SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie answers questions about enterprise opportunities and post-IPO competition

SurveyMonkey Zander Lurie
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It’s probably the one question SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie doesn’t need his own product to answer: when he asks customers about their potential interest in a more collaborative, team-oriented version of the firm’s software, the reply is almost always the same.

“They’ll say, ‘Wow, I didn’t realize you had that,” Lurie told B2B Network, speaking by phone amid the opening of SurveyMonkey’s new office in Ottawa. “There are thousands of people using our individual, self-serve product, but when we introduce ourselves to procurement, IT and so on, we need to explain that we also have an enterprise-grade solution that provides single sign-on and enterprise domain lockdown and admin controls. This is largely a sales operation to move these big footprint that we have onto that enterprise platform.”

SurveyMonkey Ottawa Zander Lurie
SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie was on hand for the opening of the firm’s new Ottawa office this week.

According to Lurie, the footprint is comprised of more than 16 million active users and over 600,000 paying users across more than 300,000 organizational domains, including an estimated 98 per cent of the Fortune 500. That said, SurveyMonkey shares plunged earlier this week when one of its competitors, Qualtrics, announced faster growth in its filing for an initial public offering (IPO). Lurie said SurveyMonkey, which had its own IPO last month and has been marketing itself under a theme dubbed ‘Power The Curious,’ isn’t going to be distracted by noise from investors and financial analysts.

“I love the position we’re competing from,” he said, citing a cumulative 47 billion questions that have been answered on its platform to date. “We created the category for survey software, we’re one of the only leaders in product development. Inside of organizations our products are being used to collect mission-critical data every day. Now it’s about making it enterprise-ready.”

The self-service SurveyMonkey product has tended to enter organizations informally through an individual in marketing or some other function, but the company has long recognized there would be more than one person taking advantage of its technology.

“People would share their passwords, or put them on Post-it Notes. We never really enforced our terms of service,” Lurie said, adding that enterprises can enjoy greater collaboration and, ultimately, create better surveys with features it has since introduced. “On the enterprise side we’re investing in sales and marketing to go to market with a product set that will meet the most stringent requirements of banks and other regulated  companies.”

Besides achieving GDPR compliance in May, SurveyMonkey has also been building out its international data center footprint to stay ahead of other privacy legislation that may emerge, Lurie said. The additional IT infrastructure strength should also make its product faster to use, and SurveyMonkey’s future appears to extend far beyond its headquarters — Lurie said 35 per cent of its growth is coming from outside the U.S.

Having joined the firm approximately two and a half years ago, Lurie wants SurveyMonkey to capitalize on the interest among B2B firms to use analytics to achieve business objectives. While he showed little interest in offering professional services beyond a traditional customer success team, he said SurveyMonkey has added integrations with everything from IBM Watson to Salesforce. It’s SurveyMonkey Genius, meanwhile, offers automated recommendations on question writing and survey structure.

While adoption patterns vary, Lurie said some of the biggest opportunities for SurveyMonkey are in marketing, HR and IT, whether its “voice of the “customer” research (where its customers include Box), market research or gathering data about employee satisfaction and engagement. That includes looking internally at the firm’s own employees, according to Lurie, who said HR is his No. 1 priority now that SurveyMonkey has gone public.

“We believe that curious people deserve an opportunity to learn and grow and bring their best selves to work,” he said. “We have to measure, benchmark and act on that to be successful. Hopefully no organization uses it better than we do.”

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Shane Schick

Shane Schick

Shane Schick is the Editor-in-Chief of B2B News Network. He is the former Editor-in-Chief of Marketing magazine and has also been Vice-President, Content & Community (Editor-in-Chief), at IT World Canada, a technology columnist with the Globe and Mail and was the founding editor of ITBusiness.ca. Shane has been recognized for journalistic excellence by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and the Canadian Online Publishing Awards.