Unveiling Inflection - The B2B Marketing Automation Solution for Product-Led Companies

Usha Vadapalli
August 2, 2022

We just showed Inflection’s demo to hundreds of marketers at our first-ever product unveiling event. If you couldn’t make it, here’s what you missed.

The Origin Story

One fine sunny morning in the great city of Seattle, the idea of building marketing automation 2.0 struck our founders, and thus Inflection was born.

Kidding!

The idea behind Inflection.io took shape when Dave Rigotti and Aaron Bird spoke with more than 100 marketing teams at product-led companies at various growth stages. Businesses that are just starting out to the ones scaling to 1000 employees and everyone in between are facing the same hurdles when it comes to marketing.

Before we get to those challenges, it is important to acknowledge that marketing itself is reshaping in the product-led era. The functions of marketing teams are changing with the end-user as our center of gravity and not supporting sales motion.

The marketing charter in PLG companies is expanding to

  1. User orchestration to build product advocates
  2. Driving self-serve revenue
  3. Supporting CSM and the support teams and of course
  4. Generate sales pipeline
Mrketing_charter_expansion

The changes are not limited to how marketing operates but they extend to the environment in which we operate.

  • We no longer store and operate off of data only from CRMs like Salesforce. Data warehouses have occupied the pedestal to become the single source of truth that powers campaigns
  • Being product-led requires eyes and ears in the product. We are using product analytics and insights platforms like Segment, Heap, or Amplitude to understand the customers’ product activity better
  • Product, Marketing, Sales, and Success teams don’t operate in silos anymore. In product-led environments, teams operate in collaboration towards the common goal — growth via the product as the main channel. This means that marketing gets a seat at the table and also means that we have more stakeholders than ever
  • With the low-bar entry into the product, we now have exploding top of the funnels with 10s of millions of users and sometimes more. Our databases are getting stuffy with all the contacts we might not even market to.  
Marketing_faoundation_shift

All these conversations come back to the same baseline - B2B marketing automation for PLG companies has not evolved like its B2C counterparts ( think - Klaviyo, Braze, or Iterable). We are still stuck with Hubspots and Marketos of the world, which are not built for the product-led universe.

Marketing_eras

Witnessing changes the B2B marketing industry went through from Outbound to Inbound to Product-led eras from front-row seats gave Dave and Aaron the vantage point needed to envision Inflection. Both former Bizible, Marketo, and Adobe leaders decided to build the idea and team behind Inflection with Vic Davis, former VP of Success at Marketo and Salesforce, and a stellar team.

Let’s dive right in to see what we’ve built.

The Product Unveil

Inflection is the only purpose-built marketing automation solution for product-led growth companies. With data unified from product, person, and account of the customer, Inflection gives you a single view of your customer.

This means running marketing campaigns at scale that

  • Create sticky users by encouraging better product adoption and building brand affinity
  • Encourage seat expansions, up-sell, and cross-selling with the right gated-feature or threshold-based triggers
  • Drive demo requests by identifying product qualified leads as soon as they raise their hands in the product
  • Mitigating churn by proactively reaching out to inactive customers and highlighting the value realized to stakeholders in customers.

These are some examples of what you can do with Inflection to successfully market and grow your PLG business.

Email_campaigns_with_Inflection
  • Onboarding emails based on product activity are one of the most popular campaigns run today. The best marketers understand that these campaigns are the seeds of building advocates and product usage is an extension of the brand. With Inflection unifying product and CRM data, you can also execute free trial campaign flows, announce feature releases, and even emails to celebrate user’s key activity milestones.
  • The next campaign we’re seeing in the image is internal product qualified lead alerts. Inflection makes it easy to identify who the best fit customers are and help sales take action on it, through internal alerts and also by pushing data to Salesforce.
  • The best product-led companies often have a self-serve revenue motion to support their enterprise sales. And, we see companies doubling down on self-serve revenue expansion more than ever. Powered by product activity data,  Inflection is supporting companies to add self-serve revenue to their existing revenue channels.

