The Product-Led Sales Blog
Learn about trends in PLG, CRM and modern GTM motions
Uncover PQLs with Multi-Level Filtering
Find your best opportunities with a unified view across users, accounts and companies.
4 ways to accelerate your PLS motion with free tools
How Clearbit's free tools provide value to thousands of companies and drive the right sales conversations.
6 Steps to Building PLG into Your Current GTM Motion
Building PLG into Your Current GTM Motion
Product Updates: October 2022
Learn about our October releases and events. Flexible Account Models, 10X Faster, and more.
Orchestrate Your Product-Led GTM Motion at Scale
Intelligently orchestrate your entire product-led GTM—Sales, Marketing & RevOps—with the Calixa Automation Platform.
4 tips for building a dedicated growth function
I define the activation point for my career as the exact moment I stumbled into Product-Led Growth (PLG), which happened nearly a decade ago. I was working for an ad-supported media company that built a tool to better manage the display ads on its website. When the tool took off among others in the industry, my role quickly pivoted to figuring out how to monetize our product—aha!
Introducing Flexible Account Models for Product-Led Companies
Calixa’s latest feature flexibly handles PLG account structures. Whether you’re selling to individual users, functional teams, or entire companies – get unmatched visibility across any level.
The Battle of the Business Models: Sales-Led vs. Product-Led
There’s a lot of buzz over the Product-Led Growth (PLG) model. The SaaS world was dominated by traditional sales-led organizations for several decades, but now nearly 60% of SaaS companies use PLG motions. And for good reason: product-led companies are twice as likely to generate 100%+ YOY growth rates.
Enabling PLG: Skills to hone & where to focus
I recently sat down with Paul De Barros to reflect on his journey from AE to sales manager to head of sales at companies like Box, PandaDoc, Chargebee, Hopin, and Notably. Now as a Limited Partner at Stage 2 Capital and advisor to founders building their first sales team - we discussed his PLG learnings, trends, and predictions.
Mindset matters: Driving efficient growth with PLG
Here’s where I believe a PLG methodology can help you deliver incremental gains—leading to even bigger wins—in our new world focused on efficient growth.
Getting started with Product-Led Sales: Priorities, skills, pricing
Leaving Wall Street for a career in tech, Ben Davis never looked back. Joining Intercom as one of the first sales ops hires, he watched the company go from zero to $50M on the back of the self-serve business model. Now the Head of Growth at Air, a creative operations system for marketers, Ben leads sales, sales development, and revenue operations functions. Below is an excerpt of a recent conversation we had around the role of sales leadership with a Product-Led Sales (PLS) strategy.
Product Updates: September 2022
Learn about the new automated workflow, Calixa for HubSpot, a handy side panel, and more.
Break Inefficient Product-Led Sales habits with 3 easy fixes
QuotaPath Senior Director of Revenue Operations Ryan Milligan is passionate about connecting different systems, building scalable Product-Led Sales (PLS) processes, and geeking out on SQL. In this blog, Ryan outlines three habits commonly hindering the PLS motion and ways to break them.
Calixa Chrome Extension for HubSpot
Never miss a beat accessing product insights alongside HubSpot.
Product-Led Growth: What it is & How to Make it Work for Your Business
We’ve entered the era of the end user, and the dominance of an entirely new growth model: product-led growth. In this blog post, we'll take a look at what product-led growth is and how you can use it to grow your startup.
Driving Community-Led Growth at HubSpot
Community-led growth is the future of product-led business models.
New Automated Workflow: Add to Outreach and Salesloft
Eliminate adding PQLs into Outreach cadences or Salesloft sequences one-by-one. Instead, automatically place the right user in the right cadence based on the PQL criteria you set up in Calixa.
Building Sales Teams that Unleash PLG’s Potential
PLG selling isn’t just calling down on signups. Get the most out of your self-serve funnel with a mix of inbound, outbound, and ABM selling strategies.
Product Updates: August 2022
What a great month! A Chrome extension for Salesforce, playbooks & an inbox for your reps, and a completely redesigned UI caps off the list of of what we shipped in August.
5 Product-Led Sales strategies we used at HubSpot
HubSpot Global Director of Sales David Barron moved from Sales to Product and back to Sales again pioneering the future of its sales organization. In this blog, he offers practical guidance and expert tips for sales and product leaders creating stronger sales motions within their own Product-Led Sales strategies.
Calixa Chrome Extension for Salesforce
Calixa’s Chrome Extension offers product insights alongside Salesforce workflows.
Where the Future of the Modern GTM Stack is Headed
Recently, I caught up with Andy Mowat, CEO and co-founder of Gated. As an advisor and investor in the GTM space and a former sales and marketing leader at UpWork, Box, and Culture Amp, he predicts the future of the modern GTM stack.
How to Efficiently Act on PQLs with Calixa
Reduce tab turmoil and streamline your Product-Led Sales workflow
How I Learned to Sell to End Users
How I navigated the shift from selling to executive buyers to end users. Key takeaways for any sales rep entering the bottom-up era of selling.
Scale Your Product-Led Sales with Playbook Automation System
Take immediate action on PQLs. Run best practices at scale with the Playbook Automation System.
How To Set Up a PLG Motion From Scratch and Measure Success
I’ve spent the last seven-plus years at the intersection between product and marketing, helping companies such as HubSpot and People.ai build their PLG motions. In this blog, I’ll go through why engaging with your users early on is critical, plus tips for understanding who you should be talking to and how to build a more cohesive PLG strategy.
Product Updates: July 2022
July was a big month for Calixa product updates. We opened up a beta of AI-Powered Prospecting, a completely new way of surfacing high-potential accounts. Mixpanel and Data Warehouse Metric support are now available to all, and we launched a Marketo integration beta.
Guide to the Types of Free Plans for SaaS
We've all seen products that say, 'Try for free. No credit card required.' Great products act as a lead generation machine, where the free signup option widens and accelerates your top of funnel. Modern SaaS buyers want to do their own exploration of your product and verify that what they see from marketing is what they get in the product. Free product experiences lower that initial barrier to entry. Free plans also attract non-paying users for upselling/cross-selling into paid products. That's the heart of product-led sales. When becoming product-led, there are a variety of ways to open up your product to free users. In this blog we discuss: * Why offer a free plan? * Types of free plans * Increasing free-to-paid conversion By the end, you'll have an idea of which free plan and sales motion is right for you. Why Offer a Free Plan? There are quite a few benefits to offer a free signup option for your product. 🚀 Increase Sales Momentum = $$$ When leads experience quick time-to-value, they are likely to convert earlier in the funnel. They don't have to imagine using a product by viewing slide decks or demo videos. Instead, users can log in and explore for themselves. Free plans end the struggle to communicate value – as long as your product is intuitive. When there is enough widespread bottoms-up usage and product adoption, product usage data becomes a reliable buying intent signal. Salespeople no longer need to do hard selling. Instead they can double-down on the excitement of users who are already convinced. 🔁 Create Viral Loops = Lower CAC Free products are also famously known for lead generation. Whether it's network effects (inviting collaborators), social referrals (sharing embedded links), or simply word of mouth, product virality greatly decreases customer acquisition cost (CAC). In recent years, traditional growth channels such as advertising have become oversaturated and more expensive. Meanwhile, software development has become more available with low-code tools and talented developers. A delightful free plan can go a long way in generating top of the funnel growth. 📚 Promote User Education = High Retention With early user acquisition, leads can self-educate before talking to sales. A strong emphasis on product content and education nurtures can lead to power users. High fit power users (known as PQLs) are not only sales-ready and most likely to upgrade, but they have higher retention down the line. With power users present, executive buyers are less concerned about buying a tool that won't get used (or becoming a churned customer). After all, the product is already being used. Ready to kickstart a product-led lead volume that has early conversion, high retention, and low cost? Let's explore what free plan options exist. Types of Free Plans There are four primary limitations built into free plans to make it different from paid plans. Free plans can be bound by time, usage, features, or support level. The constraint you choose to put on a free plan depends on your product. Below we'll go over real examples and pros/cons for each plan. ⏰ Time-Based Free Plan This option is the well-known free trial. It's time-bounded as 7-day, 14-days, 30-day, etc. Once the trial period ends, users must upgrade to continue using–otherwise they generally lose access to the product. For example, Sprout Social offers a 30-day trial for any of the paid tiers. If you are interested in features from another paid tier, they'll let you switch to a different plan for free during your trial. Pro: Time-based can create a sense of urgency that boosts initial engagement with your product and ultimately conversions. People have limited time to use the product, and therefore may be more proactive in exploring it. Con: On the flip side, placing pressure on time can create a poor experience if customers have shifting priorities and don't get time to poke around in the product. Products take time to unlock value and become a habit. Focusing on that value, rather than time since signup, is often more user-centric. This route is a good way to monetize quickly, but may not be the right long-term solution. Free trials force users to convert or lose access. As we'll see in the next few plans below, freemium has slower conversions, but it's a healthy long-game approach for retaining users. 📈 Usage-Based Free Plan Usage-based freemium plans give core functionality for free. Free users increase adoption of core features overtime, and the plan monetizes a specific usage limit. For example, Zoom allows anyone to host a meeting (use the core feature), but only paid users can go beyond a 40-min meeting time (hit the usage limit). Pro: Many features are free, so the barrier to entry is low. In turn, the value realized can be high. Users are able to take their time and grow to the usage threshold. They pay according to the value they receive. Con: Usage is hard to predict. Even as a paid user, it may rise and fall. Revenue forecasting must become more sophisticated than traditional licenses with annual commitments. Usage-based is strongly aligned to user value. Inspiring a new use case naturally encourages higher usage. Many companies (freemium or not) are transitioning from traditional license contracts to usage-based pricing for this reason. 🛠 Feature-Based Free Plan Sometimes users require add-on tools to deepen usage. In this scenario, feature-based freemium plans are a good alternative. Feature-based freemium plans give core functionality for free. The plan monetizes through additional features and add-ons. For example, Canva doesn't have a usage limit on core designs. Instead they offer premium photos, Background Remover, Brand Kits, etc. to paid users. These tools all offer a specific benefit for advanced users. Pro: Feature-based tends to have a Free Forever tier. Without any limits on core features, free users have low churn. They can stay a loyal free user until they're ready to introduce the product to their organization. Con: Out of all the free plans, this one requires the most patience to show ROI. There's a risk of customers using a free plan in perpetuity, which cannibalizes revenue from paid tiers. (We'll explore ways to combat this in more depth later in the blog.) Add-ons are a great way to offer more than your core features. Knowing when and how to introduce paid features is crucial to the success of this plan. It should be easy to find and unlock value from features and tools. 🧑💼 Support-Based Free Plan Upgrade incentives also lie outside of the product. This is where support-based freemium plans shine. This plan starts out free, and then lets users upgrade for additional support. It complements usage-based and feature-based models as a value differentiator between the free and paid tiers. For example, Mailchimp increases the support level for paying users. Alongside the other freemium tactics mentioned above, they offer 24/7 email & chat support when users upgrade. Pro: This plan is a good way to move products upmarket to larger customers that require white glove support. When enterprise companies first start using a product for free, they'll naturally have complexities that require more support and then upgrade. Con: Unlike the other free models, support-based rarely works as a standalone tactic. It is more expensive to maintain while having less of a free-to-paid differentiation than the other models. This strategy prioritizes the time of support, sales engineering, and customer success teams for the high-value customers who need them. ✅ A Combination of Free Plans To avoid cannibalizing revenue from paid tiers, most companies creatively combine these four constraints into a custom combination free plan. Examples include trials that have usage limits, trials that have features limits, and trials that downgrade to a free forever tier instead of truly expiring. This last example is worth elaborating on. Recently, growth teams have found success in 'trials turned freemium.' In this motion, users start with a normal trial of the paid tier. But if users don't convert, they aren't fully cut off from the product (unlike traditional trials) and are instead retained in a free tier. They can continue as a free user with more limited features than before the trial. Why is this so effective? Humans naturally have strong loss aversion. Staying as a free user after the trial ends would be a downgrade event. They're still users, but they have less than they did during the trial. Because yesterday's luxuries become today's necessities, they'll likely convert to a paid user to keep the features they started with. Lastly, you don't have to combine the four constraints we discussed into a single plan. You can run multiple free plans alongside one another—as long as they're in separate tiers. For example, you can run usage-based freemium for the lowest tier and trial for the highest tier. Keep iterating to find that perfect combination. Increasing Free-to-Paid Conversion Free product experiences get users in the door. They act as the hook before the sale. With a strong free plan, you'll have a large user base to convert free users into paying customers. Based on the free plan (or combination) you pick, you'll have different action items to increase paid revenue. There are also universal upselling strategies for free plans. These include: 1. Identify the free users most likely to upgrade. Learn how to define product qualified leads (PQLs) 2. Prioritize these users in your upselling motion. Reach them using in-app prompts, marketing emails, and sales conversations 3. Regularly promote high-value and paid features 4. Test offering free temporary upgrades With the right tools and playbooks in place, sales teams can have a large influence on free-to-paid conversion. In a Redpoint study, sales teams increased average free-to-paid conversion rate by 3x. When users have high intent and interest in your product, salespeople can accelerate users into paying customers through timely and personalized outreach. Free plans are able to nurture users and generate product signals for value-based sales conversations. That's why your product-led engine and sales team are multipliers of each other.
Why we built it: AI-Powered Prospecting
The toughest sales challenge product-led companies face is figuring who to talk to in their self-serve funnel. At scale, it’s not practical to talk to everyone who signs up. On the flip side, if you just wait for customers to raise their hands, you’re missing out on opportunities. You’ll miss out on prospects who get frustrated trying your product or find a competitor they like better.
Introducing AI-Powered Prospecting for Product-Led Sales
Check us out on Product Hunt!Product-led companies often struggle to know which signups to talk to. Since salespeople can’t talk to every user, they look for the ones with the highest revenue potential. That’s why the first step in making product-led sales work is to define product qualified leads (PQLs).But determining a PQL is tricky. People end up manually creating rules to score leads. This is limiting for three reasons:
Product Updates: June 2022
2022 has flown by, and in June, we launched a slew of features designed to empower reps to move faster. Our AI-Powered Prospecting surfaces the best leads in no time, updated search is now lightning fast and auto-domain rollup uncovers consolidation opps with a single click. The redesigned folder structure also makes Calixa easier to use for large teams. 🤖 AI-Powered Prospecting Beta We are excited to announce our upcoming Product Hunt launch. We've been hard at work applying AI to Product-Led Sales and now we're excited to finally show it to a broader audience. Introducing AI-Powered Prospecting. Calixa's AI models update PQL scores in real-time, evolving PQL criteria based on emerging user behavior. The best part is that no developer work is needed. By uncovering deal opportunities quickly, salespeople can focus on having the right conversations. Sales reps will see a PQL score ranging from 1 (low potential) to 5 (high potential) along with a list of signals that generated this score. You can filter your lists by these scores or directly route high scored leads to reps via Slack messages. 🪢 Run Consolidation Plays with Automatic Domain Grouping Large organizations often have many disparate teams using a product independently, which can make it challenging for a sales rep to understand the total usage footprint. Calixa's automatic domain grouping surfaces consolidation opportunities without requiring any complex data work. By looking at customers with lots of accounts, teams or workspaces, sales teams can efficiently run consolidation plays. Simply click the ‘Group by Domain' toggle button to instantly see the number of accounts and users under each company domain. Read more about running consolidation plays. 🗂 Team Folders For sales teams trying to understand product usage and buying intent as part of their selling strategy, it's easy to get lost in user data. Team folders in Calixa helps you stay organized so you know when and where to take action. You can now categorize custom views for sales, support, and other teams. The views you use every day can also be favorited for easy access. ⚡️ Smarter, faster search results We re-engineered our search to improve the experience for customers with massive scale. Searching through 10+ million records now takes under a second. We also made the results more relevant. Accounts with high user counts always appear at the top of the list, so you never have to scroll to find the account you are looking for. Thanks for reading! You can stay in the loop by subscribing to our blog and following us on LinkedIn. Not on Calixa yet? Signup here or book time to chat with one of our friendly product specialists. ✌️
My Largest Deals Come from Freemium Users
SaaS buying has changed. Freemium motions accelerate deals.
Running a Product-Led Sales Consolidation Play
Self-serve products are lead generation machines. Easy-to-use free plans encourage bottom-up virality among end users. Because of this, it's fairly common for large companies to have disconnected pockets of individual users with multiple workspaces or accounts. Enterprise organizations can have dozens of unique teams using a product—without even knowing which coworkers are on it. A product-led sales motion closes these gaps by showing a comprehensive view of usage and offering consolidation. In this blog, we'll walk through… 🤔 Whether a consolidation play is right for your business ✅ How to efficiently run a PLS consolidation motion Let's dive in! Is a consolidation play right for my business? Consolidation plays are an important transition from tactical support-related inquiries with end users, to a sales-focused strategic conversation with executive buyers. It also increases revenue predictability through larger long-term contracts. Given how attractive account consolidation is, you may be wondering if it's right for your business. Your company can implement a consolidation play if you can offer the right incentives for customers. Some examples are: Ease of collaboration: One incentive to consolidate is to increase network effects. Sales reps highlight how disconnected workspaces hurt team collaboration and productivity. Airtable does a great job of talking about collaboration. Centralized billing: For finance and procurement teams, a single contract saves them the headache of managing separate team billings. Centralized billing can also lead to bulk discounts for high usage. Security & governance: Another reason to upgrade is for the added security and premium admin features. Account consolidation allows IT teams and admin users to oversee all company data and keep it secure. Support: Consolidation lends itself well to added support. By having users all under one workspace, account managers can quickly set up training programs or troubleshoot items to keep an organization's entire user base successful. You can experiment with different offers to get buy-in from leadership. While the specific value and perks may change, the underlying narrative is that consolidation brings tangible customer benefits by increasing adoption at scale. Running a consolidation motion Once you've decided that consolidation makes sense, the next step is to get started! Successfully executing a consolidation play is an enormous feat. How do you understand the full picture? Which customers have siloed workspaces? As a company that offers a self-serve product, we've run into this problem before too. Sales teams require an out-of-box solution for full visibility. Running consolidation plays in Calixa allows sales teams to monitor how much a company is truly using the product. Calixa's automatic domain grouping categorizes users by the same email domain—no complex data work required. By looking at customers with lots of separate accounts, sales teams can efficiently run consolidation plays. Simply click the ‘Group by Domain' toggle button to instantly see the number of accounts and users under each company domain. These insights are easily viewable and can be used in alerting reps. You can also show customers this complete view of usage to help strengthen the business case for a company-wide upgrade. Ready to roll up workspaces to a single account? Sign up and get started today.
How Product-Led Sales Recession-Proofs Your Revenue
Tech companies are increasingly feeling the effects of the recent economic downturn. Layoffs dominate the headlines, stocks have dropped, and funds are drying up. Y Combinator even published this email warning startup founders to 'plan for the worst.' So how does this economic downturn impact GTM teams and your bottom line? Capital is Drying Up When budget and headcount is tight, GTM teams typically have fewer net new prospects. This is because SDR layoffs result in less outbound, and marketing budget cuts means less inbound. "Growth at all costs" is replaced by strategies to drive the same pipeline using less dollars. Even before the economic downturn, the trend of increasingly saturated channels have made traditional lead generation expensive. Now more than ever, companies need to be more capital efficient in achieving growth. As sales teams pivot to new growth levers, product-led sales emerges as a popular GTM motion. OpenView's third annual product benchmarks report found that 'Product-led companies, especially those with a freemium model, are over 2x more likely to be growing quickly (100%+ year-over-year revenue growth) than sales-led models.' Product-led sales turns free signups into paid or upgrading customers. Instead of throwing more dollars into a leaky top of funnel initiative, this motion focuses on deepening product usage and increasing deal velocity and deal sizes among existing users. Is it worth reaching out to every user? No—OpenView's report reveals that 'standout PLG companies reach out to only 14% of signups on average.' There is no question that product qualified leads (PQLs) are an untapped source of quality pipeline. In fact, PQLs have less buying friction and stronger financial margins than chasing and nurturing new deals. Compared to traditionally rigid sales models, these high-velocity deals can keep sales teams nimble and efficient during downturns. In addition to getting high-intent leads, this diagram highlights that the product-led sales motion fits any budget. Product-led sales utilizes a land and expand motion to make initial deal sizes more digestible. As more and more companies become cognizant of software spend, these initial smaller deals (typically based on usage-based pricing) are more attractive than large upfront commitments. It is a more relevant GTM model during these times. Product-Led: Costs ⬇ + Revenue ⬆ Product-led adoption lowers Customer Acquisition Cost. Self-serve onboarding allows users to explore on their own prior to jumping on a call. As a result, product-led sales targets more qualified leads who have demonstrated that they're interested in using your product. This reduces your cost of operations and increases sales productivity by automating repeatable onboarding processes. By eliminating time-intensive discovery calls with prospects who've never heard of the product, salespeople can engage in high-value conversations with PQLs. This includes advising freemium users and crafting strategic business cases for expansion deals. They intelligently reach out to users with the highest chances of conversion and accelerate deals. Product usage is real intent. When leads are non-users with zero product data, it's hard to generate predictable revenue. Having a product-led sales motion in place offers confidence in win rates, customer retention, and forecasting. ⛈ Weathering the Storm Product-led sales ensures you have efficiency gains and less friction from self-serve signups, as well as predictable revenue from your existing user base. Rather than pay more for top of funnel, you can leverage product insights to uncover upsell deals. Many companies become singularly focused on cost-cutting during hard times. Mastering revenue efficiency is often overlooked. An effective product-led sales process requires more than in-house BI dashboards. Cobbling together fragmented systems leads to revenue leakage, because it lacks a streamlined process to find, close, and grow top accounts. Calixa's purpose-built solution enables you to fully implement a product-led sales strategy to protect revenue. Despite all the economic conditions outside of your control, having strong revenue systems in place is one thing that can help companies thrive—not just survive. Solving for revenue efficiencies is the best way to emerge from the downturn stronger than you went in. If you want revenue efficiency during economic uncertainty, learn more about how to uncover revenue potential using product usage insights.
