2022 Growth Trends: Product a-ha moments with Sandy Mangat

Natalie Marcotullio
December 13, 2021

We spoke with Sandy Mangat the Head of Marketing at Pocus, a product-led sales platform that turns product data into revenue.

She’s also an expert in all things product-led growth and helps run the Pocus PLG slack community.

In this interview we discuss:

  • The value of product behavior based onboarding flows
  • How to find a-ha moments in your product
  • Using AI to improve your marketing copy

To start, give a high-level introduction of yourself

I’ve been in the software space, probably for the last six, seven years. Prior to that, I was doing marketing for mining and metals, which is an interesting transition.

I’ve held a bunch of different roles, mostly in product marketing in B2B SaaS companies. I had a brief stint working for more of a B2C very product-led focused consumer productivity tool, running growth and marketing.

Now I’m here at Pocus as the Head of Marketing kind of, but, you know, we’re a startup, so I’ve got my tentacles and everything.

How did you make the transition from metals to tech?

I live in Vancouver, and I knew that I wanted to do some sort of marketing. I thought I should just get a corporate job at a big Fortune 500 doing marketing. That was always like what was in my head.

But I came to Vancouver, studied at UBC, did economics, and then I was trying to get marketing jobs. It just seemed like in Vancouver, the only game in town was mining and metals, 60% of the world’s mining companies are headquartered here.

There was a burgeoning tech scene but I didn’t know much about it. So as a young student does you just kind of take the first few jobs that someone is willing to give you and they ended up being in mining.

I quickly realized that the mining industry hates technology, and I love technology. So it was a short stint.

What is a recent innovative marketing campaign that you conducted?

In my last role, because I was both on the growth and the marketing side a lot of the campaigns that I ran spanned both product and marketing channels.

One of the ones that we worked on was figuring out our onboarding flow and trying to pair both our marketing education emails and sequences with what was happening inside the product.

That was a really gigantic task of trying to map out all those a-ha moments inside the user journey and really trying to not overload the user with a lot of information all at once.

Instead of having a sequential onboarding flow where things happen in a sequence in the product, and then there’s a corresponding sequence in the emails, we actually did everything driven by product behavior, which is actually what Pocus helps you do as well.

What we’re trying to build with Pocus is trying to drive more actions based on product behavior and what’s actually happening in the product, rather than trying to fit your users into a journey that you have prescribed for them.

There were a lot of things that went well with that. I think we got better engagement on those in-app messages as well as the email open rates were a lot higher.

But there are a lot of challenges as well. Getting that product data into my marketing tools in a way that was scalable and helpful was extremely hard. That was the big challenge that we never quite overcame. There was still so much manual work that went into fueling that.

But the results were so good that we were okay spending all that upfront time cleaning the data and migrating that data into our marketing automation tools.

How did you discover those a-ha moments in your onboarding flow?

A few different things I would say, there’s the qualitative piece, and then there’s the quantitative piece.

Quantitative we were looking at our product analytics and trying to see where were the big drop-offs in our existing flow. Where the friction points were and then, conversely, looking at if someone did X, were they more likely to be retained 30 days later.

Trying to find correlations between feature adoption and retention. So that was, I would say, the quantitative piece.

On the qualitative side, it was a lot of user research. We asked a lot of questions about what are the things that you love about this product? What are the aspects that click for you? You understood it, you got it. And now you know how to utilize it.

It was just a lot of discussion. Running a lot of user research, interviews, doing some usability testing as well. Actually going on Zoom and watching our users as they went through the product and noticing, oh, someone did this thing, and then they had this moment of delight. I wonder if that could be one of those a-ha moments.

The key discovery was seeing the correlation between (this was a content management product) number of pieces of content or documents uploaded and their likelihood to retain, the correlation was undeniable there.

We knew that the faster we could get them to upload as many of their documents as possible, the more likelihood that they would stick around and the more delight that they would experience from the product.

Our focus completely changed the lens with which we saw our onboarding flow.

