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Esben Friis-Jensen on growing to millions in ARR with a team of three
Product State Q&A
Esben Friis-Jensen is the co-founder and Chief Growth Officer at Userflow, a no-code builder for in-app onboarding and surveys, allowing SaaS businesses to be more product-led.
https://userflow.com / Linkedin
EC: A decade ago, few had heard of growth hacking. We now see ‘growth’ positions at every level in tech. How do you define the role of ‘Chief Growth Officer’ and what are the skills necessary to be effective?
EFJ: As Product-led growth has become a popular motion in SaaS, a leadership role was needed to represent this change.
Whereas the more traditional VP of Sales and VP of Customer Success relates to the conventional sales-led world — a Growth leader looks at growth from a more holistic perspective that includes levers in marketing, product, sales, and customer success.
At Userflow, we acquire, convert, retain and expand customers by using a pure product-led approach. Chief Sales/Marketing Officer would not be a fitting title for an organization in such a world.
EC: Userflow is positioned as the ‘Fastest flow builder on the market.’ Why is speed so important in onboarding and what led to this becoming central in the product you’ve built and gone to market with?
EFJ: Speed is important in onboarding from two perspectives.
Perspective 1 is from the view of the end users. Most end users will sign up for a trial or freemium and leave with a few minutes and never come back. Therefore, it is essential to drive them to the ‘Aha’ moments (Value realization) as fast as possible. Effective onboarding that drives to ‘Aha’ is a powerful tool for achieving this.
Perspective 2 is from the view of the organization building the onboarding. Things like onboarding are often deprioritized by developers due to feature work.
Furthermore, onboarding requires rapid iterations to constantly improve text and guidance. By allowing non-developers to build onboarding — and iterate on it fast —you get a stronger experience that converts and retains more customers.
EC: Starting and growing a company comes with a lot of complexity. There are many roadblocks. What are some of the biggest ones you’ve had to overcome when it comes to product? (And what do you recommend others focus on in these times of great uncertainty)
EFJ: In many SaaS organizations, UX and onboarding are two things that unfortunately are often not prioritized high enough.
With Userflow, we have been able to grow to millions in ARR with a team of just 3 people. We’ve done this by having a core focus on reducing the need for end-user support through strong onboarding, and fixing recurring UX issues.
We spend close to 50% of our development time on improving UX to reduce support questions. Many product teams in larger SaaS organizations get too far from the customers. They end up focusing on bigger features instead of onboarding and smaller UX improvements that can have a significant impact on creating a strong and user-friendly product experience — an essential part of a PLG motion.