Like everyone else, we had no idea what to expect when the COVID lockdown started. We knew even less about how the company should react. We could never have predicted the increase in demand, or the one-week pivot we made to get on top of it.
My main focus as an employer was to protect my staff and follow public health advice. But when it came to business strategy, the right course of action for a Black Swan event like a global pandemic was a mystery to all of us. I asked our London team to work from home and we braced ourselves.
Building a freemium solution overnight
Our aim at Juro is to make contracts a little more human.
We alleviate the pain of legal process by helping businesses to create, negotiate, and manage their contracts in one unified workspace. And when life went fully remote in March, everyone’s needs changed.
It started when a long-term sales prospect called wanting to speed up a deal by three months. With people no longer able to meet face-to-face, the ability to agree on contracts digitally had become critical to his business’s survival overnight.
Another customer’s contract volumes increased by 300% in a week—as a food delivery service, they’d seen the number of restaurants joining the platform skyrocket. Then we started receiving dozens of inquiries from the healthcare industry on how to manage contracts digitally.
We knew that if we could distribute access to Juro effectively, we could help lots of people get through the crisis. But how?
We did something dramatic for a small, venture-backed B2B SaaS company: we decided to launch a free version of Juro—within the week.
But we had neither the functionality nor experience to set up a self-serve onboarding flow for new users. This meant activating new accounts manually and showing clients around the product. This raised some serious challenges. At this point there were 20 of us, with the commercial team in London and our product and engineering teams in Riga. So how do we:
Deal with demand without being overwhelmed?
Identify and prioritize people from COVID-adjacent industries, like healthcare and food delivery?
Screen out the time-wasters and the people we knew our product couldn’t serve?
Identify our usual leads—legal and sales teams at tech scaleups, looking for big deployments—but who’d just converted through our newly created 'free' form. How would we convince them they still needed a paid deployment and get them in front of the sales team?
We put our heads together and realized that all these problems had the same solution: information. We really needed to understand as much as possible about our clients’ needs, so we could help them in the best way possible.
Getting to our minimum viable product
We had two main calls-to-action on our website, and both said 'request a demo.' The fastest route to launching Free Juro was simply to change one of them to 'get free access.' We’d previously been gathering demo requests in HubSpot, before pushing them into Salesforce. With this pivot, we linked each of the buttons to a typeform instead. You can check out how it works here:
In each of the typeforms, we asked a fairly comprehensive series of questions, way beyond key info like email address and job title.
We needed to know what kind of industry our clients were in, what kind of contracts they were looking to manage, if they were restaurant contracts, offer letters, SaaS agreements, or MSAs. We also needed to understand which teams would need to use Juro, their contract volumes, current pain points, integrations they’d need, and how quickly they needed solutions.
Conventional wisdom dictates that the fewer the fields in a form, the better it converts. But we found that conversion actually increased with our dual typeforms. We also had rich data on everyone who converted which was crucial in setting up a triage and onboarding system to handle the demand.
Everyone who filled in the form received a holding email, thanking them for their interest and letting them know we’d be in touch as soon as possible. Data from the typeform landed in a Google sheet and the marketing team triaged leads on the way in. High volume/low complexity contracts were prioritized. Here’s the breakdown:
Paid demo requests went to the sales team
Companies looking for large deployments but who’d converted through the free form went to the sales and customer success teams, to be onboarded for a free trial
Free requests who were on the front lines of COVID went straight to customer success to be called immediately and manually onboarded
Free requests who weren’t on the front lines and were just curious went to CS for low-touch email-led onboarding, and were given access to the product, with check-ins scheduled for later
Free requests who we knew we couldn’t help were disqualified and received a polite let-down email, inviting them to sign up to our newsletter.
From MVP to real outcomes
Within the first two weeks we received 188 requests for free access, of which:
23 were disqualified
36 were passed to sales
46 were given low-touch access to Juro
83 were manually onboarded and became active users
Even more impressive, we managed this without ruining our lives and grinding the company to a halt. With the new process we were able to onboard a customer volume in two weeks that we might previously have expected in two months - saving hundreds of hours of time for the commercial team.
This was a great outcome, but here’s what really gratified us:
1. How much we learned from our new users
In the first month of lockdown we tripled our monthly active users. It’s hard to overstate the upgrade this gave us in understanding user behavior.
Watching new users find their way in Juro taught us so much about what people want from a contract collaboration platform, and it also gave us priceless data about what’s missing from our onboarding experience in order for it to be genuinely self-serve, rather than requiring hand-holding on our part. This, along with the enriched data we gathered with Typeform, will help us to build the next iterations of our product in the way that works best for our users.
2. The frontline businesses we were able to help
Of course, the drive behind all of this wasn’t just to get more users, but to help more people collaborate on contracts through the crisis. It was so rewarding to see this happen. Within days of our decision to launch a free version of Juro, we helped:
a company to automate contract bundling for their efforts in helping medical device creators get FDA approval
a company providing analytics to healthcare businesses to create and launch a self-serve system and repository for NDAs in one day
a restaurant group that needed to create a logistics supply chain for delivery overnight to automate offer letters for their drivers
a ride-sharing company to create and agree partnerships with restaurants so they could deliver through the platform
Alongside our new users, it was also great to be able to help our existing customers through the crisis.
It’s now July and our UK team is still working fully remote. Those first few days—uniting the whole company in building a Typeform-enabled freemium product—seem like decades ago. While I’m still uncertain about our future working environment, I’m proud that we've gained a better understanding of how Juro is helping to make contracts a little more human—and why that's something that people actually care about.
See how typeforms are helping other companies and not-for-profits through our current COVID reality.
Richard Mabey is CEO and co-founder of contract collaboration platform Juro. Previously Richard was a corporate and M&A lawyer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. FT Intelligent Business named Richard one of the global top ten legal business technologists in 2019.