Bottom-up growth + Top-down sales

Bottom-up growth + Top-down sales

Many SaaS companies leave money on the table by relying on organic growth and failing to develop a relationship between the organization and the product.

The best way to complement bottom-up growth is to have a top-down account sales strategy. Let users spread your solution across the organization. But, while that is happening, work on developing strategic relationships with high-level decision makers in the organization.

Land and expand is about transforming your product from a tool that some employees use, to a solution that the organization has adopted.

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How to Execute a SaaS Land and Expand Strategy

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Land and Expand KPIs

Land and expand is a long-term strategy that requires patience and resources. As such, you should assign it KPIs so you can track and monitor its impact.

KPIs can include:

  • MRR (Monthly Recurring Revenue)
  • ARPU (Avg Revenue Per Unit) from key organizations
  • LTV (Lifetime Value) from organizations
  • Customer and revenue retention
  • Adoption rate inside organizations (as a direct result of customer development)

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Land and Expand

In sales, “Land and Expand” is a strategy to land a customer with a small deal, and then sell into the organization to expand your footprint to more seats, additional departments or more products and services.

Land and expand plays out like this in a SaaS:

  1. An individual user signs up for a free trial
  2. Then converts to a paid user
  3. Then you get as many other users in that company as you can
  4. Finally, you convince key decision makers to adopt your product across the organization 

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The land and expand process
  1. Monitor new sign-ups to catch ideal customers early
  2. As soon as you have one, start researching their company: potential stakeholders, organization structure etc. Focus on understanding the potential use cases and business impact of your product.
  3. As product adoption increases inside their company, work on making connections with high-level decision makers (ideally with introductions from the current users). Use sales activities (demos, presentations, high-level business conversations, etc), and execute them boldly because your foot is already in the door.

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Bottom-up growth is not enough

If you have a great product, it will grow organically inside the company. User #1 will tell a colleague, then they will invite more colleagues, and soon your product will spread throughout the organization.

It’s great to have this network effect inside an organization, but organic user growth is not a land and expand strategy. It’s a by-product of product-led growth. It’s bottom-up growth, and it’s great.

But it’s not enough.

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