When I think of a company like Uber or Airbnb, and what they 'do', the answer is pretty straightforward. Uber gets you from one place to another, and Airbnb provides you with temporary housing. What I've learned in my past month at Clearbit, is that what your company is known for rarely translates directly into a single product.
For example, at Clearbit we're known as a data company. We have a vast database of companies and contacts that we provide access to, helping sales and marketing teams to better understand their leads and customers. Our core product, Clearbit Enrichment, integrates with Salesforce, and is the best demonstrator of our service. We also have a number of other products, namely our free Chrome extensions (Connect for Gmail/Outlook and Salesforce Lite).
Similarly, Uber's reputation (aside from their PR troubles) can be linked to their main product that connects riders with drivers, i.e. uberX. However, they also have a number of other products. UberEats and UberRush are both divisions of the core business that don't directly link back to their reputation like uberX or uberPOOL does.
This makes perfect sense from a business perspective - no successful company has all their eggs in one basket, as it's necessary to diversify and test new markets in order to thrive as a company. The caveat is how these products work together, and what this means for their sales/marketing teams.
Selling to a Company, not a Decision-maker.
Having worked on a few sales teams, I can attest that one of the main learnings that is drilled into a new hire is identifying the decision-maker. Companies spend an incredible amount of time determining their ideal customer profile, and making that the root of their efforts in prospecting, setting up meetings, and trying to close the deal.
The challenge that any sales team will face is the buying cycle. Some companies aren't ready to buy when you reach out to them, while others will take some time to understand your product. Clever salespeople will put these contacts into an email nurture campaign opposed to disregarding them completely, but is that enough?
This brings up the idea of cross-pollination with products. Understanding how the various products of a company intertwine can enable a sales/marketing team to really leverage both their customer base and lead pool to accelerate sales cycles and increase engagement.
Personas don't stop at Demographics.
It's easy to classify your buyer personas based on demographics/firmographics if you have the right data. A lot of companies use solutions like ours to enrich their databases, and ensure their targeting is up to par.
The next level is to understand how these personas link to product usage. I'll use Clearbit as an example of how this comes into practice.
The decision-maker in a lot of deals are people who work in sales operations or marketing operations. Their job is to enable their sales/marketing teams to be more efficient, hence increasing data quality is a surefire way to do so.
With that being said, it's not easy for a thriving company to pivot from one data solution to another, or implement one altogether if they don't have an existing one in place. Sales operations teams normally exist when a company has 10+ sales reps, and trying to change their workflows can be chaos.
Hence, many people in sales operations might scoff at our flagship solution, Enrichment, or might take weeks to deliberate with their sales team and determine whether it's a good fit. The solution? Salesforce Lite.
Salesforce Lite is our Chrome extension that allows sales reps (not operations) to have the Clearbit widget housed directly in Salesforce. This enriches their contacts as soon as they open the page, giving them up-to-date information on the person without having to install a complex integration or get approval from a manager.
A product like this, while free, creates buy-in within the organization before the decision-maker is even exposed to the actual (paid) product. We've now created a link between two products, and a reasonably clear funnel that wasn't in place before.
From SaaS to Consumers
While you might think that this type of relationship only functions with B2B SaaS companies where decision-makers, buyer personas, and all of that jazz is present, it translates to B2C companies as well.
Reverting to the Uber example, there is a clear relationship between their flagship products and other products that has a deeper meaning than "expanding markets". While customers may primarily use uberX is the morning (7am - 9am) and evening (5pm to 6pm) to travel to/from work, UberEats is another opportunity to keep those users engaged in the interim.
Ordering from Uber during lunch ensures that (1) drivers are kept on the road, switching from uberX to UberEats and (2) users keep relying on Uber for their day-to-day, despite not needing to physically travel anywhere (which is Uber's primary reputation).
This might seem like one of those pieces of information you hear in a lesson that makes the concept more interesting, but nevertheless is a concept you already know. "Keeping Customers Engaged" is pretty tightly tied to "Expanding Markets", since they both tie back to revenue, right?
The main difference is how sales/marketing teams can use this information. For Clearbit, understanding how a rep uses Salesforce Lite is crucial to how we position Enrichment. A rep with Salesforce Lite gets unlimited enriched contacts, but a limited amount of additional prospecting of that account. If a number of reps are using the widget and the prospector, it's possible that the company is in need of leads and that feature is the tipping point for a decision-maker. A better fit could be Prospector, and this outreach decision can be made by our rep before sending any communication.
There's also the scenario of the same user interacting with two products. If delivery times at pushing 60 minutes, which as a hungry student I can attest to, then does it make more sense for Uber to offer a discounted ride to the restaurant in order to increase purchase value AND provide more jobs for drivers? How does UberEats times interact with uberX surge pricing?
These are all prime examples of sales/marketing teams diving into the data and use cases behind their products, leveraging the idea of cross-pollination to drive growth in the business. Instead of thinking "This would be a cool feature" and trying to find the data to back it up, maybe it's a better call to first examine how current products interact, and what the gaps might be there (referencing the data).
I'm a marketer, not a product manager, so I can't claim to understand the intricacies that go into tracking product data and determining new features. However, at smaller companies (like Clearbit), growth teams do get a lot of visibility into these conversations, and I can say it's been a thrill diving into our various products and understanding the data behind them.