analysis Customer Engagement customer engagemetn inside sales team Interview metrics sales 2.0

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.

 

 

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Adon Rigg cohort analysis Customer Analytics customer onboarding Insightful Selling Interview metrics SaaS sales trial conversion

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

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Best Practices Customer Engagement free trial metrics post purchase phase studies study trial phase User Engagement

2 Important SaaS Businesses Studies

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We’ve just uploaded two of our past studies for public access on slideshare – check it out:
  1. A study of 500+ SaaS executives into the metrics they use to run their business
  2. Analysis of the customer engagement of over one million businesses during the trial phase and post purchase phase
Our latest research looked the free trial, freemium and pricing practices in 550 SaaS companies – you can download it below

The 2012 SaaS Free Trial, Freemium and Pricing Benchmark

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Best Practices conversion metrics Infographic infographics Marketing metrics SaaS business

SaaS Metrics Vision Chart

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How well are SaaS businesses seeing their conversion metrics?

By definition, SaaS companies should be able to see their critical usage metrics clearly and easily – in real time.
However, in practice many companies are experiencing blurry metrics that don’t provide a clear picture for their trial and conversion performance. Use our infographic to learn how SaaS businesses are (or aren’t) using metrics to see the “Big Picture”.

This infographics is based on the SaaS Metrics Survey conducted a few months ago. The survey helped me understand the SaaS industry’s best practices in regards to key business metrics (download full survey results).
Feel free to right-click to copy use this info in your website/post!

How well are SaaS businesses seeing their conversion metrics? - Infographic
Totango – Real Time Customer Engagement for SaaS and Web App

View an enlarged version of this Infographic

 

Embed this infographic on your site

 

SaaS Executive Dashboard

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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!
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Best Practices Business Insights Customer Engagement customer satisfaction free to paid user free-to-paid conversion freemium model Interview metrics

Is there a Pattern for the Free to Paid User?

Charles Hudson Bionic Panda

This week, I’ve interviewed Charles Hudson, CEO and Co-Founder of Bionic Panda Games about how he uses analytics system to increase free to paid conversion.
Charles indicates that they’re trying to find a pattern of the paying customer and try to build a profile around the way users behave and try to predict what they’d like to see in the game they’re going to pay for.

I like the way of finding a winning card and then replicate it and this is why it is very important to know what have caused to that engagement. Measuring the right metrics here are crucial to understand your customer behavior and a comprehensive research should be done on the route which caused the free user to convert into a paying customer.

Charles also talks about the advantages of the freemium model versus the enterprise – what can a freemium offer that Enterprises can’t? for the complete interview see below:

Is there a Pattern for the Free to Paid User? from Totango on Vimeo.

 

To read the full transcription of the video, click here

 
 

Video Transcription:
This is Charles Hudson from Bionic Panda Games. We use our analytic system internally to identify that subset of customers that converts and spends money in the game, and to better understand their behavior and we take that information and then go try to acquire more customers who look, behave like the ones we find that monetize well.

If you look at some of the really big freemium consumer success stories, part of what makes them work is that it allows customers who have a problem, to use your service without having to pick up the phone, without having to have a salesman so i think what enterprise companies can learn is that making your service free and available to consumers who have a defined need is a great way for customers to self-select.

Then you can always go back and follow up directly with the people who are using your service.

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Best Practices cohort analysis conversion metrics customer driven Customer Engagement customer engagement funnel customer lifetime value customer success free trial freemium Interview metrics prevent churn RC-SaaS Customer Engagement saas business models SaaS sales sales model User Engagement zero touch model

3 Outright Strategies to Improve SaaS Customer Success

Outright Image

Totango is now (also) located in Mountain View, CA! Having a new Totango home in California is great and allows me to meet many cutting edge businesses with free trial or freemium business models while here. Today I caught up with Laura Messerschmitt, VP Marketing at Outright. Outright helps small businesses to organize their finances. Over 100,000 users worldwide are tracking the health of their businesses with Outright. Outright is a free service, with a premium product available for a monthly fee. The sales model for Outright is entirely customer driven: the sales process is self-service (zero-touch selling).

What struck me most about Outright is it’s commitment to customer success. Making existing customers successful is the highest priority for the company. In my blog on “customer engagement is key for SaaS” I have written about the importance of increasing customer lifetime value and preventing churn in SaaS business models.

Here are a couple of things Outright is doing to align it’s entire company with it’s customer success (and thus customer lifetime value):

1. Define a customer engagement funnel

Key to customer success is realizing that not all customers are created equal. When a visitor to your website first signs up to your service, you have not yet won a new customer. In fact, a large percentage of sign-ups may never activate the service. I discussed this phenomena in my blog on “3 ways to do cohort analysis on SaaS churn“. In the case of Outright, they have explicitly modeled the different stages in what you might call the “customer engagement funnel”:

Stage 1: Sign-up, user has registered
Stage 2: Activation, in the case of Outright has started using the product
Stage 3: Use, in the case of Outright has continued to use the product over time

While you can get a lot more fancy with this and define further actions and life cycle stages (including those that include up selling and expansion opportunities), just recognizing the difference between a sign-up, an activated user and a truly active user is a huge step in the right direction.

2. Make customer success metrics central to the business

You cannot manage what you cannot measure so the next step for Outright was to develop a dashboard that shows sign-ups, activated users and active users and the conversion ratio between each of these stages. Outright is looking at this on a daily, weekly and monthly basis via cohort analysis to see how the service value which is delivering customers is improving over time. If you want your company to be customer driven, you have to give everybody in the company access to these metrics . Only if you make the customer success metrics central to all your management meetings, will the entire team be laser focused on improving customer success.

