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Viv Amatuzzi on SaaS Experiments


In this episode, I talk to Viv Amatuzzi, Director of Conversion at 360i.

We talk about the difference between decision makers, product users, and website visitors.

You can listen on Apple Podcasts, or Stitcher, or right here 👇

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SaaS Experiments · Viv Amatuzzi on SaaS Experiments

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Quotes

Transcript

Brian:
Here’s some nightmare fuel. What if all the carefully crafted copy on your website was written for the wrong audience? What if the decision maker in buying your product never even visits? Lucky for you I talked to Viv Amatuzzi, who’s encountered this exact problem. And today she’ll talk through how she and her team solved that. Quick note in the intro. You’ll hear me call her by her maiden name, deBrauwere. That’s my mistake. So please disregard, and enjoy.

Brian:
Viv deBrauwere is a director of conversion at three 60 eye. Who’s worked with clients such as Weight Watchers at LaSeon Indeed and Earnest. Viv. Welcome to the show.

Viv:
Hey, thanks for having me glad to be here.

Brian:
Tell us a little bit about how you got into CRO.

Viv:
I’ve been doing grow or this specifically for about eight years. And I started my interest in this on accident back in 2012, I was working at Netflix and I had a really bad delivery of artwork from a client and, uh, they didn’t take my feedback well, so I decided to run a test to prove how bad it was. And since then I’ve been, I’ve been running experiments ever since just to kind of get my point across. I love it. Yeah.

Brian:
Driven conversion rate optimization. Absolutely. The only way to go. So today you’re going to tell us about a series of experiments with a payment solutions platform. Can you kick off with telling us a little bit about the company and the product you were working on?

Viv:
Yeah, for sure. Uh, so the company that I was working for, they offer payment solutions to larger enterprise companies. So if you think about anytime you pay for something, the backend system of it. So if you think of something like Uber, every time you actually pay the guy, there’s a solution in there that takes your credit card, pays them and distributes taxes and things like that. So that company handles the integration and they make it really easy for you to scale multiple currencies, multiple mediums payments are actually really complicated. You think of them as something really simple, but if you think of something like Peloton, where you have a bike that you can buy, you have a monthly subscription, you have I’m sure gear that you can buy there’s in-store experiences, all of those require sort of different methods of payment and different transactions. And, uh, something like this company would, would handle that. Got it.

Brian:
Okay. So B2B deeply integrated with any number of different types of business models, processing payments. And so how exactly did they make their money?

Viv:
So they charge processing any of these sort of payment companies. They charge a processing fee per transaction, um, and the fee varied across different businesses. So there was a differential model between sort of a small business, a mid tier and enterprise companies, enterprise companies usually would come in and they’d have a custom plan because there’s so many dollars that are processing through. And then there’s a standard. I think it was like 3% or something that they would charge per dollar or per whatever that was coming through for smaller businesses. But they were really had been geared to be more of an enterprise company. Cause you, you, there’s obviously a lot more money there and they want it to be sort of the enterprise payment solutions partner.

Brian:
Okay. So complex technology, complex pricing model, I’m guessing complex sales process.

Viv:
The sales cycle is super interesting because you think about a payment solutions platform and it’s not something that you like decide on a Tuesday to buy. Right. Right. There’s a lot of stakeholders involved. There’s probably a lot of negotiations. There’s probably a lot of forecasting, there’s an integration. And so that process ended up itself is, is very long. And so it’s actually for us in a testing environment, when we’re testing on the website, really hard to track that like end KPI of somebody signing up and like using this payment solutions partner. And also because it’s finance, it’s, it’s highly regulated and there’s a lot of personal information. And, and so we actually weren’t even able to touch anything in the application process. It was very protected and it sat on a totally different page. So none of our tracking went through. So it was sort of, it was sort of a, a pain.

Viv:
But what we did is we, we tried to build a backwards model. So we would look and see, are there other things that we could, we could use to better identify a higher quality lead earlier effectively, you have to look at the different tiers of opportunity to kind of where they fall within the sales cycle. Right? And so you fill out a form, you become a lead, not every lead is a hot lead, but if they are, they become what we called an opportunity. So we like graduated them to the next like level of quality and then from an opportunity you become paid. And so we built like a backwards revenue model based on like the percentage of people that become opportunities, the percentage of those that are leads and whatnot. So it was, it just kind of evolved from sort of assumptions later down the line because we couldn’t touch anything after that. Right. So that’s, that’s the KPI that they’re tracking. What we were looking at was actually lead to opportunity to paid. And then ultimately looking at the number of dollars that say an average enterprise company is processing through what that looks like from a revenue model, because that’s how much money and then the small business, mid tier, whatever.

