S1E5 – Product Led Growth: How To Get Started With Antti Suikkanen

With the help of our guest expert Antti Suikkanen, we talk about “Product-led Growth” in this episode. When you concentrate on making your product simple to use, beneficial, and highly valuable, Your users will come back and recommend it to others. You won’t need salespeople to expand your business. By doing this, you may expand your business and make it more profitable without spending much money on sales marketing or advertising.

Why you need to listen to Antti Suikkanen

He has worked for 15 years in the manufacturing industry as a leader, consultant, and entrepreneur and pivoted to the SaaS business. He, therefore, can share valuable insight and advice in the area of product-led growth.

What is Product-led Growth?

Antti Suikkanen sees product-led growth as how the world works today: people today want to figure out the value they can attain from a product before deciding to buy it.

Product-led growth model vs sales-led growth

Product-led growth follows a more precise framework: the product has to be excellent, easy to use, and the user has to find the value faster. With sales-led growth, you have to paint the picture to the user about the features and value of the product.

When to start on product-led growth?

Our guest argues that it is necessary first to determine if your product and service fit product-led growth. If it is too complex, your account values are very high or the number of potential clients is not big, then you need to weigh if product-led growth is the right strategy for you.

Minimum requirements to start on product-led growth

Antti Suikkanen underscores the need to listen to your customers. This way, you can get authentic feedback from the customers about the value they are attaining from the product and potential areas of improvement.

Metrics for measuring the success of product-led growth

He cites the number of registered signups as the topmost measure for the success of the product-led growth strategy. From this, you can conclude that the people actually read and listen to the message you put out there about your product because they get to sign up. According to our guest expert, the second key metric is the number of actual conversions obtained from the registered signups. The third metric relates to the retention rate, the North star metric.

Subdivision of roles in product-led growth strategy

Antti explains that the entire company is responsible for the implementation and success of product-led growth strategy.

Common mistakes when implementing product-led growth strategy

Our guest expert observes that most companies often mistake product-led growth strategy as the silver bullet. He cautions that a great message about a product only sometimes translates into automatic signups. To realize the demand for the product, customers need to see real value from the product. He advises that a company needs to combine various channels to get demand for the product, including a sales-led growth strategy.

Recommendations on where and How to start?

Antti recommends that you put a sound testing framework in place through piloting with the audience to determine how to grow interest in the product’s features.

Challenges companies face with product-led growth strategy

He observes that the success of product-led growth strategy often takes a longer time compared to the sales-led growth alternative. It also requires some serious commitment of resources. It is a marathon, not a sprint.

How his company implements a product-led growth strategy

Antti says they have a 3-plan strategy for PLG: knowing the product, finding the value before purchasing, and paying plans. They are leveraging targeted ads. They are free plans for companies with less than 10K users, with those with more paying a premium fee.

Advice to SaaS startups with 10k MRR

He advises focusing on AB testing and getting customer feedback before product launch. Get their opinion on what they would like added or removed from the product in the future. He says you should give your clients 10-15 minutes calls to gather useful feedback.

Advice to SaaS-established businesses with $1million ARR

He observes that you need to scale customer success as you grow, retain more customers, and create workflows for the company’s growth.

Final thoughts for SaaS businesses

Antti underscores the need to plan ahead, take care of your company’s financial health and leverage emerging technology and trends for your PLG. Also, he advises that you should be open to trying different models to realize success.

