How Supermetrics Grew To €50M And Beyond
I first met the founders of Supermetrics—the hottest PLG company that you probably haven’t heard of—in the most unusual of places: at a poker party in the Helsinki suburbs.
It was five years ago back in November 2017 at a Slush after-party. Supermetrics was fresh off a small €3.5 million funding round from OpenOcean, the organizer of said party, and the team consisted of only a handful of people.
Old and new friends gathering at our Poker Night#openocean #data #AI #ML #team #ecosystem @SlushHQ @MariaZeroOne @inventure @VoimaVentures @NordeaGrowth_FI @Supermetrics pic.twitter.com/3ctY4TS6La
— OpenOcean (@openoceanvc) November 21, 2019
Back then I wrote a note to myself to keep an eye on the company. They had been bootstrapped and continued to stay profitable for four years to get to that point, a rarity for software companies. Supermetrics managed to scale to tens of thousands of users and more than €1 million ARR with no sales people and no outside funding. The product was primarily a reporting automation tool for PPC, SEO, social, and web analytics—but the founders had grand aspirations for where it could go.
Fast forward to today. Supermetrics is now one of the biggest stories in this new era of PLG well outside the echochamber of Silicon Valley.
The company generates north of €50 million ARR, has 500,000+ users, and is the No. 1 add-on for marketing data in both the Google Sheets and Google Data Studio marketplaces. While Supermetrics has raised additional outside capital, they’ve remained hyper efficient and in control of their own destiny. And the company has an audacious product vision, broadening from being a reporting automation tool to the “easiest way to move your marketing data.”
I spoke with Zhao Hanbo, the first business hire at Supermetrics, and early Marketing Leader Edward Ford to go behind the scenes on Supermetrics’ unconventional growth story—and what comes next.
1. Establish a wedge with ecosystem-led growth
The Supermetrics product is all about connection—it connects data sources (ex: Facebook Ad data) with data destinations (ex: Google Sheets, Google Data Studio, Excel) to bring all of your marketing data into one place.
Their early insight was the following: each of these connections already has a massive number of users. Supermetrics could tap into these platforms to fuel organic adoption.
The company started out focused on Google Sheets. They claim one of the most popular listings in the Google Workspace Marketplace with 960,000+ downloads.
A major turning point was partnering with Google Data Studio, Google’s dashboarding and BI tool for marketers, which became generally available as of September 2018. Supermetrics made an early bet on Google’s new product, which has since paid off in spades.
In the early days Google had built out data connectors specifically for the Google product ecosystem (Google Analytics, Google Ads, etc.). Its customers also wanted connectors into third-party data sources like Facebook Ads or Twitter. The rub: Google didn’t usually build integrations with its biggest competitors.
Supermetrics helped fill a critical gap for Google and had a first-mover advantage. The company now boasts 90 of Google’s 645 partner connectors and has the No. 1 placement on their marketplace (see above). Data Studio is now one of Supermetrics’ top grossing products.
Today Supermetrics is expanding further into data warehouses with Amazon Redshift and Snowflake. These additional ecosystems give Supermetrics even more opportunity to both land and expand customers, creating an even stronger flywheel.
On the data sources side, Supermetrics needed to have a strong product in the most important channels: Facebook, Google Ads, Google Analytics. But they quickly expanded into other areas that were previously underserved, such as HubSpot.
The company launched a HubSpot integration at INBOUND in 2019 and quickly saw significant traction among HubSpot agencies. Why? Because agencies could now close the loop on all of their clients’ marketing data. Supermetrics’ product was a boon for HubSpot’s customers and as a result, HubSpot provided tremendous support to promote the integration—again, driving demand for Supermetrics.
The takeaway: build products where your target users already work. Then tap into these marketplaces and communities to be discovered in users’ moment of need.
2. Nail self-service to go from €0 to €5M ARR with no sales people
As a bootstrapped company HQ-ed in a small market, Supermetrics wanted to nail self-service first. This would let them sell into customers regardless of time zone and with a hyper-low CAC.
Supermetrics started off with simple products that were available at a low cost. Prices began at only $39 per month, meaning that the user could actually be the buyer without having to get approvals from higher-up decision makers. In fact, many folks said that Supermetrics was significantly underpriced early on—and that was intentional.
One early design principle was to offer a 14-day free trial rather than a freemium or fully free product. Supermetrics’ goal was to show off the full product immediately. They didn’t like the idea of a feature-limited freemium product that only gave users a small slice of what Supermetrics could do.
