Freemium Summit East: Lessons from Leaders at Scale

Google Apps partner lead Scott McMullan used a panel titled “Lessons from Leaders at Scale” at Freemium Summit East in New York Monday morning to discuss how Google Apps has gone from zero users in 2007 to more than 30 million currently.

He described Google Apps as a “messaging and collaboration suite, sold to organizations and businesses,” along with Google Postini Services, pay products related to the suite.

Google Apps for Business is available in a Standard Edition, which accommodates up to 50 users and including messaging apps (Gmail, Google Calendar) and collaboration apps (Google Docs, Google Sites), as well as a Premier Edition, which has no user limit and adds features including Google Video, Google Groups, and 25 gigabytes of email storage per user.

In terms of the growth experienced by Google Apps, McMullan said it is signing up more than 3,000 new businesses daily, with a total of more than 3 million, adding that 10 million of its 30 million users are free, EDU (student) users. Google Apps has five editions (EDU, Standard, Premium, government, partner) supported by five sales teams (business development, online sales, telesales, field sales for enterprises, and field sales for federal, state, and local governments and Internet-service providers). Field sales target organizations with more than 3,000 users; telesales those with 100-3,000; and online focuses on those with 1-100.

The challenge McMullan mentioned was that the online sales team is competing with the free apps, but the bright spot: Google Apps’ diverse customer base brings more opportunity for add-ons, and its self-service DNA makes pilots easier and cheaper.

He concluded by mentioning two companies as case studies from its marketplace: Smartsheet, which has seen its conversion rate soar to three times that of pay-per-click advertising, and which has found cloud-savvy users easier to sell to and support; and SlideRocket, which has seen conversion rates of 2.5 times that of pay-per-click ads and a fivefold increase in seats per company, meaning the average company size of its buyers is larger.