Key Timecodes

  • (0:55) Introduction to today’s topic and guest expert 
  • (1:55) Why you need to listen to Antti Suikkanen 
  • (2:36) His definition of Product-led Growth
  • (3:48) Product-led growth model vs. sales-led growth
  • (4:44) When would a company start on product-led growth
  • (7:10) Minimum requirements to start on product-led growth
  • (7:57) Metrics for measuring the success of product-led growth
  • (11:05) Subdivision of roles in product-led growth strategy
  • (17:25) Challenges companies face with product-led growth strategy
  • (12:20) Common mistakes companies often make in implementing the product-led growth strategy 
  • (15:03) Recommendations for where to start 
  • (19:56) How is his company implementing a product-led growth strategy
  • (22:30) Advice to SaaS startups with 10k revenue 
  • (27:05) Advice to SaaS established businesses with $ 1 million annual revenue
  • (29:45) Final thoughts for SaaS businesses
  • (32:02) Antti Suikkanen’s contact information


Intro to podcast

00:54 – Joran Hofman

Welcome back to Grow your B2B SaaS podcast where we discuss all topics on how to grow your B2B SaaS. No matter in which stage you’re in, you don’t need salespeople to grow your product when you have focused on making the product easy to use, helpful, valuable, so that people can come back and telling others about it. 

By doing this, your business can grow and become more successful without needing to spend a lot of money on advertising or salespeople. This is what Jet GDPT gave me as an easy explanation to product lead growth, as that is the topic we’re going to talk about today. We’re going to do this with anti Sukanan. 

Next to being an advisor member of the SaaS to fund a membership group, he’s also the CEO of a SaaS tool called Priority. This tool is measuring the current health of the company. They could be called the fitbit for your company. They give the leaders the opportunity to lead and not to manage. Their saying is bad leaders cost millions. Good leaders only cost $199 per month. Welcome to the show, auntie. 

01:52 – Antti Suikkanen

Thanks for having me, Joran. 

Intro Antti Suikkanen

01:54 – Joran Hofman

Nice. We’re going to talk about product-led growth today. I always like to ask this question at the beginning why should people listen to you today? 

02:01 – Antti Suikkanen

Why should people listen to me? I would say there’s one reason. Because I come from totally another business, another industry. I worked 15 years in the manufacturing and steel industry as a leader, as a consultant, as an entrepreneur and then people that are totally the sauce business after that. This is all really new to me. Maybe I can give you a view. What kind of manufacturing industry leader or sea-level leader thinks about fertile growth and how I see it? Maybe that way give advice to somebody. 

What is Product-Led Growth?

02:36 – Joran Hofman

Well, let’s start with an easy question. What does product-led growth mean to you? 

02:41 – Antti Suikkanen

Fraud led growth can be many things. What I would like to say that what it means to me is just the way that the world works nowadays. People want to make sure that when they are buying, when they are taking some product and use, they really kind of figure out the value, figure out the point. Why are they using it? What is it for them? Is it easy to use? Can they kind of search it first, try it first before buying? These are all the things that I would say that modern playfield is about right now. Old models of sales that okay, there’s still room for that on the more complex products and those things. I would say that if I figure out myself, for example, I want to test the product first. I want to see if there’s value for me before buying or making the decision for purchasing. 

03:32 – Antti Suikkanen

I think this is what the product growth stands for and it’s a great place. 

03:37 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. You kind of mentioned already, right, it doesn’t mean that you don’t need salespeople. You already explained it in Broad. 

03:43 – Antti Suikkanen


How does Product Led differentiate from other strategies?

03:43 – Joran Hofman

How would you say it really differentiates from the other growth strategies? 

03:48 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah. What difference is from my perspective, it gives a lot of, I would say strict rules also how you’re building your product. Because for example, if you’re doing sales, you can kind of explain your features, explain the goods that you are giving, explain more of the details, what you painted the picture of the product. With the product that growth, you have to do it with your product. It has to be easy to use. It has to be your message has to be really clear. The customer really has to find value quite fast. This gives kind of a certain level of exponents that the product has to be great. I think this is one of the toughest challenges of the Plg that I have found. 

04:34 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. The product has to be great and this is always a fun one because everybody starts with an MVP, right. I guess when you think about that, when could a company start with product-led growth because your product is not going to be great from the beginning. 

