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New monetization model: what shall be changed in the business

Rusprofile story
April 2021

Summary

The challenge

Rusprofile — a Russian company that enables its users to check the information about the legal entities — has changed their way of monetization from advertisements to subscriptions. The company realised that, if they wanted to grow this way, they need to rebuild their team structure and scale the stuff up with a few more product managers. That's why they turned to TYPICAL for advice, research, and help.

The Outcome

TYPICAL accomplished all the Rusprofile targets: divided the structure of the product team into the Core and the Growth, hired two senior product managers and product designer — the whole product board, and highlighted the aspects to work on. The product team has already found profitable hypotheses for new segments, while designer’s work has improved the quality of interactions with developers, and boosted shaping the product up.

Teamwork

Anastasia Minetto — co-founder and CEO of TYPICAL

Valeria Rozov — founder and business lead of TYPICAL


Ilya Moshin — CEO of Rusprofile

Situation

What is Rusprofile about

Rusprofile makes legal entities in Russia transparent — current status, taxes, finances, partnerships, and other essential data on companies is collected, structured and represented on one page. The benefit is that clients don’t have to waste their time digging different sources.

Background

Their audience has always been growing rapidly — 700 thousand people a day. In three years, from October 2016 to October 2019, the monthly traffic has grown three times, from 6 to 18 million users.

Meanwhile, their revenues got stuck — the key monetization engine was advertising, but it was far cry from efficiency: this machine is focused on big players. During the pandemic, the situation worsened, and their earnings from advertising decreased by 30-40%.

To save the day, Rusprofile worked a few hypotheses out. The most legit one was a paid subscription to extended data on entities. They gave it a try, tested two different formats, got insights, chose the best, and experimented with prices during the launch — the revenue growth exceeded their wildest expectations.

Rusprofile realized that if a subscription brings money even in a basic form, they could improve it and win the day. Fortunately, they already had the expertise and knew how to stand out from the competition, but with too much work, they sought an experienced product team and turned to TYPICAL.

Dmitriy Strelkov and Ilya Moshin, founders of Rusprofile

Solution

To optimize the business to the new monetization model and hire the fittest talents, we were meant to build the team structure first. Rusprofile requested a product team, but had no idea how to divide the product itself, what and how many product managers to hire, and whether they really needed an inhouse product designer.

For this we applied our methodology and interviewed the team to figure out the company's culture, needs, and problems. Next, we structured the information, worked on the strategy, and gave the solution — with the Core and the Growth flows to follow, and offered areas of focus. Finally, we entered the final straight and worked on the selection of the candidates: built their profiles, made jobs descriptions, searched legit applicants sources, checked their portfolios, and conducted interviews.

We Interviewed the Team

Whom We Interviewed

To build the product team structure, we needed to chat with other players who would communicate with the new team the most. Generally, they would be the head of the project office/team lead, CMO, and COO, the emphasis is always on CEOs and founders — the ones who set the rules of the game.

For Rusprofile, we conducted five interviews: two with the founder Ilya Moshin, one with his partner Dima, and then with the development and project team lead.

What Did We Ask

We had 50+ questions divided into four blocks — business, team, product team, company culture. The questions were chosen in order to get the full picture and emphasized according to the role of the questioned one. Though the CEO and founders may seem enough to portray the team or the business with its model, plans, and strategy, it's essential to know how other players see it.

Why Company Culture

The company culture plays a vital role in the interview. This concept answers the hiring process in the company, like how employees are motivated, goals are set, how communication is organized, and how top management works.

The culture determines the candidates' profiles and endures them with specific skills. For example, a bureaucratic culture seeks those who are good at working with stakeholders, a lean one — with the product economy. If a candidate's characteristics fit the requirements of a particular culture, this candidate has more chances to get the position.

Rusprofile focuses on leadership; they are energetic and ambitious, with no dull problems, but with exciting tasks. These brand qualities we figured during our "cultural" interviews and understood the company's ambitions that could attract and motivate candidates.

During the interview, we discussed at what stage of development the product was and what would be done next. We went into details and chatted about such specific tasks as researching the site's 12+ sections of information. Such research would include the identification of audience segments and redesigning the site sections.

We Organized the Team Structure

After the client's problems and goals were researched, we pointed out the two areas of work and divided the team structure into the Core and the Growth.

The Core is the main product of Rusprofile. Its target — to make the service "worth" its money. To make it work, the team needed:

  • to remaster the functionality;
  • to understand why users are coming;
  • to meet their needs;
  • to make the interface more user-friendly.

The Growth is the monetization of product value. Its task is to convert free users to paid ones. The growth team should:

  • search new audience segments;
  • understand their interests, and represent them to the core team for further functional development.

With the research done and the team structure pointed out, we figured out that Rusprofile needed:

  • To hire one core and one growth-product manager — first, it is pretty tricky to onboard more than two people, second — the first products will deeply study the product and understand who they need next.
  • To accomplish the team with a designer, because his presence in the team will motivate other members and enable them to make a full-fledged product. Next, it will save the client's money and contribute to the quality because a permanent worker always understands how the product works better and is more interested in gaining top results.

We Selected Candidates

The next step was to find the proper candidates, so we worked on candidates’ profiles, wrote job descriptions, checked different sources and candidates’ portfolios, and finally, conducted interviews to connect talents and Rusprofile.