We’ll show you how it works in a hot minute, starting with our coolest feature — data security.

Data Security Compliant

All this talk about accessing data might make one wonder about the safety risks. That’s exactly what we thought about from the very beginning.

The gold standard in data security is one of the first things we got before launching our product. Inflection is SOC2 certified to ensure the highest standards of security, reliability, and privacy for user data. Data security of our customers and partners means a lot to us and we’ve implemented practices with the required levels of oversight across our organization.

Audience Building

Are you building the audience that makes sense for your product-led business?

Building dynamic lists based not only on sales or marketing data, but also your in product is important when you are on the product-led path to growth. Marketing teams often get stuck in bottlenecks when it comes to pulling product events for their  campaigns. This is one of the major setbacks in using legacy marketing tools in the product-led era.. But, not anymore!

Inflection lets you create dynamic lists of audiences based not only on their person details but also on their product activity. In other words, you can now not only build an audience based on their job roles, the size of their company but also their product activity events.

Audience_building_on_Inflection

And, the best part is that you need not depend on engineering or data team colleagues to get the product activity events you need. The even better part is that you don’t need to write code (not even SQL) to utilize product events in your campaigns.

If you are thinking…but how? I’ll let you in on the secret. Here’s how we do it:

Inflection natively integrates with the modern sources of truth for product-led companies — the data warehouses and product insights platforms.

Integrations

Inflection offers native integrations with Segment and Snowflake. With a direct connection with Segment or Snowflake,

  • Your product activity data becomes the first-class citizen in your campaigns. So, you can run campaigns triggered by events in near real-time.
  • You can establish context around your users and accounts with a clear view of product events in addition to customer, and account data from your CRM.
  • You can set sync intervals, set up or modify connection reporting and sync details, understand issues, etc.  You can also revoke access at any time without requiring support or action from Inflection. You are in charge when it comes to data sync from Snowflake or Segment to Inflection.

Once you have your audience defined, it’s time to choose your next step.

Email

Emails are one of the best marketing channels out there in terms of ROI. But, you know this already. We’ll tell you how your emails can do better.

You might have been using tokens like {first.name} to personalize your emails. While the recipient’s name and job title in emails might be relevant, it’s not enough. Not enough to showcase real value.

Adding a bit of context to your emails powered by your customers’ product activity along with person and firmographic data can hyper-personalize your emails, increasing their impact by many folds. Consider these examples.

Custom Token Editor

Emails with dynamic content fields like the above are possible with custom tokens. Inflection’s excel-style custom token is built to make a marketer’s life easier.

As the name suggests, you can create custom tokens in Inflection in the same way you would write an Excel spreadsheet function. You can see Syntax and Sample Usage to guide your token building.

You can also double-check if your token is returning the right value in the preview table.

Excel_stype_token_editor

You can write logic, perform calculations, compare values, and use nested functions for complex logic.

Here’s an example to show you how it works. The highlighted metric — the number of sticky notes created by the account can be used in a monthly digest email you can send to the account admins.

Excel_style_token

As marketers, we experienced the pain of writing Velocity code and asking the engineering team for a favor. It might even take a data team a while to report with monthly stats of an account. Inflection helps you move over these obstacles. You can hyper contextualize your communication with dynamic content that actually helps your customers realize value from your product. And, the best part is, you can work faster and with no dependencies.

Campaign Flow

After building your audience list and email, the next logical step is to decide how the campaign flows.

Choose if you want to trigger multiple emails in sequence, send an internal alert, create a one-time snapshot of your dynamically changing audience, delete the audience chosen from a static list, or add a delay before doing anything else.

Inflection lets you tailor your campaigns and their timing based on the use case. To get into more detail

Send_email

Add delay - As the name suggests, delay your next action in units of minutes, hours, or days.

Send email - Choose the email you want to send out from a list of emails you created and saved.  