04:47 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah, I would say that first of all, think and try and figure out if your product and service is suitable for product led growth. If it’s too complex or your account values are really high, a number of the potential clients are not so big. I would say then contemplate if the Plg is right for you. If you feel like you can kind of get a big mess, you can get a decent price with a great product. I think in the beginning just go for us with the strategy. You have to do your homework. We did actually two years of proof of concept before launching our products. It’s a long way from coming here because we wanted to make sure that the value that we are offering is there really. When we figure out that there is really the value, then we kind of figured out how do we convert this as a product, as a sauce tool to kind of self serve option. 

05:44 – Joran Hofman

Yeah, and I think you mentioned something really important. Right. Are you focusing towards the big mess? It also comes down to what is your ideal customer profile. You probably have that really clear for yourself and then how big the audience Is going to be for you. 

05:57 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah. For example, for us, our target audience is SMEs starting from 2 million in revenue plus 20 employees working. Usually, the growth-oriented C-level leader kind of understands the role of the person in the growth process. Usually they are stuck or not growing and they need kind of tools or help to get from there. Because of that, because the Mass is big and the audience is the SMEs, we wanted our product to be available for everybody that we want to kind of have in the scope. That’s why our price point is reasonable. I would say our Product is more premium price point reasonable. That kind of drives us in the model that we cannot have heavy sales at the organization. We just cannot have. It’s not reasonable for the Money point. That’s why we have chosen product as our strategy. 

06:48 – Joran Hofman

You took two years. Right. Probably the product is now usable by itself. It is probably converting clients by itself. It hopefully brings value already. Those are the things you brought up. You’re focusing on a big Mess. Like what Else should be at minimum in place to really start with product at growth. 

07:05 – Antti Suikkanen

I would say that listening to your customers, this is kind of oldest kind of tip in the playbook. But I cannot stress it enough. If you think you are actually listening and talking to your customers, you probably do it still too little because they are really telling you what is the value that they see in your product. It might be something else that you have figured out. You are thinking that they are using the borrow products like this. This is the value that they are getting. There are many surprises that has come for us, especially when we have sold the clients and the value of the product. 

Metrics to Measure product Led Growth

07:40 – Joran Hofman

Yeah, and I think that’s all. It’s really important, right? We just recorded a session regarding customer success. I would definitely recommend people listening to that. When you I guess put this into maybe metrics. Listening to the clients is really important. Are we able to put this in any kind of metrics? I guess you like to measure regarding product Led growth and what would those be? 

08:01 – Antti Suikkanen

At this point as we are kind of going for that Scalable model, we have found of our product market Fit. I would say that well, number one is kind of a Register sign up. How many of the sign ups we get to our free product? Okay, that’s the first one. We can kind of conclude that okay, when we are putting ads or messaging or marketing our content that people are listening to it, people are reading it and by that they are signing up and they are interested in products. That is kind of our first phase and first gate that we are measuring. How much would we kind of spend on the dollar basis and how many sign ups do we get on that spreading our content organically and unpaid. Of course we measure that how many of those paid customers really convert to the buying the product. 

08:53 – Antti Suikkanen

That’s where we are talking about our pro plan subscription. After that I would say one of the North Star metrics then is the net retention rate at the end. At this point we are more focusing on the sign ups and the conversion to the paid plan. 

09:10 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. Do you have identified a certain wow moment within the app or have you identified some metrics or some things they really need to do to convert more? 

09:20 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah, so I would say that our wow moment is usually when they see the data and see the kind of condition of the company. We have struggled a lot onboarding and getting to that moment. Times of value is something that we want to of course measure. What does it take and how long does it take for the user to get the sign up for that AHA moment that they really feel like wow, this is the thing. Now I can get started because we see especially in the beginning that a lot of the people went to our portal. They signed up after two 5 seconds of using the drops. It is a cruel world attention of those CEOs. It’s a matter of seconds. So how do you captivate that? They are like wow, I want to continue that. Your onboarding and your messaging has to be diamond and well, we are not there yet, but we are getting closer and closer. 

