How Superhuman moved upmarket with Pocus playbooks

Learn about how Superhuman was able to navigate moving upmarket through data-backed playbooks.

Meredith McManus
June 18, 2024

Superhuman has gained a fanatical user base with its streamlined email experience, powered by AI. By offering tools that help teams reclaim over 4 hours per week for each user, Superhuman is setting a new standard for productivity. Getting to “inbox zero” has become a daily mantra for users everywhere. They’ve more than earned their title of “the fastest email experience ever made.” 

We recently spoke with Andrew Johnston, Head of Sales for Superhuman, to learn more about how the email tool that makes everyone more productive was able to navigate moving upmarket through data-backed playbooks, powered by Pocus.

The Challenge: Transitioning from B2C to B2B

When Superhuman first launched in 2014, they exclusively targeted individual users who wanted to have more control over their inbox and increase their productivity. While they saw strong success with their self-serve PLG motion for nearly 8 years, they knew the next chapter of revenue growth would come from a strategic shift to focusing on teams and the enterprise market. With that untapped potential in mind, a little more than two years ago they shifted focus to the B2B market. 

This change in strategy brought with it a few key considerations. First, while Superhuman gathered extensive product usage data, most of it was not easily accessible to the sales team. Second, once power users could be identified, Andrew’s team needed to tell a data-backed story to drive home how Superhuman could unlock wins for entire teams. Finally, to preserve the delightful customer experience Superhuman had become known for, sales needed to time outreach perfectly to add value without annoying users.

Uncovering Hidden Power Users

Over the past ten years, Superhuman built a cult following of users, but the product usage data of this highly engaged fanbase was mostly inaccessible to the GTM team. This made identifying power users who could serve as “land and expand” entry points for Andrew’s team difficult. Andrew knew for his team to be successful, they would need to be able to monitor and analyze customer activity without manually “mining through all of the data” to uncover leads.

“We had lots of metrics around B2C usage and knew how to engage customers during their onboarding cycle. But, we weren’t really monitoring signals that would indicate a sales opportunity or upsell into a team. The focus was on keeping individual users happy, not looking at who they were or where they sat inside a company.”

Telling the Strategic Upmarket Story

Before expanding into targeted B2B sales, people primarily thought of Superhuman as an individual user tool rather than a team solution. Customers were highly engaged but were focused on increasing their own productivity.

"In the beginning, we would hear the same objection: ‘I love Superhuman but I don't know if I could get my team on it. I could never live without it, but that seems like a hard budget conversation to have.’ So, we had to think about how to shift the user narrative to ‘Yes, my team would be much more powerful if we were all using Superhuman.’” 

Andrew understood that it can be hard for enterprise leaders to justify additional spending for a tool like email that has historically been viewed as “free.” To sway decision-makers, his sales team would need to use data in creative ways to build their case. They would need to tell a strategic story about how Superhuman could save employees hours per week, ensure emails never fell through the cracks, and help an ICP’s team become more efficient and productive.

Creating Customer Delight at Scale

The final challenge for Andrew and his team was retaining Superhuman’s focus on customer experience while layering in outbound sales. From the beginning, the company had a focus on creating delightful experiences both at the product level and across all company touchpoints. Sales could be no exception; outreach had to add value without coming across as pushy or annoying. 

Superhuman already knew which usage metrics would indicate a customer who was experiencing value: regularly logging in to send emails and clear unread messages to achieve Inbox Zero. Andrew needed to get his team access to this product usage data without the typical bottlenecks of relying on an analytics team or using stale reporting tools.

Identifying Product Champions and Driving Growth with Pocus

Superhuman enlisted Pocus to act as an all-in-one signal platform, surface leads, and run signal-based playbooks. Superhuman had always collected reems of product usage data, but before Pocus, there wasn’t an easy way to synthesize this information into actionable insights or repeatable playbooks. Once Pocus was implemented, the team was able to:

  1. Uncover and nurture product champions with ease. Pocus enables Superhuman’s sales team to automate the monitoring of individual product and user signals, surfacing potential product champions directly in reps’ inboxes. Instead of spending hours searching for senior-level power users, the team can focus on fostering relationships as part of their land and expand strategy. 
  1. Access key product usage insights to drive upmarket storytelling. Andrew and his team can now easily demonstrate the value of Superhuman at a team or account level through product usage insights. 
  1. Build repeatable, standardized playbooks for moving upmarket. With a unified sales strategy and standardized playbooks, the Superhuman sales team could now hone in on power users at scale and know exactly when to reach out to them so that the conversation would feel helpful rather than pushy. 

With the implementation of Pocus, Superhuman had a fundamental shift in thinking from how to drive value for the individual user to how to create value for a team or organization. Superhuman used Pocus to gain deeper insights into product usage at the team and organization levels.

The Results: A Scalable Revenue Engine Through Playbooks

By leveraging Pocus, Superhuman was able to build a scalable, predictable revenue engine powered by signal-based playbooks. 

The Pocus platform has become a reliable source of high-quality leads for the sales team, uncovering previously hidden sources of enterprise pipeline. Superhuman can now easily surface prospects who fit their ICP: enterprise VPs and other key stakeholders who already love their product. Now when they reach out, they’re able to provide valuable, personalized insight instead of generic outbound messages.

“A very common playbook for us is identifying a leader inside an organization who has been a fan of Superhuman for a while. We reach out to them saying, ‘Hey, you’re a power user. You have great stats. Have you ever tried this feature?’ Then we also share features that might benefit their team and ask for partnership piloting product expansion.”

Even better, reps now save hours per day with Pocus proactively sourcing leads. They no longer need to manually dig for their own warm leads or wait for inbound interest.

“The time savings is definitely significant. Before, it was almost impossible to go uncover these leads. Reps had to go mining through whatever data they could scrape together to get the information they needed.”

Andrew and his team are able to think more holistically beyond just net-new sales outreach. They’ve expanded their playbooks to include upsells and renewals, helping them to build customer relationships, expand existing accounts, and drive renewals more efficiently and effectively. With Pocus’ Playbook Reporting, Andrew’s team can review how new strategies are performing as they continue to test, iterate, and grow. 

“It’s been really cool to see the development of our playbooks in Pocus over time. You’ve got to iterate on these signals and make sure you’re honing in on the right contacts. That experimental process has helped us continue to better understand our B2B market.”

Curious about how Pocus can help you turn a variety of signals into revenue? Book time with a Signal-Based Selling expert on our team.

Adding Pocus as pipeline mission control

  • One Tool, All Signals: With Pocus as their single source of truth, Superhuman doesn’t need multiple point solutions to surface intent signals.
  • Keep the Focus on Customer Delight: By knowing exactly who to reach out to and when Superhuman doesn’t have to risk bothering customers with irrelevant outbound.
  • Scale Wins With Playbook Iteration: Sales and marketing can easily experiment with signal-based playbooks to uncover incremental wins.
About the author
Meredith McManus
Content + Product Marketing at Pocus

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