3. A customer driven organization chart

The most innovative thing Outright has done is to align their entire organization chart with the different stages in the customer engagement funnel. There is a dedicated team, including product managers, developers and designers, focused on improving the product for those users who have just started using the product. The focus is on making it easier and easier for these customers to help themselves and get more value out of the product. Automated e-mails are sent with helpful tips to help customers along the way. Then there is a separate team, also with its own product managers, developers and designers to improve the value in the service for those customers who are already active.

Thanks so much to Laura for sharing. I am looking forward to check in with Outright again in a couple of months to see how their customer driven organization chart has impacted the key conversion metrics of their customer engagement funnel.

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account activation rate account usage statistics average conversion rate Business Insights churn rate churn rates conversion rate customer lifetime value free trial free trials freemium from free to paying customers Marketing metrics Response unique visitors web applications web apps

Free Trial Average Conversion Rate and Other Metrics

Following Lincoln Murphy’s post on SixteenVentures.com (talking about conversion average rate for free trials, pricing pages or Freemium for SaaS or Web Apps), conversion rate average figures will do no good, as it doesn’t reflect the whole picture and usually lacking context.

It’s hard to know what metrics are being used for the “average conversion rate” and Lincoln claims that looking on average numbers to plan businesses around might make us average ourselves – and who want to be considered average?

Every company aspires to increase their conversion rate figures but Murphy’s suggestion is to figure out where you are today and then figure out how to make it better.
Meaning, if you’re at 1% conversion rate, reaching 2% is achievable, even though it’s 100% increase over what you have now.

I agree that context is crucial and also explained about this in “Measure trial conversion rate” webinar. Furthermore, in order for each SaaS business to understand where they stand, a lot of other metrics need to be taken under account besides conversion rate from free to paying customers. For example – do you also review unique visitors to your website? Social media mentions? signups, churn rates, customer lifetime value, account activation rate, account usage statistics, etc.?
All of these are metrics that should be taken under consideration in order to reflect the whole picture for a SaaS company and to allow it to set its goals.

Which metrics do you use to make your goals setting?

SaaS Key Metrics Survey Results

 

Want to know which metrics other Sales Executives use?
Download SaaS Business Survey Results

 

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

 

Increase your trial conversion now!
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acquisition cost Best Practices conversion rate increase conversion metrics paid account paid user qualified leads sales team trial conversion

Making the Most of Your Metrics – Part 2

Understanding data to increase conversion rates and key business processes

 

Last week, we established the need to measure the “right things” constantly in order to improve trial conversion. This week, we’ll discuss how those metrics can be used to actually improve your company’s trial conversions.

Trial conversion comes from multiple business processes: from sales, to marketing, to the product itself. In order for metrics and collected data in general to be valuable to your company, they must be actionable and this will mean different things to different aspects of a SaaS business.

Sales

For sales teams, it’s all about focusing on opportunities that matter most in your business pipeline. For the majority of SaaS sales teams, there are many more leads than the team can effectively handle. The team needs to be able to focus its energy on those that are more likely to convert into a sale.

Once you are working with reliable conversion rates and have eliminated the noise in the funnel, your sales team can use the same process to prioritize its work. Rather than contacting, qualifying and trying to convert all new trials, they should focus on those that appear to be “Actually Evaluating,” as those provide a much more likely sale.

Marketing

One of the key challenges for the marketing teams of a SaaS company is the need to properly qualify leads. The nature of Internet marketing is essentially casting a wide net into the unknown and trying to engage with as many people that are relevant to what you have to sell. The reality though is that you end up also engaging many that are not really relevant to your offering. Understanding the ratio between these two groups is essential to figuring out which marketing efforts are effective for your business. The ratio between effective (i.e.. “Actually Evaluating”) and total leads represents this exact number. This ratio is essential when determining if your marketing strategy is working and if your budget is well spent.

The ratio number will naturally vary by industry, but you need to make sure it’s under control, i.e. the number of qualified leads should constantly be growing; this will essentially lower acquisition costs (a fundamental parameter in business sales of a SaaS company).

Product

People that signup to your trial are primarily there to experience your product and assess it if fits their needs, and they expect to be able to do that quickly and with minimal effort on their behalf.

That means, someone who comes into the trial immediately gets it, is productive in attempts to evaluate product, has all the information they need, and the product’s general usability and experience is of high quality.

How to improve the product experience for your customers is something your product team needs to constantly assess (see “Getting your prospects to be come devoted users” provides solid ideas). But the key metric they should use to determine if they are making progress is conversion rate. What percentage of qualified leads ends up activating they account, using it and eventually upgrading to a paid account.

Summary

Data, when correctly measured and broken down into proper categories, becomes valuably actionable. Keep in mind that this activity is not a one-time effort; it has to be ongoing and continuously improved. The business needs to be able to measure data effectively, get the information in front of the right people at the right time, and constantly improve those metrics based on their true meaning.

Next week we’ll jump into understanding marketing automation, BI, analytics, and CRM.

To learn more about Trial Conversion please View our Webinar where we discuss Best Practices in Measuring Trial Conversion Rates for SaaS Applications:

 

About TOTANGO:

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

 

Want to measure your business metrics?
Try TOTANGO free for 30 days
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