How to deal with an empty dashboard at onboarding

10:13 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. I think a lot of struggles SaaS companies would have and I think you already mentioned it like the wildmon was for you when they see the metrics in the dashboard. A lot of SaaS dashboards start with empty dashboards with zero metrics. How do you deal with that? 

10:28 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah, so at the moment we are contemplating more of the video tutorial material and also perhaps going with kind of demo surroundings so people before they even sign up can see what kind of metrics and what kind of figures can they see from our portal. They have the kind of maybe opportunity and courage to go there and use that little bit longer moment. 

10:54 – Joran Hofman

To get to the moment when we zoom out. What you mentioned already starts with the number of sign ups, money spent, then who converts into the product and then of course who goes to paid, who’s responsible, I guess in which of the funnel? 

11:11 – Antti Suikkanen

In your case, I would say that well, of course, we have head of Plg Marcos Letter in our company that is kind of a main responsible but I think as a company we’re all responsible of things. There’s always kind of a main responsible person doing these things and overseeing that. As the process goes on, I think we have to distribute our resources and be responsible within the company, within different stages. 

11:43 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. Does that function head of Plg help? He the person who aligns everybody to make sure everybody on the same track? 

11:51 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah, it helps. Of course, Marcus has a great experience from another company that they started from Zero and actually went as a success story and worked there as a head of Plg, head of marketing and now is in our team as one of the founder members. Also nice. 

Common mistakes made with Product-Led Growth for SaaS

12:09 – Joran Hofman

Let’s talk mistakes so we can help other companies to avoid them. What are the common mistakes you see companies make while trying to grow or implement Plg? 

12:20 – Antti Suikkanen

I would say well, the first I think of everybody or some of the guys, I think me, especially in the first thing, that this is some secret sauce that I just throw my product there. Wow. There are sign ups and everything. It doesn’t work like that. It’s hugely demanding strategy. As I said before, for the product point of view, for the messaging point of view, and even those that people like your product or messaging is clear, your product is awesome, it doesn’t mean that they’re going to buy it. They have to have really value and really going to feel that this is solving my problem. Not sticking too much on the kind of that this should be the product growth. As mentioned before, in the beginning you said that no sales. I would say that from my point of view, it’s not true. Implementing sales with product lead is what we are doing. 

13:12 – Antti Suikkanen

Also we are implementing sales channel strategy for the Plg because we have to have those first customers first, paying customers first kind of success stories in the market before we can get the word out, the word of mouth advertising and giving content. Based on that, I would say don’t be too locked on the model, that you just have to do it with your product and with content marketing. Paid ads go with the sales. Let go with the channel also supporting your Plg if that is what it takes. 

13:44 – Joran Hofman

I think this is really good information just because don’t choose one channel. Like you have to combine a couple of them, especially early stage. I mean, it’s like ourselves, as in we’re a marketplace for SaaS companies where they can grow an affiliate marketing channel. We can’t do product let growth until we sold manually ourselves first, before the product is big enough, before the Plg engine can really kick in. 

14:07 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah, like saying for us, because our product is not the easiest to understand holistic leadership Tool for SME leaders. It’s a lot of information inside that phrase putting that in the kind of understandable form that you get value and messaging that in 10 seconds to clients it is really hard. That’s why in the first we need sales that to support our plg. When we talk to our customers for 1520 minutes, okay, then they understand it. They understand the value, ready to purchase it. They are ready to try it. After that we get the success stories and okay, this is how the customer use it. This is how the use case work. This is the end results. Okay, advertise that he’s known in the market, they are notable company, okay, now they are using it, maybe I should give it a try because they get or calling them and ask for opinion. 

15:00 – Antti Suikkanen

So just get the motion wheel running. 

15:02 – Joran Hofman

To get that motion wheel running, you need some kind of strategy. You need processes, I guess to implement Plg. Can you share a bit more on what would you recommend? Where people start or how would they set this up? 

