Hybrid SAAS has taken off: Lessons from Slack

Take a consumer-grade approach to building SaaS software. Make the service so delightful and pleasant, people love using it enough to buy with a credit card. No talking to a sales person required.
Focus on comprehension & desirability in the critical first day and week. People need to understand the product and believe in its value enough to invest in learning it up front. Respect people’s precious time and attention.
Avoid the “owner’s delusion”. Don’t assume new users care to learn how to use your software. Thoughtfully consider the end-to-end experience where people just barely care to progress through your steps.
It’s hard to directly increase the top-of-funnel. Paid marketing is hard to make meaningful scale vs a large organic base. Instead, always we’ve focused on helping more customers love Slack enough to advocate for it by relentlessly improving the core product experience.
Don’t build new features looking at the rear view mirror. Expand the capabilities of the product to meet the unique needs of your new audiences – the next million customers.
Make the trials experience robust and plentiful. It should be easy to try the paid plan and experience its value, so that it’s obvious to commit to paying. Have a freemium plan with enough real value for those who are still undecided and want to use the product casually.
Align every team at the company around a small set of north star metrics. They should represent key stages in your the new customer journey. Ideally they’re responsive to product changes and long-term leading predictors of business growth.
The magical byproduct of self-service is landing organically in large enterprises. The vast majority of Slack’s enterprise customers started with organic usage. Remove email capture forms. Treat people like adults and let them use the product upfront. Then have sales reach out.
Hybrid SaaS tl;dr: • Build consumer-grade tools • Focus on comprehension & desirability • Avoid the “owner’s delusion” • Foster advocates with a great product • Make trials/freemium robust + plentiful • Align on north star metrics • Land organically in large enterprises

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