B2B SaaS Pricing for Metrix: Freemium, Per-User, Value Metrics?

Pricing in B2B SaaS is something I’ve talked about before – specifically how we discovered that Freemium in SaaS can be deadly for an early stage startup searching for product-market fit.

Luckily (for Trakio!), I’ve evolved as a CEO and data analyst. Gone are those early days of jumping out of the gates with ‘gut instinct’ decisions on what seems “about right based on what others are doing!”.

When we started work on the relaunch of Trakio’s newest product, Metrix (aka a “pivot”), one of the areas of the business I knew needed much more work, and more strategic consideration than I’d given it before, was our pricing model.

This is a guide to the thought process and analysis that has gone into our new pricing model for our launch.

I knew I needed to look again into what makes a good value based metric for pricing. I needed to re-examine Freemium and it’s failings, and look into how larger and more expensive B2B SaaS products commanded such high prices against smaller, cheaper competitors.

Continue reading B2B SaaS Pricing for Metrix: Freemium, Per-User, Value Metrics?

8 Steps To Automate Your SaaS Customer Lifecycle And Lower Your CAC

One of the biggest changes we’ve had to work on at Trakio is moving all of our marketing, sales and onboarding from high-touch (and expensive) processes into a low-touch (therefor cheaper) automated processes.

It’s difficult to manually onboard every customer when you’re selling a product at $10 /user /month!

While I’m a huge fan of doing things that don’t scale, I’m also a big believer in growing fast and putting processes on autopilot!

Here’s how you can also automate your full customer lifecycle and lower your customer acquisition costs!

Continue reading 8 Steps To Automate Your SaaS Customer Lifecycle And Lower Your CAC

3 Product Management Lessons, Inspired By A Bowl Of Ramen

I’m walking out of the supermarket with a dumb grin on my face. I’ve just bought 2 cups of dried Ramen. I’m skipping caña’s & tapas tonight because I’m going to eat these salty €1 noodles and write this blog post about staying frugal.

All week we’ve been speaking with VC’s and investors. A new product launch gets people excited. And true to the Silicon valley cliche, every investor eventually asks us:

“And how much of a pay rise will the founders take?”

Easy – we’re going to eat ramen, because we’re frugal founders, and actually reduce our salaries! It’s impressed the hell out of everyone all week.

But 5 minutes ago, excited about penning this blog post, I opened my bowl of ramen.

And found a fork.

And it blew my mind.

I immediately knew this blog post had to be about something else. Something much more important than frugality. Finding that fork summarised the last 8 months of mine and Matt’s education in selling, marketing and building our startup. I knew this fork could have turned our startup around sooner.

Let me tell you how my bowl of ramen, and the fork inside, is going to save your startup:

Continue reading 3 Product Management Lessons, Inspired By A Bowl Of Ramen

Why We Killed A $150,000 Feature

I can’t tell if he wants to laugh, cry or punch me. His emotions right now are about the same as mine were 5 hours ago. I’ve been up for 39 hours.

My head is throbbing.

I’m unsure if it’s from the stress of this huge decision I’ve been considering through the early hours of the morning, or the 4 cans of Walmart’s own brand energy drink.

I’m shaken from my microsleep by his reaction:

“Honestly, I can’t disagree with anything you’ve just said.”

He releases a sigh that carries with it the colossus weight of the codebase I’ve just unburdened him of. I sigh, sharing his relief, and slump down into my chair.

Reminding me why I love having this guy as my equal partner, he’s immediately into action mode:

“OK, it will take me a few days to rip it out. I need to make some changes to the API, database, figure out the UI changes… But yeah, let’s delete it!”

Reading the data from every angle, reviewing every single customer conversation over the last 9 months, and spending days obsessively Googling over the competitive landscape… nothing prepares you for the decision to delete a huge feature. A decision better shared with a cofounder.

Especially a feature that’s cost you $150,000 of investor’s cash.

Here’s the journey that led us up to making this decision, the lessons I learned about being a product manager, and how it’s totally changed the way I think about building products in early stage startups: Continue reading Why We Killed A $150,000 Feature

3 Reasons Why We’re Taking Pre-Orders For Our New SaaS Product, Again

I’m staring at Mixpanel’s homepage. It’s beautiful. I flick across to KISSmetrics. They’ve changed their homepage, again, and it looks amazing. I look through another 5 or 6 websites, and the heavy stone in my gut grows a little bit bigger.

I distinctly remember vomiting at one point that day.

I’m looking through every possible “customer analytics” tool because it’s 2013 and we’re just about to hit “Publish” on the landing page for our new SaaS product, “Trak.io Customer Analytics”.

Specifically, we’re launching a landing page that asks people to pre-order a software product that isn’t even built yet, has no Silicon Valley VC backing, and is in a seemingly crowded space.

Will people understand that we aren’t trying to compete with these established tools? Will people realise there’s a gap in their analytics setup? Will people put in their credit card and pay for our solution?

As it turned out, the whole pre-order process was a success. While it didn’t raise much money relative to our costs, it did provide an awesome engaged audience of 105 customers to develop our early product.

So we’re doing it again, for our new SaaS product, Metrix, launching in October. Here’s why. Continue reading 3 Reasons Why We’re Taking Pre-Orders For Our New SaaS Product, Again

YCombinator: Our Interview Experience After Flying 5,351 Miles for 10 Minutes

Today we’re flying home from San Francisco to London, after flying out here for an early interview with Sam Altman for a spot in the YC Winter 2015 batch for our company, Trakio. We’re flying home for a few days to pack more clothes and then we’re returning to SF to do some more meetings and participate in an accelerator!

This is a post about our experience in getting Trakio known stateside and interviewing with some of the worlds top-tier startup accelerator programs.

Continue reading YCombinator: Our Interview Experience After Flying 5,351 Miles for 10 Minutes

What Customer Success Managers Can Learn From A Barber Shop

Today was the day I had my monthly hair cut. Being a rather traditional guy, I got to a pretty traditional barbers. I get a hair cut by the same barber each time, someone who can only be described as a “man’s man”. During the 45 minutes, I’m surrounded by “manly” barbers discussing “manly” things.

I’ve done this every month, on roughly the same day every month, at exactly same barber shop, for the last 2 years (which is since I moved into this area).

It was during my cut today that I started observing, I mean really observing, why I’ve come back to this place every time, for the last 2 years. There’s 4 other hair stylists/barbers within a 5 minute walk, but I choose this one.

During my deep contemplation, while a man with hands the size of a viking was deftly and efficiently cutting away at my barnet, I started to see the underlying fabric of the place. The reasons I come back here each time. Why I’ve become a loyal and happy customer.

I’m fully aware that the business model and challenges of a barber shop do not accurately map onto the challenges of a SaaS software company (startup or enterprise). I’m talking about repeat customers vs. subscribing customers.

But I did see a lot of amazing lessons in something so simple and honest as my local barber shop, and I wanted to see if we could use them to inspire our approach to customer success management.

Continue reading What Customer Success Managers Can Learn From A Barber Shop