15:15 – Antti Suikkanen

Yes, so first of all, I think that what we did was kind of making, I would say community kind of companies or early adapters that we really were kind of keen on the product. We’re piloting it and really taking their opinion on the product like testing A and B. If this is something, would you rather have this outcome or this outcome? Okay, I choose this outcome be okay, what if we do it this way? Would this help you? Would this be satisfactory? Would this be valuable? Yes. We can implement it and try it as a framework. I think this kind of strategy and then testing model was one of the crucial points because I think as a tech person, we tend to have a lot of interest in making features. When we first put out a product on the market, were like, oh, we’re lacking so many features. 

16:10 – Antti Suikkanen

Like there’s so little features, nobody’s going to be happy and they want more features. After we started product, they said please don’t take any more features in your product. This is weird enough. I was like, wow, really? Okay, so kind of do the testing, make sure that your basic products, your basic idea works first, then do a B testing, implement products. I would say upgrade or make it better. 10% in a month, in a year’s time. It’s going to make a h*** of a product and h*** of a service. 

16:43 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. And I think this is really important. We do want to add more features all the time. In the end, people don’t even want our product, right? They want to get the value the product brings. I think here again, you really see it is about the value and not about the products. 

16:57 – Antti Suikkanen

Usually when I come from the manufacturing industry, we have clearly, like, I would say, clear one or two KPIs that we measure our business. When I come to sauce, it’s like I got 17 KPIs and then I got 72 features on my product. What I do the rest of the time, it’s a different business. Concentrating a few kind of key metrics that really brings value and then brings value to the customer. 

Challenges with Product Led Growth

17:25 – Joran Hofman

I think maybe that’s already going into our next topic. Challenges. I mean, we love to measure, of course. I think that’s definitely one challenge. Companies have picked the right metrics. Are there any other challenges or obstacles you faced or you see companies facing with Plg? 

17:41 – Antti Suikkanen

It’s going to take time. The Holistic effect is not going to happen. Well, there might be some products, but if your product is not super simple or super easy to understand and pay $3 a month for a seat, I think the hockey stick effect is going to take some time. Be prepared that your cash flow can support it, that you have a clear strategy, how are you getting the first customers, and how we’re making the wheel turn. Make sure that your cash flow is also supporting the PLG strategy. It’s going to take some time. 

18:14 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. In this case, I guess stick to your beliefs. Of course, look at all the metrics to make sure that it is going in the right direction. 

18:21 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah, it is a marathon, it’s not a sprint, so be prepared on that. If you want a quick results, then go for sales or more heavily on the sales of solution. I would say that when it kicks in, your customer acquisition costs and your structure, your profitability is going to be a lot easier structure in the future if you make it work. 

18:45 – Joran Hofman

Yeah, I 100% agree. It is challenging because I see it myself. 

18:49 – Antti Suikkanen


18:49 – Joran Hofman

We invest a lot of money into the product. First of all, to make sure people get value out of it. We invest a lot of money on creating content like these podcasts, but also blogs and also other things. You’re of course, always waiting when is going to kick in, but in the end it will take time. We really stick to our beliefs because in the end, this is, for me the best way to grow a company. 

19:10 – Antti Suikkanen

Of course, yeah. I would say that to celebrate the small things. It was like first pilot user from abroad that said, okay, I want to try a product as a pilot. Yes. All right, great. The first kind of sign up for the Plg was like, whoa, now we’re almost legit. Where is the first paying customer that really wants to kind of pay for a product? It was like, okay, champagne is for everybody. It’s $200 a month, but it’s a start. That always breaks a glass ceiling at some point where somebody is willing to pay for a product, there are others and then you just have to locate it, kind of find out what is that person like, what was the value for him or her and kind of go from there. 

How is PLG implemented at Prioritio

19:55 – Joran Hofman

I think this is a really great advice. We already talked quite a bit indirectly about your company, right? Maybe do it really directly like how are you implementing PLG at your own startup? 

