Growth for leading B2B user and app crowdtesting platform

Overview

AppQuality is a crowdtesting company based in Milan, Italy focused on helping companies test their digital products through AppQuality’s existing network of over 200,000 testers. Essentially, AppQuality adopts an Uber-like model to software testing. AppQuality worked with FFA to run a series of experiments to test and validate new geographical markets, audiences, segments, media and channels with the use of our Growth Engine as part of our Growth as a Service (GaaS) product.

AppQuality raised various seed rounds from European investors and reached profitability already. Previously they were incubated by global top 3 university-lead incubator PoliHub in Milan.

We met AppQuality during a pitching session at Intesa San Paolo Startup Initiative in 2016 and found there was a great fit between the growth problems of AppQuality and the products/frameworks provided by FFA. In 2018 the collaboration started with a classic Growth as a Service (GaaS) product and support from FFA.

Project
Client: AppQuality
Sector: Software, IT
Service: App & User Crowdtesting 
Web: app-quality.com

Project summary

Service: Startup Growth 
Outcome: Tested and validated 25+ combinations of markets, audiences, segments, media, and channels.

"Fast Forward Advisors supported us to run a Growth Engine for 25 sprints of 2 weeks, creating efficient and effective Minimum Viable Market Tests (MVMT) and helping us in the execution of the experiments on local, regional and international markets. Also a valuable sparring partner for our present activities, always challenging and questioning our status quo."

Luca Manara | Founder & CEO | AppQuality"FFA helped us to experiment and validate tons of tactics"

PROBLEMS & CHALLENGES

AppQuality found some traction on the main domestic market already, based on simple B2B outbound sales activities and through events. While for sure they found product-market-fit (PMF), the next steps in the growth phase were a bit more tedious. What to do next? Which channel to activate? How to test the approach in other geographical markets?

  • They had not kept track of all its metrics, specifically across combinations of heterogeneous growth activities, and in particular Customer Lifetime Value (CLTV) and Customer Acquisition Costs (CAC) deep down the whole funnel of those activities.
  • They did not try to fully validate the full funnel of their existing activities, making it difficult to plan growth with budgets and expected outcomes of the activities
  • They didn’t base the activities on current growth (like cold emailing, event and fair sponsoring and participation and strategic partnerships) based on best practices and with efficient tools and tactics.

ACTIONS & SOLUTIONS

FFA worked with AppQuality on the Growth as a Service (GaaS) product and Framework, which is structured in 3 phases:

  1. Growth Assessment & Setup (GA&S): To assess and map out past and current growth activities and come up with the levers and high-level objectives of the GaaS. In the case of AppQuality we had identified B2B outbound sales activities, participation to events and conferences and strategic partnerships with system integrators and for each identified key variables and validation of the steps in the funnels.
  2. Growth Engine (GE): With the help of our Growth Engineering Process, we have been designing experiments that help AppQuality to test and validate new growth activities or improve existing ones by implementing Minimum Viable Tests needed to achieve the results. Because of the very reiterative nature, we worked on an agile/scrum process by implementing the Growth Engine via so-called Growth Sprints (typically of 2 weeks each). With AppQuality we did 24 Growth Sprints.
  3. Growth Activities (GA): Once we validated a certain Growth Activity through the Growth Engine, we moved its execution into our last phase. During this phase, we want to accelerate the execution of those activities for the client and generate impactful growth. Given the validation of the activities, we provide very aggressive pricing focused on performance fees on the generated growth KPIs. For AppQuality e.g. we activated an Email Marketing Automation Engine for existing and new geographical markets on a series of industries and segments with performance-driven lead generation and contract closing fees.

IMPACT & OUTCOME

Growth Engine: During the 24 Growth Sprints we run roughly 32 growth experiments with tests and positively validated around 5 Growth Activities. Some validations, like in the example of Email Marketing Automation had impressive metrics, e.g. with overall funnel performance beating the ones of existing activities by 400%.

Growth Activities: For the example of Email Marketing Automation we have been running it in 3 different countries in Europe, generating thousands of cold emails with a good number of warm leads and contract closings with highly positive marginal profitability (CLTV = 30 x CAC).

 

So the question becomes: What keeps any company back of doing something similar?

  1. Lack of knowledge of potentially viable growth activities, tactics, hacks, best practices and case studies which are either shallowly provided by the media, sold by specific solution/product providers or pushed by evangelists believing in a certain way of doing things.
  2. There is no silver bullet! Everyone telling you that they have one for you is trying to sell you something. We have a decade of experience across industries, channels, markets, business models, products, and still we don’t think that we can predicate which combination of activities is the best.
  3. What works for one company, doesn’t for another one, doesn’t matter how similar or different they are. Variables like product, business model, pricing, timing, market situation (macro and micro), and many more impact on what works in growth for the ones or the others.