#8 Possibilities Of A Transformation Are The Foundations Of A Great Empire

Slack is “a group chat system”.

However Slack team calls Slack ‘a place where work happens.’

Drift sells bots and derived products.

However Drift team calls it a ‘conversational marketing platform’.

What stopped Slack from positioning itself as ‘a group chat’ system?

Slack founder Steward Butterfield shared following thoughts on this:

“What we are selling is not the software product — the set of all the features, in their specific implementation — because there are just not many buyers for this software product.

That’s why what we’re selling is organizational transformation. The software just happens to be the part we’re able to build & ship (and the means for us to get our cut).

This isn’t a new idea. There are many brands whose marketing activities or positioning has them selling something other than (and usually larger than) their product: Harley Davidson sells motorcycle riding, but it especially sells freedom and independence.

It lets them position themselves as the leader and affords them different kinds of marketing and promotion opportunities. It lets them think big and potentially be big.”

Have you noticed?…………..sell something larger than the product!

……….sell the possibility of transformation.

Possibilities of a desired transformation give people hope, give them a reason to believe you, and root for you.

Most of us desire one or other kind of transformation -

  • from fat to muscular

  • from broke to riches

  • from bootstrapped to series A

  • from single to happily in a relationship

  • from unknown to 500k twitter followers

  • from 9-5 job to being own boss

  • from ignored to being appreciated, being loved

…..desires for transformation are within each of us.

Kings, rulers and political leaders have understood this for centuries. Thus in their speeches and in their manifestos you will find the possibilities of great transformations — reduction in unemployment, greater national security, prosperity, triumph, equality, and almost everything their target audience deeply desire.

Position your SaaS product as the path to transform the lives of your audience. The grandeur of transformation possible with the use of your product will make people subscribe to it, pay for it, ask about it and recommend it all the time.

A good heuristic to determine the positioning:

  1. Big transformation: Talk about a big transformation which your product has the potential to deliver.

  2. Clear: Word it so that people can understand what your product is about. There is no dearth of companies who make it impossible for prospects to understand what they do.

  3. Specific: Avoid vague adjectives like ‘the best product’, ‘simplest way’ etc. They mean nothing, excite no one.

  4. Do not belittle the product: Do not position it as a bot, a tool or solution. Reserve these words for product description. “Zoom helps businesses and organizations bring their teams together in a frictionless environment to get more done.” Zoom is not positioned as a tool for video chat.

Expert Speaks

Corey Haines - Head of Growth at Baremetrics

Ankur: What one organic growth strategy would you recommend to early stage SaaS startups?

Corey: Create a demo version of your product for website visitors to explore and engage with for free. As free trials and even freemium models become more and more popular, the novelty is gone. Even giving a company your email address can be too much commitment to check out a product.

So you have to find more ways to illustrate the value of your product. At Baremetrics, we've done this by making our own revenue dashboard public at demo.baremetrics.com. Others have as well, which can be found at baremetrics.com/open-startups. More now are adopting their own approach and showing the product in public: https://app.usefathom.com/share/lsqyv/pjrvs.

It doesn't have to be just analytics either. Even just having a prototype to click around can be enough to give potential customers enough faith in what they see to give it a try.

While I can't share specific numbers, I can tell you that our open dashboards at Baremetrics are our highest converting pages across our website. In other words, they create the vast majority of the free trial signups.

The principle is simple: Keep making it easier and easier for potential customers to understand the value of your product and what their experience will be like.

Words on Mindset

There are no bigger enemies than inaction and acceptance of mediocrity.

❤️ Thanks for reading Issue #08. I’d truly appreciate it if you hit that heart button & share this with other SaaS people you know that will find it useful.

We’ll talk soon.

Until then,


Founder, Thoughtlytics

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