20:05 – Antti Suikkanen

So, for the point of view how we are implementing it, we have started on a freemium model. We have a free product that can be used for everybody. Kind of get to know to our product, find your value before buying the product. We have kind of the paid plans and the tiers when you find the value for that. That is something that we are implementing Plg and also both the flywheel purpose and point of view. We are concentrating a lot on the ads kind of targeting our ICPs in the market, making sure that we are making use cases in different industries that they specifically know how to use our product in there. We can communicate that and also specific ads that they can kind of figure it out that, okay, I have this problem in this industry, in this company. They have used it like that. 

20:57 – Antti Suikkanen

I can probably find value if I try with this product. Those are kind of a few things. 

21:02 – Joran Hofman

And you mentioned premium model. How do you limit now your free plan? 

21:07 – Antti Suikkanen

We are giving free for the companies that are ten people or less. You can use it as a bigger company, but you cannot get the data and the information from your people within that limit. You can test it with a smaller group, with a smaller company, with a smaller set of people and then really see how it works. There’s some huge features that we have a lot outside of that, but usually it’s limited by the person or the answers or analysts. 

21:37 – Joran Hofman

Yeah, and in your case I think it’s really a good point, right, limited to ten users so they can start using it. If you have ten users use it, then paying $199 or more wouldn’t be an issue, I guess, because they’ve already seen the value with a big team. 

21:51 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah, we have said, and somebody said it to us that you have a premium product for a bulk price. Price is not an issue for us and that is one of our kind of things that we want to see. Okay, we don’t know we have to test it if the price is low or high at some point, but at this point we just want it to be available. For SME leaders, that is not going to be the issue. That okay, this is 50,000 a month and 1 million companies, so that’s going to be too much. Being available, giving the value, then we can set up those price points later and figure out that point of view. 

PLG advice for founders growing to 10k MRR

22:27 – Joran Hofman

Makes sense. We’re going to come back to the advice part. We’re going to zoom out a bit again. So when we talk about Plg, what kind of advice would you give SaaS founders in different stages and to begin with somebody who’s just starting out and trying to grow his product to ten K monthly recurring revenue. 

22:45 – Antti Suikkanen

I would say that as we are going in that stage, kind of figuring out our way to 30,000 Mrr this year, we are putting a lot of focus on testing and AB testing and getting the client feedback. That is kind of we are kind of pulling out the process that we can get viral loop from that feedback from the testing to actually product implementation and trying before launching. We want to make the cycle so that we can improve all the time, little by little. I think that is something that I think that have worked for us and it’s going to work for us in the long run. We heavily involve our clients and kind of I would say community to the development all the time, getting the feedback and after going for bigger, I would say that kind of scalability take more of the customer success role as maybe some more sales that motion involved. 

23:48 – Antti Suikkanen

They’re going to be heavy users that really love your product. There’s really a heavy opportunity that you can cross, can sell more of those accounts, can help them really succeed with your product and really get their opinion on what they would like to see in the future. They are the ones that are going to advocate your product to other users on the word of mouth. Taking that viral loop also in account in a letter. 

24:13 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. I think what you said at the beginning, right, getting a lot of customer feedback. I think maybe the misconception of Plg is that once you have the basics, you can just sit back, relax and your product will grow. I think that’s not going to be true because as you already mentioned, like you like to talk a lot to clients. It will take you a lot of time, you will do a lot of testing, you will need to change things around. Maybe one question here still. How do you get that client feedback? Because you’re creating a product where you don’t want people to talk to you, you do talk a lot to your clients. How do you get their feedback? 

24:45 – Antti Suikkanen

So there’s two ways I’ll do it. Now that somebody is signing in on showing the interest of our product, I’ll try myself to get them on the call. This is for the first time, I wouldn’t recommend it in the long run, I would say, but at this stage that is really effective. Just give a 1520 minutes call. Okay, you did it. Did you like it? How did you feel? It okay. You dropped out. What was the reason? Would you consider it if you would get a help, try it again and then get the feedback. The other way is building up the community kind of let’s say in the Slack or something like that, kind of pilot users, the first early adapters, get the group of people there. If you have an opinion of ten people, that’s a lot in qualitative and quantitative aspect, but if you get an opinion of 100, it’s already a usable knowledge. 