Product-Led Sales for Developer Tools
Yukito Isoda recently shared insights with us about developer-led sales. He's been in the SaaS sales space for 7 years. Prior to being in SaaS sales, he spent his early career leading product development in the food manufacturing space. His career spans time at Yelp, Salesforce, and developer API companies PubNub and Moesif. At these developer-first companies, Yukito made a transition from selling traditional licensing to a usage-based model. Describe your experience selling a self-serve, developer product The self-service route is important for developers, because it takes away the barriers, politics, and often lengthy approval processes for decision making that is involved in bringing on new tools. It offers that red carpet for developers. Self-serve also helps sales and customer success teams, because users have already done their due diligence and research on your docs and product. It allows everyone to have a productive conversation, ask great questions, and make everyone's time useful. Customers typically already have an awareness of what they're trying to do with your product. It's our job as a rep to understand what product and engineering folks are trying to achieve and help them through the buying cycle to accelerate time to production. What are your tips for selling developer products? As a sales rep, it's important to be mindful in your approach when working with developers and understand how to best communicate with your customers. It starts with a conversation, being empathetic and understanding what's most important to them. Engineers have a lot on their plate. As a sales rep, if we come in blind and don't have awareness of where they're at in the versioning process and what they're going through, they're just going to think of us as someone trying to push a square peg in a round hole. Most importantly, my biggest tip is to help product and engineering folks align on the business objectives and the implementation plan. One of the best ways to tackle this scenario is through a POC. In the situation of a paid POC it gives all stakeholders an opportunity to qualify against their objectives without the burden and pressure of taking on a large commitment initially. It allows for our customers to experience the value and grow into our products or services. Which signups do you prioritize? Moesif allows us to see the whole picture around API analytics for product, engineering, sales and customer success teams. Product insights give us deep insights into key areas that can tell a story about how a customer (company or user) is onboarding your APIs, how they're interacting with your APIs, and why. For product usage, I want to see what use cases folks are signing up for, what the volume of successful APIs look like, and if we can help them monetize their API's through usage-based billing (which allows customers to monetize their APIs and send invoices directly out to them). That is definitely a great sign of a high priority customer. Moesif cofounders Derric Gilling (CEO) and Xing (CTO) have done a very nice job building a super technical API analytics platform that normal business users like myself in sales, customer success can use to understand our customers API usage. Self-service tools need to be intuitive and easy to understand for everyone, and that's why our customers like Symbl.ai leverage Moesif in tandem with Calixa to enable their internal teams and build a stronger connection with their customers by reducing friction during the onboarding process of their APIs. When are you ready to talk to the executive buying team? There's a couple of different scenarios. For example, when event volume is increasing we will want to understand what the actual usage is and forecast expected usage with the product or engineering teams before we get the finance team involved. But mostly, we are ready for executive buyers once we find use cases that expand product usage into other areas of the business. It's easy to fall into the trap of simply selling or pitching the technical features and functionality, rather than focusing on the greater business objectives. The question we should ask ourselves as sales reps is why should a company pay 6 figures for our solution, or how do we enable the business decision makers to re-prioritize things to impact their business now and future proof themselves for the long run. What are your thoughts on traditional licensing versus usage-based pricing? I've worked with both pricing models. I have seen instances where customers would end up paying for licenses during a one year implementation which doesn't include the cost of the implementation itself. That's a very tough pill to swallow! Many companies are now looking to change their entire selling process and forecasting model from license-based to usage-based. Usage-based is a completely different ballgame. There's definitely challenges when it comes to accurately forecasting usage-based from a sales perspective. It is very rare to find sales leaders who are able to manage usage-based selling motions and reporting. Casey Clegg (who had brought me onto PubNub) and who built out the sales org at Twilio and PubNub did a really nice job at this. He showed our teams how to run these kind of deals, what customers want, and also what investors want to see. Derric my boss and CEO of Moesif is also one of the very few that understand this kind of selling motion, so it is exciting to meet, learn, and work with folks in the API space. Investors want to see forecastable or predictable growth in self-serve customer usage from an MRR and ARR perspective. That means as a rep you must thoroughly understand your customers business inside and out, because their success means your success. Depending on the software, I think that a usage-based model is the true SaaS customer success model. It gives flexibility back to the customer in terms of getting up and running, and allows for greater adoption of your product offerings. I'd challenge all B2B SaaS companies to consider offering a usage-based model that will improve the customer's onboarding experience and build a strong long-term relationship.
3 Common Product-Led Sales Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Modern SaaS companies are combining product-led adoption with top-down sales into a motion called product-led sales. Users choose a type of free plan, try the product, and then engage in user-centric sales conversations. The benefits of this hybrid approach are clear. Companies get lower CAC from the product-led motion, plus the higher LTV from the sales motion. Sounds great, right? That said, product-led sales comes with its own set of challenges. It requires navigating through lots of organizational change management—and data. Below are three common mistakes made in product-led sales, and critical takeaways from each. Understanding these pitfalls can ensure you get maximum benefit from your product-led sales motion. Mistake #1: Prematurely applying traditional selling methods Product-led sales promises that today's free gmail user can be tomorrow's enterprise tier. But exactly when does that happen? Pushing self-service users into a large commitment too fast will hurt your deal outcome and customer experience. For sales leaders used to the traditional top-down approach, this can be an easy trap to fall into. Here are telltale signs you are applying a top-down sale motion prematurely: The user doesn't have a budget. If the user doesn't control a departmental budget, selling an enterprise plan is the wrong way to go. It's better to focus on user success and product adoption. With enough happy users, you'll eventually be able to convince the head of a department to purchase the tool. The user isn't the buyer. Just like the budget problem, it's important to have a clearly defined Ideal Customer Profile. Seek introductions when necessary. If the user isn't the buyer, talking about ROI and high-level business cases is less appealing. The user is happy on the current tier. If the user is satisfied on billing month-to-month, don't hard sell an annual contract. An early-stage startup for example might not need extensive custom admin controls. By understanding the user's needs, you'll have empathy for what the right plan is for that customer. Sales teams often fall into this trap because they are accustomed to getting that large upfront commitment, instead of playing the long game and growing usage overtime. It's a mistake to use traditional metrics to measure a new bottom-up sales motion. Product-led deal sizes start off small. But it's these early deals that garner user loyalty, which pays dividends for the long run. Takeaway—Reach out users with the proper product context. Use customer data to identify and prioritize PQLs to know when a user is sales-ready. Outside of being data-driven, listen in your conversations for excited users who want to champion the product. If the excitement is real and reflected in usage data, you're ready to take the next step. Mistake #2: Not differentiating self-serve and enterprise offerings Once a user is truly sales-ready, most sales teams progress to a top-down approach. You need to show why an organizational rollout is needed. This may seem like an obvious point, but users are not willing to upgrade unless they see substantial value gains from doing so. If the difference between self-serve and enterprise plans is incremental, there's no incentive to change the status quo. The enterprise plan needs clear advantages. For example, Airtable's Growth AEs emphasize the power of collaboration across departments. There are inherent network effects for each teammate you invite to the platform. Then as usage grows, you'll also need enterprise-grade security for the databases. Think of the biggest reasons for the switch to enterprise. Is it cloud storage, security & governance, consolidated billing, or volume discounts? Make a strong case for why it is strategic and necessary to move up a plan. Takeaway—While self-serve gets users through the door, you cannot assume the original use case is sufficient to move upmarket. Larger deals are complex and more sophisticated. They require crafting a strategic business case that shows ROI. Highlight features around security, support, and scale. Mistake #3: Treating all PQLs the same Mistake #1 warns against being too used to top-down. Mistake #2 happens if people are too used to self-serve. Assuming you've got past those hurdles, we're now in the nitty gritty of product-led sales! The third mistake is to assume all PQLs deserve the same type of sales touch. In traditional top-down sales, new prospects go through more or less the same funnel: discovery calls, demos, POCs, vendor evaluations, contract negotiations, etc. In the product-led world, however, each user journey is unique. People sign up for different reasons, use different features, and have different friction points. The follow up must be tailored according to where they are in the product adoption journey (what we call journey view). Takeaway—Create multiple PQLs segmented by customer profile and product context. Users have specific goals and may prefer certain selling motions. Make sure follow up aligns with their most recent activities and needs. Aligning product-led sales incentives Maybe you've tried all these tips before, and these mistakes continue to persist in your organization. One underlying factor could be faulty incentives. In a fast-moving sales environment, it's easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of hitting quotas. But are you chasing after the right metrics? For example if your company only rewards new logos with little regard to expansion deals, sales reps will always be pushing for that large upfront commitment. They won't care about deepening product usage overtime. Hard selling annual commitments is a legacy from the on-prem days—back when there were no SaaS cloud solutions and no usage-based billing. That sales technique may have worked for the on-prem world, but wrong incentives can kill a product-led motion. OpenView created a handy resource for sales compensation based on usage-based pricing. With the right incentives in place, sales reps can offer value-added conversations. Ultimately, these conversations are how salespeople drive revenue at product-led companies.
The Most Common Types of PQLs at Product-Led Companies
Product-led sales is about selling into your current user base. This sales motion leverages indicators like customer fit and product signals to qualify users as product qualified leads (PQLs). In part one of our PQL guide, we went over what PQLs are and why they matter—you may want to first dive into that if the concept of a PQL is new to you. While user intent signals vary by company and product, we've found that there is a standard pattern for PQLs across product-led companies. In this post, we'll cover: 🤔 Why product-led companies have multiple PQLs ⭐️ The most common types of PQLs By the end, you'll have ideas of how to create, prioritize, and target different types of users. Why do product-led companies have multiple PQLs? Mature product-led sales teams tend to use more than one PQL. The reasons for defining different types of PQLs are simple: * Most organizations have multiple conversion points. For example, SaaS companies often separate GTM motions between landing new customers and expanding current customers. Segmenting PQLs helps to ensure each conversion point is properly routed and personalized to the user. * Differentiating PQLs helps to account for multiple customer segments. Sometimes you need to route leads to subject matter experts who understand the persona and department (revops vs product team). Other times, the segment is divided by company size (mid-market vs enterprise). * Product-led sales is a hybrid sales model—meaning there are options for no touch, low touch, and high touch sales depending on how much hand-holding is required. Time investment depends on deal potential. A low fit lead can be completely no touch/self-serve. For an extremely high fit lead, it might be worth reaching out and building a relationship from the very beginning. Each new PQL category can increase the complexity and resources involved in your pipeline. When evaluating whether to create a new PQL, consider whether it increases conversion rates through a well-tailored customer experience and clear team incentives. Your team will also need a scalable product-led sales platform such as Calixa to handle different PQL views and routing. Investing in a PLS platform can automate a lot of this complexity so you can focus on selling. Four most common types of PQLs Here are four common PQLs types found at product-led companies. * Free-to-paid conversion * Team/seat expansion * Enterprise conversion * Enterprise expansion These PQLs are ordered by deal size (small to large revenue potential). The user type and business case is very different at each stage. Below we go over each of these PQLs and exactly how they benefit from sales. Free-to-paid conversion: This conversion point is the bread and butter of product-led sales. It is crucial to monetize signups from the product-led flywheel. Sales reps prospect to free users who are receiving value from the product and likely want additional features or usage, and gently nudge them to pay. Free users might be hand raisers asking for more information (how pricing works), or simply users who reached a product usage threshold and are ready to buy. Team/seat expansion: These are users who have specifically experienced the collaborative nature of the product. Sometimes a sales rep or onboarding specialist will be there to guide a newly upgraded team. Sales reps are product evangelists who understand the network effects of each additional team member that gets added on the team plan. Enterprise conversion: This conversion requires meeting executive buyers to negotiate a custom SLA. The account executive's pitch consists of two components: enterprise-level security and compliance, plus user-level new features and integrations. Enterprise security and account consolidation are table stakes, but advocating for the end user is equally (if not more) important because they do internal selling for you. Equip the end user with a thoughtful business case, and they'll become a product champion. Enterprise expansion: At this stage, account executives will continually grow the product(s) into new departments and new use cases. They'll implement an organization-wide, wall-to-wall rollout plan if possible. For enterprise conversion and enterprise expansion PQLs, it is useful to rollup individual users into a Product Qualified Account (PQA) view. Alternatively, you can see PQLs progress along deal board stages—from the first free user to higher paid plans—using Calixa's Journey View. The platform lets sales reps to easily define, view, and route all these PQLs. As you can see, each PQL above requires a different selling motion. Your first free user may call for a low touch sales-assist, while large accounts require layering in top-down sales. That's why having visibility into PQLs within your user base is critical to selling well. If you're feeling inspired to create PQL segments, here's how to create and prioritize PQLs with Calixa.
How to Create PQL Alerts with Calixa
This is part of a How To blog series on using the Calixa platform. Don't miss our first installment – How to Prioritize PQLs with Calixa. Speed to lead is the essence of a strong sales process. Harvard Business Review reports you'll be 10x more likely to receive a response if you follow up on your lead within 5 minutes. This urgency is especially true in product-led sales. Your PQLs are already actively using the product. Whether it's a new account ramping up or a mature account inviting more teammates, timely outreach increases upsell conversion. With real-time PQL alerts, you can uncover expansion opportunities with early signs of upgrade potential. Notifications based on product triggers make it easy to do contextual outreach. Each alert lets you dig into that user or account's activity, so sales teams can formulate a hypothesis about the underlying use case. Calixa makes PQL alerting simple. There are two steps to create real-time alerts: 1. Choose the criteria for notifications: stay on top of activated signups, invited teammates, usage spikes, etc. 2. Create the message and cadence: receive alerts through email, Slack, or webhook After this tutorial, you'll have PQL notifications that allow reps to act when it matters most. Choosing the Criteria First let's define which customer and product events you care about. What criteria would result in meaningful alerts? Here are some common criteria at both the user and account level we encounter. You can always customize these alerts to the accounts you own. If you have another idea for an alert that's not listed above, you're free to try it! Once you have a general sense of the alert you'd like, head on over to the Automations tab. Click "Add Automation" and name the alert. You'll be taken to a page that lets you pick an Automation Trigger. Here you have two options: * Event-based: notifies you about specific events. The user clicked on a feature or invited users. There is no criteria for the number of times this event has occurred. If you just need to see who signed up, choose this option. * Metric-based: filters events by the frequency of usage. The user clicked on a feature over 5 times or invited over 3 users. There are numeric calculations done. Generally for expansion opportunities, you'll need metric-based alerts to define these usage thresholds. There's no limit to the conditions used to customize triggers. Creating the Message After defining the notification criteria, you're ready to customize how you'd like to receive the notification. You can set up an automated Slack message, a standard email alert, or a webhook to another app like Zapier. Pick a recipient and include a short description about the notification so it's easy to take action right away. For example: Once you have the message ready, you can manage how often you'll receive the notification for that particular customer. For instance, maybe you want to limit receiving a notification when an account is growing to once per month. You set that limit under 'Max notification frequency' and that notification will only trigger for each particular account once, during the time period. Click Save and switch the toggle to Active. Congrats! 🎉 You have your first notification (the first of many)! Sales teams can now reach out to the right users at the right time. Check back here for part three of our How To series, where we discuss how you can efficiently act on PQLs with Calixa.
Product Updates: May 2022
May was an exciting month. We shipped an easier way to rank engagement and discover power users among your top accounts, more flexible dashboard graphs, owner aware alerts and are opening up a beta of our Mixpanel integration. 💪 Easily surface engaged accounts and power users Calixa makes it easier than ever to uncover opportunities with our new Active Users and Days Active metrics. All Calixa customers can now see how many days a user or account has been active in the last week, month, or longer time periods. We also let you sort and filter by how many users have been recently active in an account. 🚨 Get DMs when your accounts are ready to buy Sales, success, and growth teams are already using Calixa's alerts to surface PQLs, find expansion opportunities and get early warning of usage dips. Now these alerts can be automatically routed to the owner of the account or lead in question. Ownership syncs bi-directionally from your CRM or can be configured directly in Calixa. Owners will receive emails or Slack DMs without having to check a shared channel. To make sure nothing slips through the cracks, we route ownerless alerts to a channel of your choosing. 📈 View metrics over flexible intervals By popular request, we made our dashboard graphs more flexible. You can now view metric data in daily, weekly and monthly increments over configurable time windows. This allows you to zoom out and see business metric trends over longer time periods, or keep a close pulse on recent product behavior with a daily view. 🎛 Mixpanel Beta We are getting ready to roll our our Mixpanel integration and are looking for beta customers. The integration syncs event data directly to Calixa and gives you a real-time view of your customers behavior. This allows you to prioritize customers based on engagement metrics and filter down to specific groups of users with our event property filters. If you are interested in enrolling in the beta, email firstname.lastname@example.org. And lastly, our globally distributed team also gathered under the redwoods of Guerneville, California to make some memories and talk about what we need to do to better serve our customers. If you are interested in joining the team, check out our open roles! Thanks for reading! You can stay in the loop by subscribing to our blog and following us on LinkedIn. Not on Calixa yet? Signup here or book time to chat with one of our friendly product specialists. ✌️
What is Product-Led Sales?
B2B SaaS is easier to use than ever. Within minutes of signing up, anyone can attend a meeting on Zoom, ping a coworker on Slack, and make project plans on Airtable. Product-led growth (PLG) lets people self-serve onto a product–and it's become the hottest customer acquisition channel. But how does this large user base become monetized? Product-led sales is a go-to-market motion where sales teams leverage product usage insights to engage and retain end users. It all starts with a product that's open for free signups. This delightful, easy-to-use product acts as the ultimate lead generation machine. The best part comes next: sales teams (also called 'sales assists') do warm outbound onto an existing account base to increase conversion rates and expand deal size. Product-led sales combines a product-led acquisition model with a sales-led monetization model. The upsell motion works by uncovering a key business case, and then mapping it to a team or enterprise plan. Higher paid plans allow users to unlock additional features, integrations, and usage, while benefiting the organization with security and custom SLA's. Sales teams enable existing end-users to become enterprise champions, who do the internal selling for you. This future champion comes from certain users known as PQLs. PQL → The new lead type for Product-Led Sales Product-led sales teams 'fish' for certain types of leads in the account base. Sales reps still prospect for Ideal Customer Profiles–but they use product usage insights to find buying intent. Highly engaged users who meet your Ideal Customer Profile are known as PQLs [https://www.calixa.com/blog/product-qualified-leads-pqls]. PQLs convert 5x better than MQLs that haven't tried the product. When your signups have high product engagement, they are far more likely to convert into paid or upgrading customers. Even after these accounts become paid, the widespread bottoms-up usage means they'll be less inclined to churn. Since PQLs predict who will be your best customer, increasing PQL conversion is the best use of salespeople's time. These tiers are ranked by the expected value of the account converting (eg high probability of close and high value deal). Tiers change how sales teams should approach the leads. Tier 1: This group has a very high propensity to buy. They are using product intensely and fit your customer profile. These accounts should be sellers #1 focus. They are likely to close faster than any other deals. Tier 2: This group is fits your customer profile well but is using your product in a limited way. A salesperson should definitely reach out and figure out how to get the account more engaged. This is where new motions of product-led selling and product evangelism are successful. Tier 3: This group may or may not be worth your time depending on deal size. They are very active accounts but may be smaller or not ideal use cases. You need to figure out if the deal size warrants a salesperson getting involved or just let the accounts self-serve with marketing nurture. PQLs turn into product champions when sales teams equip them with value-add product education and business cases. Product champions help roll out the product to the rest of the organization. This turns into a word-of-mouth land and expand [https://calixa.io/blog/land-and-expand-in-product-led-sales] motion. Benefits of Product-Led Sales Product-led sales is a win-win strategy [https://calixa.io/blog/why-product-led-sales-works] for buyers and sales teams. Prospects quickly get value out of the product, which informs their purchase decision and increases deal velocity. 📈 Reach and Monetize an Entire Market Having a product open to a large volume of free signups increases market reach. At the same time, sales teams make sure this volume of customers is engaged and retained. They sell fast: instead of worrying about a big upfront transaction, sales reps quickly land deals and expand usage overtime. The bottoms-up, product-led acquisition amplifies the sales team's lead volume. Sales teams in turn amplify the product-led upsell conversion. These two pieces don't oppose each other–it's all about GTM at scale. 😁 Improve Buyer Experience Modern SaaS buyers do not want to jump through hoops to see the product. They don't want discovery calls prior to signup. They want to get their hands on the product as fast as they can. This quick time-to-value helps show–instead of tell–the product's value. Sales reps then reach out, offering to help users unlock maximum value from the product. They act as a resource for use cases, blockers, and product education. They assist users along their product adoption journey. Consultative selling is about both evangelizing the product and solving specific problems–a far bigger value-add than the typical hard sell. 🏎 Drive Sales Efficiency When users can immediately access the product, they are able to self-educate themselves. This saves sales reps' time and lowers customer acquisition cost (CAC). Rather than doing traditional lead nurturing or worrying about implementation details and timelines, sales teams focus their time on self-qualified users with clear product usage signals that they are ready to purchase. 🙌 Increase Expansion Opportunities Early user activation and self-nurturing leads not only helps land the initial deal–it helps with expansion efforts to increase lifetime value (LTV) too. There's momentum to upsell into management for team/enterprise deals when end users are already sold. That creates a much stronger sales pitch than the dozens of cold emails executives receive daily telling them to adopt completely new organization-wide tools. By starting with product usage instead of ending with it, buyers are already assured that their team is actually going to use the product. This upsell momentum is so powerful that 55% of customers who reach Zoom's enterprise plan–the customers spending over $100k–had started with one free user . Today's free gmail user can be tomorrow's enterprise tier. Product Data = Sales Advantage Product-led sales is a healthy and efficient self-serve flywheel that is layered with top-down sales. Sales teams accelerate deal velocity by converting a high volume of warm signups. Instead of waiting on one decision maker to inform them on key updates, they are proactive in monitoring product usage signals. That's why it's so important to have actionable product insights along with your CRM. Calixa powers your product-led sales motion by combining CRM and product insights into streamlined sales workflows. Sales reps can live within Calixa's interface for deep dive PQL research, or set automations which complement your CRM. Our platform enables you to prioritize PQLs [https://calixa.io/blog/how-to-prioritize-pqls-with-calixa] and increase upsell conversion rates. Ready to find sales-ready users? Sign up today [https://console.calixa.io/signup].
