Who is this for: startup founders who’re building SaaS tools.
TL;DR: when you’re a ‘tool’ the problem is a tactical one that’s solved by the product, but as you start adding features, increase prices and become more than a tool, the problem you’re solving tends to move towards your customer’s ‘success’ and you solve it through services, support, marketing and Customer Success Managers (CSMs).
When Visual Website Optimizer was a tool
When I joined Visual Website Optimizer in 2012, it was a tool that helped people A/B test web content. Marketers had long wanted to do that but the capability was restricted to companies which were willing to deploy their engineering resources on it, or buy extremely expensive enterprise solutions.
Visual Website Optimizer bridged that gap on Dec 14, 2009 by giving the average marketer a visual, WYSIWYG editor that would allow them to A/B test basic stuff like button and text colors, font-size, images and form fields. All of this without touching code and at a perfectly reasonable starting price of USD 49 per month.
VWO as a solution
As VWO started being bought by more enterprises, it became clear that just allowing marketers to A/B test website content wasn’t going to cut it. We had to help them become successful with A/B testing. That’s a completely different, and larger, problem.
Here’s how we’re going about solving that problem
- Being successful with A/B testing means the entire team in a large company needs to be trained on the product, so we need CSMs and Customer Marketing to work on a training module, which the CSMs deliver.
- A/B testing campaigns involve a lot of front-end coding, so we have Technical Support for technical queries, and a Services arm to implement tests for customers.
- People need to be able to understand our statistics to make the right decisions, and a graph can’t always help you do that, so that’s where content marketing comes in.
- Customers need on-going help with test planning, ideation and strategy, which is where the CSMs come in again.
The product lies at the center of solving the problem, but as you move upmarket you’ll need to solve the problem of making your customers successful, versus just giving them a few features and capabilities. That requires a mix of education, training, services, support and content to achieve.