Peter Peter - Founder, UserActive

Workshop: How to Drive User Upgrades & Account Expansion for Your SaaS

In this live workshop recording, we discussed how you can drive user upgrades and account expansion for your SaaS. We covered how to set new sign-ups on the path to upgrade, when to promote upgrades to your users, how to design upgrade flows that convert and more. This workshop focuses on how to increase conversions directly within your SaaS. If you’re aware that you could be converting more upgrades and expanding existing customer accounts then this workshop is for you.


[00:00:03] – Peter

Great stuff. Okay, so we have John from Montreal, Canada. Hey, John, great to see you again. Thank you for joining us. John works on an analytics platform for software affiliates in the gaming sector. Right, John?

[00:00:20] – John

Gaming for now, but it will be affiliate marketing in general.

[00:00:25] – Peter

Okay. Land and expand, right? Yeah. Okay, so that’s John. It’s called Statsdrone. If anyone is interested. Stats aggregated for Business Intelligence. Kunal from in India. Thanks for joining the call. Sounds like a CRM kind of mail, email based CRM.

[00:00:49] – Kunal

It’s more like amp emails. Yes.

[00:00:52] – Peter

Like what?

[00:00:53] – Kunal

Interactive emails. Amp emails, basically.

[00:00:56] – Peter

Okay, perfect. Great stuff. Okay. Dennis from Dallas Deposit fixed payments for HubSpot CRM. Cool. Okay. Just catching up. Well, there’s quite a few comments in here now, so I’ll get them. Steve Tech, product manager, Commerce Decisions, which is a procurement evaluation software. We’ve also got Darrell from Statsdrone in Canada. Farrah from timetackle calendar intelligence. Hey, that sounds useful. We use a lot of calendar and timer apps at UserActive. Luke from Bournemouth, a fellow Brit. Jen for Signature.gen and Esignature, built on SalesForce. Okay, cool.

We’ve been working with a couple of SaaS companies who call this coattailing building a product that integrates with one of the big SaaS, and you ride the coattails of that product and you expand that way you get acquired users through them with a good integration. That’s fairly common. Carl Bosby, based in London, working for Finder. Hey, that’s familiar. I’ve heard of Finder. We help businesses to match with each other. Is this an app? A bit like a dating app where you are interested and you swipe and you get to connect with people to network with or other businesses?

[00:02:27] – Carl

Yeah, that’s pretty much that’s what we get described as quite a lot like a sort of data platform for businesses. So, yeah.

[00:02:33] – Peter

Cool. Now that you mentioned it, I used it, I’ve tried it before. It was really cool. I met quite a few people in the industry just chatting through the app. So that’s a neat idea. Okay, well, lovely to hear from you all and hear what you’re working on as we go through this. I’d encourage you to think about your problems or issues that you have with expansion, and feel free to ask questions at any time and share your thoughts. So we like to keep this informal collaborative, but I have slides to work through, so we’ll go through that, and I love to use any of your current situations as talking points as we go through. So let’s get started, shall we?

How to drive upgrades and account expansion. So we’ve done a welcome. Got a good idea of who’s here. Nice group. We also have an offer. So Sarah from user active she’s here on the call with us. So if you have any questions, you put them in the chat. Sarah will help moderate that. She also put a link to this, which is a session to just book a strategy call. If there’s something you need to work on or talk through from a product perspective, then we can help and you’re welcome to use this link to go there and you’ll find the cabin.

[00:03:53] – Peter

Lee, you can just go ahead and book some time with me where you get to talk through any issues you have. Yeah, Sarah, just put that link in the chat. Thanks for that, Sarah. So feel free to do that. Now, what are we going to look at in this workshop? Okay, so we’re going to look at common challenges with account expansion. How can you use your product to get users to upgrade? How do we define expansion? What is it? We’re going to think about that a little bit, then we’re going to look at some examples and have a Q and A session.

We’re a product design consultancy, so we always work on the product inside the product, designing interactions that are engaging and that drive value for users, but also growth for SaaS platforms. So all of the examples in the discussion we’re going to talk about today is based on things you can do inside your product. I always recommend and suggest that this is complemented by activity you’re doing outside your product. Email campaigns, customer success, anything like this, but more focus on in product interactions. So, expansion challenges. Does anyone have any issues or difficulty with growing sales with your existing customer base at the moment?

[00:05:25] – Peter

So anyone got something that you’re working on? Something that you’ve been trying to resolve? How to get your customers to either buy more from you by adding users or upgrading plans or add ons any expansion challenges? It’s okay if nothing comes to mind, but looks like John’s typing. Feel free to come on Mike as well if you want to talk through anything. Yeah, good point, John. I imagine other people might feel like this too. So John says it’s not really anything specific, just requires more work and getting feedback from users. The feedback is data. That feedback is database. Do you mean feedback on data visualisation inside your platform or do you mean feedback is going to inform how you shape expansion or how you work on it?

[00:06:35] – John

Yeah, we’ve got an app that gives affiliates large tables of data and it’s kind of overwhelming and basically for them to take any insights, they really need some basic database. And we have a competitor, we’ve had a couple of customers saying, you know what, we’d be happy paying their more expensive price with your app if you had at least these basic ones. And if you had a couple more, they’re literally telling us what’s going to be impactful for them.