A CRO's Strategy for Product-Led Sales
Chetan Chaudhary is a former CRO and GTM Executive who led revenue teams at Scale AI, Twilio, Cisco, and Oracle. In his over 10 years of sales leadership at Twilio, he learned that sales executives must evolve into a modern 'distribution executive' in this era of product-led growth. Chetan is now investing in and advising startups as a partner at NewView Capital. How was selling at Twilio different from your experiences at Cisco and Oracle? We had a significant amount of leads that were signing up every day. Jeff Lawson had this idea of treating every developer like a consumer. We were marketing to developers as though we were a B2C company versus an enterprise sales company. Jeff, along with the Product teams, built a frictionless process allowing developers to sign up with ease. This created a ton of top of the funnel leads. Users would sign up using their first name, last name, and email address. That's it. We had to bring them on top of the funnel. Twilio is a very horizontal product. You start broad and then narrow down the use case for each customer. How did Sales at Twilio evolve to meet this new Product-Led motion? That's one of the biggest learnings in my time at Twilio. George Hu, who was our COO and also the former COO of Salesforce, introduced the notion of a 'distribution executive.' It's a different way to think about Sales. There are two types of individuals in sales. The first is a traditional sales executive. I call them transactional heroes. They understood how to negotiate and close the transaction. They are typically good at deal prosecution. They understand how to execute a pipeline and forecast deals. The second individual - I would call a Distribution executive. The main difference between the two is the understanding how to create a route to market. Distribution executives understand how to build a process that can scale to drive revenue. The number of companies you touch, the content you provide them, and their usage all tell a story. Through a large set of touchpoints, you can understand how to address more and more customers. Distribution executives in my opinion fundamentally focus on building vs transacting. Twilio changed the game for traditional sales motion companies, because they quickly learned how to hire distribution executives, who understood how to layer in sales executives to distribute Twilio to particular market segments. Upon my new role at NewView Capital, I am attempting to provide that insight into our portfolio companies as I believe it is a different way of thinking. When you're a distribution executive, you start thinking about Sales as a machine. And you have to build the telemetry of that machine in order to really understand the ROI of your routes to market. Some of those routes to market are worth investing in and others you need to ignore. Twilio built a lot of this telemetry providing insights not only to product usage, but also how customers were interacting with the platform. This allowed sales individuals to have intelligent conversations with customers. As you scale a product-led company, you'll inevitably have multiple routes to market going in parallel. You need to think about what are the inputs needed for each route to market to get the outputs so when they all roll up, you'll hit your number. How does a Sales team figure out routes to market in the first place? We just saw these usage patterns. We were seeing early adopters, and we had to bucket them somehow. We started by just trying to sell it to anyone. Then that usage pattern gave us the ability to pattern recognize customers in a particular cohort. Once you identify it, it allows you to layer in a sales motion that was complementary to that cohort. Sometimes you have a general thesis, and it doesn't have to be exact. You layer in a sales motion that can see if that will boost the overall revenue amount. Then you kind of established that this cohort needs XYZ salespeople. A huge part of the bottom-up sales strategy is listening to your users. For example, if your product is ready for enterprise, your customers will tell you instantly. If you have a product-led self service motion where Coca Cola and Citibank are buying through a credit card, you're probably on your way to becoming enterprise-ready and need to apply a sales rep there. Tell us how you figured out one of these early routes to market? I started at Twilio as an AE. There were three things I looked for in each PQL: I would always ask myself as a rep, Could this become a big deal? I would try to to a quick back of the napkin math on how big the deal could be, giving myself a target. 1. Then I looked at the usage pattern. Was there a continual usage over some period of time? I wanted an ‘up into the right' type of usage pattern on important features. 2. Lastly, what would be the use case? I'd look at their usage and support tickets to formulate a pitch in my head of why they potentially would use it. So we would then marry the use case with the usage pattern and make pitches. In this process, I came across ISVs as an important route to market for Twilio. These were companies like Zendesk who embedded Twilio in their own product. I figured it out by talking to customers and seeing the traction. Companies wanted to embed voice and SMS capabilities into their own products. After proving out the early traction with customers, we built a route to market around it. How did figuring out routes to market evolve over time? We definitely got more scientific about it over time. As we grew larger, we could look across a lot more data. We grouped different usage patterns into cohorts to see if we could see which usage patterns turned into the biggest deals. So for example, if you were spending $10 dollars a month with us, what was your likelihood of becoming a $100 a month customer and how could we influence it. From there, can we take them from $100 to $1000 a month and so on. This process informed us of who to go after and when to call. From there, we did lots of testing on pitches and tactics. We started simply with a marketing drip email. Then eventually we tried having a BDR reach out. Later we got a BDR to reach out with specific content based on use cases. We'd eventually looped in the Solutions Engineer and AE once we saw that we could really influence the speed and size of deals. We AB tested each of these pitches and tactics. Did the customer grow faster or bigger with sales getting involved or not? What size customer does the ROI make sense to get a BDR involved versus a Solutions Engineer and AE? How can individual sales reps become distribution executives? You create a culture where everyone is the general manager of their patch. At Twilio, there was a program called, 'having the GM mentality.' CROs and CEOs constantly allocate capital within business functions. As a CRO, you're allocating capital across the sales compensation, sales enablement, and headcount to see if these levers move your productivity metrics and drive revenue. You want to filter that down into the organization. You want individuals to think in a very similar way. An AE should look at their users and product usage data to make smart decisions. They should be able to say, ‘I need X dollars or users here within this territory in order to drive Y revenue.' The GM mentality is knowing what it means to allocate capital within your sphere. So if you're an individual AE covering Southeast in the United States, you need to be thinking about what it will take to get 100% of the quota number. What would it take to get to 150%? The only way that you can do that is to think broadly. How many signups from marketing do you need to get PQLs coming through the door? How many events do you have to do? It doesn't change from CRO to AE in terms of concepts. It's just in terms of scale and responsibility. Where do you see the future of sales headed? Sales reps and AEs will all understand how to build routes to market. They're not transactional heroes. They're not snapping their fingers or shooting from the hip. Those days are over. The next generation of salespeople will have usage data and use cases very integrated into their pitches. If you don't, you're going to get left behind primarily because the buyers are becoming more sophisticated. The tolerance level for salespeople not understanding their business is very low. So you want to go in there with really strong data points to be able to drive a particular outcome. If you don't, you just get eaten alive. I think this expectation of the customer wasn't there ten years ago as deeply as it is today. What's your advice for building Sales teams at a product-led companies? If you are $0 to $5 million in revenue, you want to do a product-led, self-service motion. I would not hire a salesperson first. I would start with marketing, and I would figure out a way to use content to generate top of the funnel leads. At $5 to $10 million, I would hire BDRs initially. Someone who could talk to customers and help them buy. They would be supporting the inbound demand. I would hire a traditional salesperson to help learn why and how customers are buying. Focus on developing a sales process, or at least a baseline of a sales process before layering in a small sales team. Beyond $10 million, that's when you want to start hiring sales reps as a product-led company. I'd recommend you hire (1) leader and at least 3 to 5 reps . They'll start leveraging the sales processes you developed in the previous phase. Iterate on and start measuring sales productivity right away. Constantly ask yourself the question, how can I feed these sales people? What are the interesting trends you're looking to invest in? Sales tooling is a great space right now. You can now track emails, phone calls, product usage, support tickets, and all of these data points. Sales readiness is definitely a problem that AI could solve. We need to have a holistic score about whether a deal is going to potentially close or not, or where sales reps should spend more time. It's exciting to leverage both AI and all of these data sources. I would love to see another product-led sales motion company with similar characteristics to Twilio. It's an interesting dynamic to create a flywheel through product-led first, before layering in sales. If you can get the product-led flywheel to work first, it compounds. The flywheel is the work of demand generation, product marketing, and product teams. Then the intersection of these three drives interesting usage patterns, which helps salespeople.
5 Sales Leaders Share How Product-Led Sales Drives Revenue
In the past few months, we've had the pleasure of chatting with revenue leaders from Airtable, Webflow, Mixpanel, Plaid, and Contentful. One question consistently comes up in these interviews: What is the role of salespeople in a product-led world? We can't help but explore this in more detail. Modern SaaS products are able to attract, nurture, retain, and—some would say—sell to users. It is highly scalable and efficient. How can sales teams add value to this modern buying experience? At this point, we think we've found some answers. Below are key ways these five product-led sales teams discover and act on new untapped revenue. Offer Guidance Product-led sales reps prioritize user success and product adoption. They're product educators who assist users on specific goals. After all, even products with world-class user experiences have sales friction. > 'I hear ‘it must be so easy' all the time. It must sell itself, because all these folks are already using the product. There's definitely a misconception that customers come in, already in love with the product just from getting that free usage, and that they're ready to upgrade without any help. But buyers like a human connection. They want that sales rep to come in and help consult with them on the product. I always say to my customers, my job is to make sure you're on the best plan for your business needs. Having a sales rep guiding you through the process can help uncover a better plan for an organization, whether it's because of security, scale, or dedicated support.' –Katie Cascino, Account Executive at Webflow [Read the full interview [https://calixa.io/blog/webflow-plg-product-led-sales]] Sometimes the sales friction is regarding pricing and what plan is best for them, or it could be uncertainty around gated features they can't access. Other times, users are looking for inspiration around use cases. > 'A big part of my job is to educate the customer on the possibilities. It's helping to build the vision together and letting them dream a little bigger.' –Meredith Doty, Account Executive at Contentful [Read the full interview [https://calixa.io/blog/land-and-expand-in-product-led-sales]] The next step is to map these use cases to features. If team collaboration is a priority, sales reps articulate which features of the team plan enable effective teamwork. Salespeople thrive at bridging the gap between business goals and product solutions. Product education is a major way salespeople add value, not friction, to the product-led motion. The best sales mantra is to focus on helping. > 'One of our core principles on the team is ABH: Always Be Helping. It's a play on the old sales adage ABC: Always Be Closing.' –Emerald Maravilla, New Business Lead at Plaid [Read the full interview [https://calixa.io/blog/building-a-product-led-sdr-team]] Product-led sales teams smooth out bumps in the road to accelerate customer adoption and satisfaction. Lead Organizational Buy-In As products move upmarket, selling becomes more complex. Salespeople take on a highly strategic partnership role that requires navigating multiple stakeholders—including end users, the executive sponsor, finance, legal, IT and security. > 'We believe that great Growth AEs are world-class business partners. That's not lip service. We are really tough on the organization and on ourselves to be incredibly good at understanding who we're talking to: what they care about, what the business case is, what the business is trying to do long-term and short-term, and how we can impact it.' –Sam Werboff, Head of Expansion Sales at Airtable [Read the full interview [https://calixa.io/blog/the-rise-of-the-growth-ae-airtable]] Salespeople work with users to generate organizational buy-in together. Users need a strong business case to be properly equipped for internal selling. While a product-led motion does generate initial buy-in, crafting that strategic business case is still hard work. > 'I think the beauty of PLG is you can use product-led growth to build a customer base, and then when the time is right—for example, what I'm doing at Webflow now—we bring in reps to help users increase their value through a broader deployment. It takes a village to craft a business case to get these enterprise organizations using our enterprise-tier product.' –Katie Cascino, Account Executive at Webflow [Read the full interview [https://calixa.io/blog/webflow-plg-product-led-sales]] The value proposition that landed users on the self-serve plan is very different from the business case for enterprise plans. Higher paid plans allow users to unlock additional features, integrations, and usage—while benefiting the organization with security and custom SLA's. It's incredibly important to articulate these differences. > 'It typically is a pretty big jump from the credit card plan to the invoice plan. With the Enterprise tier, you have to be more strategic. That's why customers buy through the sales rep. What I'm finding is the buyer of the credit card plan is not usually going to be the buyer of the enterprise plan. So you've got to be able to spider web through the organization and do some digging to uncover a larger use case. Just upselling them for the project that they need the credit card plan for is not the play.' –Meredith Doty, Account Executive at Contentful [Read the full interview [https://calixa.io/blog/land-and-expand-in-product-led-sales]] Salespeople are key to helping users roll out their product throughout the organization. However many of your users may already love the product, sales teams must be there to address fundamental questions around security and high-level questions around return on investment. Build Trust As deal sizes increase, buyers want a human connection. They'd like to see the people behind the product before signing a large commitment. Sales teams earn trust through long-term customer relationships. Especially within SaaS, buyers aren't here to make a one-time transaction. Customers will only stick around if every sales conversation adds value rather than extracts it. > 'It's not selling at all costs. Our goal is to land that customer and make them happy in the process. It's okay to not extract all the revenue possible in the first sale. We know that once we land them, their usage will grow. You need to be thinking long-term.' –Dan McKnight, Director of Sales for North America at Mixpanel [Read the full interview [https://calixa.io/blog/how-to-build-product-led-sales-team]] There's no replacement for human-to-human relationships. Value-driven narratives ensure customers know you're here to help. Great sales teams use product signals to consistently drive value. Closing Thoughts In this product-led age, people are amazed that users still talk to sales. There's a common misconception that everything—including sales—can be done in-product. Product-led sales practitioners know nothing is further from the truth. > 'I think it's really dangerous to say that the product sells itself. It might sell itself for an amount that is much less than if a human was involved. It might sell itself in a way that's not healthy long-term. It might sell itself and churn six months later. PLG to me is sales. They're one and the same. The marriage between product-led and sales-led is really important. Product-led is a data point, but it's still a sales lead. We are still the ones driving the conversations around revenue for the business.' –Sam Werboff, Head of Expansion Sales at Airtable [Read the full interview [https://calixa.io/blog/the-rise-of-the-growth-ae-airtable]] Sales teams are a value-add at product-led companies. They marry top-down and bottom-up motions to fully reach and monetize an organization's addressable market. Next, let's take a look at what product-led sales actually is. [https://calixa.io/blog/what-is-product-led-sales]
Product Updates: April 2022
We had a solid set of launches this month, including an easier way to manage lists, our eagerly anticipated Clearbit and Amplitude integrations, and Customer Fit scoring. 🧩 Customer Fit Scoring Calixa customers have been using our Product Intent Score [https://calixa.io/blog/new-feature-engagement-scoring-crm] to effectively find and prioritize their most engaged users, and based on the positive feedback we received, we decided to add a second score type. We now give you the ability to evaluate users and accounts based on Customer Fit. This gives you the ability to set criteria like company size, funding amount, title and industry that align with your ideal customer profile. Once configured, fit scores can then be used to filter and prioritize PQL or other account lists. 👨👩👧👦 Clearbit PQL Enrichment Speaking of Customer Fit, we also partnered with Clearbit [https://clearbit.com/] to enrich your leads directly in Calixa. You'll instantly know more about who signs up are and what company they work for, even if they don't share this info. This expands the set of attributes that you can incorporate into your Customer Fit score. You now have access to over 100 points of data about the user and the company. like, Employee title, Number of employees, Annual revenue, and Industry. Check out the blog post [https://calixa.io/blog/clearbit-product-qualified-lead] for more detail. 📈 Amplitude Integration We officially rolled out our Amplitude integration which syncs event data directly to Calixa. You'll get a real-time view of your customers behavior, be able to prioritize customers with their engagement metrics and filter down to specific groups of users with our event property filters [https://calixa.io/blog/segment-event-property-filtering]. All of this can be enabled by simply entering your Amplitude API keys. 🗂 View Tabs You have probably already created your first custom views to find PQLs, Power Users, Growing Accounts or other interesting segments of users. Now we are giving you a better way of organizing the views you frequently reference. The new tab layout brings the most used lists to the forefront. You can easily drag and drop new lists to create an order that suits your workflow, saving you time. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Thanks for reading! You can stay in the loop by subscribing to our blog [https://calixa.io/blog] and following us on LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/company/calixa-io/]. Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists. ✌️
Product Qualified Lead Enrichment with Clearbit
The best product-led companies make signing up quick and easy. You want to put as little friction in the sign up process as possible. Name, email, and click 'Sign up'. That's it! The big downside is that you get limited data about who that user is and what company they work for. So how do you know if an account fits your Ideal Customer Profile? That's where lead enrichment comes in. You need to pull in data about users and accounts so that you can prioritize. Calixa + Clearbit Calixa has partnered with Clearbit [https://clearbit.com/] to enrich your leads directly in Calixa. You'll know who the user is and what company they work for. This way you effectively prioritize your product-qualified leads. You'll have access to over 100 points of data about the user and the company. Here are some examples of the data you'll have access to: * Number of employees * Funding raised * Annual revenue * Industry * Full name of user * Employee title * LinkedIn Handle * Github ID * Twitter ID * Twitter Followers * The list goes on and on! We make it easy to use this data all throughout the Calixa product. Here's an example of what it looks when prioritizing your leads: Here are some other ways you can use it. * Enhanced User and Account Context → Add Clearbit data to any of your user and account views to give reps extra context over who they are talking to. It can help reps prioritize which user in an account to talk to. For example, you might want to message the manager level user for a pricing conversation. * Customer Fit Scoring → Use Clearbit data in your customer fit scoring. Don't make reps have to think about who is a good fit or not. You can use Calixa's Scoring + Clearbit data to give them guidance on which accounts and users to be talking to. For example, makes sure reps are only talking to accounts with at least 50 employees. * Accounts Alerts → Get alerted any time a company of a certain size or users with specific titles sign up. We have one customer who gets alerts whenever a user with a high Twitter following signs up. They know that these accounts can be important influencers for their product. How to Get Started To get started, all you need to do is sign up for a Clearbit account. Go to the Calixa Integration page [https://console.calixa.io/integrations] and click 'Add Integration'. Select Clearbit and paste your Clearbit Secret Key in the form. If you need any help setting up Clearbit, don't hesitate to email email@example.com and we will help you out.
How to Prioritize PQLs with Calixa
PQLs are the best way to keep sales operations efficient as your signup volume scales. Knowing who to talk to ensures you don't waste time on leads with low chances of conversion. Working the right leads enables larger deals. PQLs are self-qualified, sales-ready users who meet your organization's Customer Fit (eg. size of company, buyer role, industry) and Product Usage criteria. Both of these provide good indicators that an account is ready to purchase. Calixa helps you intelligently find your best users. When starting off, it can be helpful to categorize leads in four buckets: Create Your First PQL List in Calixa Calixa combines all your product and CRM data into one place. This enables you to create lists of product-qualified leads using any combination of product usage, user, account, or CRM data. Here's how to create a basic user list in a few steps: 1. Create a list of users that have recently signed up for your product. 2. Sort the list by a key product usage metric. For example, it could be a user who performed 5 or more key product actions (such as projects created, documents published, deploys, etc.) 3. Next, you can filter that list to only those users that you own. We pull this ownership data from your CRM. Each rep can see their own view of the accounts they own. 4. If you want to make sure that you're only talking to companies of a certain size, you could add another filter based on employee count. You can get this information via Calixa's Clearbit integration. The great thing is you can use any of the data and usage metrics you send to Calixa for filtering your PQL list. That way, you're only talking to high value users. Adding additional data to your list Need to add data into your view? Let's say you want to show what pricing plan users are on. Simply click the add column button on the right. Any CRM properties, product usage metrics, billing info, etc. can be added to a list. Creating an Account List Some businesses prefer to look at accounts instead of individual end users. An account view rolls up all usage metrics from underlying users so you can find your most active accounts. Here are examples of account lists you can try: * To find which accounts are growing the fastest, you can sort the number of users added to the account. * You can add in a key product actions that indicate an account has hit that 'aha moment.' * You can then filter by the pricing plan (trial, team, etc.) they're on to focus on free-to-paid conversion or expansion opportunities. Scoring To make lists easier to prioritize, you can generate scores that quickly show who you should be talking to. Scores are great because they include multiple properties into a single summarized metric. With Calixa, you can customize the two major components of PQL scoring: * Customer Fit * Product Usage For example, let's say your Ideal Customer Profile (aka Customer Fit) includes companies with over 100 employees, that have raised more than $10M, and based in the US, CA, or UK. Let's then say strong Product Intent signals are when an account has added more than 5 users in a week and created more than 3 projects in the last 30 days. Once you have your Scoring setup, you can use the scores all throughout the Calixa product. They're useful in lists when prioritizing who to speak with. You can also use them to power automated alerts. You can learn more about Scoring criteria here. That's it! You're on your way to finding PQLs.
'Land and Expand' in Product-Led Sales - Contentful
We were lucky to get a chance to chat with Meredith Doty, an Account Executive at Contentful. Meredith began her SaaS Sales journey at LogMeIn and has been selling SaaS products for over 7 years. For those who don't already know about Contentful, it's one of most popular headless CMS and was recently valued at over $3 billion. What types of leads do you work at Contentful? Majority of our opportunities are inbound leads and hand-raisers. All of them have varying levels of product usage. The tricky part is that product usage is all over the gamut. So it's our job as salespeople to understand from the get-go where the customer is in their product adoption journey. Their familiarity with the product very much influences how long the sales cycle will still be. How does product usage affect the sales cycle? People who've tried the product are going to move much quicker. They already have a high level of education and understanding of the product. At that point, all that hard work is done for me. In cold outreach, I have to pitch the concept of headless CMS versus a traditional CMS. That's a new concept for many still. Then we figure out how to work with developers to build out the stack and manage the implementation timeline. We have to develop the whole conversation. There's a huge time cost that comes with that. What do conversations with product qualified leads look like? Rather than a hard sell, it's more teasing out how far we can take this opportunity. There's a lot you can learn by asking about the different projects within the organization. That helps you uncover a couple more use cases. Depending on how large the business is, I also ask for introductions among the organization to meet different teams and see what's on their mind and any projects on their roadmap that could be a fit for our product. From there, we talk through what ROI they can expect by using Contentful and a Jamstack architecture, plus what's in it for the people working on the projects–whether it be from the builder's side or the content creator side. Ultimately, the more projects an organization rolls Contentful out to, the stickier it will be to the client. Your sales are going to exponentially grow if you take that time to dig a little deeper. Do you focus on product usage before signing contracts? It's definitely a land and expand play. That's my MO here. Because once you kind of get people going and prove it out, the sales friction dramatically decreases. First they get their systems developed and up and running. Then from a sales perspective, teams start talking internally and the legal process is already done. So all you have to do is send over an order form when they're ready to buy. So if customers can build on their own, what's the role of Sales? There are two key roles. First, we need to give them ideas of what other companies have done, and what the other use cases are. They could just be thinking in one way, but another company is using it in a completely different way that they would have never thought of. A big part of my job is to educate them on the possibilities. It's helping to build the vision together and letting them dream a little bigger. Second, expansion deals require building relationships from the very beginning. It starts from that initial call. The relationships you establish from education and rapport are the key to spiderwebbing through an organization. Sales has the unique ability to discover and solve for pain points throughout an organization and it would be doing everyone a disservice to not have that human connection. What's the toughest part about moving an account from a self-serve plan to an Enterprise plan? It typically is a pretty big jump from the credit card plan to the invoice plan. With the Enterprise tier, you have to be more strategic. That's why customers buy through the sales rep. What I'm finding is the buyer of the credit card plan is not usually going to be the buyer of the enterprise plan. So you've got to be able to spider web through the organization and do some digging to uncover a larger use case. Just upselling them for the project that they need the credit card plan for is not the play.
