With over 3.5M users, Webflow is one of the world’s leading visual web design platforms, CMS, and hosting providers for building production websites and prototypes.
Utkarsh Sengar, Director of Engineering for Growth and Ecosystems at Webflow, and his team focus on working with cross-functional partners to build Webflow’s growth strategy, from acquisition, to activation, and monetization. This includes experimentation around pricing levers, as well as the monetization infrastructure to support everything around pricing & packaging and their integration with Stripe. In Webflow’s story with Stigg, Utkarsh shares the challenges the team was facing, the reasons behind choosing Stigg, and key outcomes from this partnership so far.
Tech debt was blocking Webflow’s growth
Like every fast-growing SaaS company, Webflow was dealing with outdated infrastructure that was in the way of new pricing initiatives. Utkarsh Sengar, Director of Engineering for Growth and Ecosystems at Webflow, experienced that first-hand when we joined the company.
‘Billing 2.5’ became his first project. It was an evolution of Webflow’s pricing structure and one of their biggest pricing projects to date.
“We were meeting the pricing council every week to discuss ideas and limitations. And we had some pretty vital ideas, like usage-based pricing. Those conversations were hard because our architecture was not in the place we wanted it to be. We could only do small things, like updating the packaging and price, and adding some plans.” he remembered.
“If you’re doing some deep entitlement changes, working on the configuration was the easy part. But making sure those changes are actually working across the whole codebase of Webflow, that was extremely painful. It took us multiple rounds of testing and PR reviews with several teams. Day in and day out we were working with the billing and monetization engineers, making those micro-decisions of ‘Does this make sense?’. And then we had to deal with managing existing plans, grandfathering, and migrating them in Stripe. That was another big challenge and quite a chunk of work for us.”
On the day of the new pricing launch, Utkarsh and his team had to actively migrate customers to the new plans in Stripe. “It’s not that simple when it comes to charging real money.”
Build it vs buy it
“The moment that project was over, I knew I didn't want to do this ever again. It’s painful!”
Webflow’s legacy infrastructure stood in their way of growth. Besides limiting pricing & packaging opportunities, rolling out changes took significant time and resources from the growth engineering and ecosystem teams.
“I’ve seen this again and again.” Utkarsh said. “Almost always, monetization is an afterthought in the infrastructure, until it becomes a big issue for the company and they can’t grow further. That’s when companies invest in their monetization stack.”
“Almost always, monetization is an afterthought in the infrastructure, until it becomes a big issue for the company and they can’t grow further. That’s when companies invest in their monetization stack.”
Talking to the top 10 SaaS companies in Silicon Valley, Utkarsh found that most have built something in-house to support faster pricing iterations.
“Building a solution for Webflow in-house that can cover our current needs - some bare-bones concept of usage-based pricing and plan management, hitting abstractions with Stripe, and all the migration work - would have meant about 5 engineers working full-time for 6 months on this project. I don’t have the resources for that.”
Partnering with Stigg to build headless pricing & packaging for Webflow
Concluding that building it won’t be an option right now, Utkarsh consulted with his network and searched online to find a solution for Webflow.
“While I have a specific growth lens and understand the business needs for high-velocity experimentation and agile pricing & packaging very well, I was approaching this mainly as an engineering problem. What made Stigg stand out for me was your developer-first approach. When I looked at your technical documentation, I almost felt like I just got lucky. For all the things you were talking about I thought ‘This is literally our problem. This is exactly what we’re trying to solve.”
“Many vendors had an intense focus on usage-based billing. That’s not my reality.”
Besides being an engineering-first solution, Webflow chose Stigg as their partner, because of its headless pricing & packaging solution.
“Many vendors had an intense focus on usage-based billing. That’s not my reality.Yes, we want to support it, too. But I was looking for a solution that offers me headless pricing & packaging that has usage-based billing as a feature, but puts the same emphasis on plan management, entitlements, grandfathering, trials, etc.”
Today, Webflow is saving countless hours of development, while unblocking future growth initiatives
If the team would have had to build a simplified solution in-house, Webflow estimated around 3 full-time engineers working on this project for 6 months. “Looking back, that was probably under-estimated. As we uncover more complexities in our codebase, I guess that would have been closer to 5 full-time engineers for 6 months. And to build something like Stigg, probably one year plus for 5 engineers. I can’t even estimate that.”
As more and more Webflow team members get involved with Stigg, the feedback Utkarsh receives even surprises him. “One of our engineers just shared a message on Slack ‘This is beautiful!’”Utkarsh shares. “The engineering teams immediately see how much Stigg is going to help them with their workflows, understanding what entitlements are and how they can help them unblock themselves without having to spend so much time talking to the billing engineers … In previous conversations with stakeholder teams, like pricing and localization, we had to say ‘Sorry, we can’t support this’ to about 80% of the things they’ve asked from us. And 20% was the easy stuff. Now, the conversations have changed. Now, we can support it all. And other teams have to say ‘Slow down’. 😄 That is very empowering for all teams, that we now have this control.”
With Stigg as their partner, Utkarsh sees not only significant improvement on engineering and product velocity, but also additional business impact.
“Now I can say ‘We got this, we can support this for you.’ So, the business can focus on strategy, explore faster and learn quicker how to best expand, and not have to worry about spending 6 months on engineering work.”
“Every company entering the growth stage starts focusing on ways of expansion. Today, I was in a conversation with our monetization team. There was a tweet about us that we don’t support optimized pricing for African and Asian countries. Great suggestion. And now I can say ‘We got this, we can support this for you.’ So, the business can focus on strategy, explore faster and learn quicker how to best expand, and not have to worry about spending 6 months on engineering work.”
Ready to see what Stigg’s headless pricing & packaging can unlock for your business? Try Stigg for free or talk to us.