The free trial motion paired with highly optimized self-service product onboarding led to high free-to-paid conversion among Supermetrics’ user base. Supermetrics sees “mid-to-high single digit” conversion rates, compared to only 4% on average for other standout PLG companies according to OpenView’s Product Benchmarks report.
From a marketing perspective, being so focused on self-service in the early days drove the team to be laser-focused on their metrics. Marketing had to generate actual revenue, not “leads” or “MQLs (marketing-qualified leads).” They rigorously measure performance and track their most important numbers on both a daily and weekly basis, including a Monday morning WBR (weekly business review).
The takeaway: to win with self-service, you have to nail your approach to user acquisition, product onboarding, and self-service pricing.
“We’ve never created a single gated eBook, white paper, or report. You can achieve significant business results if you focus on generating demand and not generating leads,” said Edward.
3. Add sales-assist to grow from €5M to €50M+
The decision to add sales was a natural one. Supermetrics was starting to attract larger and larger customers who had more stakeholders (data teams, security, marketing, etc.) and more complexity in their buying behavior. Larger customers naturally needed extra help in order to take full advantage of what Supermetrics had to offer.
Supermetrics added their first sales rep when they were at €5M ARR. They scaled to €10M ARR with three sales reps who contributed 8% of monthly revenue. One year later, they reached €20M ARR with 20 sales reps who then contributed 19% of monthly revenue. In other words, while Supermetrics had a product that could sell itself, adding sales helped accelerate the company’s growth trajectory.
Supermetrics pairs self-service with sales by looking at signals of who are the best accounts to route to the sales team.
- Hand raisers: These are people who contact Supermetrics directly because they want to talk to sales or get a demo. Hand raiser leads get directly routed to an AE based on their geography.
- Product-qualified leads (PQLs): PQLs for Supermetrics are users who start a free trial and show a signal via product usage that indicates they would benefit from a sales interaction. For example, if someone uses a data source from a higher tier package that can’t be purchased online, they’re a great candidate for sales.
Today Supermetrics has more than 100 sales reps (and counting) with the majority of revenue now coming through their sales-assisted funnel. As they’ve added sales, Supermetrics has also seen a substantial uplift in average revenue per customer.
Edward’s advice for other folks contemplating this journey: “it’s all one team.” Everyone is focused on overall revenue and growth regardless of what channel it comes through and whether they buy via sales or self-service. It’s about self-serve and sales-assisted working together, not self-serve versus sales-assisted.
The takeaway: Self-service and sales make for a powerful combination as sales helps navigate larger, more complex (and more lucrative) buying opportunities.
4. Have an international mindset from the start
Supermetrics is a Finnish company. The population: 5.5 million (smaller than the state of Massachusetts, where I live).
From day one, the founders knew that if they wanted to grow, they had to look outside of their own borders. It was global or nothing.
The decision to start with self-service made international growth easier. It didn’t matter where a user was from, as they could transact on their own time.
Supermetrics has always worked in English as a company. In fact, the Supermetrics website is still only in English and the business is now starting to focus more on language localization.
Over time as they’ve added a sales motion, Supermetrics has brought on multiple sales teams focused on different geographies. From a marketing perspective, Supermetrics now pays close attention to all of their metrics by geography so that everyone has enough pipeline to be productive.
The takeaway: Self-service purchasing allows you to be international from day one, expanding TAM and opening up new markets.
5. Adapt your message and positioning as your product matures
Supermetrics’ products were relatively simple early on, and so they could be transactional with their messaging. So many people were facing the same problem that this approach worked well.
Now that Supermetrics’ products have matured and expanded, they’ve needed to think through the bigger story.
The product is middleware. While folks can’t “see it” (it works in the background), it’s actually extremely powerful. Why do people want to have the data when they want it?
Supermetrics now focuses more on understanding the most common use cases among their customers, then incorporating those learnings into their marketing. For example, Supermetrics devotes extra attention to community. They want to showcase how people use the product and highlight the successes of their power users. Look out for more customer-facing events and webinars in this next phase.
The takeaway: Start with user- or pain-centric messaging in the early days, then craft a more strategic narrative as you get bigger.
The TL;DR: how Supermetrics grew from €0 to €50M and beyond
- Establish a wedge with ecosystem-led growth.
- Nail self-service to go from €0 to €5M ARR with no sales people.
- Add product-led sales to grow from €5M to €50M+.
- Have an international mindset from the start.
- Adapt your message and positioning as your product matures.