The Rise of the Growth AE - Airtable
Tell me about your role at Airtable I run the growth side of the Airtable sales organization. I oversee all sales expansion motions across different company size segments. The Sales organization is split by New Business and Growth. The New Business team is responsible for landing net new logos. Then our Growth team is responsible for expanding those accounts once they land with us. What excites you about selling at a product-led company? Airtable has a large number of organic signups–an awareness of the product that I've just never seen before. This bottom-up motion is a massive opportunity for user activation and conversion experiments. One of the beautiful things about Airtable is that it's the most horizontal product I've ever used. Every single person in the company and every vertical can use it. So we have a large addressable audience and can find many different ways to expand within an account. How do your Growth AEs find an expansion opportunity? The marriage between bottoms-up PLG and tops-down sales is so important. When that starts to happen, plenty of expansion opportunities present themselves. Expansion opportunities usually appear in three ways: * First is organic product adoption. Cross-functional teams start using the product, which makes way for sales conversations. * Second is through ongoing conversations that we do to support them. The Growth AE and Customer Success Manager talk with our product champions and pre-existing users around where the value is. Inevitably, it will open up conversations with other teams, because Airtable is best when used cross-functionally. * Third is purely top-down enterprise sales. That's us being really proactive with our accounts and leveraging that initial use case to go into other business units. How do Growth AE's develop a new enterprise relationship? There's always, inevitably going to be conversations around what features and services come with enterprise, and how those features and services align with your business. We want to establish a human-to-human business relationship with enterprises. Airtable's superpower is when many cross-functional teams use the product. There's a whole suite of services that come with the enterprise team. You have your Growth AE, Customer Success, and Technical services. All of them come together in this symphony to support the customer. In the presale motion, we're very clear about this package and why they will be successful with us. What's the right amount of product data to enable reps? I don't think there's one right answer for this. Some accounts you'll want to talk to because of the intensity of the product usage. Others might be light users of the product but they're part of a big company so we want to talk to them. Ultimately, we want to simplify that for the reps. Especially since understanding product usage could be a number of different data points. We need to provide easy ways for them to understand who to talk to and why. We've started to generate our homegrown definition of a PQL based on product behaviors and customer fit. We surface combinations of behaviors that actually lead to revenue-generating conversations. Sales reps get relevant data points on the lead and know why that person is someone they should talk to. The ideal state is to do the data analysis for reps. You don't want to throw in too much data. You want to let the team sprint. What qualities do you want in your Growth AEs? We believe that great Growth AEs are world-class business partners. That's not lip service. We are really tough on the organization and on ourselves to be incredibly good at understanding who we're talking to: what they care about, what the business case is, what the business is trying to do long-term and short-term, and how we can impact it. That's the kind of the culture and role this is. Yes, we're revenue driven, but the means by which we get there is by high business acumen. We're relationship-focused rather than transactional, while also being revenue-driven and very much a sales organization. I always use this metaphor people make fun of. I think the ideal profile is what I call an athletic nerd. It's basically the athlete–the person who's got all of those sales attributes. They're competitive with a ton of hustle, and they're really motivated to drive revenue for the business. But they have a business acumen and intellectual curiosity that feels truly sincere. This combination is a really good customer experience. What's the role of sales in Product-Led Growth (PLG) world? PLG is a great experience for the customer. They get to use the tool and they get to try things out on their own. We want to give people the opportunity to run things. It's also a great opportunity for sales to be informed and intelligent business partners when we reach out. We're not just doing the classic 1990s of pounding the phones for hours. The product team is great at enabling the user in the product itself, and even booking meetings from the product. At the same time, I think it's really dangerous to say that the product sells itself. It might sell itself for an amount that is much less than if a human was involved. It might sell itself in a way that's not healthy long-term. It might sell itself and churn six months later. PLG to me is sales. They're one and the same. The marriage between product-led and sales-led is really important. Product-led is a data point, but it's still a sales lead. We are still the ones driving the conversations around revenue for the business.
Building a Product-Led Sales Development team
Tell us about your role at Plaid I am the new business lead at Plaid. Our team is responsible for generating revenue pipeline. We split our team into groups: inbound and outbound. Our inbound team is responsible for working with prospects who have expressed some form of intent: signed up, testing our APIs, filled out a contact sales form, etc. Our outbound team is looking for companies who have a key pain that Plaid can help them with. We are reaching out to companies to educate them about Plaid. How do you segment your inbound team? We break down the inbound team into three groups. First, we released live chat recently on the website so that we can make sure that those who eagerly need to talk to a sales person have that opportunity. Second, we've got a team that's focused on responding to the contact sales form. So if you submit a form, we try to get back to you within a couple of hours. Third, we have a team that's focused on people who are more casually learning, investigating. These leads need more nurturing and education. What's the a-ha moment for your customers? For Plaid, the best thing for us to do is get the API in the hands of the developer. It's hard for someone to imagine what's possible if it's not the world you live in. We want the developer to see the magic of our platform. Once they see how easily they can make great experiences for their customers, they're hooked. I saw the same thing at Twilio where I led a similar team. The power of a Product-Led model is that product is your advantage. As a salesperson at a product-led company, your job is to educate and evangelize. Your role is to accelerate the sale and ensure that your customers are successful. What's the role of a SDR in a Product-Led company? One of our core principles on the team is ABH, which is a play on the old sales adage ABC: Always Be Closing. ABH means 'Always Be Helping'. We need to first think about how we help our customers. And so what that means is we deal with folks across a spectrum of awareness and education. Sometimes we are working with people who are new to this space. Maybe they've just signed up and are looking to learn more. We need to offer knowledge and expertise to make these people successful. Other times people come to us and they say: 'I have a fire in my house. Please help me solve it.' And so we respond to them urgently and get them set up with the resources they need to start building the plan immediately. The BDR needs to figure out what's needed in that situation and respond accordingly. What qualities do you look for when hiring BDRs? For a product like ours, technical aptitude, obviously, first and foremost. Now, this doesn't mean they have had to go be a software developer previously. You don't have to be able to do that, but we want to know that you have the ability to communicate complex ideas to a variety of different audiences. Second, Emotional intelligence is really important for us. People are dynamic. People are different. You have to be able to read your context, situations and emotions of your audience to deliver what they need. So once you've hired a BDR, how do you make them successful? We train you up, We focus on product, processes, and people in the organization. We go through a rigorous certification process to make sure that we are delivering our A game to our customers. We do mock calls. We record them and give feedback afterwards. Once someone has got that down, you move on to live calls. We record those too, and do coaching afterwards. The BDR role is often someone's first sales role. Our goal is to give you a solid foundation for your long-term career. I am passionate about the role of the BDR org as a talent pipeline for the rest of the company. So after they've been trained, what's next for a BDR in your org? Once someone's mastered fundamental sales skills and mastered the product, then we start conversations about what's next. What skills and experiences do they want and how can we help them get there in the next 12 to 18 months. We're working together to help them verify that those are actually things they might want to do or continue to do. Maybe you say, actually, I hate doing this. That's good to find out early in your career. Most of the BDRs graduate into other Sales roles: AEs or AMs. Some find that their passions are in adjacent orgs like Sales Ops or Marketing. We've even had some move into areas like Product. That's impressive. How are you able to grow talent like that? It's also a matter of staying connected to different functional leaders to see what is your appetite for talent. While they may be junior in their career, we've equipped them with a unique skill. Our team is some of the most knowledgeable product experts in the company and who know the most about our customers. The BDR role is at the intersection of what the market demands and what our product offers. And that knowledge sets people apart. It's something that other teams and leaders want to tap. It's a win-win for the organization. In the last 10 years, have you seen any changes in what you look for in reps? What's interesting is that ten years ago people thought the greatest AEs had to be the ones who are the loudest in the room. And I'm super excited to see that has shifted. It's now more assist, don't sell. Educate, don't pitch. Even enterprise AEs are taking that approach. Maybe they have different skills in navigating an organization, but in many ways these BDR roles are the training grounds. This role helps you mature as a sales professional.
Product Updates - March 2022
March was an exciting month for releases. We launched Journey view, increased the flexibility of our filters to support event properties, completed an integration with reverse ETL provider Hightouch, and added Redshift to our list of supported data warehouses. 🛤 Journey view Journey View [https://calixa.io/blog/journey-view-product-led-sales] allows Sales and Success teams to better understand where customers are in the activation lifecycle and engage with full context. They're fully customizable so you can tailor Journeys to your unique business. Journey view shows you who is ready to buy, who got stuck in onboarding, who's an internal advocate and everything in between. Milestones can be easily configured to align with the key stages in your customer activation funnel and can be viewed at the user, account or team level. 🥑 Event property filters We are excited to announce [https://calixa.io/blog/segment-event-property-filtering] that we have now extended all of our filters to include event properties. This additional flexibility enables more companies to identify their top users and accounts, without having to ask a developer to update their implementation. You can use event properties in custom views [https://console.calixa.io/views/users/all], automations [https://console.calixa.io/automations], scoring [https://console.calixa.io/product-usage-scoring], and journeys [https://console.calixa.io/journey] which makes it easier than ever to take on tasks like this no matter how your data is structured: * Segmenting your pipeline between free, team and enterprise users * Setting up a Slack alert when a user adds a specific type of integration * Filter your signups based on their industry or use case * Identifying free users using premium features 🙏 Hightouch Reverse ETL tools like Hightouch help many of our customers keep all the tools in their stack in sync with the source of truth, the data warehouse. Companies using Hightouch can now reverse ETL their user, account, metric and custom object data without having to build out any complex integrations. 🧮 Redshift Beta We are excited to launch a beta of our latest warehouse connector. You can now sync your accounts, users, usage data, and custom objects to Calixa directly from your Redshift warehouse. This empowers the GTM team with self-serve reporting, dashboards, 360° customer views, and automated workflows. If you are interested in giving it a try, shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Intro to Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)
The number one problem we hear from salespeople at product-led companies is: 'I have so many users I could talk to. Where do I focus?' Enter the product-qualified lead (PQL). The PQL combines signals from both what the lead is doing in your product AND who they are. * Intent → how is the user or account using your product? (product usage) * Fit → are they the right buyer for our product? (customer profile / ICP) By leveraging product usage signals, you're talking to prospects who are ready to talk to Sales. As a result, PQLs convert 5X better than MQLs. PQLs can be used to find both: * Freemium or trial accounts ready to convert * Paid accounts who are expanding / ready for enterprise plan Product Usage = Real Intent A core component to your PQL definition is product usage. Product-led companies are sitting on a treasure-trove of usage data that is a valuable signal. How an account is using your product provides insight into how real their intent is. It answers questions like: * How intensely are they using the product? * Have they uncovered the core value of our product? * Are they using the product in the way that indicates they need a higher tier plan? Answers to these gives Sales a foundation on which to have a conversation with the customer. This is a massive advantage for PLG companies. Sales can use PQLs to identify who to talk to and use the usage itself as the conversation starter for their sales engagement. It makes the outreach relevant. Because companies are different, so too is the product usage criteria that defines a PQLs. Here are some examples that products might have: Created more than 50 tasks and invited 10 users in last 30 days Created 10 boards and have 20 daily active users Made > 100 API calls in last 30 days and bought a phone number Guidelines for choosing product usage criteria When figuring what your own product usage criteria should be, it's important to look at: * What do existing successful customers look like? * What are the key milestones in the customer journey? (eg what's the aha moment) * What volume of leads can our Sales team handle today? * What size customer is worth it to involve sales? You don't need to have one and only one definition. You can further segment into levels of product intent via multiple definitions. We generally recommend it's best to start with one and add once you've mastered that. PQLs = Fit + Intent While product usage is a powerful indicator of intent, usage alone doesn't make someone a PQL. Your PQL definition needs to combine both intent and fit to ensure you're talking to the right leads. * Intent → are they going to use our product? * Fit → are they the right buyer/persona for our product? To figure out Fit, companies often leverage firmographic data (eg role, industry, company size, etc) from providers like Clearbit, Zoominfo, PeopleDataLabs. Using data providers to enrich your signups will give you insight into things like: * Industry → Is this company in the right industry? * Funding → Do they have enough funding such that they'd be willing to pay? * Company Size →Is the company big enough to have this problem / willing to pay? * Title →Which of the users has the buying authority for the company? If you don't want to rely on data providers alone, it's increasingly common for companies to have quick questionnaires (5 questions or less) when customers signs up. It will ask things like industry, use case, etc, as part of the sign up flow. This data is a great way to augment or get around the need of data providers. Tiering your PQLs These tiers are ranked by the expected value of the account converting (eg high probability of close and high value deal). Tiers change how sales teams should approach the leads. Tier 1: This group has a very high propensity to buy. They are using product intensely and fit your customer profile. These accounts should be sellers #1 focus. They are likely to close faster than any other deals. Tier 2: This group is fits your customer profile well but is using your product in a limited way. A salesperson should definitely reach out and figure out how to get the account more engaged. This is where new motions of product-led selling and product evangelism are very successful. Tier 3: This group may or may not be worth your time depending on deal size. They are very active accounts but may be smaller or not ideal use cases. You need to figure out if the deal size warrants a salesperson getting involved or just let the accounts self-serve with marketing nurture. For Tier 3, you may be able to find new use cases that simply require slight tweaks to packaging and pricing to make it worth Sales' time. Customers often find new ways to use your product that you don't expect. So, you may need to respond with a tweaks to packaging and pricing.
Finding your ideal customers, now more flexible than ever
When speaking with product-led sales leaders about how usage data impacts daily workflows, one common objection is that the data is often messy. Every business has a unique customer journey and set of PQL criteria, with countless ways that that this data gets tracked. Many of our customers send their event data to Calixa using Segment, and prior to today, we allowed customers to filter and prioritize users and accounts based on user and account traits. We are excited to announce that we have now extended all of our filters to include event properties. This additional flexibility enables more companies to identify their top users and accounts, without having to ask a developer to update their implementation. Identifying the right users with event properties You can use event properties in custom views [https://console.calixa.io/views/users/all], automations [https://console.calixa.io/automations], scoring [https://console.calixa.io/product-usage-scoring], and journeys [https://console.calixa.io/journey] which makes it easier than ever to take on tasks like this no matter how your data is structured: * Segmenting your pipeline between free, team and enterprise users * Setting up a Slack alert when a user adds a specific type of integration * Filter your signups based on their industry or use case * Identifying free users using premium features Setting up your first property filter From Calixa's list view, add a new filter, and select one of Segment event metrics. A good place to start would be filtering for users that have used a premium feature but not currently on a paid plan. Once added, you will instantly see users that meet those filter criteria. Give it a try and let us know what you think! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Transform your Product-Led Sales Pipeline with Journey View
The Product-led Sales motion is all about helping buyers realize value before asking them to pay. To effectively do this, sales needs a way of understanding where their customers are on the journey from signup to activation. Having this context ensures that outreach is relevant and drives more conversions. For example, someone that has newly signed up is going to need to hear a different pitch than a power user who has invited several team members. A new way to identify and engage with PQLs Calixa is excited to launch Journey View, which allows Sales and Success teams to better understand where customers are in the activation lifecycle and engage with full context. They're fully customizable so you can tailor Journeys to your unique business. Journey view shows you who is ready to buy, who got stuck in onboarding, who's an internal advocate and everything in between. Milestones can be easily configured to align with the key stages in your customer activation funnel and can be viewed at the user, account or team level. An account or team journey might look something like: Account Created > Multiple Users Added > Pro Plan Usage Reached Whereas milestones in a user journey may be more focussed on completion of onboarding or usage of features: Signup > First Key Actions > Invited teammate > Healthy Product Usage This gives reps an easy way to identify top users in each stage of the journey and reach out with contextually aware messaging. Configuring your first Journey Let's walk through how you can quickly set this up in Calixa. Milestone #1: Recent Signups The first milestone for almost all product-led, freemium, or self-serve companies is the signup. As a rep, I care most about recent signups so I am going to filter to users "first seen in the last 30 days." Tracking your signupsSuggested Milestone Actions: * offer 1:1 onboarding * send getting started materials * schedule product demo Milestone #2: First Key Actions This will vary based on the type of product you offer, but there is generally 1 or a set of actions that correspond with someone starting to use the product. It is important for a sales rep to understand who has moved from the "signup and do nothing" stage to beginning activation. In this case I am going to set a couple conditions for hitting this milestone. Users who have started to take actionSuggested Milestone Actions: * nudge to next step in product adoption * solicit feedback on the product experience * offer support if there are issues Milestone #3: Invited Teammate After some product usage, a key behavior for SaaS users is to invite their teammates. See who has invited a teammateSuggested Milestone Actions: * coordinate team training Milestone #4: Healthy Product Usage Determining when product usage has reached a healthy point is often times when it makes sense to make things official. Pick a few actions that you have seen other users take before converting to paying accounts. When users reach this final milestone, its time to get them on the right plan. Suggested Milestone Actions: * pricing discussions Give it a try and let us know what you think! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
How to build your Product-led Sales team
What do Mixpanel sales motions look like? We have a product-led sales motion and enterprise sales motion. As a Sales organization, we need to be nimble enough to handle both types. There are people who are signing up, getting value for free before they need to or want to talk to anyone. There are also people who want to talk to sales and have an enterprise sales conversation. The Product-led Sales motion has always been important to us. Our freemium offering has been a great foundation for that. We are doubling down on our sales-assist motions because it's been performing so well. Why is a Product-Led Sales Motion so powerful for Mixpanel? We want to get people into our product to see the value of it. It makes the Sales conversation a lot easier. When they see their data in Mixpanel reports, they get hooked. Customers are willing to make a bunch of the progress on their own. We're there to remove obstacles and coach them to success. Even in enterprise sales conversations, our goal is to get the customer into at least a proof of concept. Once they start using the product, they get it and it makes the Sales conversation so much smoother. How does the Product-Led Sales motion look different between SMB and the Mid-Market? For SMB, which is roughly companies with up to 200 employees, the decision maker, implementer, and end user is all in the same team. So they tend to move fast and our job is making sure they get through any hiccups and understand the full value of the product. This is very much a sales-assist motion. For the Mid-Market, It gets more complex when you add more stakeholders. Our strategy is trying to target a specific team and run that similar product-led motion with that team to prove it out. You want to get that initial success in place and then grow it across teams. It's very much land and expand. For example, we might first get success with the Mobile team. After that, the Web team will see the value and want to implement it as well. For the Mid-Market, it can definitely be more like a traditional enterprise sale but we try to use elements of the Sales-assist motion because it can be very successful. What are the challenges for a technical product like Mixpanel? It can be a tricky balance for a technical product. You want to find the right balance of quick onboarding and time to value while at the same time setting them up for long-term success. If you rush a customer, they can end up with a bad implementation, which can actually lead to poor experience. So it's really on the rep to guide the customer through the process. What do you look for in a Product-Led Sales rep? You need to be data driven, curious, and have the ability to balance wanting to help with keeping your Sales hat on. It's a high velocity motion so you need to keep a bunch of conversations moving along and spend the appropriate amount of effort on the right deals. Also, it's not selling at all costs. Our goal is to land that customer and make them happy in the process. It's okay to not extract all the revenue possible in the first sale. We know that once we land them, their usage will grow. You need to be thinking long-term. How do you compensate your Sales-Assist reps to keep incentives aligned? We believe it's important to have both an individual component and a team component. The personal component is key because you do want to give reps a reason to touch more accounts and close more deals. You want to incentivize hustle. You also need to make sure to give Sales-Assist reps an incentive to hand off a deal to the enterprise team when the deal warrants it. The team component is in there because you want to make sure they don't have a win at all costs mentality. We have NPS for customers publicly internally so it would be apparent to all if someone was taking that approach. We've never had an issue with that though. How do you divide your Sales-Assist motions across freemium and paid accounts? We have different teams and motions for each. One set is working freemium accounts and getting them onto paid plans. Another is working with paid plans that would benefit from a higher tier plan. Each motion has different playbooks and messaging so it's really important to specialize. You'll see better results. How do you score your Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) for these motions? For anyone who signs up and is in our freemium tier, we look at: * How much they are using the product * What their use case is * Who they are We use these attributes to tier our PQLs. It's based on our ICP and the revenue potential. For example: * We may have a PQL that is high usage but from a 20 person startup. We want to talk to them because of their usage and we trust in their long-term growth. * We may have a PQL that has zero usage but it's from an enterprise company. We want to talk to them based on who they are alone. It's important that you have different playbooks and cadences based on what type of PQL they are. How much do you customize your outreach to customers? We have a bunch of different cadences and playbooks that we've tested. So each rep doesn't really need to do much customization at all when they are sending initial outreach. Having access to product insights is most critical when it comes time to meet with the customer. We want to go into that conversation having an understanding of how they are using our product. Context builds credibility, and it helps us best guide the conversation.
Unlock Product-Led Sales with the Modern Data Stack
We sat down with Daniel, Head of Customer Success & Experience at Voiceflow to discuss how they are using Calixa to power their GTM workflows. When we last spoke with Daniel, Voiceflow was primarily using Calixa to automate Customer Success workflows [https://calixa.io/blog/voiceflow-uses-calixa-automate-account-plg]. However over the last few months, they have made significant progress implementing the modern data stack. This started with consolidating all of their customer data within BigQuery, making the data warehouse their source of truth. Calixa's native BigQuery connector [https://calixa.io/blog/modern-data-stack-warehouse-connectors-plg] made exposing this data to sales and success teams a no-brainer. Maintaining focus while scaling Voiceflow's growth was the primary catalyst for standardizing around the modern data stack. Early on, they learned that customer data was essential in the sales and success motions, and as they continued to land and expand new accounts, the volume of data in disparate tools began to explode. With the sales team growing from 1 to 5 reps and customer success tripling, it quickly became clear that expecting employees to log into 5+ tools to get the data they needed to do their job, was not going to scale. Customer trials are an integral part of the Voiceflow sales motion, but reps were left with little visibility into which trials were going well and which were going to expire without converting. Daniel shared the need for a tool that makes it easy for anyone to pull actionable insights. > As our sales and success teams started to grow, we needed a platform that would make it easy for an account executive or support rep or CSM to actually understand the buyer journey, like how trials are performing and prospects are using the tool, then be able to turn those into actionable insights. Voiceflow had implemented Mixpanel for product analytics, but it wasn't the right tool for the customer teams. > If you don't really understand how our data is set up, Mixpanel is difficult to navigate. It was essential that we found a tool that was easy to use for everyone from Sales to Success. The BigQuery + Calixa Unlock Thanks to the investments Voiceflow had made in the modern data stack. Giving sales people the data they need to manage trials, close deals and grow accounts was a breeze. > The thing that got us really excited to start using Calixa was the integration of BigQuery. Being able to have our team create custom views in BigQuery and then being able to leverage those in Calixa in combination with all of our other data like Segment events and Intercom conversations allowed us to actually paint a full 360 degree picture of our customers. Not having to involve developers was also a huge win. > We were able to get setup with minimal developer help compared to some of the other tools we were using in the past, like Mixpanel. Ensuring Trial Success Managing trials to conversion is an integral part of Voiceflow's GTM motion, but before Calixa reps were often flying blind. > Before Calixa, it was a black box. We didn't have any idea how prospects were using the Voiceflow or even a means of easily seeing which trials were active and expiring. Most people didn't even know where to look at to go find this information. Managing this process with Calixa is simple and effective: * Calixa Segments are prebuilt to show sales reps their active trials that require attention. * Clicking into trial accounts help reps uncover usage details, find the top users, get context from Intercom conversations, and find opportunities to nudge the customer. * When trials require attention Account executives receive Slack alerts to ensure nothing slips through the cracks. * With full context, they can then put together a plan for ensuring the trial converts to a paying customer. Becoming Data Driven Before Calixa, Daniel describes a world where reps would login to Intercom to search for when a user was last seen. > The data we had access to in Intercom was extremely limited. You can really only see things like when the user was last seen rather than how they are actually utilizing the tool... And just because someone was last seen a couple of days ago doesn't and mean they're actually using the tool at all. This newfound visibility that Calixa is providing into the customer journey has caused the sales team to change the way they engage with customers. > The biggest change has been how the sales team approaches their prospective customers. Reps now go into every deal fully informed, with a data driven perspective. They understand where the customer is getting value, what core features are being used, how many users in the account, who are the champions. All of this gives them a better chance to succeed. What's on the Horizon Voiceflow is always looking for ways that they can use data to improve how they engage with customers. They are currently exploring Segment Personas [https://segment.com/product/personas/] which will improve the way they target and engage with users, plus it works out of the box with Calixa. > We are looking forward to being able to use Segment properties to identify groups users and then actually run automations that send out email campaigns, Outreach sequences, even just pinging ourselves in Slack. Finally, Daniel is excited about taking advantage of Calixa's sales engagement integrations with Outreach. > I'm working with the sales team to get them using Calixa's Outreach integration. This will allow us to add potential prospects to campaigns or even see who's been emailed and who hasn't. It's stuff like this that we've dreamed of doing for the past year, but we just haven't had the tools or data to pull off.
3 Types of SaaS Sales Models
There are three GTM sales motions found at B2B companies today. Each one seeks to maximize annual recurring revenue in different ways. Traditional enterprise sales has been around for a couple decades. Self-serve and hybrid models have emerged in the past several years. Self-Serve: The Most Efficient Self-serve is a bottoms-up sales motion, with customers as the end users. Users try out a product's free tier and potentially upgrade for more features. Self-serve pricing is affordable. Deal sizes are small, but the volume of transactions is high. This model is heavily inspired by consumer software, where the product is easy to use and purchase without hand holding from sales reps. Given the pricing, creating a sales team simply isn't cost-efficient. For example, Calendly first began as self-serve. With the first paid tier being $8 a month, it wouldn't make sense to have a sales rep close just this one user. A key component of self-serve is that users sign up for the product for free instead of going through lead forms and demos. This product-led approach is increasingly common because it reduces customer acquisition costs (CAC). Self-serve is highly efficient. The limitation is that it's product-only, with no involvement from sales teams. In B2B, there is an untapped potential to accelerate sales for larger opportunities through a predictable outbound motion. Enterprise: The Biggest Deals While self-serve is simple and fully automated, enterprise sales is complex and high touch. It starts top-down: sales reps contact executive buyers who manage a sizable team and budget. Through months of demos, negotiations, and due diligence, the account executive convinces the buyer that the product can transform the organization. Because of the large deal size and enterprise product capabilities, both the sales team and buyer want this full-service approach. The sales team gets to establish trust, explain a highly complex product, and tailor the deal. The buyer gets custom contracts, price negotiation, and a point of contact when problems occur. That said, traditional enterprise sales has become less popular in recent years. Although executive buy-in is still needed for large deals, the drawn out sales process and lack of initial adoption from end users is a big hurdle to closing deals. Today's buyers require more agile and short sales cycles. Hybrid: The Best of Both You might've noticed a bit of tug of war between the self-serve and enterprise sales models. How do you balance self-serve's scalable deal volume with enterprise's profitable deal size? Do you have to pick between fully automated versus full-service? Not at all! That's where the hybrid model, also known as product-led sales, comes in. Product-led sales [https://calixa.io/blog/why-product-led-sales-works] starts self-serve and moves upmarket through sales teams. It marries bottoms-up and top-down sales motions. Reps can turn free signups into paid users, or assist a team of active users into an enterprise tier. By talking to high intent Product Qualified Leads [https://www.calixa.io/blog/product-qualified-leads-pqls], sales teams are equipped with concrete use cases to present to buyers. They can assist with further product adoption for end users, along with the high-level administration for executive buyers. Modern SaaS companies like Slack, Zapier, and Notion start out product-led and layer in sales. It is a highly strategic GTM motion to choose. Of course, you can still keep a pure self-serve or pure enterprise motion alongside the hybrid model. Most products today are user-friendly enough to leverage product-led acquisition —AND valuable enough to speak with buyers to unlock additional revenue. Product-led sales combines effective automation with top notch service. Your customers buy in the way they prefer, and your sales achieve non-linear growth. Powering Each Motion There are purpose-built solutions for each model. Traditional CRMs are perfect for enterprise sales. Product analytics are great for self-serve motions. Yet hybrid tooling that combines this sales and product data is still quite new. As Sapphire Ventures noted: > To date, in a hybrid PLG model, there has been a disconnect between the ‘Product-Led' and ‘Rep-Assist' sides of the equation. The product usage data required to bridge the gap has long been available, but a dedicated tool to serve this data to GTM teams has been lacking. Product-led sales has proven so compelling, that many companies spend months to build an internal tool. Now, what if going hybrid was as easy as the other two models? With Calixa, it is.
Starting Your Morning with PQLs
Hookdeck [https://hookdeck.com/] enables developers to instantly and reliably manage webhooks. The company has gained immense early traction, and co-founder Eric Bang Tri Tran [https://www.linkedin.com/in/ebttran/] needed a way to identify the sales-ready users among their free signups. The Hookdeck team utilizes a modern startup stack of Segment, HubSpot, Mixpanel, Stripe, and Customer.io. Eric got interested in Calixa after realizing that despite having all of these tools, there was still a visibility gap in his funnel. People would read helpful web content and sign up, which is tracked as contacts in HubSpot. Once in the product, their usage was tracked in Mixpanel, but there was no sales-centric view of the entire journey. > There's a real gap between product analytics and the action needed to move people along the sales funnel. We're interested in having visibility of product qualified leads, so we can nudge them the right way at the right time. We were constantly thinking, how can we better understand the user journey and capture users' high value activities? After linking Segment, Hubspot and Stripe with Calixa, Eric was able to get insight into which users were worth reaching out to and confidence that he was leading with the right message. He found Calixa's platform so helpful that he starts each day with it. A Co-founder's Morning Routine As Hookdeck's co-founder, Eric constantly balances countless conflicting priorities. Speaking to active users is one thing that he always makes time for. His warm outreach allows him to capitalize on his top of funnel efforts and scale revenue efficiently. > As a one person team, I have like 75 things to do. But talking to the right users is top of my list. I already put so much effort into getting these people on the platform and using it. It's important that I get them across the last mile. Like most startups, Hookdeck regularly iterates on their ideal customer profile. While they have a general idea of who they want to target, Calixa surfaces insights about people Eric may have overlooked. > The insight that Calixa brings helps me be more focused on what brings value. Who are we helping? Who are we really solving a problem for? After finding a sales-ready user, Eric decides the best course of action. He can go from lead qualification to opportunity creation to sales engagement in a single workflow. Whenever he has questions, he's been able to quickly gain context with the data that exists in Calixa. > Starting the day off entirely focused on customers ensures that the decisions I make throughout the day are always in our customers' best interests. My ideal morning looks like: 1) monitoring qualified signups from the day before 2) creating opportunities from that list 3) taking the next best action Who did XYZ? Should I contact them? Is that somebody to upsell? Is there somebody I can nurture? All these questions that are fundamental for product-led growth are answered in Calixa. I spend every morning making sure that I don't let opportunities fall into the cracks. Value Before Revenue For Eric, every sales conversation is a chance to show value to customers. He understands the power of a consultative sale. > Unless you're solving their problem, they're not going to buy it. Why talk about revenue before you showed them how to get the first win? Once you prove that you can deliver value, then they will be happy to buy. Incorporating product insights into the conversation reinforces the value customers are getting from the product. Rather than providing hypothetical examples, Eric suggests best practices that other companies have used to achieve success and highlights the results they saw. Another big component to Eric's value selling is his speed to lead. Before using Calixa, Eric manually coded automations for key product metrics. However, his DIY approach lacked the context of each alert. He realized that effective alerts must promptly reveal all the information at a glance, so he can trust the data he was seeing and be more opinionated. Calixa's real-time notifications–with full context views–enabled him to do timely outreach for the product triggers he cares most about. > As soon as somebody logs in five times within a week, send me an alert. I'll look at what they did. Then I'll go talk to them. ‘Hey you've been using Hookdeck. I saw you clicked XYZ. Do you need help to get to your next step?' That has been really well received by users, because I catch them at exactly the perfect time. It's not three days later. I saw that the moment they're trying to get something done. And they're coming back a lot to get something done. I'm there to help them. That's my goal.' At the end of the day, Eric cares most about user happiness. That's a big part of what drew him to product-led sales. That's why he co-founded a startup. > If you want to make sure that your users stay happy and you're helping them as much as you can, Calixa is critical in your stack. Without it, how can you trust that you are actually helping your customers?
Your Warehouse, now synced with Calixa
Customer response to the beta of our Snowflake and BigQuery connectors has been overwhelmingly positive, and today, we're excited to announce their general availability. If you use Census or Hightouch for Reverse ETL, we have got you covered too! As more sales teams rely on product usage data as a key signal in their sales efforts, the importance of the data warehouse as the single source of truth grows. You can now sync your accounts, users, usage data, and custom objects to Calixa directly from your warehouse. This empowers the GTM team with self-serve reporting, dashboards, 360° customer views, and automated workflows. Link then sync Anyone with read access to your warehouse can connect your Big Query [https://readme.calixa.io/docs/bigquery] or Snowflake [https://readme.calixa.io/docs/snowflake] instance. End-to-end, the process takes about a minute. Once this is complete, Calixa users will have the ability to select the data they want to sync. Sync new fields right from our UI Your GTM teams no longer have to make requests for the data team to expose new fields or metrics. Once the warehouse is connected, any of this information can be synced with Calixa in a few clicks. We make it easy to pull in properties like current plans, team size, customer segment, trial expiry dates, and anything else that can help identify the right accounts. We also sync rollups of your key product usage metrics so sales is always in the loop when usage is growing. Sync whats unique to your business Customers can also sync custom objects that give another level of context to a team trying to understand product usage. For example, a team selling a developer product may want to know more about the sites that a user has built and deployed. Whereas a collaboration app may want to see what shared workspaces have been created. Calixa makes it easy for sales and success teams to quickly get visibility into this rich detail. This is just the first public release of a series of investments we are making to enable companies better leverage the modern data stack. Right now in private beta, we have built support for: * Census for Reverse ETL * Hightouch for Reverse ETL * Redshift Data Warehouse * dbt integration for easier model syncing If you want access to the private beta, just email email@example.com. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Product Updates - Jan 2022
Back from the holidays and we were back to shipping. We launched: * 💯 PQL Scoring * 🗄️ Data Warehouse Beta V2 * 👤 User and 🏢 Account Quick Views * 📈 Better Filtering in Reports * 🔬 Clearbit Enrichment Beta -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 💯 PQL Scoring Key to any Product-Led Sales motion is scoring customers based on their level of intent and fit. Product qualified leads (PQLs) [https://calixa.io/blog/product-qualified-leads-pqls] are a new lead scoring methodology product-led companies use to efficiently prioritize which signups to engage. It combines both product usage data with the firmographic data (eg role, industry) to create a score. Calixa has launched native PQL scoring that's easy for anyone to setup. You can leverage any product data along with firmographic data. If you aren't yet enriching your users with firmographic data, we've got you covered. Sign up for our Clearbit Enrichment Beta for native support within Calixa. Read more about PQL Scoring [https://calixa.io/blog/new-feature-engagement-scoring-crm]. 🗄️ [https://emojipedia.org/file-cabinet/] Data Warehouse Beta V2 Late last year we launched connectivity to BigQuery and Snowflake directly as well as an integration with Census (a reverse ETL platform). We're now announcing a beta for Redshift data warehouse and Hightouch (a reverse ETL platform). In addition, we've launched support for customers to send: * Metrics → You can now send any time series metrics (eg usage) to Calixa for users and accounts. This data let's you see week-over-week changes and powers graphs in our dashboards. * Custom Objects → You can now send custom objects (eg projects, workspaces, websites, tasks, etc) that are important for understanding user and account activity. By sending custom objects, it gives your team better insight into what customers are doing so you can have better conversations. If you are interested in the beta, just email firstname.lastname@example.org . 👤 User and 🏢 Account Quick Views We were excited to launch new User and Account Quick Views. These new features make it easier than ever to quickly get this context all in one place. We've consolidated information so that you have easy access to things like account owner, last active date, and usage scoring. We've also added a new Metrics section that you can customize to see whatever metrics matter most. Read more about our new User [https://calixa.io/blog/user-panel-redesign-plg] and Account [https://calixa.io/blog/customer-360-quick-view-plg] Quick Views. 📈 Better Filtering in Reports We've now added support for: * Relative Dates in the Future→ An important part of customer workflows is to manage trial and renewal dates. You now can filter users based on dates in the future. For example, you might want to see all customers who have a trial ending in the next 7 days. * Is Set / Is Not Set Filtering→ Sometimes you want to filter on the presence or absence of a value, not the value itself. For example, show me all accounts that don't have an owner. Calixa now supports filtering on the presence or absence of a value. 🔬Clearbit Enrichment Beta When deciding who to talk to, it's important not just to see how they're using your product but also who they are and where they work. This is especially hard if the user signs up from an email like email@example.com. To solve this, Calixa is integrating directly with enrichment provider Clearbit which can tell you based on email who the user is, where they work, and what they do. You'll have access to details like name, title, company, company size, funding, industry, etc. We believe this data - called firmographic data - will help you figure out who to talk to and let you have better conversations. It will also be a key input into your PQL scores. If you have your own enrichment data, you can feed that in instead. But we wanted to make it for anyone to get started enriching users and having better conversations. If you are interested in the beta, just email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Why Product-led Sales Works
Product-led sales sounds like an oxymoron. Doesn't 'Product-led' mean 'No Sales?' Not exactly! Product-led sales is a GTM motion where new prospects sign up for free product experiences. Sales teams then leverage product insights to see when and how to best reach out. Sounds simple enough. But it leaves some open questions: * How can self-serve and sales reps co-exist? * How can 'low touch' sales bring high impact? * Why can't the product just sell itself? These are longstanding questions about the role of automations vs humans. To answer these questions, we first need to ask 'Why now?' Companies are rapidly opening up their products for free signups. Why is there a new GTM motion emerging? Buyers want quick time-to-value Gartner shocked the B2B world a couple years ago with its report on The SaaS Buying Experience [https://www.gartner.com/en/articles/the-saas-buying-experience-mapping-how-businesses-buy-software] . Everyone was amazed how 'buyers are completing a little over 60% of the buying process before engaging a vendor.' This statistic quantified what sales reps were seeing on the front lines: people don't want to talk to sales too soon. Put yourself in the buyer's shoes. Would you rather do quick research and 'try before you buy'–or do you want to jump through hoops to see the product? Both intuitively and from the Gartner report, we know that the first to help buyers wins their business: 'You need to make sure that buyers find your trial first—and that you don't squander that opportunity when you get it.' Otherwise, they'll simply go somewhere else. That's why companies now offer free product experiences with quick time-to-value. Product-led companies lean into this trend. Why? Because self-educating prospects is a win-win-win. It's a win for top-level buyers. Gartner wrote that 'With so much information available and SaaS being a lower-risk investment, many decision-makers are delegating the buying process to others.' They no longer have to worry about lengthy demos or extensive POC for their team. It's a win for the end users. Vendors race to empower them with immediate access and value from the product. With decision-making less concentrated, internal leadership is supportive of granting these tools. It's a win for sales reps. Remember when marketing automation (download ebook, watch webinar, etc.) relieved inbound salespeople from basic buyer education? Product-led motions take this one step further–not only did the lead read an ebook, but they've actually explored product features. Product experiences essentially automate the top half of the funnel, so sales reps can focus on areas of high impact. The top-level buyer delegates, the end user finds quick value, and the sales rep gets warm leads. Along the way, everybody saves time. People want to buy from people If product experiences are so powerful, why not just go all the way? Can't we self-serve the purchasing process too? Many product-led companies do offer self-serve upgrades to a paid tier. But it isn't enough. Redpoint conducted this study [https://tomtunguz.com/top-10-learnings-from-the-redpoint-free-trial-survey/] on free trials. 75% of the product-led companies they surveyed have salespeople contact freemium leads. Visual by the Product-led Growth CollectiveSales teams accelerate organic free-to-paid conversion by 3x. What it comes down to is that people still buy from people. Conversations between sales reps and users can happen proactively or reactively. Some signups are hand-raisers who request assistance. But with thousands of free signups, most aren't hand-raisers. In that case, the sales rep must proactively engage with people who show intent as Product Qualified Leads (PQLs). These leads may be power users looking for more features. PQLs have clear opportunities–and high conversions–for upgrades. The size of those upgrades will definitely range. Yet human connection is especially important for large deals (common to 'land and expand' SaaS sales). Large commitments tend to have more buyer friction: * People get stuck on a complex use case, or the sales rep needs to equip a use case for the buyer. * People need help navigating pricing plans. * People want to discuss enterprise capabilities, such as account consolidation, security, and governance. No matter how automated or self-serve the buyer journey gets…there will always be sales complexity that exists OUTSIDE of the product. Product-led does not mean product-only. Meet buyers where they are The product is a strong foundation to a good sale. Self-educated buyers can chat with sales prior to expansion deals. In this new selling environment, viewing PQLs is crucial for understanding product context. By the time that sales touch comes in, sales reps will be exactly where they're needed at the highest point of impact. With the right data and tools, sales reps will be well-informed to help customers through value-driven narratives. Salespeople are just as valuable–if not more–in a PLG motion.
A Webflow AE's Perspective on Product-Led Sales
We sat down with Katie Cascino, a top account executive at Webflow, to discuss Sales at product-led companies. She started her product-led sales career as an SDR at Slack, building a team and then transitioned into being an AE. Her experience working in Sales at product-led companies is a great example why even the best PLG companies need Sales. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- How has selling evolved over the last five years? I originally started in entry level sales, doing a hundred cold calls a day. I did that for about a year until Slack tapped me to help build their sales development team. That team became a foundational part of capitalizing on product-led growth at Slack. Now that I'm at Webflow, which is another strong product-led growth company, I'm taking what I learned at Slack and applying it into playbooks at Webflow. I can also say now, as a sales rep, I would never want to work for another company that's not a product-led growth company. I think it's super sticky for all the sales reps that get into PLG. They all feel this way. The biggest challenge for a salesperson at a PLG company is creating focus. With so many customers you can talk to, which are the right ones. What makes you never want to work for a non-PLG company again? I went from cold calling buyers that don't even know our product or our name to having maybe a hundred warm leads a day, already using my product, already interested in understanding more. So my job is now to help them understand what value the product can continue to provide their organization and ensure they're on the best plan fit for their business, which isn't necessarily the freemium model. All that opportunity means we don't have to do as much cold outreach as we did before. A lot of people might have a misconception that PLG means no sales. How would you respond to that? I love this question. Ironically enough, Slack's CEO used to say – and I think he was misquoted on this – 'we'll never have a sales team.' Of course, now they have a well oiled sales machine, so it is such a misconception that PLG eliminates the sales role. I think the beauty of PLG is you can use product-led growth to build a customer base, and then when the time is right – for example, what I'm doing at Webflow now – we bring in reps to help users increase their value through a broader deployment. It takes a village to craft a business case to get these enterprise organizations using our enterprise-tier product. So sales reps are often there to help PLG organizations with taking their product upmarket. Are there any other big misconceptions around product-led sales you'd like to clear up? I hear 'it must be so easy' all the time. It must sell itself, because all these folks are already using the product. There's definitely a misconception that customers come in, already in love with the product from getting that free usage, and they're ready to upgrade without any help. But buyers like a human connection. They want that sales rep to come in and help consult with them on the product. I always say to my customers, my job is to make sure you're on the best plan for your business. Having a sales rep guiding you through the process can help uncover that a better plan for an organization, whether it's because of security, scale, or dedicated support. If a customer is making the case for a premium tier, having a sales rep guide you through the process is really critical. How's selling been similar or different between Slack and Webflow? Slack works for every single line of business, so we were selling to every single persona. Webflow is more of a fit for marketers, designers, and dev team members. But it was nice to have the broader experience from Slack to draw on. Slack and Webflow also model their packages in similar ways, where we're taking them from these freemium standard plans up to increased security, increased support, increased scale. It's been easy using my experience from Slack to help Webflow users, primarily IT buyers or dev team buyers, explore the scale and support and security. That experience has been very repeatable. What types of metrics or signals are you looking at when identifying which sign-ups you want to talk to? I like to look for a couple of things. The sign up date shows me how long they've been using the product. If they've been using the product for a long time, we can assume they're getting value out of it, right? I also look at who's using the product. With some organizations, you figure out if the account admins or owners are key decision makers for their orgs. Some of my accounts have been owned by the COO of the organization. When leadership has visibility into your product, they're more likely to take a meeting with you, since they already know your name and your product and what it can do. Other [signals] depend on your product. With Webflow, we look at how many websites or workspaces they've created with us. We also want to see how many users they have in the product, right? If the entire org, multiple users, [is active], it's another good sign. How often do you customize your email cadences? I take an 80-20 approach to my outreach. I start with a high quality template, which often gets me 80% of the way there, and I'm typically customizing the other 20%. If I'm contacting C-level executives, I usually customize much more than 20% of my message. The great thing about product-led sales is I can conduct user interviews and talk to the folks in the product to hear what's working and what isn't. I can take what I learn in these interviews into a customized email to a C-level executive to show I've already talked to their team and already understand their problems. What do you think are the biggest opportunities to improve prospecting for PLG companies? That's a really good question. I think there's a world where there's a better way to connect the insights we have within the product to my prospecting workflow. Let's say Deborah, the CEO of the organization, is the owner on the account. Can I tie that directly into LinkedIn, so I can immediately get Deborah into a sales cadence? Can I click into her profile and send her a direct message? I look for all these signals in my core application, but when I need to identify who to focus on, I need to switch to other sales tools like SalesLoft, or LinkedIn. Streamlining that workflow to help reps stay focused and tie those signals together would be very helpful. I think strong workflows are key for a sales rep in general, they're just so critical. Sometimes I have like 17 tabs open and it feels like my brain is spiraling. What are the best sales tools you use today? Our number one sales tool is Gong. It's my favorite tool. It makes good reps great. It makes everyone more coachable, and you get insights on how to strengthen your meetings with customers. It's just so critical, especially while we're all remote. I also like SalesLoft for automating my prospecting, and LinkedIn Sales Navigator too. I don't know how you could prospect without Sales Nav, so it's a really big one. Finally, what are the qualities of a great product-led sales rep? Adaptability and innovation. Not everyone has figured this out just yet, right? It's new. You have to kind of come in with a growth mindset and try to figure out new ways to prospect into this lead generation machine. Be eager to learn and grow your sales career with a new motion.