[00:07:06] – Peter

Oh great, that’s pretty powerful. So that can shape the product itself as well as then when you get clear on what they really value. It also gives you an idea on how to segment features up in terms of your plans and how you break it up in terms of usage. Still a few people joining, so Christian is just joining us. Thanks for joining, Christian. If you can hear me, okay, so I’m just going to talk about three common issues here when we talk about expansion. So one of the main things that I hear a lot from companies we work with is that they were just missed opportunities.

So you have this powerful product with a lot of value in this product, but you don’t think you’re capturing enough opportunities to enable your customers to get more from their plan or invite more additional users or collaborate in a better way. You’re just not promoting it enough. So this phrase that you hear a lot about leaving money on the table, that’s pretty common when we’re talking about expansion because quite often you need to design, if you’re doing it within the products that you have a product led approach, self service approach, then really what you’re doing is thinking about the flows and how to present these offers to users within the product.

[00:08:25] – Peter

So if you’re not doing this in the right way that captures their attention and makes them aware of additional value, then often it goes missed. And there’s this general feeling of missed opportunities. And in general, it leads to accounts not growing. So it’s widely known that it’s easier to sell to existing customers than to new users. Right. The cost of acquisition has already been incurred. You have a relationship, they’re already getting value, so it’s easier to sell to existing customers.

But if accounts are not growing, then there’s obviously disparity there between either it’s not being presented in the right way, it hasn’t been packaged in the right way just yet. So that’s worth thinking about. Has anyone got plans in their product? Does anyone get this kind of common feeling that you think you could be doing more or selling more to existing customers, but you just either haven’t got around to it or not sure how to do that yet? Has anyone got that situation? You can just put yes in the comment if you do.

[00:09:43] – Steve

Feels like it’s always the case we could sell more.

[00:09:48] – Peter

Yeah. Nice. Steve, I think that’s a pretty common feeling. Can you remind us what it is that you’re working on? Steve? Commerce.

[00:10:03] – Steve

We deal with e evaluation, so mainly for large, complex projects, a lot of government projects, large building projects, or those types of things, bound by quite a lot of regulations, EU type regulations and things like that. So there are certain rules about purchasing large items, certainly the government or anything like that. So, yeah, so customers log in, they create questions, they evaluate, make choices, that sort of thing. That’s what we do.

[00:10:42] – Peter

Do you sell in a kind of enterprise approach, or would you say that you have a product led approach for that?

[00:10:52] – Steve

It’s primarily enterprise, I would say. I think, yeah.

[00:11:03] – Peter

Right? Yeah. Often there are things that you can do in the product to facilitate that sales process, which might just be raising awareness or initiating those discussions to get into those sales conversations. So maybe that’s something we can think about as well. So just a few more comments here. Carl says that they’re looking at ways of getting additional referrals. Okay, that’s really nice. Referrals to other customers, not necessarily referrals to people within their team, I assume. And then Christian, a constant feeling of the reason for most workshops and initiatives.

NCS, good topic to work on this is John. You hired a VP of Sales, John, to understand what you need to do to get more revenue from existing clients. Great new designs and advanced features. Can help with that alone. Help change the narrative. Yeah. And then I think the next step is once you have that, then how do you segment these features up into valuable buckets where you can then cross sell upsell for your different plans? The third thing I’d comment on is that generally I see that people are not sure of what, how or when to promote cross selling and upselling within a SAS product.

[00:12:43] – Peter

So from my perspective, it comes very much from the user behaviour and user activity in the app. So what we want to think about is two ways to do this. A contextual approach where we serve offers and interactions that promote expansion at the point of the journey of which the user it’s relevant to the user’s journey. So they’re trying to share something, they’re trying to collaborate, or they’re trying to add more usage than they currently have in their account. We serve them up an upgrade or payroll, for instance.

The other way to do it is by interrupting the user. So you might release a new feature and when you launch that into the product, you might just have a notification that interrupts your user while they’re on your platform. And it says, hey, we’ve got this new premium feature, would you like to cheque it out? Now you can either put them on a free trial for it or you can ask them to upgrade for it. Generally, those are the two approaches that we suggest and we design for. Kunal, there’s another comment from you here, which is easy onboarding, but some accounts aren’t sticky enough.

[00:13:53] – Peter

Since we’re in Amp email marketing platform, we do have a lot of initial interest, but we lose some customers when their email sending frequency isn’t high enough or they’re not using the sending limits they’ve paid for. There’s a broader issue here which is about activation, utilisation and retention. So I would look at user experience for this, making a stronger impact in onboarding and delivering more value at an earlier stage to try and drive retention and utilisation a bit higher there, but then maybe review your accounts and the plans that people are signing up for.

But then once that problem solved, then I’d come back to looking at expansion. I think that’s the best way around to do that. So let’s just summarise what is account expansion? So we’re talking about revenue growth. It’s MRI that’s coming from your existing customer base. Generally upselling cross selling or add ons. Add ons could be one off. So technically that might not be MRI, but ideally you could have recurring add ons, such as if it’s in Kunal’s case, it might be your number of contacts that you can mail to and you might add on a bundle of contacts, put on a monthly plan.