Built Candidates' Profiles

We shaped candidates' profiles based on client's needs and product types. The key points were:

  • previous experience of a candidate with company sizes and product types taken into consideration;
  • specialization;
  • main product skills;
  • additional skills (English, programming, etc.);
  • salary fork.

Next, we described what segments and companies to explore for a candidate.

Made the Job Description

The job description is a public document, so it should work as an advertisement and attract talents. For this we:

  • Highlighted the unique flavor of the project with its know-how and strengths. We described Rusprofile's functions and represented them as a project useful for all and everyone — for accountants, lawyers, insurance salesmen, sales, safety and procurement managers, and business owners. Then, we outlined the projects' perks in figures and financial foison— 700 000 visitors a day, strong SEO with no need to invest in advertisement, strong big data and high load.
  • Honestly unraveled Rusprofile's background up with a new monetization model introduced and key goal stated — to do away with the need to search for counteractants. Next, we defined the company's strategy: to work each audience segment through, to identify their needs, and to design the project in the most user-useful way.
  • Portrayed the team in detail, emphasizing that both founders are friends since their studentship in MSU — for many candidates, this is a sound guarantee of stability. We brought into focus that the current team is comparatively small: 20 members on board, 7 developers, a marketer, an account manager, and support service. By mentioning the positions we explained the candidates who they would have to deal with and whose language they should know — the language of developers. Next, we mentioned that the team is to grow with approximately 17 newcomers to join soon — that's how we advertised Rusprofile as an ambitious company with bold dreams and considerable prospects.
  • Pointed out the actual requirements and illustrated them with a screenshot of a product — Ilya provided us with a free test access to appreciate the company's scope.
  • Elaborated and clarified the skills we seek without abstract definitions, such as B2B and analytics. For example, we require strong UX skills and explain what exactly we mean — a perfect candidate is detail-oriented and thinks about the user, knows how to design scenarios in a step-by-step way and doesn't miss logical associations.
  • Described what the company is ready to give with no humdrum «VHI, reported salary», but the real benefits, for example, Rusprofile is a small company with quick processes, prompt results, and high profitableness.

Searched the Sources

We launched advertisements at trusted sources and worked out our database that is being constantly expanded with the new candidate we've scored.

Checked Portfolios

95% of designers' portfolios are pretty chaotic — just screenshots with no achievements pointed out. Such portfolios don't pass further tests.

Additionally, many designers want to work on a catchy project instead of building a worthy one themselves.

"Earlier we were not much into hiring a corporate designer for we didn’t have enough tasks, but now we have huge goals and loads of missions. TYPICAL enabled us to understand that a corporate designer is much easier to work with — he cares about the quality and read between the lines like no freelancers do."

Ilya Moshin — CEO of Rusprofile

Conducted Interviews

We gathered the critical qualities of Rusprofile’s perfect candidate:

  1. The ability to work solo, because for a pretty while there would be one designer.
  2. SaaS experience and UX proficiency. Rusprofile has a complicated SaaS interface and nobody to teach its ropes. To check the practical skills, we offered candidates cases to solve and discussed their previous experiences to check their theoretical knowledge. For example, to test their UX attainments, we studied their former works and asked them what the result was and why. Designers were asked how they would plan some solutions straight away during the interview.
  3. Teamwork skills with Rusprofile’s unique work culture pointed out to show the needs for speed and adaptivity. During interviews, we asked how candidates defend their projects and how they make the work transparent.

Introduced Candidates to the Client

We’d sent seven candidates, the last two appealed to Rusprofile the most, and one of them, Leo, got the offer.

In our opinion, an extra check of candidates by clients gives the process a boost. It’s better when the founder or the CPO, who will collaborate with the designer, judge by themselves — even if the candidate is fit, doubts spoil the further work.

"TYPICAL gave us intros — we studied them and perceived as useful recommendations. Face-to-face, some candidates represented themselves differently. If some points in intros seemed questionable, we observed candidates’ experience and achieved results. But we couldn’t check ourselves such important things as, for example, certain hard skills."

Ilya Moshin — CEO of Rusprofile

Learnings

By Rusprofile

Be open for external help

An expert eager to share knowledge boosts the efficient formation of a team.

Designers are a Must-have

An inhouse designer is a blessing — we integrated changes proposed by Leo, and our annual subscriptions increased by more than 50%.

Business Growth Requires Team Growth

TYPICAL helped us find a designer, but we already know we’ll soon need one more with more tasks to implement. We search for a core product manager, and we know that one will not be enough. Next, our business needs a few more middle product managers and a lead.

HR Brand is Worth Polishing

We learned that talents with the highest potential might not know about us, so we need to empower our hr brand and work in two directions:

Attractive Brand Positioning

We figured our most intriguing challenges — work with big data, poorly structured information, high loads, and data adoption. Additionally, we got into graph visualization, a tricky task at the intersection of mathematics and UX.

Media Should Be on Board

We know a lot and have much witty analytics to offer. Sharing it in our blog and posting in different sources will educate, attract new audiences, and contribute to our brand representation.

By TYPICAL

First Impression Counts

We discovered that sometimes a candidate’s potential is vivid during the first meeting. We made intros, the client held interviews, next we could correct profiles and make the search easier.

The Less is Known — the Deeper the Planing

HR brands that haven’t won much recognition yet require deep planning with ongoing experiments on advertising and descriptions.

Client involvement is also a must: we light candidates’ fire, but to keep it burning, a company should conduct an interview full of attention to a potential colleague and details about the company.