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Revenue Expansion by Growing Teams

Three key ways unicorns have expanded across organizations

Cayden Meyer
Cayden Meyer
Founder & CEO
July 20, 2023
Revenue Expansion by Growing Teams

According to Iconiq’s Analytics Insights report, expanding existing customers makes up more than 50% of new revenue for large companies and 30-40% for smaller companies.

For many SaaS businesses to grow revenue by expansion they have a choice between moving customers to a more expensive plan or expanding their usage or seats.

Getting more people within a team and more teams across an organization onboard is a great way to do both! You can grow the product's revenue, reduce the likelihood of churn and increase the likelihood of the organization needing to upgrade to a higher tier.

So how do you grow the team or organization size within a product? Three key ways:

  1. Be team first
  2. Capture and create collaborative intent
  3. Remove the blockers for expansion

Be Team First​

Teams always start with one person, and your job is to get that person to invite at least one other person. The biggest challenge is people being aware that your product is a team-based or collaborative product at all.

Here are some ways you can make it clear from the get go that it is a collaborative product:

Create your Team During the Initial Onboarding Process ​

How Miro creates a team during onboarding

Creating a team and giving it a name as part of onboarding sets the stage that this is a team product. It sets the expectation that they should be adding more people to the team and this is not just a product for them alone.

Ask Them to Invite their Teammates Along​

Canva's invite a team page

Ask and you shall receive. Prompting users to invite users to join their team as part of onboarding is one of the simplest ways to increase team growth.

Have ways to join an existing team if they are onboard ​

Linear's suggest a team feature

Team fragmentation can be a big problem, you don’t want every user to create their own team and end up with hundreds of teams for a single organization.

Team suggestions or domain capture, where users from a corporate domain are forced to join a specific team or organization,  are two ways of helping avoid fragmentation and to help new users find their teammates.

Capture and Create Collaborative Intent ​

Products are used as part of a workflow. Most often the key work is done by a single person and then shared with others for review, comment or simply as an FYI.

Bringing more of that workflow into the product makes the process easier but also captures the people who are involved in the next stages.

Capture Collaborative Intent​

Downloading is the best example of collaborative intent which can be redirected to inviting the person to the team

If someone is downloading or exporting something from the product it is often to share with someone else, someone else who you can suggest the invite.

Instagram makes it so much easier to share in the app than out

Instgram does a great job at this by redirecting the “Copy a link” function to their built-in sharing dialog to keep more sharing within their product. Making it easier to share within the ecosystem than downloading or exporting means more people will invite others to the product.

Another great signal that you can use to capture collaborative intent is account sharing, especially in products that don’t have clear team or collaborative features. This can be a good signal to suggestion inviting people to the team, increase awareness of team or collaboration features or reaching out to suggest an appropriate plan for their team.

Create New Collaborative Opportunities​

Provide ways for people to collaborate and bring others in, while making it dead simple to do so. Commenting or reviewing flows are a great way to get others involved. Ensure those features have high awareness with users.

Google Docs has share as their biggest button

Make it simple for people who aren’t on board yet to be ‘plussed in’ by others in sharing, commenting and most importantly inviting workflows.

A few simple techniques are to allow emails everywhere, support selecting from a user’s Google or Microsoft address books and offer invitations via a link.

Remove Blockers for Expansion​

No Dead Ends to Attempting to Join​

If you work at a company, especially a large one, at some point you have tried to use a tool and received a message saying contact your administrator for access. Who is the administrator? How do you contact them?

This adds a huge amount of friction and you can solve this in your product in a couple of ways:

  1. Good defaults for access like allow anyone from your domain to access
  2. Request access. You know who the people are who can give access, so let them know and make it really easy to give them the access they need. Adding an input field for “Reason” can help streamline it even further.
  3. Put administrators at ease by letting them know when someone joins so they don’t feel the need to try to restrict access via SSO or in your product itself.

More than One Way to Invite and More than One Way to Accept​

Around 1 out of 3 of email invites are never opened, so allowing people to invite via link is an effective way to make sure invites get seen and accepted.

Beyond just accepting invites by opening them, allow those invites to be accepted by signing up to the product. Many users' first reaction to being told they are invited is to try and login to the product and this is a great opportunity to get them straight into the team or item they are invited to.

Pricing​

The pricing, packaging and how it’s displayed has an impact on team growth. Three quick tips for reducing friction to your pricing page:

  1. If you have usage based pricing, don’t limit seats. More seats can lead to more usage.
  2. Don’t bundle seats in packs of 5 or 10 or ‘include’ 5 seats with a 1 seat paid plan. Users will want the 1 seat at 1/5th the price and it will massively reduce your ability to actually expand revenue given the number of team members generally follows a much stepper version of Benford’s law.
  3. If you have a free tier, limiting the number of members in a team can be a good way to encourage upgrading to the next tier after the team has already formed and their workflow built around your product.

As more companies become more dependent on expansion for revenue growth, growing teams and expanding across an organization will be a very important part of your growth strategy. These tips should help give you a head start on growing your product faster.

In product is often the best way to grow teams, but it’s not the only way. Marketing, sales and customer success can all play a vital role in growing teams. Upollo helps identify the best opportunities for expansion. Give it a try for free and start seeing opportunities your sales, success, marketing and product teams can use to get growing right away.

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About the Author
Cayden Meyer
Cayden Meyer
Founder & CEO

On a mission to help millions of businesses understand their users and grow faster!

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