Why Benjamin Seror wants to democratize data at SimilarWeb

Posted on May 28, 2019

What we cover in Episode 42.

How useful would it be to have an infinite amount of competitor data at the tip of your fingers?

That’s the mission of SimilarWeb and their Chief Product Officer Benjamin Seror.

We talk to Benjamin about the growth of SimilarWeb, including:

– How marketing owns SimilarWeb’s freemium funnel and is measured on the number if in-app meetings they generate.
– Why Benjamin thinks there is a constant struggle in freemium between the features that make up your freemium tier and those customers pay for.
– And why the sales team at SimilarWeb view freemium as their biggest competitor.

Happy Growing


Time Stamped Notes:

[3:30] Benjamin tells us why we should all spend some time in Tel Aviv

[5:25] Benjamin was compelled to join SimilarWeb because of the mission the company had.

[6:30] The data SimilarWeb capture is valuable to a wide range of different personas.

[9:00] SimilarWeb decided on a freemium product as a way to gain momentum for generating new users to their product.

When users started to signup for their product, they realized their mission was more significant than they had initially considered, democratizing data for people, and they were growing a passionate following who were advocating for them to succeed in that mission.

[11:13] SimilarWeb want to rank for keywords where the user is doing competitor research like – website traffic, website ranking, app ranking, and so on.

[13:35] Benjamin thinks SimilarWeb is still trying to find the right balance between giving away value for free and charging for premium features. At the moment he thinks SimilarWeb is giving away too much value for free.

Zoom is the perfect example of a company who gives away some value for free but know you will have to upgrade to get full use out of the product. You can use Zoom for 40 mins before needing a paid version. Near all business meetings will last longer than 40 mins.

SimilarWeb differentiate between their freemium and paid plan based on how actionable the data is. If the data is informational, SimilarWeb give it away for free, but when it’s actionable, that’s when you need to upgrade.

[17:30] Freemium companies are better to give away the minimum amount they can for free to provide users with value and extend that offering over time, rather than giving away a lot for free and attempting to charge for it at a later date. Once you start trying to charge for something that used to be free, you’ll end up creating a negative sentiment around your brand.

[19:30] One way to avoid that negative sentiment around your brand is to grandfather users into a feature for free if it was free when they signed up and you’ve now decided to charge for it.

[20:50] SimilarWeb’s sales team feel like the freemium business is their biggest competitor. When selling into companies, they have to help those users understand the value of paying for the premium packages.

[22:20] In a hybrid model where a company has both a freemium and inside sales go-to-market, it’s essential to educate the sales team on the value of freemium and how it results in sales calls where you need to do a lot less selling and a little more helping.

[24:45] The marketing demand gen team own SimilarWeb’s freemium tier. Their main KPI is the number of meetings booked from free users. The team is a combination of marketers, product managers, and Inbound sales reps who qualify those meetings through chat or face to face.

The demand gen team can make changes within the free tier of the product to create more meetings.

[29:55] SimilarWeb’s North Star KPI is the number of search queries as it’s highly correlated to retention. It’s the product managers main KPI.

[32:45] Most of Benjamins product teams time goes towards building premium features that make it more appealing for free users to upgrade to a paid plan.

[36:40] Benjamin is a big fan of seeking opportunities that have the potential to make a 10X impact. They set up a customer advisory board to deeply understand how they could better solve their problems and to help identify those 10X opportunities.

One of those initiatives came from building a feature called Workspaces, where SimilarWeb created variations of their onboarding experience for different use cases of their product.

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