Automattic has acquired Zero BS CRM, a free plugin with more than 30 commercial extensions that provide deeper integrations with third-party services. Zero BS was co-founded by a two-person team that includes Mike Stott and Woody Hayday. The team marketed the plugin as a “no-nonsense CRM” and have been operating it with a successful subscription-based model for bundles of extensions.
With just 1,000 active installs on WordPress.org, Zero BS was not previously a very well-known plugin but it caught Automattic’s attention based on the strength of the product.
“Automattic reached out to us after being a happy customer,” Stott said. Former Automattic executive John Maeda had used Zero BS CRM and recommended it to the company. Stott said the main appeal for the acquisition was “strong advocacy of the product.”
It started with a support ticket Zero BS CRM received from a user, asking about Mail Campaigns and how best to set up sequences for customers.
“What we didn’t realize was this user was linked to Automattic, and was becoming a strong advocate for our product within the company,” Stott said. “What followed was a series of conversations with leaders from different parts of Automattic.”
Talks regarding the deal began in February and carried on at WordCamp Europe 2019 in Berlin.
Jetpack CRM is a Strong Consideration for Rebranding
Zero BS CRM will be rebranded as the team comes under the Automattic umbrella. The original name was somewhat polarizing in that potential customers either loved it or hated it.
Although the product’s founders have built extensions that connect WooCommerce stores to a CRM, Stott said the acquisition was not driven by Zero BS’s potential use with WooCommerce specifically.
“Variants will fit in well to Woo, Jetpack, as well as serving the standalone market,” Stott said. “If our users outgrow us, we will want to help them find the next step (similar to the Basecamp model).”
Yahoo Finance is reporting that Automattic will be rebranding the product as “Jetpack CRM,” but Stott said that has not been confirmed yet. He said Jetpack CRM is “the favorite so far internally but still open to discussion.” This may be a strong indication of what Automattic intends to do with the product.
Stott said they are not looking to compete against the likes of Salesforce or Hubspot but rather are focused on providing the basic concepts of a CRM – “knowing who your customers are, getting leads, and helping businesses grow.”
The Entrepreneur bundle is Zero BS’s most popular pricing plan, which includes all of the extensions and priority support for $17 per month, billed yearly. It accounts for approximately 75% of the company’s ARR. Stott said they do not have plans to stop the subscription model and will continue with their current pricing.
“We had planned to increase the price with v3.0 because with the updates and mail campaigns we felt we weren’t charging enough for the product,” Stott said. “But we’ve also found a good price point and Automattic didn’t want to change what was already working price wise.”
Next on the roadmap the team plans one of their most requested features: smart inbox linked to CRM data. They are aiming to release version 3.0 in September.
“I’m excited to reach more customers and just keep on building to help people and SMBs achieve the best they can,” Stott said.