Paddle’s Christian Owens and Harrison Rose on problem solving & growth

Patrick Campbell Oct 12 2021

Human beings can survive quite a long time without food. For most of us it’s eight to 21 days, but for Scotsman Angus Barbieri, he was able to survive 382 days, mostly because he was quite large. When it comes to water on the other hand, it doesn’t matter how much food you have stored up, you can only survive roughly three days without our H20 sustenance.

Thankfully if you’re listening to this, it’s probably rarely a problem, if ever. You just walk into your kitchen, turn on a faucet, and hydrate. You don’t question where you’re going to get your next glass of water, and probably waste a bit too much from day to day. The flow of water is at the very foundation of our existence, it’s the infrastructure we live on and we probably don’t appreciate that enough. 

Similarly, we don’t appreciate the infrastructure it takes for our revenue to continuously flow into our business. The very thing that gives our businesses life is rooted in a system of plumbing that we take for granted, but if it turned off for even a day, most of our businesses would be in trouble. 

No one understands the importance of keeping the flow of revenue moving more than Christian Owens and Harrison Rose who co-founded Paddle nearly ten years ago. Paddle is a revenue-delivery platform that makes it easy to scale, compete, and operate your SaaS business. I sat down with them in 2019 to talk through their journey and to discuss what they’ve learned along the way. If you’re lucky, their wisdom will help you focus on what really matters and leave problems to someone else.

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Here we summarize the main takeaways for you to implement or hand off to your team for implementation.

 

Key term

What are growth levers?

Growth levers refer to the mechanisms used to influence and generate growth at a company.

Why is it important?

Growth levers are important—particularly in SaaS—because they’re essential for continuous growth. According to Paddle’s SaaS Commerce Trends 2020 Report, “companies who’ve used between three and five growth levers over their lifetime tend to have a higher ARR growth rate than companies that have used two or fewer levers.” 

Depending on your business and the stage of your business, it’s important to understand which growth levers to focus on. Furthermore, they keep leadership and team members focused and aligned, and they help you to think long-term. And as your business evolves, you’ll need to utilize different growth levers to continue scaling. So it’s important to know which levers make sense for your business.

 

Action plan:

What to do today: 

What to do next quarter:

Begin to build your growth strategy if you don't already have a solid one in place. And if you do have one, carefully assess it and fill in any holes to ensure optimal results. With the SaaS industry growing exponentially, and with no signs of slowing down, it’s imperative that you understand the growth levers that will help your business grow continuously. The world of SaaS is a big one—you don’t want to get drowned out.


Building or improving your growth strategy is not easy though, especially if you’re a startup. So, we’ve included some intel—directly from Paddle’s SaaS Commerce Trends 2020 Reportto help you get started. 


Paddle surveyed hundreds of decision makers to get insight into the different methods SaaS companies take to scale. Their independent research showed that there are five effective levers to grow your SaaS business. 

The 5 key ways to grow your business


    1. Moving upmarket: Moving upmarket is often associated with making the move to sell to enterprise businesses. While this can be the case, moving upmarket essentially involves selling to larger teams and businesses than you’re currently landing - and ensuring they love your product enough to integrate it into their workflow.

    2. Moving downmarket: Moving downmarket is another way to broaden the use of your product. If you’re currently selling to teams or businesses, having a version of your product that can be targeted towards prosumers or individual consumers who buy via self-serve on your website is a great way to increase your revenue. Likewise, if you’re selling to large companies, a version of your product that targets smaller teams can be incredibly lucrative.

    3. Expanding internationally: Got a lot of love for your product in your home country? Chances are it’ll do well in the international market. Selling your product into new geographies can be a great way to see your business take off. 

    4. Expanding your product suite: Listening to the feedback of your customers is crucial. If you’re getting a lot of the same sort of product suggestions from loyal customers, you’ll likely increase your revenue by expanding your product suite to include a version or feature that your users have been crying out for.

    5. Optimizing monetization: As simple as it sounds, improving how you price your products is going to make you more money. Taking the time to iterate on your billing model and what you’re billing for can be a time-consuming task - but the rewards are there for the reaping.

Be sure to read the complete report for all the detailed insight, to better develop your own data-led growth strategy.

 
What to do within the next year:

Ensure you communicate your growth strategy to ensure alignment across the proper teams. Once communicated, implement it. And as always closely monitoring and evaluating the output is key, so that you may continue to modify appropriately as your business grows and evolves.

 
Who should own this? 

All leadership, as this will impact most departments and their own strategies.

 


Who's up next week?

Next week, Leela Srinivasan talks business dev, culture, and marketing.

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This is a ProfitWell Recur production—the first media network dedicated entirely to the SaaS and subscription space.

 

 

 

By Patrick Campbell

Founder & CEO of ProfitWell, the software for helping subscription companies with their monetization and retention strategies, as well as providing free turnkey subscription financial metrics for over 20,000 companies. Prior to ProfitWell Patrick led Strategic Initiatives for Boston-based Gemvara and was an Economist at Google and the US Intelligence community.

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