INDEED, HOW TWILIO NAILED A BILLION-DOLLAR NICHE BY WALKING IN ITS CUSTOMERS’ SHOES


INDEED, HOW TWILIO NAILED A BILLION-DOLLAR NICHE BY WALKING IN ITS CUSTOMERS’ SHOES

It’s easy to talk about how nailing a niche is important for hyper-growth. But here is an example of a company that has been there and done that!
Cloud communication platform Twilio is the perfect example of a hyper-growth company.

Twilio was founded in 2008. It’s basically a platform that allows software developers to make and receive texts, calls and other communications like the calls you make through Uber or the texts you receive from Yelp after placing an order. 

By 2014, it reached a whopping $100 million in annual revenue and $600-plus million in 2018, just 10 years from when the company was founded. Intrigued about how they did it? 

Let’s jump in and see all the things they did right to build a stream of predictable revenue and achieve such hyper-growth.

5 main things Twilio did to become a Hyper-Growth company

1. Listen to Customers (Ideally in Person)
Jeff Lawson, the CEO of Twilio, was asked by his investor to attend a lead generation event in Las Vegas and meet Jay, the organizer. 

Jay told him that he will get him up on stage with the other new startups and innovators on the second day of the event and asked Jeff to talk about his company for 5 minutes. Jeff didn’t have any clue about what lead generation was. So he spent the first day listening and learning about lead generation. He realized that marketers generate leads and these leads show their interest by filling out a form or calling a phone number.

The next day, he gets on the stage and speaks about how he had no idea about what lead generation was until the day before. He mentions having heard that phone calls are the most valuable leads and that he has a platform for such phone calls. He goes on to explain how easy it is to use the platform, Twilio, for exactly that purpose.

Jeff never knew what lead generation was before. But listening to his customers made him understand how important his platform is in lead generation. And he went on to tailor his presentation according to what the customers needed and not make it all about the features of his platform.

2. Walk in Your Customer’s Shoes… Literally
You have heard this advice lots of times before—listen to your customers. But just listening isn’t enough; you have to get useful insights from it too.

Twilio took a quote literally: “You don’t understand someone until you walk a mile in their shoes”. They have a standing offer to all their customers to exchange their shoes for red Chucks with the Twilio logo. In fact, the customers’ shoes are hung in the offices of Twilio with the name of the customer and the company.

This is a reminder to keep digging the root cause of customer problems and keep asking ‘why’. Once you can match the answer to the ‘whys’, you can match your solution across many businesses.

A few interviewing tips…

  • Live interviews are better than online surveys as you can go deeper with the questions.
  • You don’t need a lot of interviews—just three to five interviews are enough unless you are creating a new product.
  • The early interviews can be unproductive. But don’t get discouraged by it.
  • Be honest with the customers and you will get authentic stories back in return.
  • The interview shouldn’t feel like one; instead, it should feel like a conversation.
  • Listen carefully. You may find conscious or unconscious reasons and key phrases for sales copies.

3. Make Your Lawyers Build Apps
To make employees understand the product, Twilio makes all employees, including the lawyers, assistants and recruiters to create the Twilio app. The developers will assist the non-coders to create the app which will then be presented to the company. 

4. Get Customer Feedback Before Your Build It
Twilio uses a great strategy before developing a new application. They create the API documentation before they start coding. They share this API document with their customers to find out if this will solve their problem. 

There are a few more companies using the same strategy. They put up premarketing landing pages to see how many are interested and also to catch any mistake early and fix it before release.

5. Combine Research + Leaps of Faith
Sometimes, you may never know how a product will be used by the customers. You just have to take a leap of faith.

Since the direct customer of Twilio is developers who use their API to build their applications, Twilio watches how the developers are using it and how much beneficial their product is. During one such time when Twilio released their first video API product, they were hoping that it would be used for screen sharing applications.

But they found many using it for tutoring and online doctor appointments. They realized the usage of their API and found many such big opportunities in various industries. 
 

Want to become a hyper-growth company like Twilio?
Take home the most valuable message of all from Twilio—the importance of watching and listening to the customers. It’s the best way to refine your niche and construct the strategy for hyper-growth. 

Just like how Twilio observes the reaction of customers using their product, you can also watch the reactions of the prospects by using the monitoring feature of the FaceValue Application! You can monitor the KPIs of your promotions and purchases right from the app and gain valuable insights to nail your niche. Further, you can visualize the best ways to offer solutions for your customer problems by analyzing the KPIs from the FaceValue app.

What are you waiting for? Create predictable revenue and achieve hyper-growth! Try FaceValue now.

Interesting read: Learn how to create hyper-growth with predictable lead generation: Indeed, create hyper-growth with predictable lead generation.

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This blog is excerpted from: ‘From Impossible to Inevitable: how hyper-growth companies create predictable revenue’ co-authored by Aaron Ross and Jason Lemkin.

Break your revenue records. The Silicon Valley’s 'Growth Bible' makes very clear how to get to hyper-growth and the work needed to actually get there.

 

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