25:39  Joran Hofman

I think the challenge here is everybody wants a community, right? And you really already create one. How do you make sure that people really engage in a community like that? Because they’re probably a dozen. How do you make sure that they really want to collaborate? 

25:53 – Antti Suikkanen

I would say that when they are paying for the product, they want to we are giving some kind of maybe a little discount of the product or kind of a good deal on the product. The point is that they are paying for it and when they are paying for it, they are more engaged. If you’re getting something for free, who doesn’t like free stuff? Giving your opinion on that, if you haven’t really tried or implemented in your organization, it’s going to be hard. 

26:23 – Joran Hofman

Yeah, I think there has to be a commitment from both sides. If somebody is not paying, they’re not as committed as they’re getting something for free. I think just giving out your product for free isn’t a good idea then doing what you guys doing, give some kind of discount, big discount, but at least have them commit to something on their end to yes. 

26:40 – Antti Suikkanen

Also they are kind of first to get to try these features. They are first kind of that has an opinion on that, what’s going to be the futures of the future products. I think in all long it’s a win from them. If they, let’s say engage for one year or two year deal, they’re going to keep the price quite low for that period of time. Get the new features, get the feedback and all that. So we see it as a win. 

PLG advice for startups growing to 1M ARR

27:07 – Joran Hofman

Let’s move past the ten K Monthly recurring revenue. You kind of mentioned already you guys are going to 30 hopefully at the end of the year. What kind of advice would you give companies growing to 1 million arr? 

27:19 – Antti Suikkanen

I would say that the customer success role probably builds up a lot more when you’re going. I would say that they’re kind of supporting your plg more with that. So maybe that’s the advice. I would say that because I have no experience building a sauce company on that. I have built a manufacturing company to almost 10 million, but that’s a different animal there. But no. Plg there. If I would say at this point, maybe the customer success site, getting clear processes and scalable processes because you are building a big company, you want those processes to be really scalable from here to the bigger picture and other countries and other go to America strategies. 

28:07 – Joran Hofman

I agree. Customer is going to be important. Like we just did the recording with Mike Fried from Lead Feeder. I mean, I was head of Customer success before him at Lead Feeder and creating processes, making sure you understand, of course, why people are leaving you on a bigger scale. That’s going to be really important. You’re not just filling up a leaking bucket, you need to make sure that you’re going to take control, of course, of gross net retention rate, however you’re going to measure it. 

28:33- Antti Suikkanen

Yeah. That churn is going to be at some point really an issue to take care of. So how do you keep your clients? So for us we are early-stage. We don’t see a lot of churn right now, but expecting going for a year or two ahead, it’s going to be an issue that we need to fix that they are keeping engaged and keep getting value, keep getting new features and more out of the product. 

28:59 – Joran Hofman

Yeah, and creating expansion flows. I think we already talked about that. Also in the UI/UX podcast, as in you need to have workflows which also going to go towards expansion. Just to give an example for our product is really related to the value we’re bringing, which is monthly recurring revenue generated for our clients. That has to grow and when it grows, the pricing grows with it, which means we’re able to expand on our current clients the more value we bring. 

29:27 – Antti Suikkanen

Value based pricing. And that’s always good. 

29:30 – Joran Hofman

Exactly. It’s almost a no brainer to say and no, I guess because in the end they generated so much more out of it. We’re coming to the end. Any final thoughts you want to share with other Bdb SaaS founders? 