Brian:
So from, from landing on the website to actually generating revenue for the company you’re talking months, potentially,

Viv:
I think it was about 350 days. It was more than a year. It was like. And so I remember thinking there’s no way I’m going to be able to run a test and actually be able to see what sort of impact cause the other thing was because this company’s goal was to drive more enterprise level leads. It was really about lead quality too. I can make a bunch of people trip and fall down this funnel, but are they actually good people? That’s, that’s not necessarily what they want. And so there was a lot of emphasis on figuring out ways that we could evaluate the lead quality to, to, to, to make sure that we were pushing more of those enterprise level leads through.

Brian:
So you built this, this backwards model, this reverse model to back out from a revenue event, a, in a closed deal all the way up the funnel, I guess, to website behavior, what kinds of things were you able to learn from this model?

Viv:
It’s really one it’s really hard to learn quality that high in the funnel and that there wasn’t a lot that we could do on the front end to sort of like weed those people out and get feedback right away. And so our best resource actually was the customer service people. Um, I don’t know if that’s necessarily related to the model. I think what we’ve realized is like when you have a sales cycle that long, you’ve got to figure out a way to talk to people in between. And so the next, the next step was for them to talk to some sort of sales associate or customer service rep. And so I spent a lot of time talking to them and asking like, what are the typical questions that you’re getting? What, where are people tripped up? Where, where have we not prepared them to talk to you?

Viv:
Um, or what are things that are an indication that we could potentially flag this person sooner? And then people were asking questions that were on the website. It was information that was super available, but the content was so dense. It was so buried the way it was all around. It was difficult for people to find. And it was sort of like a, a lifeline that they were reaching out as opposed to like interest. What I learned is that it’s really hard to build a model on a sales cycle that way. And so you need to kind of get higher up to, to determine what you need to do. Yeah.

Brian:
So you were able to find some, some points midway through this very long process to get some insights out from the people that were speaking to these, these leads and find out that they’re looking for information that is on the website. So were you able to take action on that learning and make changes that helped anything?

Viv:
Yeah. Well, so in that, that was one element that kind of led to everything we’re talking about today. I think one of the biggest challenges that they came to us with was that they didn’t know who their target customer was, not their target customer, their decision maker, who makes the decision in a business where you’re implementing a payment solutions platform. Is it a CFO? Is it a CTO? Is it someone in like fraud protection and engineer? Like, it’s very difficult to determine who makes that decision in each business. And so, and they didn’t totally know either. And so we were trying to do all of these tests where we would ask, you know, how will you use this and give them different personas that they could go to like specific content. And it was even like equal distribution between all of these, these different personas.

Viv:
We would serve white papers up. And there was no, I it’s like as every person testing knows having no results, like the worst result, we’re not even finding losers. We’re not finding winners, we’re just flat. And so we kept sort of banging our head against the wall, trying all these different methods to determine who’s here. And I think that was the light bulb moment for me talking to the customer service, like a bunch of flat tests gave me like you got a problem. And then talking to the customer service reps made me realize that the people that they’re reaching out to are not the decision makers. They’re not the ones that are at that point. They’re the ones that are coming from the website and they’re they’re information gatherers, not decision makers. And that was, I think the light bulb moment with this client was that the people on the website are not the decision makers, they’re information gatherers. And our, our cus our website customer is different than our product customer. And we need to be putting information to gather in a way that is easy to find when someone needs to know, do you take Swedish kroner, they can take that back to their boss. You know, as opposed to this is going to save you a bunch of money and you’re going to double your revenue like that person doesn’t care. That’s not the message that they want to hear.

Brian:
This is great. Can you, because I feel deeply this traumatic experience of running inconclusive tests and hating your life. Can you tell me a little more about the series of inconclusive tests and the personas you were trying to sound out? That just didn’t really happen?

Viv:
The ones that we did, they happen to have a sandbox that is obviously for like an engineer, as opposed to CMR CFO, they’re not going to go dive into the sandbox to figure out if this is a solution for them. Right. And so we tried gearing. We were like, Oh, maybe it’s an engineer. It’s a, it’s a technical person. So we were putting development docs and pushing the sandbox and seeing if that led to more leads. And that didn’t, we were using more like practitioner focused language where, you know, how are you going to use this and CFO language where it’s like, you’re gonna save money. This is revenue that you’re going to create. And it’s, it was not like we had a lack of traffic or lack of like conversion rates that is sometimes a problem with SaaS companies, right? Is that like, it’s just the number of conversions that you get is hard to, to measure, uh, quantifiably.

Viv:
But it was, that was not the case. It was just not unnoticeable. People were not interacting with things that, that we were doing. So pushing the sandbox and developer docs, creating that like sort of persona bar where it’s like, how will you use this tool? And when they clicked on that, they would land on a page that was more tailored content wise to how we think that person might be making their decision. What else? The white paper. So we had a bunch of content that had been created. And if they had used one of those, if they’d landed on one of those pages, even if we hadn’t necessarily driven to that, it’s a software company. So there’s, you know, products and features and all of the different things that you can hide in the navigation for just endless content that they can effectively self nurture on.