It became not about telling them about every single feature. It became about trying to drive them to that core a-ha moment.

Then afterward you can layer in more complexity and tell them about more features. But until they get to that moment, it’s not useful to tell them about all those other things.

It’s a series of hurdles. You can’t get to the next hurdle until you mount the first one and figure out what that first hurdle is for your product,

What is that first big hump that your user has to go through?

Then once you figure that out, I think everything else downstream is a lot easier. Of course, you’re going to then face more of a retention engagement problem. But I think if you don’t get that first one, you’re not even in the game.

You have to really think about that first hurdle a lot. We went through so many iterations and so many cycles of trying to figure that out. Then once it clicks, it clicks.

What is one marketing mindset or strategy you’re really excited about going into 2022?

Actually, we just did some of our 2022 planning and a big focus for us is getting even closer to the customers and really understanding what they’re trying to achieve.

What are their problems and going beyond just how we can serve them from a product perspective. But, what we’re doing with our community is trying to also build out the education and the kind of sense of belonging. How do we fuel all of that as well?

That’s really top of mind for me. It’s just getting closer to customers and really understanding their needs. Then, of course, in true PLG fashion, we utilize all of that information to feed it back into making our product amazing.

And then that information also fuels how we make our products extremely self serve and all those great PLG things.

But I think it starts for us and for me, specifically in 2022, it’s all about really understanding customers and understanding their needs.

What’s one mindset or strategy that you’re ready to see end this year?

I’m really quite fatigued from all of these LinkedIn tactics, LinkedIn hacks of let’s do a poll for everything.

I feel like for a while my LinkedIn feed was just marketers and salespeople doing polls, trying to get engagement with their audiences, and I think that was abused.

I’m going to say it. That’s my hot take. We were abusing the LinkedIn polls, and I count myself as guilty as well.

So I’m ready to retire it.

What are some top tools you’re obsessed with right now?

This has been a consistent tool for probably the last year that I’ve been loving using and it’s copy.ai.

It’s an AI-based copywriting tool powered by GPT-3, which if you’re an AI nerd, you will know, but it’s a language model, so it helps generate copy for you.

All I have to do is type out a few things and it will generate some headline copy or social captions. I’m not trying to replace myself with copy.ai but if you’re a marketer who has to write a lot and if your job is super content-focused for me, I get writer’s block.

I get stuck sometimes and I found copy.ai is the perfect antidote to getting unstuck, so it gives me some ideas. It kind of gets the wheels turning and then I can then go and do my thing. So I find it really helpful.

There are some features in copy.ai that I do completely trust, and that’s sentence shorteners.

I’m a little long-winded sometimes, and so is my writing. The sentence shortening tool is fantastic if you’re doing a lot of writing, especially for social and you need something quippy and not super long-winded.

Promote your services and give a plug for anyone looking to go PLG.

If you’re looking to go PLG or you’re thinking about how to layer in sales to complement PLG, I would definitely recommend joining the Pocus Product Led Sales community.

We’re really building this very organic kind of grassroots community, and we’re all just here to help each other.

I think the thing that we’ve learned over the last several months is because this category is emerging, there are no best practices, there are no established playbooks. A lot of the knowledge lives in the people’s brains who are actually executing and practicing all these things.

The Pocus Product Sales community just allows you to come and connect with those folks.

We host AMAs. We have workshops, and there’s always a lively discussion happening in Slack so you can come to ask your questions. That’s one thing I would like to plug is the Product Led Sales community.

Then if you’re interested in trying to leverage all of that product data that you have and marry it with all that customer data that lives in Salesforce, and you want to enable your sales team to have more personalized timely research, similar to my onboarding example.

I’d recommend you check out our product Pocus and how it can help turn your best users that come in through your various self-search channels and convert them into high-value customers by giving your sales team that prioritized information about who are those hot leads who are those best accounts that are ready to go after.

Also gives you insights into why you should be going after them so that you can have that more personalized and timely outreach.

If you’re interested in Pocus, you can sign up for our waitlist at www.pocus.com ​​

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