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Should Your Free Edition … Be Even Free-er?

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Aaron Levie and Karen Appelton, his ex-head of partnerships came to the 2018 SaaStrAnnual.com to talk partnerships and one point on “free” deeply resonated with me.

Aaron said he wished his API could be 100% free for everyone, for everything.  He said he lamented that the reality was that wasn’t practical for Box’s current business — but he wished it could be.

What did he mean?  What he meant was he knew that to win, to go big, to be ubiquitous … you want everyone and every partner using your web service.  Everyone.  That’s the best way for your brand to win, at least if you have a broad-based product like Box (or Adobe Sign or Slack or Zoom).  To get it into the hands of everyone.  To deploy it.  To integrate it.  To tell their friends.  To recommend it.

And yet for most of you, making a big portion of your product free will create tensions:

  • The sales team often hates free Best case, it gums up their sales process and confuses it.  How do you sell a $250,000 edition when folks can also use the Free one? It also can create a ton of leads that sales can’t close.
  • The marketing team often wants to limit free.  If marketing has a revenue goal from self-service (and hopefully they do), they’ll often want to increase the “choke”.  I.e., limit how much the free product can be used, or how long.  Often to the point of really crippling the long-term benefits of a free edition.  Everything is about “free-to-paid conversions” in marketing.
  • The support team almost always hates free.  They pay nothing but overwhelm your support channels.
  • The ops team sees free just as a cost center.  Unless you are a 100% freemium play, if free is just a segment, the “business folks” and ops folks will just see them as a cost center, to be managed down.
  • Your investors might not really get “free”.  The pressure to hit the plan will often have them suggesting to you to figure out how to monetize those free users … now.

And in the short-term, all these folks are right.  If you tighten the “choke” on free, then this quarter, your paid revenue will go up.  And if you limit the type of folks in your free plan, your lead-driven sales revenue will likely go up, too.  They are all right in the short-term.

But let’s not only listen to Aaron, but now, Zoom and Slack have IPO’d.  Let’s listen to those decacorns:

  • Zoom and Slack aren’t just niche applications like some of their predecessors.  They are ubiquitous.  And they have far more market share and mind share than their predecessors.  Some of this is just growth in the Cloud.
  • And Zoom and Slack are very, very free.  Almost too free.  Not only are the first 40+ minutes of Zoom completely free, forever … but if you go over, they let you keep going!  And while the paid versions of Slack are extremely powerful for search, etc. … you can easily run a 100+ org on Free Slack forever, including as far as I can tell, as many integrations as you’d ever need.  I can’t even believe Team SaaStr is still on the Free Slack version.
  • In fact, Zoom and Slack are so free that there are tons of free riders.  And yet these are the 2 great rocketships in SaaS of the current generation.
  • Even today — 55% of Zoom’s customers start with the free version.  That’s stunning.  More here.

The CEOs of Zoom and Slack went long.  Very long.  They didn’t try to maximize free-to-paid conversions.  They wanted everyone, everywhere, loving their products.  There is absolutely no reason not to at least give Zoom or Slack a shot.

It worked.

How about you?  Do you want everyone using your product 3-10 years out?

Or do you want a few more paying you for it this quarter?

A bit more here:

The Customer That Needs a Champion: Your Free Customers

Published on January 26, 2020

Source: https://www.saastr.com/should-your-free-edition-be-even-free-er/

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Videoconferencing’s Moment

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I am going to spend much of today in my Zoom room participating in several meetings around the country and around the world.

If you look at Zoom’s stock price over the last month, since the outbreak of the Coronavirus, you will see that the market thinks that I am not the only one who will be doing that.

The combination of limiting travel due to Coronavirus fears and the desire to lower carbon footprints tells me that we may have reached videoconferencing’s moment.

Maybe attending a meeting in person is a thing of that past and video’ing in is our future. If so, we may look back at this winter of 2020 as the moment that happened.

Source: http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/AVc/~3/8t0bdXDoMZo/

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We’ve Doubled The Capacity For Most Workshops At Annual

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SaaStr Annual 2020 is almost here!!  March 10-11-12!!  Woo-hoo!!

One new element that has proven super popular is a new dedicated wing of just workshops.  We’ve taken over the attached Marriot and turned all of its conference rooms into workshops.  Many of them almost instantly filled to capacity.

So, we’ve reconfigured the space from rounds to chairs to essentially double capacity for most workshops.  If you saw that a workshop was full, check back into reg now and/or later this week and it likely will be open now.

Published on February 23, 2020

Source: https://www.saastr.com/were-doubled-the-capacity-for-most-workshops-at-annual/

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A Preview of SaaStr Europa 2020: 3,000+ in Paris 17-18 June

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We’re heads-down for the biggest, best SaaStr Annual ever!  But right after that, we’re gearing up for the 3rd SaaStrEuropa.com in Paris, 17-18 June.

If you’re thinking of attending or attending again, a few highlights:

  • We’re back at the stunning Maison de la Mutualite, right in the heart of the Left Bank again.   Same great location as in the recap of last year in the video above.
  • Tracking to 3,000+ attendees … so it’ll be packed.  We’ll see where we really end up on attendance, but right now we’re already tracking to almost 2x (!) of last year!  Whatever it is, it will be significantly bigger than last year … and packed.  This is realistically as many as we can possibly fit in this venue.
  • Far more attendees — but same sponsor pricing through March.  If you want to sponsor, do it now.  Even though we’ll be a lot bigger, we’re holding the same sponsor pricing through early March.  This is called deflation!  So sponsor now 🙂
  • More workshops, more braindates, more mentorship.  We’ll add over a dozen new workshops on scaling, even more braindates and mentorship sessions last year, and more VC sessions.  We’re basically adding almost an additional stage each day (3x), so there will be even more to do.
  • 50% of our speakers are slotted, but if you want to speak — apply now.  It is not too late.  Scroll to the bottom here.  We are mainly looking for underrepresented founders, unicorns, and high brand start-ups, but we’re open to a lot of things.  Just apply soon, like really soon!
  • Tickets are still really cheap until March 1.  Not as cheap as a few months ago, but really cheap.
  • Champagne, jazz, parties, and more.  Like last year.  But even better.

If you haven’t been to SaaStr Europa — it’s just really fun.  3,000 folks over 2 days is just enough to meet tons of people, but not so many you get overwhelmed.  Term sheets are easier.  Meeting a top unicorn CEO is easier.  But it’s big enough there’s always tons to do.

Join us if you can!  In Paris!!

Published on February 21, 2020

Source: https://www.saastr.com/an-early-look-at-saastr-europa-2020-in-paris-tracking-to-3000-in-paris-17-18-june/

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