A few months back we had the pleasure to be hosted by Shirley Baumer, product manager at Monday (previously DaPulse), to chat about how they maintain a product with such high customer engagement. What we found out was amazing in its simplicity- they have a B2C attitude to a B2B product.
For those of you not familiar with Monday (previously dapulse), Monday created a product that helps people collaborate on projects, many different types of projects. The founders of Monday realized something important early on- people have common goals and challenges while collaborating with other people. Delivering a simple and intuitive tool for collaboration resulted in 70% non-tech, highly engaged customers.
Everybody talks to customers
Monday is a company with a pretty unique culture, everybody talks to customers, all the time.
How was this unique culture created?
Shirley: What drives everyone in the company is how our product meets people. In other companies developers are usually motivated by how advanced the code is, or working with a cool new technology. In Monday it’s not what drives developers at all, what drives them are the quick wins that really help customers. We have an amazing collaboration between CS, product, design and development.
How do you facilitate this collaboration?
Shirley: Using Monday 🙂 It has a really big impact since everybody work with the same transparent system. We also sit together- I have a developer on my right an a designer on my left. We have minimal individual ownership, as a company we believe that everyone on the team should take ownership on everything we work on. That’s why we all talk to customers.
Seriously, ALL of you talk to customers?
Shirley: Basically yes, we have a Facebook group called “Monday Addicts” with over 20,000 customers. There is no social manager, all of us participate in discussions there. It’s the first place I go before I start working on a new feature, and all new features are released to the Monday Addicts first. Developers announce feature releases themselves and get immediate customer feedback.
Do you feel you have a Tone of Voice?
Shirley: We’ve recently defined Tone of Voice guidelines as part of our style-guide. Our customers were very involved in this process as well. It has all sorts of guidelines, but the basic principle that guides us is that we’re people building a product for people. You can see it in our videos, our copy, micro-copy, in a live Q&A session we had for our customers. Being humble and speaking on the same level is not something I really need a guide for, it’s how I communicate as a human being.
Bottom-up product adoption
How do your users discover Monday?
Shirley: We’re a B2B company but we act a lot like a B2C, up until now our advertising was exclusively on Facebook. We took a bottom up approach with the ads- The messages are for individual people. It’s not always the CEO that adopts a new product into the company, it often comes from teams that request a specific tool to do their jobs better. We invest heavily in this type of advertising and generate a lot of leads that signup for a trial.
How do you get feedback from customers that are not addicts just yet?
Shirley: We have another Facebook group called Monday one-on-one for our trailing users. We’re really responsive, and encourage our trailing users to contact us so we can help them build their work processes on Monday. We also have “Big Brain”, an analytics tool we built in-house. I use it to segment users into paying/trailing for example, and contact trailing users directly.
Did you consider Freemium?
Shirley: We decided not to have a Freemium option, it was actually a product decision. If you pay for a product it means you care about it, we don’t want to be flooded with feature requests from users that are not as invested in the product.
Competing with a piece of paper
What would you say are your biggest challenges?
Shirley: Our customers are consultancies, banks, big corporations, universities, tattoo parlors, design studios, bicycle shops and the list goes on. We basically have tens of thousands of product versions, since every customer made something different of it. 70% of our customers are non-tech so our competitors are an Excel spreadsheet or a piece of paper.
The challenge is we don’t have a clear persona, and it makes it really hard to create the right marketing messages, to build onboarding experiences, to prioritize features. Since the use cases are so different we have to communicate using the basic things that are similar- how people work with other people. The need to be synchronized, to collaborate, to be heard and feel appreciated.
Also, we know that in some of the larger companies there are only one or two teams working with Monday, so there is a huge potential but we need to figure out how to make the product spread inside the company.
When we chat with people from really customer-centered companies our last question is always:
Do you have any tips for other companies looking to be more customer-centered?
This time the answer was pure gold.
Shirley: Talk to your customers, meet them if you can, shadow what they’re doing as much as possible.
Before I joined Monday I had a startup in the medical sphere, we spent hours sitting in the physical-therapy department of Ichilov hospital. We were looking at the treatments, at how the physical-therapists file, do data entry and report to the doctors. We literally found gold there, you can’t see that by just looking at data.
Talk to the customers and don’t ask them what they want, ask them what they’re trying to achieve and why, and then why again and again, and then you’ll understand what they need.
A project I had when I just started at Monday is a good example, we called it “Usability happy-hour”. We had a problem with our onboarding, we tried tons of things and couldn’t move the needle. Roy, our CEO, set with his father-in-law and asked him to try the product. His father-in-law had a really hard time with it, he suffered. Roy and I thought about it and decided on a course of action- we ran usability testing on our onboarding and I edited the sessions into a movie. All of the stakeholders sat together, I made popcorn and we watched users suffer.
It doesn’t matter if you see it in the data, when you watch just one person using your product and suffering it has a huge impact. At the end of the day we came out with a prioritized list of tests, which really shook things up around here, since people were already in despair from onboarding.
An idea that came out of the Usability Happy-hour (by our CTO) was templates, making lots and lots of templates for different use cases. Our new users just couldn’t grasp that they could customize the tool and in two hours make it fit their exact needs, but once they saw the tool do a million different things they just got it. This increased conversion by 30% , it was a game changer.
That’s it folks, we want to thank Shirley for taking the time to talk to us and share these amazing insights. And if you work at a B2B company, we encourage you to think a bit more B2C, you’d be amazed by the results.