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In this piece, Reforge alum Bela Stepanova, the Director of Product at Box who started Box's first growth team, walks us through how consumer growth strategies can be applied to grow enterprise products. ----- Growth is no longer just for B2C and consumerized B2B companies - if you’re building an enterprise product and you’re not thinking about growth, you should be. Most people think “growth” isn’t relevant for enterprise. As a result, companies end up building complex products to satisfy a list of requirements from IT buyers that leave end users frustrated and looking for a “better mousetrap.” As large enterprises transition to SaaS products, this outdated approach leaves the doors for product disruption wide open. While product disruption in this space has been slower than in consumer and high volume SMB due to built-in defensive moats around contract structure, technical integrations, and brand, it’s now starting to happen faster. Think Salesforce, Box, and now Slack as it expands upstream towards enterprise. To unpack the dynamics behind this shifting enterprise landscape, I’ll walk you through the following in this post: - How user experience and growth is changing the enterprise game - How to customize the user funnel for enterprise - The 4 pillars of enterprise growth and how to align them with consumer growth strategies As this wave of change accelerates, some enterprise companies will hunt down the opportunities for growth embedded within the shifting landscape, while others will bury their heads in the sand until it’s too late.

  • JB

    Joseph Bentzel

    6 months ago #

    No sale. Box is still burning $150 million + in GAAP losses per year. Those kinds of losses usually constitute a reason NOT to give marketing advice to the world.

    Box needs to focus on their embedded platform business and show investors they can grow a GAAP profitable business. That's where they can dig themselves out of the freemium user-first AARRR hole they are in. They don't even report "Subscriptions" as a line item on their income statement anymore so it's impossible to really determine where they are in the "north star metric" of their core business. So let's just quit hyping the direct-to-enterprise subscription SaaS model and talking "growth" in the abstract absent the resources needed to generate that growth. It's become an epidemic in startup land.

    This whole love affair with direct-to-enterprise SaaS is massively unprofitable--and without massive infusions of investor cash (or an IPO), these businesses hit a wall. No matter how many people rave (mostly self-interested SaaS VC bloggers & their hand-picked "operators") about their top line enterprise SaaS "growth", it all comes down to VC and or IPO-subsidized adoption and massive operating losses. Some VCs are even ADMITTING they subsidize adoption.

    A revolution IS underway in enterprise marketing but it is NOT about the VC or IPO-subsidized mis-application of B2C user-based marketing to B2B. That's the disease, not the cure. It is about restoring the institutional memory of tech industry best practices lost by the promotion of venture-funded and too-early-IPO'd businesses with B2C digital marketing shotcallers. It's the cargo cult of the Startup 1% we need to recover from.

    Box should sell off it's freemium business and focus on platform services to developers. And stop giving marketing advice to the industry until it turns a profit. Then I'll reconsider.

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