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Updated On: June 05, 2020
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Today—we see a subtle (yet pretty genius) move by Notion, the knowledge management platform.

Plus, a SaaS company we've long-term admired grows its software to $50M in ARR, fully remotely. 

 

Listen wherever you get podcasts:

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9 years, 2k integrations + $50M ARR: a case study

It all started with a text conversation. 

Zapier Founders Bryan and Wade tossed around the idea of creating “the API of all APIs” back in September of 2011. They ran with the idea, teamed up with a third co-founder to build it out, presented it at Columbia Startup Weekend, and Wade finally quit his job as they sold lifetime access to the initial Beta in January of 2012 (for $100, to ten or so customers).


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Nine years, 2,000 integrations and $50M in annual revenue later... and just about everyone in SaaS now integrates with Zapier. 

But how the hell did they get there?

The latest case study on the SaaS Marketer blog plays this one out in depth for us—from manual recruiting and pure grind to upping SEO (without even blogging) and creating, what they call, the ultimate SaaS partnership strategy. 

And what makes this story even more intriguing right now, is that from day one, the Zapier crew has cranked it all out—remotely. If your ears are perked, head here for the full story. It’s worth the ten-minute read-through and, in true SaaS Marketer fashion, is one giant knowledge drop that keeps you engaged from the get-go. 

 

Notion's latest: a seemingly subtle (but big) move

We're seeing the freemium neighborhood get a bit busier. 

Notion—the collaborative knowledge management platform—recently removed the biggest limit on its free plan, making it a top contender for anyone that's in the market for a sophisticated note-taking app or collaboration software.

And our very own Client Strategist Rob Litterst (you know him as the voice that reads your SaaS Index deep dive each Friday morning) took to his personal newsletter, Good Better Best (formerly On Packaging), to visit the case and its implications.

“The update, though seemingly subtle, is actually a big deal. By giving away their Personal Plan for free, Notion has decided to commoditize personal knowledge management.”

And this will come with both good news and bad, Rob says. 

When asked about the change, Notion’s COO Akshay Kothari said: “The biggest motivation is just capturing market share - getting more people to use Notion.”

The good news? To Akshay’s point, they will definitely capture market share.

Power-users of knowledge management apps saw Notion's 1,000-block limit as a barrier to getting started. By removing this limit for personal users, they’re opening the floodgates to a wide audience that has been waiting to try their product.

The bad?

There will be revenue cannibalization.

And Rob says this as an existing Personal user, who was automatically moved to Personal Pro and downgraded. 

“I use it every day and it’s one of my favorite apps, but even I don’t want to pay them if I don’t have to.”

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With this move, Notion is rewriting the value equation for knowledge management apps. They’re effectively telling users that they shouldn’t have to pay for a personal knowledge management tool unless they need to collaborate.

By commoditizing personal knowledge management, they’re putting a ton of pressure on competitors, namely Evernote and Roam, to differentiate their personal products effectively or follow Notion up market to team products, where Notion already has an edge.

This move shows that Notion is thinking about the long game. Ultimately, they’re trading short-term monetization for market share and the promise of product-led growth down the road as more users learn to use their product.

To read Rob's full take on Notion's latest move, click here

If you’re interested in signing up for Rob’s newsletter, Good Better Best (formerly On Packaging), head here

 

Flying free

For more in the land of "free," we see the SaaStr Weekly newsletter outline strategies they say are working in this new environment we’ve found ourselves in.

The first one? Free editions

Although SaaS has had a semi comeback already, as we’ve seen with trends in our B2B SaaS Index, the world is different, the SaaStr team writes. Buyers have more time for discovery, but in many cases, budgets are still in transition or on hold. 

So what can work well—when buyers have more time, that is—is a solid free edition. Not crippleware. Not a free trial. But a truly excellent free edition that a ton of your pipeline can use right now, even if they can’t get the budget just yet.

The SaaStr team appropriately nods to Zoom and Slackunicorns in the space that tried this very tactic and needless to say, soared with it. 

Here's the full article with all five strategies, if you're interested in checking them out. I want know, too: What strategies have you seen working in "the new norm"?

 


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📈7 day +0.98%     |      📈30 day +3.55%      |      📈90 day +5.04%

B2B Index 90 day (2020.05.27)

 

How are churn and new revenue trending over time?


MRR LOSS +2.07%

MRR Loss (2020.05.27)


MRR GAIN -6.92%

MRR Gain (2020.05.27)

Although today the overall B2B market is still in the positive percent change realm, we are seeing quite the dip in the MRR Gain Index (namely, new revenue and upgrades) due to a Memorial Day decline and fewer software purchases over the last 48 hours than the norm.

MRR Loss percentage is at 2.07% so we’re looking alright there, since positive numbers are what we want to see across the board with these three indices.

Be sure to check your subscriber newsletter each day for regular updates to your index. 

You can also share the data with friends and fellow industry players that could use it right now. Send me their email address to abby@profitwell.com and I’ll get their name on the list. Or they can subscribe directly at index.profitwell.com.

 


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Today’s featured user is Sorry, the status page service used to effectively and efficiently communicate about downtime.

We all have to be the bad guy sometimes, but with the Sorry app, at least delivering the news is clean, customizable, and reasonably priced. We know downtime can strike at any moment, so you must be ready to be a downtime hero and rescue those users from the darkness. 

Try it free for 30 days

 

 


And that is a wrap on your mid-week news. More for you here, tomorrow. 

As a reminder: We launched a weekly version of Recur Now, an abbreviated newsletter with the best in each week’s news. If you want in on that instead of your daily version, reply to me at abby@profitwell.com and I’ll get you on that list. 

If you have news to spread or resources to share with our audience, you can always connect with me at abby@profitwell.com to get the good word out there.

Tags: b2b, Recur Now

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