A Better Customer 360: Account Quick View
Last week we announced a new User Quick View [https://calixa.io/blog/user-panel-redesign-plg] designed to give reps a better way of gaining all necessary context about a user, faster than ever. We have heard from several customers that it would be great if we could extend this functionality to account data as well. We didn't waste much time. You can now take advantage of Account Quick View. When you want some key details about an account, but don't want to break your workflow by loading the dashboard, Quick View can help. Having a 360º account view at their fingertips allows reps to gain customer context which yields more meaningful conversations, higher conversion rates and increased account growth. Example Account Quick ViewThe data you need, without the noise Out of the box, the new Account Quick View highlights key account data like when a customer was last seen, ownership and their engagement score. Account DetailsWe also make it easy to customize the layout, adding the metrics and properties you care about most. Plus, you can arrange the order of the cards incase you want to place more emphasis on conversations or the event timeline. Account Timeline, Conversations and MetricsZooming in on a specific user is just a click away. Selecting one of the account's users will take you directly to the User Quick View. Account UsersGive it a try and let us know what you think! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Gain Context Faster with User Quick View
A deep understanding of how customers engage with their product can often differentiate a good from a great sales rep. New users that haven't hit their 'aha moment' are going to be receptive to different messaging than power users who have championed your product across the organization. Bringing the right customer context and empathy yields more meaningful conversations, higher conversion rates and increased account growth. But gathering the necessary details from different tools takes time. We are excited to launch a redesigned User Quick View that makes it easier than ever to quickly get this context all in one place. Example User Quick ViewAn out of the box view that prioritizes what matters The new User Quick View places the data you care about front and center. You can see who the user is, what they have done, past interactions and any additional details that may help with your outreach. We now highlight more of the data you need for full customer context. This includes: * User details * Product engagement score [https://calixa.io/blog/new-feature-engagement-scoring-crm] * Activity timeline * Conversations Easily customizable with metrics and properties unique to your business We also understand that businesses' data needs are unique. The new User Quick View allows you to customize the metrics and properties that are displayed. Metric and Property ConfigurationMetrics can be shown over daily, weekly, monthly or yearly ranges, and they include convenient indicators of change over the previous period. View Metric TrendsYou can also arrange the section order to make sure the the data you care most about remains above the fold. Give it a try and let us know what you think! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Score PQLs with Calixa
Healthy product engagement is one of the strongest indicators that a user will convert into a paying customer. However, scoring your users and accounts based on product usage has historically been a challenging and time consuming task. Calixa is excited to tackle this problem with our latest feature: Product Engagement Scoring. Now you can easily find and prioritize customers based on their product usage as well as data from your warehouse, CRM and other connected business apps. This empowers empowers SDRs, AEs and CSMs to easily uncover Product Qualified Leads and tailor their outreach with complete context. Easily configure score criteria Product engagement varies significantly from business to business. A platform for building websites like Webflow is going to have different engagement criteria than a productivity app like Calendly. As such, we have made sure scoring can be tailored to the unique needs of each business. Calixa's Scoring configuration allows you to easily define what High, Medium and Low engagement looks like for both your users and accounts. Give it a try by configuring your first scoring criteria [https://console.calixa.io/product-usage-scoring]. Scoring criteria are easy to update, so you can start with one or two criteria and iterate from there. As your product evolves, new features are added, and usage patterns change you will be able to easily adjust your score configuration to keep up with how customers are using your product. Each score level contains one or more condition groups. A condition group is set of criteria that you define. Within a condition group, all criteria must be met for the condition to be satisfied. For example, you might specify a condition group for Medium engagement to be: "2 Users added last 30 days" AND "3 Projects Created in the last 7 days" AND "Billing Plan is Freemium" All three of these would need to be met for the account to be scored Medium. However, you can create multiple condition groups per score level. Only one of the condition groups must be met for it to be scored at that level. Surface the customers that matter Product Engagement Scores can be used in Segments [https://console.calixa.io/segments] to filter and sort your user and account data. Look for "Product Usage" in any of the property drop-downs to add this data to your Segment view. Give it a try and let us know what you think! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Product Updates - Nov 2021
In November, we launched a Snowflake and Google BigQuery integration that allows customers to sync directly with from their data warehouse. We also added new ways of incorporating Calixa into your daily workflow by launching Actions [https://blog.calixa.io/actions-beta/], a Salesloft and Outreach integration. Lastly, we kicked off a program to help customers backfill their historical data. 🚀 Announced our Series A We're excited to announce that we've raised a $12M Series A led by Kleiner Perkins. We'll be using this round to accelerate our mission to build a GTM platform purpose-built for product-led growth. We're also excited that Salesforce Ventures and Twilio have invested in our Series A underscoring the magnitude of the industry interest in product-led growth. Here's our blog post on our Series A [https://calixa.io/blog/series-a-product-led-growth]. 📖 Connect your Data Warehouse (Snowflake & BigQuery) More and more companies are centralizing their data into a modern cloud data warehouse. As a result, companies have a single source of truth to operate their business. We believe that any tool a company uses should connect directly to the warehouse. Now, Calixa can connect to your Snowflake and BigQuery warehouse to sync now users, accounts, custom objects, analytics, and event data. With a few clicks in the Calixa interface, you can set this all up. Let us know [email@example.com] if you would like us to enable this in your account! BigQuery Integration Setup 👉 Take action in connected apps without switching tabs All customers can now start using Actions [https://console.calixa.io/actions]! Now you can push Calixa data to any of your connected tools without the burden of changing tabs, locating the customer in question, switching context or filling out extensive forms. Creating a Salesforce opportunity from inside of Calixa. A few examples of Actions you can take in Calixa include adding to a Salesloft cadence, creating a Hubspot deal, adding a new Salesforce task, and refunding a Stripe charge. You can even create any custom action with our no-code builder! 📝 Salesloft and Outreach Integrations launched Now it's easy to kickoff automated sales engagement directly from Calixa. With a click of button you can add users to your sales cadences. Our Salesloft [https://salesloft.com/] and Outreach [https://www.outreach.io/] integrations are now available to all [https://console.calixa.io/integrations]. These integrations simplify your SDR and AE workflows, allowing them to find product qualified leads in the Calixa console and add them to a sequence without hopping tabs. 🦖 Historical backfill program Historical data can dramatically shorten time to value when onboarding to a new tool, however it often isn't available via live integrations. To improve the onboarding experience for our customers, we are launching a program to help import historical data to your Calixa account. If you are interested in this, just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get things setup for you! Stay product-led, Team Calixa -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Announcing our Series A
We're excited to announce that we've raised a $12M Series A led by Kleiner Perkins. We'll be using this round to accelerate our mission to build a GTM platform purpose-built for product-led growth. We're also excited that Salesforce Ventures and Twilio have invested in our Series A underscoring the magnitude of the industry interest in product-led growth. Product-Led Growth (PLG) & Today's GTM Tooling Today's fastest growing software companies - Twilio, Slack, Calendly, Netlify - leverage a product-led GTM. They let users try products right away and put them in control of their buying journey. Now, software is adopted inside companies by end-users and championed by those who feel the pain. This is a fundamental shift from traditional top-down GTM motions. The PLG customer journey begins with a free signup and the account grows as the user and their teammates find value with the product. Companies struggle to stay on top of thousands of sign ups that are all at different stages of their journey. It's no longer acceptable to hope your marketing drip emails will convert these sign-ups. To be successful, sales teams need to easily prioritize who to talk to, quickly get context, and effortlessly engage. We built Calixa to solve this. There's a myth that PLG means no Sales. It's simply a new motion that evolves how you work with customers. You're now talking to users of your product, showing them how to get even more value, and accelerating their adoption. That's why it's critical that you arm your sellers with insights into both who and how customers are using your product. We're still early in the early days of PLG. We've had initial breakout stars who have shown us the promise of this GTM motion. The next generation of software companies will all be built product-led from Day 1. The companies that will be most successful will use a GTM stack purpose-built for PLG. We believe the foundation of that stack is Calixa. Calixa: Powering Product-Led Sales With our public launch in March of this year, companies finally have a GTM tool purpose-built for product-led growth. Software companies like Netlify, Voiceflow and Courier are relying on Calixa to power their product-led sales motion… and it's really paying off. Netlify's Director of Sales Development, Devin Oliver, says that, > 'Calixa cuts down our time from insight to action. There is a huge efficiency and conversion gain with product qualified leads that Calixa identifies.' Our Series A enables us to grow our team and accelerate our mission. Our current focus is building the foundational layer that enables companies to easily prioritize, engage, and convert their product qualified leads. We've optimized our product for a high-velocity sales workflow for companies that need to manage large self-serve funnels (eg Netlify has millions of end users). The exciting thing we've also discovered along the way is that start-ups, even early in their lives, benefit from Calixa. 10s of signups soon become 100s of sign ups and, soon enough, you're starting to have users slip through the cracks. With Calixa, you can ensure that your startup stays focused on customers and is prioritizing the most engaged sign-ups. We're committed to Product-Led companies of all sizes. That's why we've created a generous free plan for startups. Just sign up and start using us. [https://calixa.io/] We're betting that your startups will be the next breakout Product-Led successes. The Rise of the Modern Data Stack The Modern Data Stack is bringing about a re-architecture of business apps and workflows to be centered on the data warehouse. Companies are increasingly relying on the data warehouse as the single source of truth. GTM teams and their tooling need to be able to leverage the warehouse data to ensure they're operating off a company's gold-standard data. Today, we are also announcing the beta of support for the Modern Data Stack. Companies can now directly connect their Snowflake or Google BigQuery data warehouses to Calixa. You're able to sync accounts, users, events, usage data, and custom objects. Data teams now can easily empower their GTM counterparts with self-serve reporting, dashboards, 360° customer views, and automated workflows. We also support leading Reverse ETL providers Hightouch and Census. Sign up for the data warehouse beta [https://blog.calixa.io/data-warehouse-beta-modern-data-stack]. The Right Partners: Kleiner Perkins, Salesforce, & Twilio We couldn't be more thrilled to deepen the relationship we have with Kleiner Perkins. Bucky Moore who has led both our Seed and Series A will be joining our Board of Directors. He and the Kleiner Perkins team have been amazing partners from the beginning. Joining this round are two companies that we admire greatly: Salesforce and Twilio. We're thrilled that each has shown great enthusiasm for product-led growth. Even better, each of these companies make products important to our joint customers. Salesforce is the #1 CRM that our customers use and Twilio Segment is the #1 Customer Data Platform that our customers use. Both have been integrated into the Calixa platform from day 1. Thanks! Fred and I couldn't be more thankful for all the support from our customers, investors, angels, family, and friends. We've come a long way in the last 7 months but this is just the beginning. One of the things we're most proud of is the team we are building. We've been exceptionally lucky to find people who are both good at what they do and are good people. If that sounds like you, come join us! [https://jobs.calixa.io/] Feel free just to email me if easier (email@example.com). Thanks again! Thomas and Fred P.S. As always, you can sign up for Calixa [https://calixa.io] on your own and start using today. If you want some help getting started, don't hesitate to reach out. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Data Warehouses + Calixa
The Modern Data Stack is bringing about a re-architecture of business apps and workflows to be centered on the data warehouse. Companies are increasingly relying on the data warehouse as the single source of truth. We're excited to announce a beta of direct connectivity for Snowflake and Google BigQuery data warehouses. You're able to sync accounts, users, usage data, and custom objects to Calixa. Data teams now can easily empower their GTM counterparts with self-serve reporting, dashboards, 360° customer views, and automated workflows. Companies can directly connect their data warehouses or use a leading Reverse ETL provider, Hightouch or Census. Sign up for the beta. [https://qhip4wvjszk.typeform.com/to/L9AmEt3q]
Product-Led Growth Tooling - PLG CRM
This is a cross-post of some thoughts I shared with with Zachary DeWitt on his blog "Notorious PLG" [https://notoriousplg.substack.com/]. I've gotten to know Zachary over the past couple years. He was one of the first VC's to really understand what we were up to. Here's his thoughts on the space: > I believe there will be many unicorns built that enable the PLG movement and Calixa has the potential to be one of them. One of the challenges for PLG companies is to make usage data actionable for GTM teams and Calixa is building a purpose-built application that helps find signal in product noise. Calixa is more than just an analytics dashboard as it allows users to take actions and create workflows based on user behavior. Thus, Calixa has the opportunity to become a system of engagement. I highly recommend you all subscribe to Zachary's blog. Here's what I shared with him: -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Calixa was inspired by my experiences at Twilio in the early 2010's. Twilio saw a deluge of developer sign ups and needed some way to stay on top of it. None of the existing tools or CRMs could solve it, so we built our own. The tool quickly became critical to Twilio's PLG success. The tool did a few key things: * Democratized product usage data * Gave full visibility into the customer journey * Centralized customer actions (eg extend trial, upgrade account) Fast-forward to 2020. We still saw that customer tools were all optimized for the traditional top down sales approach. So we decided to fix that. Calixa's goal is to be the one unified platform that Sales, Success, and Support use to power the product-led GTM motion. As we've been building over the last 18 months, we've spoken to over 200 product-led companies. Here are some of the common insights and challenges from these conversations: * Your users are in control→ Central to a product-led motion is being user centric. Today's users want to sign up and explore your product on their own. It's your job as a company to figure out how to best inject your teams (Sales, Success, Marketing, Support) in this journey. This is often a combination of automated and human outreach in response to key customer milestones of adoption. It's critical that companies are able to proactively reach out to keep users moving in the right direction. * One shared customer journey →Product-led companies see the customer journey as one shared journey across Sales, Marketing, Product, etc. This enables a company-wide focus on getting customers to the 'a-ha moment' as fast as possible. However, to tune and optimize their product-led GTM motion, companies need a single shared view across all their sources of data. This is often where companies struggle. * Humans in the loop → While the idealized goal is that customers sell themselves, reality is a lot messier. You still need customer facing teams coaching customers to success and catching them if they fall. Product-led companies are redefining the roles of Sales and Success. The goal is a more consultative and product-focused approach that doesn't necessarily stop with the first sale. The first sale is often the tip of the spear into a company. The true value of the customer will be realized as your product spreads internally. * Harnessing product usage data → In a PLG motion, customers are often using your product before you even get a chance to speak with them. Traditional CRMs don't capture or display event data which often leaves customer teams in the dark. Product-led companies look to democratize this usage data so that they can prioritize and tailor customer outreach. Leveraging this data makes it easier to deliver more compelling, contextual 1:1 outreach which improves conversion. * Rise of the warehouse → There is a shared excitement across GTM and Data teams about the potential power of the modern data stack. GTM and data teams are excited to operationalize warehouse data because it's seen as their gold-standard data. We're seeing companies adopt a modern data warehouse earlier and earlier in their life. This is the big reason why we built Calixa to be warehouse-native from day 1… to get easy access to a company's gold-standard data. As you can see, there's a lot that product-led companies want to be able to do that traditional customer tools don't enable. We're building Calixa to finally give product-led companies a product purpose-built for them. Calixa gives companies full visibility into the customer journey, easy prioritization with product usage data, and the ability to automate manual workflows. We'd love to hear about any pain points other product-led companies are facing. If you have feedback on what we could build to make your life easier, just drop me a line (email@example.com).
Automating your Customer Success Workflows - Case Study
Voiceflow helps teams design, prototype, collaborate and ship conversational apps across any voice or chat channel. As a player in the PLG space, their product is used by individuals, small teams and enterprises alike. I chatted with Daniel D'Souza [https://www.linkedin.com/in/tubadsouza] who leads Voiceflow's Customer Success team. His team is responsible for all enterprise accounts, from agencies to huge retailers like Home Depot and banks such as US Bank. The Success Foundation Given that there was nothing in place when he joined, Daniel's first challenge was to set up Voiceflow's post-sales processes and tooling. It was critical that everything he setup allowed the team to deliver a proactive experience for their top accounts. Some things they would need to closely monitor included which accounts are healthy, how users within those accounts are engaging, and who are the promoters or advocates. Ultimately this helps his team drive net revenue retention, > From the business perspective, the number one goal the team is measured against is the ability to retain and increase revenue. When Daniel unpacked his methodology for achieving this goal, he broke things up into 4 main categories: * Onboarding Success - Achieving speedy adoption and flattening the learning curve are top priorities. * Equipping power users - Identify and equip users who are going to be spending lots of time in the product and evangelizing it to their peers. * Workflow optimization - Optimize the customer day-to-day by partnering with anyone at the company trying to build conversational AI products. * Tying product to business goals - Make sure that everything the team is doing is helping customers achieve their goals of shipping products faster and more effectively than before. From Product Analytics to Customer Analytics Before Calixa, the primary tool that Daniel used for tracking customer engagement was Mixpanel. > As with many PLG companies, Voiceflow is a mix of enterprise and B2C. We're selling to new customers, but we also have a ton of individual users who are all using the product for their unique everyday needs. An account may have, upwards of 60 individual users and we need to have a pulse on all of those users. Mixpanel was doing a great job of surfacing product data and finding trends. But it was clear that it wasn't designed to help the CSM team keep track of all the different users within Voiceflow's accounts. Daniel routinely wanted to go from a high level account health view to zoom in on individual user behavior. This was tricky in Mixpanel. > We are a very product-driven CS team, so we spend a lot of time looking at product analytics and inferring from the data. Having a tool that's able to aggregate a lot of that data and make it really easy to read and understand in an organized way that allows us to zoom in and out was exactly what we were looking to for. Daniel also wanted to make sure the team was engaging with customers in a proactive manner whenever possible. For this to scale, it was important for automation to become a core part of their workflow. The Customer Data Layer Calixa gave Voiceflow a customer-centric interface that helped them sift through all of their user and account data and automate key parts of their workflow to save tons of time. > I think of Calixa as the middle customer data layer that ingests all the raw data from Segment and other sources, organizes it, then using automations, sends it to whatever tool I need to in a lightweight fashion. Getting started was completely painless as Voiceflow was able to connect their Segment, Intercom, Sentry and Stripe accounts in a matter of minutes, all without having to involve a developer. The Power of Automation As soon as Voiceflow connected their tools, Daniel hit the ground running by creating automations that would allow his team to reduce the time they were spending manually checking account statuses dramatically. > I just want to be able to notify customers of what's happening proactively, without having to dig through each single account every week. Here are a couple examples of the ways Voiceflow has configured Calixa automations today: * They receive a Slack alert if account's weekly usage is lower than expected. * Product usage thresholds trigger a webhook alert which updates a shared Airtable account health dashboard. Daniel and team are big fans of Calixa's webhook automations and are regularly thinking about how this data can be leveraged in other parts of their workflow. > With Calixa, going from insight to automation with the webhook was super easy because I was able to build the segments I was looking for, see the results, then create the automation. I was confident it was going to be pumping out exactly what I needed. Also, the webhook format actually worked for my team's workflow whereas I could not figure out the structure of Mixpanel's API. Saving Hours a Week Manually keeping track of individual usage on top accounts was previously a laborious process. Multiple times a week, Daniel would have to calculate and report on the "product scores" (an internal metric based on how active an account was) from each customer. This process would take him anywhere from two to four hours and always opened up unnecessary rabbit holes. Searching for and tracking inactive accounts was another 1-2 hours a week. Now, with Calixa, he gets Slack notifications whenever usage drops below important thresholds and he can reach out to help. Not only is he saving time, but he is able to be more proactive with top accounts. > Each Calixa automation saved me at least two hours of work, each week. I no longer have to manually jump from customer to customer to analyze the same data. Instead, I just see everything in one condensed view that allows me to prioritize really quickly. Advice for other CS leaders Daniel expressed that Customer Success tooling generally feels like an after thought. Given that the role is becoming so much more data-centric, it's no longer nice to have, but now a requirement for anyone in Customer Success to be able to marry your customer and product data in one place. > The reality is that if you're on a CS Team at a product led company, you don't have many tools that are designed for you, and this is one of the biggest challenges that Calixa is solving for. Everyone should check out Calixa. It will make your life a lot easier.
Time-to-value and the Aha moment: Lessons in Product-Led Growth (PLG)
Product-led growth often starts with a customer champion. An end-user who falls in love with your product and spreads it to the rest of the organization. But how you turn an end-user into a champion? How do you encourage them to share your product with others? When do you involve sales, and when do you step away? It's a challenge that is central to the growth story of Writer [https://www.writer.com/], an AI writing assistant that enables teams to write more effectively. Since writing is a daily habit, it's key that Writer has a daily presence in the end-user's workflow. We chatted with Writer's founder May Habib about how her team tracks and activates these end-users, and how Writer reinforces network effects in the product. A journey that has led them to understand how important it is to activate users within the first 24 hours – or even within the first few minutes – of sign up. Calixa: May, tell us a little bit about Writer as a product. > May: Writer is an AI writing assistant for teams. It's a very collaborative product that is end user-first. So, folks bring on Writer to help improve their own writing and get their whole team writing in the same way, whether that's using the same writing style, the same editorial style, the same voice, the same terms, or the same snippets as the rest of their team. What signals or metrics do you use to identify potential customers from your free sign-ups? > For us, it's all about activation. The activation metric we've defined has several inputs, and they're basically along three lines. One is have they used the product consistently over the past 14 days, and we also look at the past 30 days. Writing is something most people do almost every day, so that's the kind of usage we're looking for. From a ‘multi-player' perspective, activation is also about the kinds of customizations someone has done in Writer. That could be inviting someone to the team, editing the out-of-the-box editorial style, or adding their terms. Lastly, have they taken moves to integrate Writer into their workflow? So we've got an ecosystem of plugins for where professionals work. Are they using Writer in the other tools they use to author and distribute and write? Those three things together comprise our activation metric. Do you find that there's an 'aha moment', or maybe even a collection of them, that pushes users from being free users to being activated users? > Absolutely. We see it when someone has written up a guidance card in Writer and then sees it in the wild while they are writing up a knowledge base article or an email. That is an aha moment of, "Oh, wow. I can coach everybody to write like me anywhere where they're writing, and it's my voice coming through on the other end." It's just an incredible way to scale yourself if you are the person who is the keeper of the magic content touch, or kind of the acting managing editor, or the otherwise grammar girl or grammar guy of your team. That is a pretty magical moment. How do you go about minimizing that time-to-value with your user persona and your users? > For us, it's really about that first 24 hours. We measure time-to-value in minutes, the question being: Has the user accepted a suggestion within minutes of installing the extension? That's what we're looking at. How do you go about balancing the role of automated touchpoints against human outreach and involvement? > We've got two flows: a trial flow and an education flow. They're already getting many automated touches from Writer. So we keep the human touch very high-level. And within an activated account, the human touch may only go to one or two people. We make sure only folks are hearing from us who want to hear from us. That touchpoint is informed by where they are in the product and where we think they can get even more value. It's definitely not about selling them into more than what they've signed up for. It's really about helping them use the product well and learn from other folks like them who have gotten a lot of value out of Writer. How do you go about building network effects at Writer? > If you have gone through the trouble of setting up Writer to sound like your company — whether that's editing editorial style rules, adding modular content, or identifying phrases and terms you want people to use — it is natural to then want others to use it and leverage it. That is the main collaboration loop in the product. A person who has customized Writer a little bit for themselves then wants to share it with others who want to follow the same rules. What do you wish you'd known years ago about growth? > Even at billions of dollars of enterprise value, word-of-mouth at the top PLG companies is still the largest acquisition channel. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- May Habib began her career in finance and investing, helping software companies raise capital, and leading one of the world's largest sovereign wealth funds. She is now the co-founder and CEO of Writer [https://www.writer.com/]. You can find her on LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/in/may-habib/].
