Visual guide to selling software as a service by @prezly

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It took my team years to find an efficient way of getting new customers. First, I’ll show you how we messed up and then how we got on the road to conversion success using the pirate metrics framework.

It took my team years to find an efficient way of getting new customers. First, I’ll show you how we messed up and then how we got on the road to conversion success using the pirate metrics framework.

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  • 2. hi :) I’m Frederik, the design founder of a startup called Prezly
  • 3. My team is building an online service that helps brands pitch stories to their media contacts Gijs Developer Jesse Strategist Me Designer
  • 4. It turns out that finding users and getting them to part with their money is no easy task
  • 5. It took my team years to find an efficient way of getting new customers
  • 6. Now we bootstrapped to a profitable business with 20% month over month growth.
  • 7. Our hard earned approach Get organised Follow a system Work the sales funnel 1 2 3
  • 9. Our team is all over the globe Oli, sales London Founding team Brussels, Antwerp, Leuven David, sales Dubai Thomas, sales Toronto Robin, content San Francisco
  • 10. Working separately sometimes makes it difficult for everyone to stay on the same track. Me so lonely :(
  • 11. We use a dedicated chat system where everyone that’s working meets. ! It’s our command center. ! Seeing that other people are also working helps me stay motivated.
  • 12. A SaaS company has so many moving parts that it can be hard to keep an overview. Sales pipeline Payments Task management Sales pitching Customer support Social media updates Lead generation Lead nurturing Conversion optimising Servers User on boarding Metrics Public relations Advertising Accounting
  • 13. For each part we use specific other SaaS. The less we have to build and maintain ourselves, the better. Jenkins Get overview of all our tools
  • 14. Jenkins To keep an overview we feed most of these services in our command center.
  • 15. Updates from our task management tool
  • 16. Tasks and updates in the sales pipeline
  • 17. When people sign up
  • 18. User activity
  • 19. Support tickets and their status
  • 20. Want to save this for later? Download the PDF
  • 21. That’s the foundation We haven’t spoken about getting clients yet… brace yourself.
  • 23. There are so many moving parts in a software company that we needed a way to structure the sales process. ! Pirate metrics was the answer.
  • 24. Pirate metrics 5 key stages & metrics for subscription services !
  • 25. Acquisition Activation Retention Referral Revenue ! AARRR
  • 26. It’s a funnel that you need to pull people through Acquisition Engaged visitors 60% Activation Sign up 15% Retention Trial users come back 5% Referral Users refer others 1% Revenue Users pay 2% Not real conversion data. Your mileage may vary.
  • 28. We use tactics & tools for each step. Beware, this is only our approach. ! I’ll take you through it in the next 70 slides. Hold on, things might get bumpy.
  • 29. Acquisition Hundreds of thousands of people don’t know our product yet. Let’s get them on our website.
  • 30. Getting leads Content marketing ! ! Direct sales
  • 31. Content marketing Earning the right peoples’ attention via targeted content
  • 32. Metric: referral traffic ‣ From social ‣ From other sites Google Analytics: Filter out bounces so you only measure engaged people
  • 33. Our stories are the main traffic driver
  • 34. We do monthly brainstorms to generate new ideas. Everyone comes prepared with a list and we help each other improve. We separate yes moments and no moments. Selection of ideas comes afterwards.
  • 35. Meet the Skyscraper technique A way to publish content that gets results 1. Find successful stories. 2. Make them better. 3. Promote with people that would be interested. Skyscraper guide
  • 36. Here’s an example. We use to find popular stories in our niche, Public Relations. Popular niche site Popular story
  • 37. Popular story It got shared a lot Even though the content is a bit… Meh…
  • 38. Our ‘improved’ version of it See it More examples in this Skyscraper guide 〉
  • 39. Damn, that sounds like a lot of work! It is, and it can be daunting. ! With every story I get better at it. What works well is carving out distraction-free time in mornings to write. “
  • 40. Get a content calendar It will help you keep a steady pace Content calendar tips 〉
  • 41. Guest posting on popular niche sites That’s giving us a lot of good visitors and signups. ! Find popular highly targeted places with a high Google pagerank. Oftentimes they are interested in running stories by guest bloggers. Guest blogging guide 〉
  • 42. Build links Use a tool like Buzzstream to assess the value of sites and to reach out to the editors. Link building guide 〉
  • 43. Why would they listen to me? “ You’re a topic expert or at least trying to become one. Do your research. People are generally friendly and open to get guest posts if you did your homework.
  • 44. Promote the content Creating the content is just the beginning. The hardest part is getting people to share it. ! ‣ Contact the people that originally shared it ‣ Get high profile people on board ‣ Share it multiple times yourself
  • 45. Contact the original sharers They are likely also interested in your story. Find the sharers with the biggest reach.
  • 46. Share it many times on social media When you publish A few hours later A day later A week after A month later Six months later Reposting guide 〉
  • 47. Automate & track Next week Next month
  • 48. In summary, this is how we do content: ! ✔ Know & improve the stories that potential clients love ✔ Tell the stories on a popular niche site ✔ Promote the hell out of the stories
  • 49. “When do you sleep? At night, just like you. ! After learning how to do this ourselves we now outsource a lot of the hands-on writing work.
