cover for self-service experience project

Self-Service Experience (Product-Led Growth)

To reinforce our sales outreach process, we designed a self-service experience to drive new sales without a sales rep, allow our sales team to focus on pursuing higher ARR clients, and create a new stream of qualified leads for our SDRs to follow up with.

PROJECT FOR

ThankView

Timeframe

August 2021 - December 2021

Role

Lead UI/UX, Design Facilitation & Management, Strategy

Team

1 Product Manager, 2 Designers, 3 Developers, 1 Project Manager, various cross-functional teammates

More Digital, Less Time

During the Covid-19 pandemic, ThankView grew business and accounts by more than 3x. While amazing for our overall business, we lacked the staff to properly address all of our incoming prospects and current customer needs. When gathering internal data, we noticed that:

Assisting the Sales Funnel

As a growing organization, how do we scale our business while not burning out our team? After discussions with our Director of Product and Product Manager, we determined that the most effective approach was to build a self-service experience (sometimes referred to as Product-Led Growth [PLG]). PLG would:

  • Minimize Friction - allowing the user to learn and use ThankView's product more efficiently by eliminating unnecessary steps to purchase and upgrade packages, contact bundles and add-ons.
  • Increase Sales Efficiency - allowing the product the ability to convert without requiring a human so that other departments can focus on more valuable tasks/prospects
  • Automate Conversions - allowing the ability to purchase within the platform, the product will be able to convert users at a quicker rate.

PLG's intention is not to automate our sales team out of a job. Instead, PLG assists our team in selling ThankView by providing them another method to showcase the product without the need to be present in the experience.

plg impact on sales funnel
PLG automates part of the sales funnel that would originally require a representative to lead over 3 months

The Three Phase Approach

We tackled the project in three phases across multiple sprints to give our team time to build the platform out and gather data/feedback simultaneously while developing the next phase. Through market research and in-depth discussions with cross-functional teams, we determined that these phases would be the ideal starting point to create a self-service experience:

  • 14-Day Free Trial (with the ability to upgrade to a 30-Day Free Trial)
  • Self Checkout
  • Upsells and Upgrades
comprehensive flow chart of PLG

The Calm before the Storm

Let's face it - zoom meetings are hard to collaborate on. For a complex experience that touches multiple parts of the platform across various teams, it's a whole different challenge. A fully remote team added the complexity of every team wanting an input in how things were designed without being part of the design process.

Before we even touched the designs, the lead Product Manager and I gathered the goals of each team and their anticipated output capabilities which allowed us to plan handoffs.

We found that the most effective method to communicate our ideas and team responsibilities was to define user flows. It was an easy approach for teams to follow while knowing which part of the process they'd be involved in. After weeks of iterations and meetings, we defined our approach to tackle the flow that the team collectively agreed on.

14-Day Free Trial

A ThankView campaign on average takes about 7 days to get 95%+ of its performance metrics. Including the time to learn the platform, send a campaign, and analyze metrics, we determined that 14 days was the optimal amount of time for a user to make a decision on ThankView as a platform. If the user determined 14 days wasn’t enough to make a decision, the user could extend their trial to 30 days (an additional 16 days) to continue utilizing the platform.

In the free trial, users had access to a combination of features across multiple plan tiers. This allowed users to experience a fuller version of ThankView before determining which package suited their needs the most, instead of just guessing what they wanted based on descriptions. To track how we could optimize our free trial experience, we worked with our data team to put tracking markers on:

  • When a user drops off before completing their free trial sign up - see where the flow could be improved
  • Number of campaigns created - does the number of campaigns created impact their chance to convert
  • Type of campaigns created - what is the main reason a user wants ThankView for
  • Average time spent in free trial - does the time on platform impact their ability to convert
  • Features being used most often - what features should we focus on to improve the overall ThankView experience

Self Checkout

In the first iteration of the Free Trial, the user weren't able convert to a paid plan unless a Sales person reached out to them. To reduce the strain on our Sales team to follow up to close the loop on a prospect, we built out the Self Checkout flow that allowed users to purchase ThankView on their own.

  • Credit card checkout - we utilized the Stripe API to verify and accept payment for ThankView
  • Buy anytime - user can checkout anytime throughout their free trial in the settings page
  • Credit card requirements behind 30 day free trial - users were required to add a credit card to extend their free trial to 30 days
page where user inputs payment information
upsell screen where user can upgrade their package

Upsells and Upgrades

After building the self checkout, I brought on our amazing designer, Samantha Tan, to tackle upsells and upgrades on the platform. As her manager, I worked with her to design the experience to automate many of the every-day nuances.

  • Paywalls - we made it clear which features were locked behind paywalls. Users could click the upgrade tags to jump into the self-service platform to upgrade their ThankView account

Results

Building meaningful and actionable dashboards is a non-stop endeavor. As we expand our metrics capabilities, we look to continue adding value to the dashboards we build. In our backlog, we currently have the features planned:

Generated 30% conversions to a paid subscription with individual contract values over $5k in 3 months
Saved our team more time to focus on larger clients, allowing them to extend their total ARR by 15%
Client satisfaction rate responded with NPS of +67
2022 benchmark for SaaS products is +40

Iterations and Takeaways

After launching PLG in December 2021, we gathered data to figure out how we could improve the experience to convert more users: