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Pluralsight Idea Proposal (PS)

Pluralsight Idea Proposal (PS)
 

Is Pluralsight a must-have enterprise learning tool or a nice-to-have option?

Report Available: January 29, 2020

 

Blueshift’s initial research found PS, a provider of cloud-based technical training software for employees, working to recover from its Q2 sales execution issues. After wowing investors following its May 2018 IPO with huge revenue growth and expanding margins, PS suffered a significant decline in its billings growth rate. To rectify the sales issues, PS hired new sales leadership, additional sales reps, and invested in sales support as well. Restoration of its billing growth rate is a key priority for PS, much of will be determined based on whether enterprises view PS as a must-have tool or simply a nice-to-have option.

Observations

  1. Since its founding in 2004, PS has developed into a leading SaaS enterprise-focused technology education platform. The company provides high-quality technical skill assessment and training to help close an enterprise’s technology skills gap. PS products are designed to allow an organization to index tech skills and upskill its employees. By partnering with over 1,500 technology experts who author over 7,000 self-directed courses, PS has found an effective solution to technology education that has attracted 70% of Fortune 500 companies as clients.
  2. The online education market is immense and growing. An industry study reported that the worldwide online education market is expected to reach $350 billion by 2025. PS has estimated that its portion of that opportunity is about a $48 billion market. This market is fueled by a massive technology skills gap among enterprise employees, a shortage of trained software developers and tech workers, and a need for tech professionals to retrain every 12 to 18 months. PS is well positioned to capture a significant amount of this TAM provided its services are considered essential and needed during both a strong and weak economy.
  3. Despite the incredible market opportunity and PS’s post-IPO success, the company suffered what it called sales execution challenges, causing its billings growth rate to drop from 41% in Q1 to 23% in Q2. PS said that it did not have enough sales coverage to service its high-growth expectations. It has since invested in sales operations, customer support, and sales enablement. PS also hired a new high-profile CRO Ross Meyercord, former Executive Vice President of Sales for Salesforce, to rectify its shortcomings and sustain an annual growth rate above 30%.
  4. PS’s Q3 results missed expectations but showed some billings growth improvement. Third quarter revenue grew 34% period over period to $82.6 million and billings grew 28% to $92.1 million. CEO and co-founder Aaron Skonnard said, “We had a solid quarter and improved many of our growth metrics demonstrating that the operational improvements we put into motion at the beginning of the quarter are working. I’m happy with the progress we made in the quarter, and recognize we still have work to  do.” PS confirmed full year guidance of revenue in the range of $314 million to $316 million.

 

Are PS subscriptions considered essential or discretionary? Are enterprise budgets expanding for IT educational services like PS. How quickly will PS subscriptions be cut from the enterprise budget in a downturn? Are PS’s authors’ courses proprietary/exclusive? How does PS’s course content compare to competitors? What is the author turnover rate? Do popular authors have price control? How is the new sales effort progressing? How is the new CRO performing? How is the sales rep comp plan? Is the sales team happy or is there significant turnover? How are same-customer-sales trending? Are clients renewing their subscriptions? To answer these and other questions, Blueshift will gather data and issue a market research report from independent sources in the following areas: Enterprise HR/CIO/CTO/CFO executives, Course authors, Competitors, Sales channel, and Industry specialists.  

 

Companies: Pluralsight Inc. (PS), Alphabet Inc. (GOOG/GOOGL), Cornerstone OnDemand Inc. (CSOD), Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)

 

Research Begins: January 13, 2020

 

To see other ideas Blueshift Research is currently working on, please click here.

 

Blueshift Research’s sister company, Intro-act, has launched the Intro-act Scorecard, the C-suite’s standard, ongoing measure of corporate investor engagement.

 

The Scorecard optimizes the ROI on corporate access by measuring: Concentration, Directionality, Breadth, Impact, Depth, and Duration

 

See the sample Scorecard. Watch the Scorecard video.