  • 50. Direct sales Finding & convincing leads
  • 51. Why do direct sales? ‣ Get high profile clients for social proof ‣ Get feedback about the needs of the market and solution
  • 52. Selling doesn't come naturally to me. I’m more of an introvert. But after a year of trying it has now even become fun. ! I now love the hunt.
  • 53. Create a list of top prospects ‣ Start sector by sector based on current references. ‣ Follow them on social media. Interact. ‣ Send personalised email or even better: call.
  • 54. Expose team activity ‣ Tasks ‣ Pipeline updates
  • 55. I used to be terrified of cold calling prospects. ! What helped get better was preparation: - Fake cold calls with my team members to get the hang of it. - Researching the prospects and getting on their radar so it wouldn't be a cold call.
  • 56. Make it a team sport ‣ Carve out time to cold call together. ‣ Compare tactics. Listen in. ‣ Track & celebrate successes.
  • 57. Manage sales pipeline in a CRM ‣ Track the status of your leads ‣ Enrich their profiles ‣ Capture all interactions ‣ Set reminders
  • 58. Create a stellar sales pitch I got a lot of mileage out of this book ‣ Learn how to tell an intriguing story about your solution. ‣ Get a designer to help with your sales deck. ‣ Practice, practice, practice,…
  • 59. You love your solution so it’s tempting to keep talking about it, showing every nook and cranny. That didn’t work well. Now it’s the other way around. It’ about the problems of the industry. It’s concise. It keeps them wanting more.
  • 60. Measure & learn what works These are just the channels for our B2B SaaS. Your mileage may vary. In any case: measure what works.
  • 61. Activation People could be reading our blog or visiting a tour page but might not feel like signing up yet Let’s get visitors to try our service
  • 62. Metric: % signups A custom Google Analytics report that lets me track the progress.
  • 63. Activating visitors Test & improve the signup funnel ! ! Guide visitors via chat
  • 64. A/B testing Test & improve the signup funnel
  • 65. Fix leaky signup funnels Whaaat? Only 5% of people that visit the homepage get to the signup page. Not good. The homepage clearly needs improvement.
  • 66. A/B test landing pages & pages in signup funnel A/B testing guide with examples 〉 50% visitors see variation A 50% visitors see variation B Variation A Variation B 5% conversion 9% conversion
  • 67. An example:
  • 68. It’s easy to forget these tests. Again, planning helps. Every month we do status meetings where I present the results. That’s also the moment when we come up with new experiments.
  • 69. Live chat Talk with visitors and learn
  • 70. Be available to chat with visitors ‣ You’ll learn about their expectations & questions ‣ You’ll be able to help them ! We use It integrates with Skype
  • 71. Retention People might have signed up but it might not be a good time for them
  • 72. Metric: % trial users that return A cohort retention overview with Mixpanel.
  • 73. Engaging visitors Behavioural mails ! Newsletter Evaluate signups ! Stellar support
  • 74. Evaluate signups Find the good fish
  • 75. The whole team used to be responsible for following up signups. The result: it didn’t happen. People thought someone else would do it. Now only Jesse does it. It’s done a lot better now.
  • 76. Get event driven analytics ‣ You’ll see what individual people do. ‣ Define user actions that are important for you.
  • 77. Stellar support Service is part of the product
  • 78. Again, it’s imperative to respond well and fast. Jesse, our customer success manager, is usually the first to help someone out. He dispatches to the rest of the team if needed.
  • 79. Get a support system To stay sane managing customer feedback.
  • 80. Get a knowledge base Oftentimes support questions can be answered with content from the knowledge base. We try to put new answers in there.
  • 81. Behavioral mails Send emails based on what users do … or don’t do
  • 82. Send users email to help them along Signed up Ask how we can help them Hasn’t used core functionality Show benefits Trial about to expire Create urgency
  • 83. ‣ You don’t need to build this yourself ‣ Test email variations Email onboarding guide
  • 84. Newsletters Keep sharing good stories
  • 85. Every time we send a newsletter site visits go through the roof In the stats you can discover interested prospects Story Product Product
  • 86. Referral The user likes your product so much she refers other new users
  • 87. Metric: Net Promoter Score The number of people who would recommend your product to a friend. To many people this is the one true indicator that your product will be a succes. We ask it regularly to users via
  • 88. “How likely is it you would recommend my product to a friend or colleague? 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Detractor Passive Promoter NPS = % promoters - % detractors Net promotor guide 〉
  • 89. Revenue The user pays Jay!
  • 90. Drawing stick figures is what I do well. Managing money not. ! Luckily my colleague Jesse is. He makes sure we all get paid. ! Here’s his advice. Hi!
  • 91. Metric: Monthly Recurring Revenue ‣ The MRR is omnipresent in our control center to remind the team of our progress. ‣ Together with Net Promotor Score this is the main number that we’re working to improve.
  • 92. Accounting & invoicing gets shared with the team Good for motivation & to see the behind the scenes work that’s done by Jesse.
  • 93. Automate billing by integrating services Accounting Payments ‣ Use an accounting system with an API. ‣ Automate, but double check manually.
  • 94. In summary: The pirate metrics approach Acquisition Activation Retention Referral Revenue !
  • 95. One last thing..
  • 96. Meet the pirate metrics compass All our SaaS tools Download
  • 97. Congratulations! We made it. That was the Prezly SaaS sales story so far. What do you think? I’m curious to hear about your approach. Tweet us now Contact us
  • 98. VISUAL GUIDE to $ELLING SOFTWARE as a SERVICE Tweet Download