Send internal alert - Email your internal stakeholders about a trigger activity. For example, alert them of a product qualified lead (PQL) as soon as they perform a trigger action. You can choose individual email addresses, team aliases, or even fetch an email property from your contacts database through a custom token.

You can preset an email template with dynamic content fields that would give your teams the full context of the alert.

Add and Remove from Static Lists - Take a snapshot of your audience in time to save the list for reference, future campaigns, or as a suppression list.

Once your campaign flow is up and running, you can measure and tweak it to yield optimum performance.

Reporting

Analyzing and optimizing the campaigns you run is as important as launching them. Inflection’s campaign reporting gives you the whole platter. The feature gives you all the basic deliverability (delivered emails, bounced emails, etc.) and engagement metrics (open and click rates, etc.).

The Overview tab paints a picture of how your campaign performed overall.

Delivery info shows you the overall performance of your campaign and a detailed view of opens and clicks.

Campaign_reports_delivery_info_on_Inflection

Top links section lists your best-performing links in decreasing order of the number of clicks.

‍Email client compares opens and clicks in different email clients and browsers used to access your campaign emails.

‍Campaign history shows the historical performance of your recurring or batch campaigns at the instances they were run.

Campaign_reports_on_Inflection

You can now analyze your entire campaign or individual emails in a campaign to a granular level. That is, a bird’s eye view of the entire campaign to the individual recipients’ level reporting is available to you.

Person Database

Talking of granular level details…

You can take a look at the person record - the contact details, product events, and marketing events associated with any of your contacts from Inflection.

Person details - Gives an overview of when the customer profile is created, basic profile, and their subscription status.

contact_database_person_details

Person activities - You can see the log of actions done by the customer in your product since they first signed up.

contact_database_person_activities

Marketing activities - This tab would be a log of updates related to email activity updates, record changes, forms, and landing page visits across campaigns.

contact_database_marketing_activities

Single Sign-On (SSO)

Having a gold mine of product and marketing activities is not of much use if you can’t access it seamlessly. We strive to maintain business efficiency and business continuity without having to worry about data security and compliance.

To make your Inflection access easy, we enabled single sign-on (SSO) with Okta - a renowned global leader in SSO, multi-factor authentication, and lifecycle management. And, it takes only a few minutes to set up the integration.

Pricing

With so many contacts in your database, you’d be naturally thinking of the pricing. Because we are all used to the pricing plans of legacy marketing automation tools that charge for the contact volume in your database. We are disrupting the way you look at pricing and you’re going to love it!

Introducing, MMC - Monthly Marketed Contacts. This 3-letter acronym might make all the difference when it comes to tough budget decisions. We only charge you for the number of contacts you actually reach out to and not for housing them. So, you never have to spend valuable time on figuring out which contacts to delete and run workflows just to maintain the ‘contact limit’ allowed by a pricing tier.  

To reiterate on being purpose-built for PLG, we built Inflection on the back of a scalable infrastructure that can support 100s of millions of contacts and billions (yes, with a B) of product events. This makes us an incredibly powerful marketing automation solution for the wider top funnels of product-led companies with a low-bar entry.

We also have a special program that enables qualified early-stage PLG startups to use Inflection for FREE for a whole year. The Inflection for Startups program is our way of giving back to the community.

Upcoming Announcements

If you are excited to learn about Inflection’s capabilities so far, you’re in for a treat. We have some more exciting feature lineup

WYSIWYG email editor - Build and edit beautiful emails with drag and drop modules.

Lead scoring - Qualify your leads and understand their value to your company at any given customer life cycle stage with this feature.

Branching - Automate your campaign flows with conditional branching.

Webhooks - Connect your workflows with services like web applications directly using APIs.

Two-way Salesforce integration - Sync data from all supported objects - leads, contacts, account,  and opportunities in bi-directionally between Inflection and Salesforce. You can also select the sync preference that suits your use case.

For more

To see how our customer Stack Moxie uses Inflection to improve product engagement and boost customer success, watch the event recording here.