[00:15:28] – Peter

And the way we do this is having users upgrade their plans, offering them additional usage on certain features on their existing plans. So a classic case of this is something like Dropbox or Drive where you can add storage to your plan and you pay for additional storage or adding seats. Now we’re often thinking of seats as team members, but there’s a much broader use cases for seats. And then finally premium features. Now that’s not exhaustive, but if you have some features that are premium, then that’s another great opportunity to create some upgrades.

So here’s what we’re going to be talking through. This is a worksheet that just helps you break all of the different areas down that you need to think about for expansion. So I’m going to talk through these one by one and we’re going to go through and fill this in. I’m going to ask you to help me fill these in, but I have an example that I’m going to use for this. So let’s first think about I want you to first think about value features in your product. So what are the most valuable features in your product that your customers, the reason that they buy your product, what’s most valued and why do they buy?

[00:16:58] – Peter

So what’s the benefit that they would get for this? So can anybody share with me who would like to share with me what you consider your most valuable features? You could list off one to five features. Council, do you want to share? Feel free to show.

[00:17:18] – Kunal

AMD email basically let you use those fill out forms inside the email, respond to fill out entire forms inside the email, respond to things like that, give NPS ratings right on the email, thumbs up or thumbs down, emoji, whatever. So the value upfront with interactive emails is very high and especially if you have a list that heavy on amp friendly users like the ESP, Gmail or Yahoo, then you’re going to get more interaction and even if not generally, there’s higher engagement with amp style emails. So I would say amp.

And since we pioneered building out around it, we have an advantage there and a lot of our customers move to us from MailChimp or send grid because we have Amp and we have a personal touch. I’m a customer success manager myself and critique is on the call as well. So we give a personal touch. Everyone gets personalised service. We’re good there. So I think that’s the biggest advantage.

[00:18:16] – Peter

Great. Okay, so it sounds like you have some neat features that can go into emails that your customers can send out, like NPS and these ways of getting feedback or scores from recipients.

[00:18:32.170] – Kunal

Yeah, we even have research students using our surveys feature to send out surveys to the participants over periods of yours. For example, we have universities doing that. We have companies doing the NPS surveys, users finishing the shopify journeys inside the.

[00:18:48] – Peter

Emails, for example.

[00:18:51] – Kunal

And giving them feedback. Like, if they have a comment, they can start with it and you’ll get that.

[00:18:57] – Peter

Pretty powerful. So you’ve got some really good stuff there. And what’s your model generally? Would you say you’re doing a freemium model, free trials, demos. How do you acquire users?

[00:19:07] – Kunal

We have a 21 day free trial and you get to explore the platform pretty much. And then you can upgrade on your own contact sales and we can upgrade you. That’s the process that we follow now.

[00:19:18] – Peter

Okay, neat. So just to get started on this worksheet, you’re listing out your key valuable features here, the different things that you have in the emails, like the surveys, you might also have the amount the email send or the contact.

[00:19:35] – Kunal

They can even sign up for a webinar and add it to the calendar inside the email. We have calendar integrations. They can book meetings inside the email itself.

[00:19:42] – Peter

You’ve got a whole bunch of stuff you can list out here. And your valuable features on this worksheet. I’ve used the example of an online summit event management platform. So typical features for them. This is taken from it’s hypothetical, it’s taken from an actual client that we worked with. So hosting live streams on their platform, giving users a website, their own custom URL domain with landing pages for a website to promote their virtual summit. They can sign up sponsors, they can have speaker presentations and attendees. So there’s already quite a lot of great features. Just like a lot of you guys have. There’s some really valuable features here.I

like to think about the plans for this. So if you’re on a free trial of premium, you’ve really got the opportunity to land users in your product and try to get them activated or aware of these key features. So this is a CRM that we work with, a CRM for churches, and they have a premium package, a freemium plan. And on this plan, we land users on the dashboard that just gets them familiar with some of the key features in the product, but it also lets them know about the premium features right here, it’s not too pushy, it’s not too salesy, but it’s raising awareness.

[00:21:20] – Peter

We’re trying to activate users and get them aware of things that they can upgrade to. So what we consider in this CRM as premium features are the talk. You can set up phone lines and things like workflows, so automated sequences and workflows. These are not just for emails. They have quite a lot of functionality in them. So just by surfacing them here on this freemium dashboard, we’re already getting users the very first experience to think, at least consider expansion, right? Another place that we do this is in that pricing screens.

This is really powerful screen, not just to let users know what they’re doing or what they’re signed up for, but to upsell and cross sell. So we use pricing screens a lot for this. One thing we do is let them know their usage, particularly if they’re an active user. We can show them quite easily how they’re filling their usage allocation for plans each month. And you get a good sense of as you’re growing, you get a good sense of what customers use, so you can actually start fitting your plans to where you know the usage is common. So that these do fill up for different segments.