How Netlify uses Calixa to find Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)
Netlify is a cloud computing company that offers hosting and serverless backend services for web applications and static websites. They currently have millions of developers using their product and see tens of thousands of weekly signups. I sat down with Devin Oliver [https://www.linkedin.com/in/devinoliver/], Director of Sales Development at Netlify. Devin's SDRs are tasked with delivering a healthy pipeline of Product Qualified Accounts for the enterprise team. In addition to his responsibilities leading the Sales Development team, Devin also manages Sales Ops and has been instrumental in building out processes that have allowed Netlify to scale in true PLG fashion. These processes have enabled sales and account management to focus their time and energy on the right PQAs which has allowed for highly efficient company growth. > We are presented with a unique opportunity to engage with a ton of developers, but also layer on a fun, strategic sales motion that is both bottoms-up, engaging with developers who are actively using the tool, as well as top-down, focussing on large strategic logos that will have major long term impacts on the business. Another key focus of Devin's is to develop and grow the SDRs into high-performing sales professionals. A big part of this is not just teaching them traditional sales fundamentals, but ensuring they stay up to speed on modern approaches like using product data to generate outsized results. Mo' data mo' problems Netlify was faced with a set of challenges likely familiar to many high-growth SaaS businesses. Devin needed to figure out how they should define and measure the ideal touch points in the user journey that would indicate a Product Qualified Account. > With tens of thousands of weekly signups, not all are raising their hand to talk to sales. Luckily, Netlify was in a better position than most, in that they had a well resourced data team who was able to help by running some targeted experiments involving identifying key usage metrics, defining what a growing account looks like, testing hypotheses against real accounts, building out models, then rinsing and repeating. However, despite having a helpful team, the back and forth required to support this laborious process quickly became painful. > The length of the process varied based on the data team's bandwidth, but was often a few weeks. Because they [the data team] are operating on a sprint cycle we would have to make a case then wait and see if our request was going to be included in the next sprint, before the work could even take place. The process also grew in complexity as the company scaled. > It got to the point where you had to know SQL to surface usage metrics that we wanted to track. In order to keep up with increasing pipeline demands, the SDR team needed to move faster. Tab turmoil Getting the data needed to prioritize PQAs wasn't the only challenge the SDR team faced when trying to prioritize PQAs. Their standard workflow involved a convoluted mess of tabs, apps and browsers all required to perform routine outreach. * Viewing an account in their internal system and spoofing the customer required different browsers * Product usage and CRM data had to be referenced in spreadsheets that were often populated with stale data * Duplicate manual work was the norm, as info that had already been updated in a spreadsheet would also have to be copied to Salesforce Setting Up Calixa Generally new tools mean new integrations, and getting in a queue for engineering resources. Netlify's experience with Calixa proved quite different: > Calixa's Census integration allowed the data team to link our warehouse using their preferred tool. We also added Hubspot and Salesforce to bring in the necessary CRM properties. It was super easy. Not only was the Calixa team responsible for providing guidance on how the data should be sent, but they were also quick to provide solutions to asks that were specific to our business. The PQA-ha Moment In Devin's words, Calixa opened some big doors for the SDR team: * We now have a unified view of the customer that includes product metrics, custom objects, CRM data, and other data from the warehouse. * The team can easily surface PQAs by saving segments that are sorted by the metrics most indicative of buyer behavior. * SDRs have full customer context which makes it easier to deliver more compelling 1:1 outreach or kick off specific playbooks. * Interaction with the data team has been streamlined. Getting a new metric from our data warehouse requires a few clicks in Census rather than several weeks of queries and experimentation. * Calixa's freeform tags make it easy for each of the SDRs to adapt the tool to their preferred workflow. * We can spoof a customer account in a few clicks instead of many clicks and many different tools The Impact of Calixa In a high volume environment like Netlify's, saving time leads to more outreach which means more pipeline generated > Calixa cuts down our time from insight to action. There is a huge efficiency and conversion gain in our engagement with PQAs that Calixa has identified. Reducing the risk of "double touching" or email fatigue also allows the SDR team to maximize their impact in a PLG friendly way. > When the core of PLG is let the product speak for itself, you want to make sure human touch-points are contextually relevant to their product experience. A generic marketing message is much more likely to hit the email archive folder. Finally, Devin shared some advice for other folks who are facing similar challenges: > It's better to start sooner than later. The complexity of what you want to track increases over time. The later you start, the longer before you have the 'a-ha moment'. It's essential to surface as much information you can so that you can understand your whole customer lifecycle. Having a good idea of what your compelling metrics are will give your team a formula for targeting the right PQAs
How Appcues Activates Top Signups by Reducing User Friction: Lessons in Product-Led Growth (PLG)
Last year PLG Company Appcues [https://appcues.com] ran a survey finding that 90% of software users expect or want a trial version of a product instead of getting into a drawn out sales process. This reality places a ton of pressure on modern software companies to deliver a stellar product experience for new users. And for a company like Appcues that makes software to improve product adoption, it's a challenge that hits a little close to home. We talked with Eric Keating, VP of Marketing at Appcues, about how the company approaches self-serve growth–from discovering activation signals in their own product, to actively developing a fricitonless path for users to get there. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Interview edited for length and clarity. Calixa: What can you tell us about Appcues as a product? > Eric Keating: Our goal at Appcues is to make increasing adoption of your products easy. We're giving you the tools to measure and improve product adoption without needing a developer. The whole product is no code with in-app onboarding, feature announcement surveys, as well as tracking of user behavior and analysis of that behavior. It's all so you can make informed decisions about which parts of your product experience you want to improve and then make those improvements in real time without needing engineers. What metrics or signals do you typically use to identify potential customers from your free sign-ups? > We have a moment in our product that we call activation or the 'aha! moment.' For us, it's when somebody creates their first content without cues; they actually design it, build it, and so on. When we get people into our product, we're typically looking at a combination of firmographic and demographic data; what company they work for, the size of that company, that kind of thing. Are they in software? How do they behave in the product? Then, once we have a sense of that, we're talking about behavioral metrics. Have they installed Appcues? Have they invited other users? Can you tell us a little bit more about that aha! moment? > Well, we want to make it very easy for users to build in-app guides and tours, and facilitate communications with users, without installing Appcues. It can be done without any technical skills. And so, when we have a new user of Appcues join, we will show them all of the different patterns, the UI patterns that can create what Appcues. And then, at each step of the way, we're prompting them to create their own.That's our call to action. Users have to install our Chrome extension — which is very, very easy, very low friction — and then they can go about building an experience on top of their own product, on top of any site.It's when they build that experience that they're able to understand just how easy and non-technical it is to create content with Appcues. The only blocker at that point from getting that content in front of their users is actually installing their software development kit and their product. That's the biggest point of friction in adopting Appcues. That's where sometimes our sales or support team will jump in and help get our customers over that line and give assistance to make sure they do it in the most effective way. But when users create that first piece of content, that's when we know that they've seen that they can build this stuff quickly and easily without any technical skills. That's what we've seen to be the 'aha! moment.' How would you advise other businesses to find their 'aha! moment'? > There are some pretty heavy data analyses you can do when you're trying to identify your 'aha! moment.' But if you're just getting started with it, one of the ways I'd recommend going about it is to look at all your sales calls and look for that moment when the prospects are like watching a demo, and you can see the 'aha! moment' on their face. It's that moment when they get really excited or when it really clicks for them. It's more of a qualitative approach, but I think that's one of the easiest ways to get started. We've looked at the data, and our hypotheses based on those sales calls actually have held true. How do you balance the role of automated touchpoints with human outreach? > We try to make the experience for every new user as self-service-oriented as possible. We ran some surveys about nine months ago and found that around 90% of software users expect or want a trial version of a product, whether it's a freemium plan or a limited trial of some sort, as opposed to talking to a salesperson or getting into a sales process. The other stat we found, from a different survey, is that 89% of people said they actually give preference to brands who offer a self-service way to get into the product. And so, companies that don't even offer a trial may not even be in the consideration for some of these folks. That's why it's smart to — like we did — focus on making that initial experience as self-service as possible, with the sales team playing a complementary role. If you want to start building content with Appcues, to install Appcues, to buy Appcues, you can do it all, all of those things with no touchpoint. You can start using our product, learn about it, build stuff, publish it, pay, etc., all on your own, without talking to anybody. That being said, like I said earlier, sometimes our installation introduces some friction because you need to ask a developer to install it, or you need to be thoughtful about how you install it. You may want to pass some existing data over from your system. So that's when we in our product offer every user the ability to connect with somebody in real time, if and when they'd like. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Eric Keating has a track record of growing SaaS products at companies like Zaius and Kantar Millard Brown before joining Appcues [https://appcues.com] as its VP of Marketing in 2019. You can find him on LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/in/erickeating/].
Product Updates - Sept 2021
September was another month full of exciting launches for Calixa! We opened our Census connector [https://blog.calixa.io/sync-your-data-warehouse-to-calixa-with-census/] to the public, shipped webhook alerts [https://blog.calixa.io/webhook-automations/], and launched a Salesloft beta! 👨👩👧👦 Sync data from your warehouse with Census It's become easier and more common for companies to stand up a data warehouse. Census [https://www.getcensus.com/] enables companies to unlock this data by syncing it to many destinations. Census customers can now easily sync users, accounts, metrics, and custom objects to Calixa. We've had customers using our Census integration for 3 months now and we're ready to open it up to everyone. Census data warehouse connectorIf you're interested, just fill out the form on our blog [https://blog.calixa.io/sync-your-data-warehouse-to-calixa-with-census/] and we will follow up! 🪝 Automate customer processes with webhooks Webhook alerts [https://blog.calixa.io/webhook-automations/] can be used to help automate multi-step processes by sending your customer data to internal endpoints or automation platforms like Zapier [https://zapier.com/]. Here are some of our customers' favorite use cases: * Create a new 'target account' record in Airtable when usage spikes * Record customer health scores for internal analysis * Add a user to a Google sheet when they test a beta feature * Update an account's status in your CRM if they experience payment issues * Create a Jira issue when a user's error rate jumps Webhook builder🙋 Salesloft beta We are getting ready to launch our Salesloft connector and are looking for beta customer. This will simplify your SDR and AE workflows, allowing them to find product qualified leads in the Calixa console and add them to a Salesloft cadence without hopping tabs. Signup below! 📈 Insights on the PLG space Our Co-founder and CEO Thomas was featured in Notorious PLG [https://notoriousplg.substack.com/p/notorious-plg-92821], Zach DeWitt's weekly update on the most important product-led growth (PLG) companies. The post is a great analysis of what we're building and the PLG space as a whole. Stay product-led, Team Calixa -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Take the leg work out of updating account lists with Calixa webhooks + Zapier
Calixa's webhook automations [https://blog.calixa.io/webhook-automations/] give you the ability to kick off processes when your customers hit key milestones. Combined with Zapier's user friendly automation tools this opens the door to limitless RevOps process automation options. One challenge that many revenue orgs face is keeping strategic or managed account lists updated based on adoption of the product. This guide will demonstrate how you can use Calixa webhooks and Zapier to setup automations at various points in the customer journey and remove the burden of manually updating spreadsheets. As a result, leadership will have full visibility into accounts that are top of mind. Before we get started, you will want to make sure you have Calixa [https://calixa.io/], Zapier [https://zapier.com/] and Google Workspace [https://workspace.google.com/] accounts. Scenario Your PLG sales team is focussed on expanding into larger companies. To support this effort, the RevOps team has puts together a list of the strategic accounts based on target industries, use cases, company size, etc. These accounts are primarily large companies with disparate teams who have started adopting your product in a bottoms-up fashion. The lack of a single decision maker and the significant number of users involved make tracking this a complex task. Manually updating this spreadsheet to capture the traction, engagement, adoption, and growth of these accounts kills sales rep productivity by pulling them away from actually selling. Good news. There is a better way! Enter Calixa webhooks + Zapier Let's automate this process with 3 simple steps: * Create a new Zap * Build your Calixa automation * Link your account Google Sheet Creating your Zap Head over to Zapier [https://zapier.com/] and create a new Zap. 1. When asked for the App Event, search for and select Webhooks by Zapier. 2. On the next screen select Catch Hook as the trigger event. 3. Finally copy the webhook URL that is generated. You will be using this URL to setup the webhook alert in Calixa. Building your Calixa webhook alert Now let's setup an alert to trigger when there is substantial account growth. Webhook alerts can be triggered based on any metric present in your Calixa account. 1. To create a webhook head to the Automations tab [https://console.calixa.io/automations]. 2. Select Metric-based from the Automations Trigger dropdown 3. From the entity selection, choose Accounts 4. Create a condition that signals a high growth account. In this example I have filtered down to Enterprise accounts that have had over 2 users added in the last 7 days. Calixa makes it easy to test out the automation. Click the button at the bottom of the webhook builder to fire off a sample payload then head to Zapier to verify things are working properly. Linking your spreadsheet Now that your webhook has been tested, let's tell Zapier how it should use the webhook. 1. Choose Google Sheets as the desired app 2. Select Update Spreadsheet Row as the action that will be taken. You will need to add a new step to the Zap to select which row should be updated. 1. Select the Account Name (or applicable) as the Lookup column 2. For the Lookup Value select Calixa Entity Name from the payload. Test the Zapier action and you are off to the races. In this example I created 3 different alerts to update my account list based on which were engaging, activating and growing. Now every time the criteria are met for that account, the appropriate box is checked in the spreadsheet. This sheet now keeps everyone on the same page with an updated status of our target accounts! Save time with Zapier and Calixa Zapier and Calixa partner to keep your revenue efforts efficient. Use them together to connect Calixa with many other tools to efficiently automate your RevOps processes. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Sales-Assist Motion: Lessons in Product-Led Growth (PLG) CRM
While there is a shift towards evaluating and purchasing software without talking to sales, there is still very much a time and place for human-powered sales. At Torq [https://torq.io/] this need is more pronounced as the company navigates the complexity of selling a no-code automation platform for security and operations teams. Deals are commonly associated with an assortment of stakeholders managing dozens of tools across the organization, in an industry not known for its simplicity. Joshua Throngen, VP of Growth at Torq, understands this challenge well, not only from his days as a developer, but from a history of growing cloud security companies and seeing human-powered sales work. As buyer preferences for software evaluation evolve towards automation, however, Josh has had to evolve his growth playbook. We caught up with Josh to chat about how he combines the art of sales with the science of product usage data at Torq. Josh distills how to make sense of this data to find the right moments for human intervention–from upsell opportunities, to periods of user friction. And when to step back and let an account flourish on its own. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- > Calixa: Tell us a little bit about Torq and the product itself. > Joshua Thorngren: Torq was founded in 2020. Our product automates and orchestrates response to and management of software incidents. Our buyers care about protecting their colleagues, customers and data, while also delivering a smooth experience to their users.They just want to find a way to deliver those outcomes more effectively - and that's where our automation comes in. But we also want to build connective tissue so that the platform provides collective value to whole businesses. We do that through a combination of quick onboarding and ramp-up for individualized use cases, alongside leveraging product analytics and enabling our go-to-market teams. This helps us build a complete picture of an account and spot the opportunities where we can go from just assisting one member of a team to assisting the whole team or the entire business. If we save one person one hour a week on incident response, that's great. But we can do, and are doing, so much more. Are there specific metrics you use to identify areas of opportunity for growth? > When you automate a task or a process with Torq, we call that a 'workflow' (Shocking, I know). So, in our position, we're asking: Are you building workflows? Are you using workflows from our pre-built templates? Are you connecting workflows to events so that they trigger automatically? We also look at user trends. Are users inviting their colleagues? Are they connecting other [integrations]? If we're automating tasks or processes, but we're not connected to anything else in your environment, that's a problem. By the same token, if we're connected to 50 different things, we think, "Hang on a second; so you've connected us everywhere, but what are you actually doing?" That might be a problem, too. For us, it's about some of those workflow metrics, and then it's about integrations and then user activations. But we're still early stage, so I'd consider this a work in progress. You start to find patterns. For example, if a user invites three other people, they're more likely to want to hop on a call with a seller and start moving from a self-serve to some kind of enterprise-type plan. You can find connective tissue like that. I think those things vary a lot. Everyone's trying to find three universal signals that tell me I have a deal, but I'm not sure it's that simple. Are there specific signals you look for to identify opportunities for upsells? > It depends. I think one of the most common signals for SaaS companies is 'Do I have 12 different accounts at one company that we serve.' And that's one for us too — don't get me wrong. More often than not, both the customer and we will benefit by consolidating a dozen accounts with a dozen license agreements into a larger enterprise license. But that's not necessarily an upsell signal by itself. What your upsell signals are will be very correlated with how you've chosen to license, price, and limit your product. For Torq, we look at indicators that a customer's need has a certain level of complexity. As an example, if a customer connects us to different tools that do very distinct things — that's an indicator to us that they're a candidate for expansion, as it's a good indicator that more than one group in a security team is now leveraging our automation. But this is an indicator because of how we've tiered our features — if we made different decisions, it might not be. Would you say then that upsell signals depend on the business model instead of a single set of signals that apply to all companies? > Yes. I've read a lot of thought leadership about SaaS that throws out common upsell signals — user activations, active daily users, actions taken in-app. I'm not saying those signals aren't signs of increased usage. But there's a distinction between 'Is this customer increasing usage?' and 'Is this customer increasing usage in a way that will result in increased spend?' And that's when the signals that matter start to be tied to what your business model is. If you're licensing by user/month — you're going to be looking for very different signals than if you're doing consumption-based billing. Your signals have to reflect the licensing model you've chosen. How important is human outreach in activation versus an automated option? > When I'm buying software for my company, I don't want to speak with a person — I want to try and buy on my own. I think that's a common view, especially in the cloud and DevOps space. Buyers value being able to self-direct their evaluation. The problem with that is the intersection of people, culture, process, and technology creates a lot of complexity that sometimes you can't overcome if you're guiding yourself or not receiving human guidance. Even the best documentation, onboarding, product tours, etc. — all those things you typically look at to accelerate time-to-value — can't replace human expertise in complex scenarios. That's when it pays to say, "I notice you're trying to connect a non-standard tool here. Would it make sense for me to share how we've helped [other customer] with that?' Obviously, this varies a bit depending on what you're selling. I'm used to the security, DevOps, cloud markets — where you're selling into environments with dozens if not hundreds of existing tools, coupled with large cross-functional teams and a ton of processes both manual and automated. If you're selling a marketing platform, I think there's less complexity, and that lends itself more to fully automated approaches. So is the trigger for applying the personal touch more about friction? > Yes, when you see that a customer is experiencing friction in your product, that's the trigger. The ideal is a completely frictionless experience at each stage of the buying journey, but that's a bit of a pipedream. So you have to set some triggers that indicate a customer is experiencing friction. This could be user level — maybe a user receives the same error message three times in a row when trying to take an action. It could be customer level — number of average daily logins drop 50% in a week. You've gotta do some trial and error here to find the right signals. Because you don't want to add friction when someone's sailing along smoothly. But you want that human touch to appear at the perfect time to smooth over any friction that's arisen in the self-directed journey. How do you build a predictable growth engine as the company scales? > Your [growth] team's universe is what's in the marketing automation and what's in the CRM. That's not going to cut it. As growth becomes more concerned with optimizing revenue across 'Land, Expand, Renew' — your team has to be looking at signals from the entire customer lifecycle. Plugging growth teams into your product data and support/success data makes the biggest difference here — and it's essential to make the shift toward a more operations-minded growth team. You have to have your team looking at what's happening in the product. For example, what new product activations are happening in the account? That signal becomes just as, if not more important, than website visits, email opens, marketing campaign responses. Product usage against license limits becomes just as, if not more, important than pipeline trends. So, as the team grows, you need people who will take a holistic view of the business and figure out where's best to put your money and resources to achieve the growth you want. If you don't make growth a cross-GTM function, you'll end up without a holistic view into your revenue levers for continued success. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Joshua Throngen started his career in SaaS as a developer before co-founding an agency consulting clients in go-to-market technologies. He later joined the leadership team at cloud security company Twistlock (acquired) before joining Torq [https://torq.io] as its VP of Growth. You can find him on LinkedIn [https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshuathorngren].