Viv:
And if they hit one of those pages, you know, we’d push another piece of content to see if they engage with that. Cause we had wins, but it was never along the lines of like pushing it to specific people. We would set expectation. And that was another week we did one where we set expectations. Like this is what’s going to happen when you press this button and you submit this form, which told me when that works really well. That also told me that that’s somebody that is like very like next step minded that somebody that is like, am I gonna have to talk to someone right now? Am I, you know, I, I just have a question, you know? So as opposed to making it seem like where you’re going to talk to a sales associate, it’s like have a question and that worked better than like ready to talk to us about this product. Like, no, I’m not. Um, and so softening that sort of commitment level and making it more of a re uh, help support as opposed to yes. Drop me into your funnel right now.

Brian:
So after all these heartbreaking inconclusive tests, and then the, the moan of insight in talking to customer support and realizing that the people on the side are not the CFO, they’re not the CTO there they’re gathering information for decision makers. What did you do with that?

Viv:
Yeah. That it was a big light bulb moment because it changes the way that you organized content and what the purpose of the website really is. And the website becomes a tool for us to better service the takeaways that this person could go and then take to their boss. These information gatherers that are looking for information on behalf of the decision maker. And so what we did is we organize content in a way that is, you know, it sounds really boring, but you know, a list of like, these are all the digital payments that we take. These are all the currencies that we take. This is how our pricing nets out without any of the, like, it’s gonna make you money and it’s gonna save you all this stuff. But, but creating this content in like downloadable takeaways that they can go and share an email to their boss.

Viv:
And then also changing the way that we use our, our sort of form, as opposed to saying like, are you ready to start this right now, ready to like save money and whatever. And, and using it as more of a resource, like not finding what your need, what you need reach out and we can help you. Um, so using it more as instead of, uh, I’m going to drop you into the sales funnel, I’m going to help you figure out what you need to find. But organizing generally, like the big takeaway is that like, we need to organize content in a way, for people that are looking for things, looking for answers to questions, as opposed to looking to be convinced on, on a certain product, right?

Brian:
Yeah. This is, I don’t know what the word is like ironic or, or something it’s, it’s, it’s a very unexpected result that you landed at an experience that was optimized. That was less conversion-y. It wasn’t about persuasion.

Viv:
Yeah, no, definitely not. And I think, but it was a lot simpler once you, once you clearly understand the motivation and the purpose of your website to your, to your audience, you’re like I said, your product may serve someone different than your website. And when you, when you have a very clear understanding of the purpose of your website within your sales funnel, that it’s, it is, it’s not even really a nurture tool. It’s a, it’s like, this is where you go to get everything. You need to make a case, as opposed to let me make a case to you. This is someone who’s going to make a case to somebody else. And so how do we set this up for like all of those sort of key so they can sell this, they can go take it away and give it to somebody else and have them make a decision right

Brian:
After this insight. And this change in strategy and this rethinking of the very purpose of the website. Did you revise your KPIs? Were you still experimenting on the site?

Viv:
Yeah, I, yeah, we were, and we did not. We probably should have, but given that we are creating, it was, this is when I was working at an agency and we had to show that what we were doing was driving revenue. And so showing sort of downloads didn’t necessarily translate to a monetary takeaway. And that’s part of the reason in, in so many cases, at least one that anyone cared about. And I think that’s part of it, like, know your audience, but also know your customer. And when you went and said, like, we may do millions of dollars, it’d be like, no, he did it, but you definitely, we learned more. And I think even getting our client to the point where they were really excited about learning more meant that we could still, we didn’t have to necessarily revise our, our sort of KPI model. We could still go, okay, this many leads turn into opportunities. As many leads turn into pay consumers. This is what the transactional volume through this type of business is. And we can look at that, but that’s not what was exciting to them. What was exciting to them was seeing how, when we changed the persona or who we were targeting on our audience, and when we changed our tactics, that we saw a response, a positive response to it.

Brian:
Uh, I wanted to ask if this series of tests, this, this experience has changed the way that you think about optimization or UX in general.

Viv:
Yeah, absolutely. I think, um, I think the biggest takeaway for me was considering the purpose that your website serves to your audience, right? So, and don’t take for face value that your, your client knows who that is and be open-minded about what they want, who they are and how you should treat them, because it’s going to vary. And it’s, I think particularly in SaaS funnels, that cycle can be really long. They have lots of hand-offs throughout the process, and it’s critical to understand what, what role your actual website serves within that process and that journey.

Brian:
Great answer. Thank you so much. Where can people find you online?

Viv:
LinkedIn? It is my married name. Amatuzzi. So you won’t have to search deBrauwere, but, um, yeah, probably on LinkedIn. Yeah.

Brian:
Great, great. We’ll get that link up in the show notes. Viv. Thanks again. It’s been a great time.


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