[00:22:47] – Peter

We let you know billing dates, we let you know discounts, we let users upgrade. There are a lot of other things you can do here. Adding, you can promote your add-ons, you can promote your additional users and seats. So it’s just one key thing, thinking about your model, your freemium or your free trial or what plan your users are on. It’s a great place to promote expansion. When users are on a free trial and expire, this is one of the best times to raise their awareness because their frame of mind, their mindset is in the realm of considering, okay, what plan do I need?

And they’re actually looking to find out more about your product. So once you get them onto this part of a flow, it’s really good Practise to make sure that you share the key value in your product and also make it clear to understand how the upgrades and the plans work. So next thing we’re going to look at is the offers. How do you get from raising awareness to making an offer? Things we consider at this stage is how do you leverage your features? Okay, so you’ve got these premium features, but you don’t just want to give them all away.

[00:24:19] – Peter

You need to think about how to segment them into buckets of usage or groups of features where you’re segmenting pricing to deliver the maximum value, but you’re also trying to make sure that you’re getting rewarded. And there’s a balance between the value that you’re giving and the value that you’re receiving. So that’s one of the challenges in setting your pricing plans. Just coming back to this virtual summit platform, things that we can offer based on the valuable features that they have are okay, so users can host live streams, so we can charge them for multiple streams.

If we know that they’re running large conferences, virtual Summits multiple streams, something we can promote premium website themes for their Summit website. Multiple sponsorship tiers enable recordings of talks that we host on the platform and then also adding different tiers for attendees so you can have different packages. So once you start thinking about your features in this way, where the most value is derived for your users, it can be quite easy to start thinking about the different ways that you can offer upgrades for these. Can anyone share a typical upgrade that you have on one of your value features in your product right now?

[00:25:55] – Peter

Is there anyone got anything that’s working for them? Car looks like you want to share something.

[00:26:04] – Carl

I talked to myself. I’ve got multiple plans, like Pays Ago unlimited annual enterprise plan. So obviously when people come on to say, hey, we’ll do a free trial and then the idea is we want to try to keep them, obviously stick and keep them on the unlimited plans and not obviously sort of downgrading, but it’s a bit different. We don’t quite have things. If you’re on all the plans, all kind of have the same sort of features, so to speak, except for the pricing. If you want to pay as you go, obviously then you have to pay for each call. But the other plans, it’s unlimited. You can make as many calls as you want something. Those are like the two sort of main things for us. It’s just trying to obviously keep as many people on unlimited or the annual plans.

[00:27:00] – Peter

What does the unlimited relate to?

[00:27:03] – Carl

What is the of amount calls that you’re allowed to request with other members on the site? So basically unlimited means you can just request as many calls as you like with as many members. If you’re on pay as you go, you have to pay for each call that you request or each one that somebody agrees to. Then you pay for each individual call.

[00:27:25] – Peter

Have you been able to explore setting limits that aren’t unlimited? So up to ten, up to ten to 50?

[00:27:39] – Carl

I’ve talked about this with other members of the team, something that have sort of broached with our directional stuff, but at the moment they decided to see the plans. But this is something that we have been considering doing so that we’re selling limits because then we’ve got a bit more reason for people to stage month by month rather than just they could potentially just sort of exhaust it all in a short period of time. So it’s something we’ve thought about, but not.

[00:28:11] – Peter

Yeah, it would be interesting if you can access the data on different types of users and how many calls they plan, they schedule, then you’ll be able to look at the range of that data and see where they naturally fall. If there are cohorts that fall into buckets that you can look at how you can split that up. There’s a good book that was written by well, I’m pretty sure most people in Sass know Intercom or even use it. Intercom has a book called On Starting Up where they talk about setting your pricing. And one of the things that they talk about in an interesting way is that unlimited plans often give the most value to your biggest users.

So if you had a company that comes and just sets up loads of calls, they’re getting way more value from the platform and should be paying more, but they’re not really, right. So there’s a discrepancy on the amount of value that you are delivering that you’re receiving. It’s generally recommended not to provide unlimited plans for that reason, but if you wanted to cheque that out, they write about it in a quite smart way and then they talk about how to think about that.

[00:29:31] – Peter

So it could be an interesting reference. I would love to hear how that goes. If it’s a trial or something like that, it might really help you to drive expansion or increase MRI on those kind of plans. Yeah, I don’t know if anyone else had any things to share on how you currently upgrade features. The next thing we want to think about okay, so yeah, I was talking about this thing the difference between you have contextual moments where you can present an offer to a user at the right moment in their workflow that makes complete sense, and then they’re likely to upgrade or at least consider it, or the very least you’ve raised their awareness they might try it in future.

And the other way is interruption. So what we want to look at now is the moments at which you ask users to upgrade. Yeah, I included a few UI examples here, so just before I do that, areas where you can promote an offer. Okay, so something like first promoter. This is a platform that helps you build your affiliate network and manage them. So just right here on the main page we’ve got a button to add promoters.

[00:30:55] – Peter

We can start relating their usage plan limit to this button so that when they get to a point where they’ve used up all their promoters, we can ask them to add on more. Just simple little interactions in the product. With Virtual Summits that we’re using as a kind of reference example for this worksheet. The same applies with speakers. So these are contextual ways to ask users to consider add-ons expansion and upgrades. This one is another place where this is a pricing screen for Theory Test Pro, which is a driving theory platform, helps people in the UK to pass the driving licence, the ad seats and instructors.