29:41 – Antti Suikkanen

Well, final thoughts is I would say that a few thoughts that it has been quite exciting times for SaaS founders for last couple of years. First we see high multiples on the VC side and then there was a big drop in layoffs and all of that. What I would say as I have been in one bankruptcy myself, that grit and determination of the founders of the SaaS community is something that I admire. I would say that I keep that in mind and keep that going. I think that is a h*** of an energy to put there and making things happen, going against all these odds that we are facing and everybody is kind of telling us so I would say has to you everywhere in the globe. Also one of the things that I would say is that keep your financial model, your strategy, your kind of funding rolling all the time. 

30:39 – Antti Suikkanen

Especially in this climate, it takes a lot of time to secure the runway have always planned ready. Don’t wait for the last moments of the last month. Make sure that you are always planning ahead six months, twelve months, what you’re going to do, how long your runway is going to last. And then take action. 

30:57 – Joran Hofman

Yeah. Always be in control because if you’re going to knock on somebody’s door last minute, then the deal you’re going to get is going to be less worse. Of course, there are now tools where you can do like revenue based financing, things like that, but not sure about those interest rates. Indeed, let’s make sure your runway is always in control. 

31:15 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah. On the Plg side, it’s exciting to see what happened. For example, Sigma and Conwood that are doing great things. Now that there’s purchases from Adapt and Microsoft is coming in with the designer and those kinds of things. We have seen a great success for the Plg companies. But what is in the future? We don’t know. How is the plg developing? We don’t know. I would say constantly evolve your strategy for the Plg. Don’t get locked on the certain things that you have to do this only with your product. Bring in the sales, let if needed, bring in the channel if needed, or community lead if needed. 

How to contact Antti Suikkanen

31:55 – Joran Hofman

Exactly. Always keep experimenting. And don’t just pick one channel. Go with the one which works for you. Make sure you keep iterating. Final question. If people want to get in contact with you, Auntie, what would be the best way? 

32:09 – Antti Suikkanen

All I think LinkedIn is the best way. I would say that the email flooding these days is quite big. It might get some time me for answer, but just message me on LinkedIn. I usually are available there. All trying to answer you at the same time. That’s a great way to keep in touch. 

32:28 – Joran Hofman

Perfect. I’m going to put the link to your LinkedIn profile in the blog on the podcast because I think spelling your name will be a challenge for yeah. 

32:38 – Antti Suikkanen

Spelling my name and spelling our company, that’s those are two things. 

32:43 – Joran Hofman

Exactly. Well, for the record, like how would you say both of them just to make sure we have it correct in this podcast. 

32:49 – Antti Suikkanen

So, first name, aunty and the company priority. 

32:52 – Joran Hofman

Nice. I think I said a bit differently at the beginning, but thank you for the worst. 

32:57 – Antti Suikkanen

It’s a tongue twister. 

32:59 – Joran Hofman

Exactly. Thank you for being here today, Auntie. And thank you for sharing your knowledge. 

33:04 – Antti Suikkanen

Yeah, thank you for having me. It was a pleasure to come here. Hopefully there was something that somebody’s going to catch on and can help somebody in this stage or later stage. Great to be here and thank you for the opportunity. 

33:16  –Joran Hofman

Thank you. I’ve already learned some things, so I bet others will as well. 

33:19  –Intro

Hopefully you’ve been listening to Growing a B2B SaaS Joran has been ahead of customer success before founding his own startup. He’s experiencing the same journey you are. We hope you’ve gotten some actionable advice from the show and we hope you had fun along the way. We know we did. Make sure to like, rate and review the podcast in the meantime. Time to find out more and to hook up with us on our social media sites, go to Reditus  

Joran Hofman
Meet the author
Joran Hofman
Back in 2020 I was an affiliate for 80+ SaaS tools and I was generating an average of 30k in organic visits each month with my site. Due to the issues I experienced with the current affiliate management software tools, it never resulted in the passive income I was hoping for. Many clunky affiliate management tools lost me probably more than $20,000+ in affiliate revenue. So I decided to build my own software with a high focus on the affiliates, as in the end, they generate more money for SaaS companies.
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