Editor’s note: ClickTale, launched in Israel in June 2006, provides a Web analytics solution that helps companies maximize the value of their websites. Chairman and CEO, Tal Schwartz, describes his company’s journey in product development and scaling the business.
SandHill.com: Please describe your company and your market.
Tal Schwartz: ClickTale’s business is to help make our customers’ online presence more successful. We have more than 100 employees providing insights into online behavior and the customer experience.
Our market is global and includes any business that has an online presence and is interested in improving it. Our core industries are sites that are transactional in nature, including ecommerce, online retail, online travel, gaming and telecom. We sell to both enterprise and SMB customers.
SandHill.com: Please describe your product’s differentiation and how it provides business value for your customers.
Tal Schwartz: All of our customers have some sort of traditional Web analytics solution, like Adobe Site Catalyst or Google Analytics. However, they’re all missing information about what their visitors are doing inside the pages and how to continually improve the site to get better online results. That’s where we come in.
What makes our technology unique is that we capture customers’ true-to-life experiences inside each page, and we have the ability to provide insights based on that behavior to help businesses get the results they want online. It’s really about connecting to a customer’s online experience to get the desired business results.
SandHill.com: What are the top trends in business needs for Web analytics that have changed during the past nine months?
Tal Schwartz: One thing we’ve heard from many of our customers is that mobile sites are becoming more front of mind. We’ve been tracking this trend for a while now, and that’s why last month we launched our ClickTale Touch solution to help businesses optimize their sites for various mobile platforms, including tablets and mobile phones.
We’ve also seen more businesses adopting a coherent methodology for optimizing their online experience, combining ClickTale with A/B testing tools to create what we call the Online Optimization Cycle. This allows them to continually improve their online results and increase revenues.
SandHill.com: What inspired you to launch the company and what was the original vision/hope?
Tal Schwartz: We launched the company because my co-founder Arik Yavilevich was selling software online, and he wanted to understand what customers were actually doing on his site so he could better serve their needs. Our focus in the first few years was on the long-tail mom-and-pop shop/SMB customers, and those sales were done almost entirely through our website.
What’s changed is that over time, we’ve acquired many Fortune 500 customers and have also shifted our sales model from completely Web-based self-service to an inside sales model. In becoming more enterprise oriented, the feature set has expanded and deepened. We’ve developed it into enterprise-scale software and have been very successful deploying it in some of the largest online businesses in the world including T-Mobile, Abercrombie & Fitch, CBS and Lenovo.
SandHill.com: How did you determine the right pricing for your product?
Tal Schwartz: We started with relatively low prices aimed at the long tail of the market but have raised prices over the years as our offering has expanded and market demand has increased.
SandHill.com: What will be your company’s focus over the next 12 months?
Tal Schwartz: On the sales side, we are growing our enterprise business and looking to further expand our U.S. sales operations. On the product side, we will continue to increase our value proposition for existing and new customers.
SandHill.com: What are some of the expectations you had at the outset that you’ve subsequently had to change?
Tal Schwartz: Because we conduct most of our sales with an inside sales force, we hoped we could scale that up to handle very large deal prices. But we learned that when you sell deals north of 100K, you need a lot more face time with the customer. I didn’t appreciate that at the time, so we are now hiring a U.S.-based sales force in order to devote more face time to our enterprise customers.
SandHill.com: What non-software business or social leader has most influenced your approach to your personal life or your career?
Tal Schwartz: Richard Feynman. He basically helped me look at everything we do from a scientific point of view and, in a sense, apply the scientific method to running a business: make observations, collect data, create hypotheses, run experiments and apply what we learn. We apply this scientific method in making business decisions, running experiments all the time.
SandHill.com: What have you found to be the most fulfilling aspect of being a software executive?
Tal Schwartz: The ability to be very creative and invent new products that have never existed, the opportunity to take those products to market and have an impact on peoples’ lives, and the excitement of doing it all in a very short time and seeing results on a global scale.
SandHill.com: Imagine that next week you have a full day with an empty calendar. What would you do that day?
Tal Schwartz: I’d walk around the office and talk to every single person I could in order to help them become better at what they do and achieve their goals.
SandHill.com: How did you get your first customer?
Tal Schwartz: When we launched our free open beta program in June 2006, a write-up in TechCrunch led to thousands of sign-ups. Shortly thereafter, several free subscribers began requesting additional page views to record more visitors. We developed an enhanced offering, and those companies became our first paying customers.
SandHill.com: How would you fill in the blanks for this statement: Being a startup CEO is 80 percent _____ and 20 percent_____?
Tal Schwartz: I will repurpose Thomas Edison’s famous quote and say 80 percent perspiration and 20 percent inspiration.
Dr. Tal Schwartz is chairman/CEO of ClickTale. Throughout his career, he has been committed to using technology to produce positive social change. In 2004 he co-founded the Bronica Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center at the Technion, as well as the Technion Entrepreneurship Club, which helps student-based technology startups to succeed. In 2000 he founded Expand Beyond Corporation, which developed software allowing IT professionals to work wirelessly. This company was later acquired by Semotus Corporation.
Kathleen Goolsby is managing editor at SandHill.com.