Right here on the pricing page, they can see their plan allocation when they can see the limits and add more. So do that right here in that pricing screen. So okay, now we get to the moment, right? When can you alert users about additional offers, cross-sell or upsell offers using contextual interactions or interrupting them, jumping back to our summit. One of the best places that we can do this on Virtual Summit software is when a new customer is setting up their first summit.

[00:32:29] – Peter

There’s a lot of things to think about when they’re setting up. What type of summit do you want? What kind of theme do you want? They’re setting up their sponsorship. So I think we’ve got a workflow that as they go through step by step, we’re raising their awareness every step of the way to upgrade, add-ons. They might not need them, but we’re letting them know, and it’s in their mind in the future, if they’re successful with the platform, they probably will use them. If they don’t, in the first instance, they might. After their 7th or 8th virtual Summit. Who has an upgrade moment where you’re actively in your product promoting an upsell or cross-sell? Anyone currently have anything like that right now? Yeah, Dennis. Do you want to talk to him?

[00:33:26] – Dennis

Yeah. We created our own internal system where we have the feature list, so it’s kind of feature flag combined with the plans, and then we disable some specific links and display some lock icon to specific links in the menu of the features. And then when they click on that to try to access something. So we just show that the feature is there, but it’s locked for you. When you click on that, there is a screen. Hey, this feature is about this and that, maybe some kind of video. And then there’s a button to upgrade to that feature, and then it goes to the billing page.

So we use it everywhere across the app in some different sections, so it might be on the link or might be on the screen of the feature. So part of the feature is open. For example, we have discount codes that are like general discount codes, and then we have discount codes that expire by time or by product or by number of redemptions. And then, so we show that disabled thing that it’s there, but it’s not available for you. So that’s kind of weird.

[00:34:36] – Peter

It sounds like you’ve thought this through quite well and doing a good job of showing that in the product. I love this concept of having features that are locked and you can unlock them so they can see what that feature is. And then you’re using video to communicate the benefits of those features before they.

[00:34:54] – Dennis

Maybe yes, we have some kind of content for each feature. And sometimes there is video, sometimes there is no video. It depends on the feature.

[00:35:06] – Peter

It sounds really neat. I like that. Awesome. Yeah. Sounds like you’ve got some good upgrade moments there. Let’s look at a few examples that we’ve got here. So in context, if you’re using and this would relate pretty well to Kunal’s kind of product, say you’re sending out your email to a list, and then you need. To upgrade to. You don’t have enough credits. Email credits. This happens. What’s the email platform which you connect your CRM and it sends all your email I forget SendGrid. Okay, so we use send grid, so we get credits for that. So this kind of interaction is a really great one for that.

It’s contextual, it’s in the flow, but it still interrupts the user at the point at which they need to upgrade. Sometimes that’s an easy and easy upsell. Other contextual ones, inviting students for theory test pro. They have driving instructors that run a course, they run a class. So if they need to on board a new class of driving students, they’ll invite them right here on this page. So the invite student button, we enable them to go through this moment at which they’re setting up their next course.

[00:36:34] – Peter

Schedule Alphalet’s is a property product for landlords to manage their portfolio of properties and their tenants. So another thing that we can charge for here is we limit the usage of the amount of properties that you can list or manage. So here, when they’re adding a new property to their portfolio, that’s another great time to present the upgrade. Cool. So, collaboration and sharing, this is a really key kind of topic for expansion, really. It’s looking for moments within your product where people can either collaborate to work on something or they need to share something, or it’s in their interest to share or promote.

So key things for this is thinking about who are your user profiles? Most SaaS products have about three to five user profiles, if not more, and they all share and collaborate in different ways often. So we like to think about them all individually and then think about how each of those might collaborate and share, and then think about how your plans relate to these different user profiles. Right? So what I suggest you do, if you’re working on this worksheet, is list out your plans here. So for Virtual Summit software, they have these four plans for running events.

[00:38:17] – Peter

They have four different user profiles. So people that host Summits, those are their actual customers, right? The Summit hosts, they have speakers, they have sponsors and they have attendees. There’s so many ways when you start thinking about your user profiles and you can also consider their audiences, because the audiences of your users could be considered a user profile because they might interact with your product in some way. Once you start thinking about all of these profiles, you can get really clear on the best way for them to collaborate. And you can speak to them and ask them or observe how they’re doing this.

But on Virtual Summit software, hosts are working together to organise their events. It’s a lot of work to run a Summit. So what they do is they might have a Summit host and then two event managers that are supporting them to help build it out. So already there’s opportunity to add some team members. There’s usage allocations for speakers. Sponsors and attendees collaborate with the platform because they have to submit their talks and their topics. They have to submit their profiles and that gets listed on the website. So there’s a lot of sharing to do.