Product Led Growth - Why you need a PLG CRM
Join the product-led sales movement and try Calixa for free [https://calixa.io]. Traditional CRMs are broken Traditional CRMs were built for the old world of pre-sales where prospects first talk to Sales, participate in elaborate demos, and finally sign contracts, all before setting foot in the product. In this world of selling Top Down, Sales engages with buyers from the C-suite down to understand their needs and their intent to purchase. Reps grind their way to the right contact and establish rapport over a slog of emails, calls, and meetings. CRMs were built to track these sales conversations and deal stages throughout a sales cycle that could take months or longer. From Top Down to Bottoms Up While this top down selling will still be relevant for certain industries and customer types, the proliferation of modern SaaS products significantly changes the rules of engagement. Prospects no longer have to get permission from Sales to try the product. They can sign up for a free or trial account and use the product immediately. If they can't then they'll move on to the next competing product that does. Users that dive into the product straight away will reach the pivotal "aha" moment–the moment they first experience value in the product. It could be the first time you quickly record and send a video (Loom) or you make your phone ring with a few lines of code (Twilio) or you collaborate in real time with a colleague (Miro). The moment is unique to each product. The real magic happens after experiencing the aha moment. Users feel the value of your product and start making it a part of their life. They introduce their colleagues to it. The number of people using the product from the company rapidly scales up. What was once a small self-serve account has now expanded into a large managed account (read: from $ to $$$$). Selling bottoms up is a strategy that compounds over time. PLG: Flipping the GTM motion on its head This frictionless approach to customer acquisition, dubbed Product-Led Growth (PLG), is fundamental to the rapid growth of companies like Slack, Figma, Twilio, and Calendly. PLG flips the sales process on its head. SQLs (Sales Qualified Leads), where a human talks to and manually qualifies the purchase interest of each lead, have evolved into PQLs (Product Qualified Leads), where the qualification process is simply a function of how they're using the product. In some sense customers self-qualify based on the actions they take. A trial account might invite users or take other actions that mark them as a warm lead. What would a CRM purpose-built for PLG look like? A traditional CRM is not built to handle product usage data. This forces PLG customer teams to either operate in darkness, or piece together their own solutions. Product-led companies need a CRM that answers questions like: * Who's using the product? * What are they doing in the product? * How are they progressing towards activation–i.e. the 'aha moment'? * Are they ready to expand on their own, or do they need a hand? * What actions can I take to push the customer along? Instead of hacking it together or choosing to fly blind, customer teams need a solution that lets them easily find their top sign-ups and take action on them in one product: a PLG CRM. Introducing Calixa: A CRM for Product-Led Companies The old guard of CRM tools were built with inflexible data models to service every business from manufacturing to healthcare to financial services. They're on-purpose unopinionated. And even if they wanted to change, it would take a massive effort to reengineer them for this way of selling. So we set out to build a CRM from scratch that is purpose-built for modern GTM motions. Our CRM is best friends with data of all types whether it's product usage data, data from your warehouse, or even data from 3rd party tools like Zendesk, Stripe, Intercom, Salesforce. We pull it all together effortlessly and let you make sense of what's going on. With Calixa, you can: * Easily identify top sign-ups. Find, activate, and grow your highest potential customers in a sea of self-serve signups. Which trials are signing up and inviting other users? Which accounts performed key actions in the product? Which of these need a nudge to reach that "aha moment"? Leveraging product and customer data, customer-facing teams can prioritize outreach efforts on sign-ups most likely to convert. * See the complete customer journey. Bring together all the fragments of customer data into one cohesive view–product usage, emails, support tickets, payments, errors, and more. Armed with a complete picture, teams can spot patterns and know when a human touch has the most impact. * Go straight from insight to action. Streamline your workflow by taking action in Calixa. Find a high value customer and perform any action without losing context: kick-off a sequence, create an opportunity, extend a trial, and more. Plus a no-code builder allows teams to create custom actions that tie back into their own system. All from one place. * Get alerted to expansion opportunities and more. Create automated alerts that push to email, Slack, or via webhooks based on key customer signals and trends. Alerts can catch openings for upgrade conversations like account usage spikes, or team invites. And flag issues before they snowball like failed charges from VIPs, or multiple errors logged from a new enterprise account. * Connect customer data across apps and data warehouses. In a few clicks, unlock all your user and account data that once was siloed to databases and third-party tools. Calixa pulls together data from Stripe, Segment, Zendesk, Salesforce, Hubspot, Sentry, Snowflake, BigQuery, etc. Customer-facing teams can finally work with a fully baked understanding of their customers without engineering help. Join us in our journey and try Calixa for free [https://calixa.io], no sales calls required (as you might've already guessed). Otherwise we hope you found this guide helpful as you navigate the new world of product-led growth and PLG CRMs.
Sync your Data Warehouse to Calixa with Census - Reverse ETL
With the rise of the modern data stack, it's become increasingly easy to stand up a data warehouse and get all the data you want into one place. As a result, companies are adopting data warehouses earlier and earlier in their life. We're even seeing companies of 10 people or less standing up a warehouse to centralize and make sense of their data. With a data warehouse in place, there's a huge opportunity to push that gold-standard data into the tools that teams use in their day to day. This way, everyone is operating off the same data and you have the data you need in the tools you want to use. The emergence of reverse ETL providers like Census [https://www.getcensus.com/] enables companies to unlock this data by letting them sync warehouse data to many different destinations. We're happy to announce a public beta of our integration with Census. Now, Census customers can easily sync users, accounts, metrics, and custom objects to Calixa. We've had customers using our Census integration for 3 months now and we're ready to open it up to everyone. If you're interested, just fill out the form below and we will follow up.
Save time by automating key customer processes with webhooks
Automations give Calixa users the ability to get proactive alerts when important customer milestones and usage thresholds are hit. This allows you to spot the accounts that are prime for growth, get ahead of customer issues and act when it matters. Now you can also use our Automations platform to fire off webhooks [https://readme.calixa.io/docs/automated-alerts#webhooks] to internal endpoints or popular low-code platforms like Airtable [https://support.airtable.com/hc/en-us/articles/1500003044161-Incoming-webhooks-trigger] and Zapier [https://zapier.com/page/webhooks/]. Popular Use Cases Webhook alerts can be used to help automate multi-step processes by sending your customer data to other tools. With the help of a workflow automation platform, this gives you a virtually limitless set of automation possibilities. Here are some of our customers' favorite use cases: * Create a new 'target account' record in Airtable when usage spikes * Record customer health scores for internal analysis * Add a user to a Google sheet when they test a beta feature * Update an account's status in your CRM if they experience payment issues * Create a Jira issue when a user's error rate jumps Fire a webhook for new accounts that are adopting premium featuresSetting up a webhook alert Setting up webhook alerts can be done in a few minutes with our no-code builder. Head to the Automations tab [https://console.calixa.io/automations] within your Calixa console and create a new metric-based alert. You can configure the following webhook elements: * URL * Payload key/value pairs * Headers * HTTP Basic Auth * Max frequency Webhook builderThe webhook can be sent to any URL that has been configured to receive incoming POST requests. This allows you to integrate with services for which Calixa does not currently have pre-built Automations and Actions, which in turn saves you time from having to write custom code. Give it a try and let us know what you think! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Product Updates - Aug 2021
Before we sign off for the long weekend, Calixa wanted share some updates on what our engineering team has been building. In August we shipped metric-based alerting [https://blog.calixa.io/actions-beta/], Calixa Actions [https://blog.calixa.io/actions-beta/], added a Sentry integration for error visibility, and now support Segment traits! 🚨Get alerts when customers hit key metric thresholds Blog Post [https://blog.calixa.io/automate-alerts-based-on-key-metrics/] Get notifications whenever one of your customers is growingYou now can use the metrics Calixa computes to power your Automations. These alerts empower customer teams take action when it matters: * Find growing teams * Spot usage spikes * Optimize upgrades * Identify champions * Offer preemptive support * Get ahead of billing issues 🗂Stop switching tabs - take action from Calixa Blog Post [https://blog.calixa.io/actions-beta/] Custom Action BuilderYou can now push Calixa data to your connected tools. Here are just a few examples: * Create a Hubspot deal * Add a Salesforce task * Refund a Stripe charge * Create any custom action webhook ...all without switching tabs! Join the beta today [https://form.typeform.com/to/QO8bQex9] to enable actions in your account. Don't see your favorite action, let us know! [firstname.lastname@example.org] 🐛See when users encounter bugs Sentry errors in user timeline viewConnect your Sentry account from the Integrations page [https://console.calixa.io/integrations] to bring your product error data into Calixa: * See how product errors impact user engagement * Prioritize customers based on the errors they have experienced * Get notified when key accounts have error spikes 🔪Slice and dice customers with Segment traits Traits sent on your Segment group and identify calls are now stored as properties in Calixa. * Filter and sort in Segments * View as custom properties in a dashboard * Use to filter your automations Stay product-led, Team Calixa -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Join the beta today! [https://form.typeform.com/to/QO8bQex9] We are excited to announce Calixa's public beta for Actions. Actions allows you to push Calixa data to any of your connected tools without the burden of switching tabs, locating the customer in question, switching context or filling out extensive forms. A few examples of Actions you can take in Calixa include creating a Hubspot deal, adding a new Salesforce task, and refunding a Stripe charge. You can even create any custom action with our no-code builder! Actions can be triggered on users or accounts and are conveniently made available in the console whenever you are viewing customer data. Triggering Hubspot actions on an AccountActions expose all the fields that you are used to within the applications you use. For example, when creating a Salesforce Opportunity from Calixa, you'll be able to set the owner to any of your Salesforce users, use any of your custom stages, etc. Creating a Salesforce opportunity from inside of Calixa.Calixa has pre-built actions that interface directly with your connected tools and can be enabled with the flick of a switch. Example Standard ActionsWe also give you the ability to create custom actions with our no-code builder. These actions have a configurable payload and get sent to a webhook of your choosing. Custom Action BuilderWe would love for you to give it a spin and let us know what you think - sign up for the beta today! [https://form.typeform.com/to/QO8bQex9] -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Keep a pulse on customers with metric-based alerting
Companies have been using Calixa's event-based Automations [https://blog.calixa.io/new-feature-automations/] to get notified of user milestones like signups, trials, invites and upgrades. However, beyond these typical lifecycle events, every company has a unique set of metrics that they use to measure in-product engagement. These often provide early signs of activation success, product stickiness, upgrade potential, or churn propensity. The challenge: these indicators rarely present themselves as clearly defined events. Introducing Metric-based Automations Behind the scenes, Calixa continuously computes metrics based on data from all of your integrations in real-time: Segment events, Intercom chats, Hubspot outreach, Stripe charges and Sentry errors, just to name a few. Previously, you could access these metrics in Segments and Dashboards, but beginning today, you now can use these metrics to power Automations. This means that you can trigger Slack and email alerts whenever customers hit important metric thresholds. Get notifications whenever one of your customers is growingHere are some ways that sales, success, support and growth teams are already using Calixa's metric-based Automations to proactively engage with customers: * Find growing teams: When your customers start inviting their teammates, that's a good sign that the account is ready to grow. You might want to be alerted whenever more than 2 users have been invited to an account. * Spot usage spikes: A sudden increase in usage from a new customer is the perfect time to reach out. Get notified when a customer's usage spikes in a 24 hour period for anyone who has not yet upgraded. * Optimize upgrades: If users regularly access gated product functionality they are likely good candidates for a paid plan. You can setup an alert when someone uses this functionality more than 5 times in the last 7 days. * Identify champions: When a user regularly shares, mentions, tags or invites folks they are likely a power user. You can get notifications when users collaborate more than 10 times a month. * Offer preemptive support: If users see a spike in errors, there is a good chance they need help, but might not say anything. You can setup a notification when a user encounters over 3 errors in a day. * Get ahead of billing issues: When a long-time customer has multiple failed charges within their billing period, there is likely an unknown issue. You could create an alert whenever there are over 2 failed charges in the last 90 days. Start automating Creating a metrics-based Automation can be done in less than a minute. From the Calixa console select the Automations tab [https://console.calixa.io/automations]. Click "New Automation" and select your criteria. Stay in control of notifications Our customers often experience periods of significant growth, which means these automations could be triggered quite often. To ensure that you only receive a notification once in a given time period, simply select a "Max notification frequency" you are comfortable with. It's worth noting that the limit is per user or account. This means that if you are building a user-based automation, selecting once per day will notify you of each user that qualifies, but only once a day for that user. If several customers trigger the notification, we will bundle them and give you a link to view the full list in our console. Happy automating! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Not on Calixa yet? Signup here [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or book time [https://calendly.com/moock/onboarding] to chat with one of our friendly product specialists.
Product Updates - July 2021
Calixa has had a busy summer! In July we made it easier to create segments of your users and accounts, enabled email and Slack alerts from Segment events and launched a beta integration for customers using Census [https://www.getcensus.com/]... and as a bonus, we now automatically pull profile photos and company logos into the console! 📊Find User and Account Segments faster * New auto-saving UI - We redesigned how users and accounts are displayed and now auto-save your changes. You can also save without overriding an existing Segment. * Property Search - You can now search properties from any integration when adding new columns to a Segment. * Column interactivity - Adding, removing, resizing and moving is much easier. * No more scrolling - Search is now enabled on both Properties and Metrics! ⚙️Trigger Slack alerts from Segment events * You can now use email and Slack Automations with your Segment events! * These alerts can also be filtered by any property sent on the event. 🧪Sync data from your warehouse with Census Beta * Companies can now visualize and act on data that was previously relegated to inaccessible databases, side by side with your data from Segment, Intercom, Hubspot, Stripe and all other sources that Calixa currently supports. * Let us know [email@example.com] if you are interested in trying it out! Stay product-led, Team Calixa Gravatar
Throughout my career, I've always been on the front lines of bringing my products to market. I've felt it's critical not just to build products, but to also support customers through beta, launch, and beyond. What I saw time and time again was that I had an unfair advantage over my colleagues in Customer Success and Support. Because I could code and query DBs, I had access to data and could perform actions that they couldn't. It was completely unfair. We'd ask Support and Success to delight customers but not give them the means to do it. This kept happening again and again with every product launch at every company I worked at. Why didn't we fix it? The answer is simple. We were driven to build against the company's mission. Customer tooling was always a P2. The only way this would change is if the company's mission was to empower customer facing teams. The Rise of Bottoms Up Today, the fastest growing startups (eg Twilio, Figma, Calendly, etc) have moved to a product-led go-to-market. They let customers try the product, find the value, and adopt it how they want. In this world, every customer interaction is a chance to delight. Anyone who is working with customers has the chance to improve conversion, increase growth, and reduce churn. If product-led companies want to be successful, they need to fully empower their customer facing teams. Teams shouldn't be jumping from tool to tool with fractured views of the world. Teams should have one place where they can go to understand their customers and take intelligent action. However, the sad reality is that companies are using existing CRMs and GTM tools that were built for a traditional outbound model. It's an awkward fit. They force their rigid model on something that's inherently fluid. They force companies to jam customer data in without respect for the user and don't make it easy to perform any meaningful action. This needs to change. Something brand-new is needed. Calixa is Born Fred and I founded Calixa to solve this once and for all. We want to give superpowers to customer facing teams. No longer will teams be stuck in outdated CRMs, jump across 9 browser tabs, or struggle with SQL. No longer will teams worry about what they might be missing. Today, we are publicly launching Calixa [https://calixa.io]. It's a Customer Ops platform that connects to all your existing apps(eg Stripe, Zendesk, Segment, Salesforce, Snowflake etc) and gives you a single place to understand customers and take action. Even better, no engineering is required. Just sign up [https://console.calixa.io/signup], connect your apps, and we take care of the rest. Calixa empowers customer facing teams with four core capabilities: * Segments → Filter and rank customers to target those with most potential. (eg rank by usage customers who signed up this month and have not upgraded) You can use data and signals from any app you connect. * Customer 360 → See a unified view of all customer data (eg Stripe invoices, Zendesk Tickets, Salesforce Opportunities, Sentry errors, etc) to get instant customer context. Create custom dashboards to meet your specific needs. * Automated Alerts → Set up alerts that trigger in realtime based on key events (eg failed payments) or metrics (eg usage spike). You can stay one step ahead of customers so that you can intervene at the exact moment to have a big impact. * Actions → Take action (eg refund payment, start outbound sequence, extend trial, etc) directly in context with data. You can trigger processes within their own app or in the 3rd party apps they use. The best thing about Calixa is that it's purpose-built for product-led companies. The Road Ahead Over the last year, we've been working with beta customers as we built Calixa. We couldn't be more thankful to all the customers who helped get us to this point. You know who you are and the deepest thanks from the entire team. Our goal is to empower every company to delight their customers. We are excited to set the new standard for customer tools and what it means to be a product-led. Today is a big step in that journey. We can't wait to work with you. - Team Calixa Thomas, Fred, Noah, Pras, Krishna, Matheus, Luis
Calixa Segments: Focus on what matters!
The hardest part of a running a product-led company is knowing which customers to lean in with. There are many customers you could be talking to but who should you be talking to. Calixa Segments was built to solve this. With Calixa Segments you can create realtime reports that track the customers that matter most to growth . We enable you to filter your customers by both properties (eg sign up date) and metrics (eg number of support tickets) and then rank by metrics (eg usage). Here are some examples of Segments that are commonly created: * Show me the top customers by usage who signed up in the last 30 days * Show me which customers who spend over $1000 last month and sent the most support tickets in the last 7 days * Show me the top paying customers who had the biggest usage drops * Show me which accounts are adding the most users in the last 7 days The great thing about Calixa is that all these metrics are automatically generated for you from the apps you connect. Even better, all your Segment event traffic is also turned into metrics. You can even send custom events and metrics [https://readme.calixa.io/reference] to our API if you want. How to Create a Segment Creating a SegmentYou can create segments in a few easy steps: 1. Click on the "Create New" button to create a new Segment. 2. Select whether you want to segment your users or accounts. 3. Add whatever filter criteria you want. You can string together as many as you need. 4. Pick the metric you want to rank by. We'll rank the list by this metric and also calculate rates of change for you. If there are any columns you want to add or remove from the resulting list, that's easy too. Just click on the configure columns button to hide and show the columns you want. Here's a GIF of how to do it: Configure Columns Sorting is a breeze too. Let's say for example you wanted to sort by the change percentage and not the absolute value, just click on the "Change" in the table header. SortingAnd as with anything in Calixa, when you find a particular user or account you want to deep dive on, just click on them. And you'll see complete view of their account. Getting Started Segments is available immediately to all existing Calixa customers. If you have any questions on how to set it up, just let us know. If you looking for help on how to get started, you can sign up for free [https://console.calixa.io/signup] or email us (firstname.lastname@example.org) to learn more. We'd love to hear from you.
Build Alerts with Calixa Automations
Today, we launched a new feature called Automations [https://console.calixa.io/automations]. It enables you to send automated email or Slack alerts to your team about events from any connected integration. You can now send alerts to your team whenever key events happen. You'll now be able to get ahead of customer issues before they spiral into a big problem. Some examples of popular alerts are: * When a charge fails * When an invoice is paid * When a new account signs up * When a new opportunity closes * When a customer encounters an error The alerts contain the key information you need to triage the situation and take action. Here's an example of a Slack notification for a failed charge: Alerts are easy to create. You can add criteria so you only get alerted on select events. (eg notify when invoices greater $1,000 are paid). Here's an example of setting up a email notification for a failed charge: We've already heard feedback from customers that Automations have helped them stay on top issues and get to them even before customers notice. We plan on adding additional functionality in the coming months to make Automations even more powerful. If you have any ideas, we'd love to hear them (email@example.com).
New Hubspot App Launched!
Today, we are pleased to announce the public release of our Hubspot integration. Now, you can easily see all your Hubspot CRM data inside of Calixa. When you connect your Hubspot account, we will pull in all historical data and setup webhooks so all new data will keep flowing in real time. Once you've linked your Hubspot account, you'll immediately start seeing your CRM data (Companies, Contacts, Deals, and Engagements) in the Calixa UI. Your Hubspot data will be automatically connected to your other customer data so that you can stop jumping from tab to tab. Even better, you'll be able to create automated alerts based on your Hubspot account so you'll be able respond instantly whenever something happens. Get a Slack message when a big new Deal is created or get an email users are added to an account. Never again be caught unaware. You'll be on top of whatever is happening with your customers. Calixa supports the following Hubspot objects: * Companies * Contacts * Deals * Engagements How to connect your Hubspot account You can easily connect your Hubspot account to Calixa during our onboarding process or afterwards click "Add Integration" our Integrations tab [https://console.calixa.io/integrations]. We'll prompt you to sign into your Hubspot account to grant us access to your data. Once you're signed in to your Hubspot, it will ask you to select the account you want to link. Pick the one you want and then click "Connect app". That's it! After that, you're all set.
Connect Zendesk Tickets with Your Customer Data
Today, we are pleased to announce the public release of our Zendesk integration. Now, you can easily see all your support tickets inside of Calixa. When you connect your Zendesk account, we will pull in all historical data and setup webhooks so all new data will keep flowing in real time. Once you've linked your Zendesk account, you'll immediately start seeing your support data in the Calixa UI. You can see what plan a customer is on, find an old invoice, or even troubleshoot a failed charge. Calixa connects all your Zendesk data with your other customer data so you get a complete picture of you customer in one place. You now can stop juggling a dozen different tabs in your browser. Even better, you'll be able to create automated alerts based on your Zendesk account so you'll be able respond instantly whenever something happens. Get a Slack message whenever an important customer messages you or get an email whenever there's a spike in tickets. Never again be caught unaware. You'll be on top of whatever is happening with your customers. Calixa supports the following Zendesk objects: * Organizations * Tickets * Users How to connect your Zendesk account You can easily connect your Zendesk account to Calixa during our onboarding process or afterwards click "Add Integration" our Integrations tab [https://console.calixa.io/integrations]. We'll prompt you to tell us your Zendesk subdomain and then sign in to your account. Once you're signed in to your Zendesk, you'll grant us permission to connect to you account. Once complete, you're done. We'll take care of the rest. Linking your Zendesk account to Calixa
Stripe + Calixa
Today, we are pleased to announce the public release of our Stripe integration. Now, you can easily see all your payments data inside of Calixa. When you connect your Stripe account, we will pull in all historical data and setup webhooks so all new payments will keep flowing in real time. Once you've linked your Stripe account, you'll immediately start seeing your payments data in the Calixa UI. You can see what plan a customer is on, find an old invoice, or even troubleshoot a failed charge. Calixa connects all your Stripe data with your other customer data so you can stop jumping from tab to tab. Even better, you'll be able to create automated alerts based on your Stripe account so you'll be able respond instantly whenever something happens. Get a Slack message when a big invoice is paid or get an email whenever a credit card fails. Never again be caught unaware. You'll be on top of whatever is happening with your customers. Calixa supports the following Stripe objects: * Charges * Customers * Disputes * Invoices * Plans * Products * Refunds How to connect your Stripe account You can easily connect your Stripe account to Calixa during our onboarding process or afterwards click "Add Integration" our Integrations tab [https://console.calixa.io/integrations]. We'll prompt you to sign into your Stripe account to grant us access to your data. That's it! After that, you're all set. Linking your Stripe account to Calixa
Get Started in Seconds with our Segment App
Today, we are pleased to announce the public release of our Segment integration. Now, you can send any customer data collected by Segment directly to Calixa just by linking your account. You'll get an instant real time view of your customers. Once you've linked your Segment account, identify, track, and group calls that contain Account or User data will be processed by Calixa. It removes the need for you to integrate directly with the Calixa API. In the Calixa UI, you'll immediately see the benefit of connecting with Segment * You'll have a real time view of all customer updates * You'll see a complete event timeline for every user and account * You'll see realtime metrics instantly generated from Segment events How to connect your Segment account You can easily connect your Segment account to Calixa during our onboarding process or afterwards click "Add Integration" our Integrations tab [https://console.calixa.io/integrations]. We'll prompt you to sign into your Segment account to grant us access to your data. That's it! After that, you're all set. If you have multiple Segment sources, all you need to do is go through the linking flow for each. Segment only allows linking of one source at a time. Calixa supports as many sources as you need. Some tips about using Segment + Calixa While Calixa can process any of your Segment events, we recommend using the Segment B2B Spec [https://segment.com/docs/connections/spec/b2b-saas/] if possible. Most B2B SaaS companies have a few common, core lifecycle events for users and accounts so Segment created a common spec just for this type of company. By using the B2B Spec [https://segment.com/docs/connections/spec/b2b-saas/], you'll be better able to take advantage of account based capabilities of both Calixa and Segment. If you have any questions about how to use the spec, don't hesitate to ask us.