Typeform: How to Scale a Global SaaS Platform

January 10, 2017

Scaling a growth engine starts with segmentation. Define your target customer, buyer and use case. Then focus your messaging and outreach on that that segment, and watch the MRR pile up. Easy, right?

But what if your product can be used by anyone, anywhere for anything? Not so easy.

This is the reality for Typeform. “We are a mass market tool that solves very different problems for very different people,” says Director of Growth, Pedro Magriço. “We don’t want to go after only one market.”

The company started as a Q&A-style alternative to old school forms and surveys. But customers quickly began using the product for lots of other things – from job applications to eCommerce shopping carts. Where others might see chaos, Typeform saw the opportunity to build a platform.

Scaling a SaaS product into a mass market platform is no easy task. Magriço has developed an approach to growth that allows Typeform to tackle unique challenges and embrace a diverse set of customers globally.

The Messaging Challenge

Typeform has tens of thousands of customers spanning all sizes, industries, use cases and geographies. This kind of customer diversity creates a messaging challenge. With so many different customer segments, who do you target? Who’s this product for and what exactly does it do?

“We can’t be too narrow and turn people away. But super broad messaging comes across as vague and confusing,” says Magriço. “A product that can do everything doesn’t end up being used for anything.”

Typeform’s messaging focuses on the product’s underlying value, regardless of the customer’s size, industry or use case. “Typeform has a conversational interface, which feels more human and leads to higher completion rates.”

Once a customer is in the funnel, they start seeing more content personalized to their role and Typeform templates relevant to their use case.

Amplifying Virality with Product Growth

Customers usually hear about Typeform because someone else asked them to fill out a typeform. The product is inherently viral, and Magriço focuses on amplifying that virality through a strategy he calls “Product Growth.”

Product Growth involves both marketers and developers, who together make changes to the product to increase top-of-funnel and optimize conversion. Sometimes the minor tweaks can have huge impact. For example, changing “Powered by Typeform” to “Create A Typeform” on the free product doubled the click-through rate from respondents.

“No one uses Typeform in single-player mode,” says Magriço. “The sole purpose for creating a Typeform is to ask someone else for feedback. We use this to our advantage and do everything we can to enhance the product’s virality.”

A Little More Human

Beyond virality, the way you scale a mass market product is by developing a brand that people love. It’s why MailChimp and SquareSpace are leaders in relatively commoditized categories. I’m not a MailChimp customer, but you better believe I rushed to claim the free Freddie action figure I heard about on a podcast advertisement.

“Ultimately, people find you and stick with you because you have a great product and a brand that resonates with them,” says Magriço. “The web is amazing to reach a lot of people, but it puts you behind a screen and you lose the human element. We’ve designed our product around a conversational interface because it brings a more natural, more human feel to customer and employee interactions.”

“We are here to make the web more human. That’s our brand. You see it in our product, but you also see it in our content, our emails and even our tweets. We strive to make all of our marketing more engaging, beautiful and human.”

Typeform’s blog is called “A Little More Human” and the brand comes through loud and clear in their content:

Making Sales More Human

What about sales? People generally don’t like being sold to and it feels way more transactional than human.

“Typeform is a mass-market product built on self-service, and we want to maintain that discipline as we grow. But we do have lots of large companies using Typeform at massive scale.”

This means shifting from pure self-service to human touch. The goal is to help these large companies get more value out of Typeform. It’s not about identifying and exploiting potential whales in the customer base.

To emphasize the human orientation, the sales team is a part of customer success rather than Magriço’s growth team. The message is very much, “Hey, I saw that you just started using Typeform. That’s great. I’m here to make you successful. How can I help?”

“We want to help our customers get more out of Typeform, whether or not they pay us more money.”