[00:39:45] – Peter

There also it’s a similar situation with sponsors because sponsors have put together packages and they also offer some freebies and some promotions on the platform too. So there’s a lot of collaboration here. There are a lot of touch points between their users. They interact and in this interaction there’s the opportunity to raise awareness and also to find the right moment to offer expansion or upgrades. Can anyone talk to me about their user profiles? Talk to me about your product and what user profiles you have. And we can just spend a minute talking about the kind of collaboration that occurs on your platform. Anyone want to share any information about your user profiles? Who’s got more than, say, two user profiles?

[00:40:49] – Speaker 7

We have three main user profiles. It’s based on industry. The first one is coaching businesses and training businesses. Another one known profit organisations, and then events, event organisers. There’s big control ad between all of those, but they also need some specific features. Each one of those profiles, price sensitivity is different. All of them obviously nonprofits, they tend to pay less. And we have specific plans that packages some nonprofit features, like basic ones. But if you have bigger nonprofit, you have more features, but you have to pay more. For example, other companies, almost all of them are on higher price tiers. So non profit is just on the one. So basically we created the cheapest one only for basic nonprofits, and then we have bigger tiers for other companies.

[00:42:00] – Peter

These three user profiles, do you have a primary profile that is your customer or each of these three? Are they all different types of customers?

[00:42:12] – Dennis

They’re all different type of customers.

[00:42:15] – Peter

Okay, cool. So you have three different types of paying users. Do they collaborate between each other or do they have any audiences that they collaborate with via your platform?

[00:42:37] – Dennis

With their customers, since we have payment platform. So basically they collaborate with their own customers through our checkout page.

[00:42:47] – Peter

That’s how they accepting payments. This is a really great way. Like everybody in SAS, people are looking for viral components to their product and having a central place like that, like a payment screen, is such a great way to raise away an awareness. Everyone that goes through this gets exposure to your platform and awareness of what it is. It’s like canonly with the canonly tag on their booking page, and everyone who books a meeting with Canon leady attendees then become aware of it. So this is really great for user acquisition.

[00:43:33] – Dennis

Another way to collaborate. So we work with a lot of agencies and there’s a way to invite different companies to the same account so agencies can have a master account and then work with different companies from that account.

[00:43:51] – Peter

Right. Okay. Kind of like some products use workspaces so that you can have almost different companies within the same kind of account. Is that concept great? And that’s another great way to charge add ons for. So a lot of the tools we use have these workspaces where in your plan you might have one workspace. Are you charging for additional workspaces?

[00:44:17] – Dennis


[00:44:18] – Peter

Yeah. Great. Okay, so you’ve got some really good examples of segmentation and collaboration in your platform too. So let’s just look at a few other ways within the products that you can identify points for collaboration and then surface that in your UI. Right. This point of which Virtual Summit software has an attendee list. From this attendee list, you can send out emails to a wide group of people. Okay, so this is a massive touch point where you’re able to expand your reach with an audience that gets exposure to this platform. It might not be a direct way to promote an upgrade, but associated to their plans would be how many attendees can you have in your event based on the plan that you sign up to?

Another great opportunity here is when a user has completed a task. This is a really good moment to capture their attention because it feels good to have finished something with work. You want to use the UI to reward them and say, great, this task is done. But also promote any kind of sharing, collaboration or usage that works for you. So just thinking about some of you, like Carl, obviously a match on the Finder platform is a really great moment.

[00:45:51] – Peter

I know you guys celebrate that I remember from using it. The other thing is to consider there is like, how do you use that moment? Is there a way to use that moment to promote some kind of usage or some additional feature that relates to that user journey moment? That’s always part of the challenge. I’ve seen, I think dating apps do a lot around this. It’s like, how can you like upsell or do something at that point to improve, even improve that moment? The example here is when a user publishes their Virtual Summit.

So now that they’ve published it, it’s brilliant. Your web page is live. Now you can go and promote it and share it as much as possible. So that plays into the viral component too. There’s a couple of examples that I like to use from things like Notion. Some of these tools that we all use, just how easy sharing is. So sharing, collaboration, it’s always there. It’s so important for platforms to have this expansion element in them. That Notion just keeps share right up there on the platform the whole time. It’s practically in the navigation. It’s really easy to do.

[00:47:26] – Peter

Still thinking about collaboration in these moments that you collaborate, some products have quite a difficult integration to do. Imagine you might have some technical friction, Dennis, for setting things up. Can I probably does, obviously with setting up your email accounts. So for difficult integrations on this particular screen, we’re asking users to invite their developer so their developer gets on boarded and their developer can then help them set up this integration. They put a script on the website and they have to actually insert some code and connect it. So that’s another way to collaborate. Mero is a great example of this. When you’re sharing your work boards, it has really great functionality for sharing.

There’s a lot of different things and it’s so easy to share that multiple times I’ve accidentally upgraded and added people with editing rights and then paid for them. So I would try to avoid that because it’s not a great experience, but it just goes to show how easy they make it in their product that they’ve removed all of the friction associated with that experience. Trello is good. I think the thing that’s good about the Trello share functionality is that if somebody shares Trello who doesn’t have the rights to the board, it still invites the person and then it sends a message to the admin of the board to approve them.

[00:49:03] – Peter

So what they’re doing is removing friction from any sharing or interaction. There are obstacles to it, but they’re removing that and facilitating the workflow that enables you to expand your account. So it’s always a good idea to think about what flow you can design to remove friction. I noticed John left a comment here, I wonder if he’s still with us. But John said at the moment, user profiles are just affiliates. So really just one he has one in statsrown. If we don’t segment our affiliates themselves, we could add affiliate managers later, but I’m sure on that. Yeah.

Interesting, John, I know we use this example here of first promoter, so they actually do and you can also think about it in a broader sense that affiliates for first promoter also are selling they’re reselling a product, so their customers do interface with first promoter even if they’re not aware of it. So you could add to your plans how many customers or commissions based on how many customers are sales and that can be a form of upselling. I had a feeling you were going to expand on your comment a bit then, John, did you have something to say?

[00:50:19] – Peter

Yeah, they are more enterprise like software Compare, soft yeah, I’m aware. So you just have the affiliates who want access to the stats, right?

[00:50:29] – John

Yeah, they’re just more like they come in. We don’t really have too many more other types of people to work with it’s either you’re an affiliate and you work in the space and our app services that but yeah. We don’t really have like you have a really good example that shows multiple types of personas. Maybe in the future. We might have the ability for affiliate managers to be inside this ecosystem. But we don’t know what that looks like. And we’re kind of more worried in affiliate marketing, everyone’s thinking like, this is spam, this is an opportunity to get bombarded by affiliate managers. So we might lock that out. And really the only people that should be inside are the people using it as customers and maybe us. As admits that if we can interact.

[00:51:12] – Peter

With them, that’s about it. Yeah, I see. If you have one user type, there’s a product that we worked recently that was for salespeople, but then it segmented that user. They’re all sales people, but they segmented them in having, okay, a sales manager and account manager and then a sales rep, and they were able to have different permissions or access. So if you do any of your customers have teams that collaborate?

[00:51:37] – John

Yeah, actually from that point of view, things will get segmented. Like they have account managers where one person, all they need to do is basically track payments. So they have a very specific role. We know that there are some owners where they just say, well, we want people to have specific access to certain data for whatever reason, but other things are kind of off limits. So we are working with those customers to say, you tell us what a seat persona looks like, and from the seat perspective, that will definitely get split apart.

[00:52:07] – Peter

Yeah, that’s neat. So then you get your opportunity to start thinking about personalising those experiences and how they fit into plans. Is there an allocation for the different types of team members so they’re interesting to think about evolving it that way, and then there’s always a way to split it up. And sometimes permissions and access for different user roles can give you insights into what’s valuable and how you can upsell for that use case. So finally, we want to look at expansion moments. Okay, so when is the moment? We just looked at all these time, all these purposes and reasons why people collaborate and how they might collaborate on your platform.

So let’s think about when we can get them to expand. So it’s similar to the upgrade moments that we were talking about earlier, but this one’s just more tailored towards sharing and collaboration. For our summit platform, our virtual Summit platform, we’re looking at okay, when they create their account and they set up their first summit, we’re already letting them know about what kind of summits they’re able to set up on different plans. So onboarding is a great time to do this.

[00:53:27] – Peter

Then I’ll show you a few examples of like, the invite speakers flow, adding sponsors and inviting or importing attendees. So all of these moments when you’re building out your virtual summit, there are the opportunities to present the user with, hey, would you like to have a hundred more attendees? You currently have 50 in your current plan. So that’s how we think about doing this. Does anyone have a moment that makes sense in the flow of your product? Where your users are doing something, they’re performing a task of doing something and it makes sense to offer them an upgrade, whether that’s based on users or sharing or collaboration.

[00:54:26] – Pratik

Hi Peter. Yeah, so I work for Mailmodel as a customer service manager here. So we do have a template editor to create EMP interactive emails and send out email campaigns. So just now you’re talking about expansion moments. I realised that what we can do is we can probably tell the user to add more designers to collaborate on that template. ITER and probably one or two free designers we can add, but probably for three to four designers or maybe I mean it can be any number. We can give them some upgrade of Ticket. So that is something I will take away from this particular point.

[00:55:08] – Peter

Fantastic. So that’s designers who would collaborate on your team, so it’s productivity. This reminds me of Canva where we sometimes use Canva and then you would add people to collaborate with you on canvas, so it might be similar kind of use case. Yes.

[00:55:33] – Pratik

One question specifically I will say, Peter, in email marketing generally there’s not much option of sharing your success metric. Like if you have sent a very good campaign, you’ve got a very good result. Probably marketeers are not very inclined towards sharing that with other marketees around Lincoln or maybe anywhere else. So any specific insight you can give where we can have that? I will say Shareable profit or shareable moment?

[00:56:05] – Peter

Yeah. Were you suggesting that marketers using your platform don’t want to share campaigns because it would give other marketers excite ideas of what’s working for them?

[00:56:23] – Pratik

Maybe that’s my I will say hunch.

[00:56:28] – Peter

Yeah. Okay. So that’s one thing you’d have to validate, whether that’s actually true. Because a lot of times we form ideas about user behaviour or how users are thinking and they’re not necessarily true, they’re just ideas we formed. Can you just tell me briefly about your platform? What kind of campaigns users are sending out, what kind of marketing assets?

[00:56:56] – Pratik

Basically we send out emails which have interactive elements like Forms Spin the Wheel widgets or maybe a webinar attending widget which can do some conversions right inside the email without you having to move into some different app or maybe in the mobile into different application. So that decreases the conversion and it helps to improve the ROI from any email.

[00:57:24] – Peter

Sure. So your user is sending out emails to a wide audience. Surely that in itself is the sharing moment, the exposure for your product.

[00:57:39] – Pratik

Probably when they make a submission, we can show it is being powered by a particular provider. Like being powered by us. That will be a kind of selling moment.

[00:57:49] – Peter

Yeah, definitely powered by your promoting a link with your product. This is the original classic SAS play of doing it. So this is how Hotmail grew massively in the 90s because all of their emails have powered by Hotmail and people signed up for accounts. This is a really classic play that you could use for that. But yeah, other things you can do is have templates on your website or shared templates that you promote on social media and you get known for having your template or assets library. And that’s one of the ways that people often find cancer. That’s pretty useful too. Okay, so expansion moments. I’m just going to talk through this briefly.

We have a few examples and we’re going to wrap up right in the navigation. It’s a classic place that’s constantly overlooked with SaaS products, is that they’re not providing enough exposure to great features or opportunities for expansion right in the navigation. This is a very subtle example here, but it’s just got users and account settings. There are much more overt ways to do this. Things like having tags on your menu, items that say premium or new or highlighting things or showing usage right up here in your NAV.

[00:59:13] – Peter

So that’s very often overlooked. And then if you go through to a user screen, look at this call to action to upgrade 13 users are outside of the team. It’s almost making me feel uncomfortable when I see this because I’m thinking, oh gosh, maybe I should be upgrading them. So it’s just a really powerful way to promote it. Here on team members screen, we’ve got the team members screen. We want people to invite new members. So we’ve got that button there for that. Adding new tenants to the properties.

We can interrupt that flow and that’s our moment for expansion. So that’s pretty much it. That’s the worksheet. That’s how we think about it. All of the different opportunities for cross selling and upselling in the product. Thanks everyone, for listening and joining us. I wondered if there were any questions, if anyone has any question or a particular use case you want to talk through before we wrap up. Everyone good.

[01:00:26] – John

Maybe a quick question. I don’t think you got a really good answer, but that whole concept of virality was really interesting. I mean, there’s perfect examples where it makes sense. Like Dropbox, you share a link, you’re now invited to someone else’s dropbox. I think in our case it might be very difficult to do, but I’m asking for them possible. How could you apply that to everyone? Here’s a situation. It seems like you need to have the perfect product where it makes sense. Like Callum Lee, of course that makes sense. Someone who’s never heard callanly gets a link. So it’s having that shareability. I think not everyone applies, but maybe there’s a way of being mindful to find a way through it.

[01:01:09] – Peter

Yeah, I mean, that’s the key because these examples, the classic examples, and Safari, really great examples, they are brilliant to use for that reason, but they often don’t get there from the beginning, you know what I mean? They’ve gone on a big, long journey to get to that point where it makes sense. We see it. But there was a big journey before calendar where I had an interview with the founder where in order to get to that product, he had many iterations and a few failures, which is common in most, right? So the part of the challenge is thinking about your specific product and how over time, it will get to the point where there are these obvious opportunities and the workflows have been built within your product.

And that’s it. That’s an iterative process. It does take time, but then they become apparent. I know you’re big on data visualisation at the moment, so maybe it could be things about access to different premium data visualisation charts or insights. Premium insights. These things can, over time, occur in your product and then in retrospect, they look straightforward and simple. But for a lot of SaaS companies, they haven’t been on the journey to get there.

[01:02:35] – Peter

And I think that’s a key thing to remember. Each production is unique, each use case is unique. So that’s part of the enjoyable part of the journey is that kind of innovative work and kind of getting to these flows and seeing what works best for you. Okay, if that’s it, then just say thanks to everyone. I really appreciate everyone joining. It’s been great to hear a bit about your product too. I really hope this has been valuable. If you have any thoughts, insight or feedback for me, please feel free to just write in.

You can always book this session if you do want some one-to-one time. And if you ever want to write to me, just directly, ask me anything or give us some feedback, – so brilliant. Thanks, everybody. And we do one of these a month, so we’ll keep you all informed on the next one. We’re always looking at different workflows within products, different user flows to help you improve your product to get more users and grow. Okay, take care, everybody. Thanks for joining.

Final Words: How to Drive User Upgrades & Account Expansion for Your SaaS

Check back here regularly to find more workshops like “How to Drive User Upgrades & Account Expansion for Your SaaS”. If you want to upgrade your UI/UX, book a call to get free advice from a product design specialist. Join our Facebook group to join a community of SaaS Founders and Executives. Thanks for watching!

How Narrato is Innovating to Optimise Content Marketing Workflows – Sophia Solanki
When is the best time to sell your SaaS?