How Modal uses Attio to accelerate product-led growth

A conversation with:

Margaret Shen
Margaret ShenHead of Business Operations


Modal was struggling to align their product-led growth (PLG) motion with HubSpot’s inflexible data model, leading to inefficiencies and a lack of visibility into key customer data.


Use Attio as the central foundation for their product and customer data, on top of which they build high-impact workflows to drive PLG.


  • An automations engine which accelerates their PLG motion
  • A CRM which reflects their data structures and deeply integrates with their stack
  • An efficient and collaborative tool which scales with their business

Modal's story

In 2021, Erik Bernhardsson started a project to build a simple way to deploy arbitrary workloads to the cloud, without the hassle of managing infrastructure.

His goal was to create a tool that would allow him to iterate on ideas faster, without getting bogged down in the complexities of Kubernetes clusters, containers and hardware requirements.

What began as a convenient solution for himself quickly turned into Modal, a serverless computer platform that makes it easy for developers to launch and manage compute-intensive tasks, particularly those related to AI and ML. They raised a $16m Series A just last year, and have thousands of users, including companies like Ramp, Substack, and Suno.

“Modal is an infrastructure product which aims to make it really easy for developers to launch arbitrary cloud workloads, particularly those that are very compute intensive,” says Margaret Shen, Head of Business Operations at Modal. “We work especially closely with teams building AI products or features, and help them to fine-tune and deploy their machine learning models.”

PLG hindered by HubSpot

The dream of every PLG startup is to have a centralized place that tracks both product and customer data, so that GTM teams can get detailed insight into every user, identify PQLs, build personal customer relationships, and reduce churn.

Like many startups, Modal tried using HubSpot to unify their data, but they struggled to build a CRM which actually represented their business.

“It was really difficult to set up HubSpot to reflect our data structure,” says Margaret. “The way it represents different objects and relationships felt really clunky, and we quickly ended up with a CRM cluttered with all sorts of floating records, duplicate companies, and mismatches between records.”

HubSpot’s lack of flexibility also created issues for Modal. “As a PLG business, the notion of workspaces is really key for us to track product data. HubSpot does not have native support for that type of data. Trying to create a workaround was so confusing that we could never quite figure out how to set it up in an optimal way,” says Margaret.

Given the huge expense of HubSpot and the hassle of trying to force PLG motion to fit its data structures, Modal knew they needed to find a CRM that could truly represent their business.

The Attio moment

When Modal heard about Attio, they were immediately excited by the prospect of a modern CRM.

“When I first opened Attio, I instantly got the feeling that this was the start of the next generation of CRM,” says Margaret.

Margaret was thoroughly impressed by Attio’s powerful data model. “For there to be such a powerful and flexible object relational system was incredible. It finally felt like I could configure our CRM to fit our business needs, rather than the other way around,” says Margaret.

Modal also loved the product design. “Attio is so sleek and modern that it’s ultimately just a delight to work in. I genuinely feel happy when I’m in the product, which is almost unheard of in the CRM space.”

How Modal uses Attio

Modal uses Attio as the central engine for their PLG motion. “Attio gives us confidence that we have a strong foundation of customer data that we can trust, which enables us to build very high leverage, high impact workflows and automations to drive our GTM motion.”

A single source of truth for customer and product data

The native Workspaces object has enabled Margaret to rapidly tailor Attio to fit Modal’s data model.

“Our whole product revolves around the notion of workspaces, so for there to be native support for this was game-changing,” says Margaret. “Being able to intuitively establish one-to-many and many-to-many relationships is crucial to making our data clean and understandable.”

Modal uses Attio’s native Segment integration to ensure their CRM is constantly up-to-date with the latest product data.

“We use Segment to pull in all of our workspace information, and then associate this with the correct companies and people. We’ve also been importing various product intent signals, such as usage data, to help us identify and preemptively reach out to churn risk accounts. Being able to map and transform this data so easily has drastically improved our retention rates,” says Margaret.

Automate, iterate, and accelerate

Using Automations, Modal has built a number of workflows on top of Attio to power their lead generation.

“We’re constantly using Attio to identify users who may be willing to upgrade their account, or customers from key companies that we’d like to offer more direct support,” says Margaret. “Using workflows, we’ve been able to turn this process into an engine for growth.”

As a result, Modal has now built a range of automated workflows around Attio, which are deeply integrated with their stack. By drawing on Attio as their single source of truth, they can proactively engage with warm leads in a far more efficient way.

“Attio’s data enrichment capabilities make it really easy to identify potential leads. We have a number of workflows to filter leads by enriched attributes, such as Funding raised and Estimated ARR, and product usage data, which enables us to conduct highly targeted and customized outreach,” says Margaret.

By automating these processes in Attio, Modal can prioritize more strategic initiatives to accelerate their growth.

The center of their GTM stack

In addition to the native Segment integration, Modal has also worked with the Attio API to build some of their own integrations.

“Attio’s API documentation is incredibly thorough and intuitive, which made it easy to write integrations to other tools in our stack,” says Margaret. “For example, I’ve set up an integration with our email campaign platform, Loops, which enables us to trigger marketing campaigns based off of people I’ve identified in Attio.”

Modal has also linked Tally, a form builder, to their Attio workspace. “Using the webhook of Tally I can instantly send events over to Attio, which ingests the people who have completed the form into a list. This makes it really easy for me to process and act on this data,” says Margaret.

Scaling up alongside Attio

Modal sees Attio playing a key role in driving their future growth. “The product is continually evolving–you can see distinct improvements on a month by month basis, which you just don’t get with the incumbents,” says Margaret.

For Modal, Attio has been incredibly influential at getting the team on the same page and accelerating their PLG motion.

“To see the whole team, including the co-founders, be excited about Attio is incredible,” says Margaret. “Everyone is noticeably bought into the product, and actually happy to look at data in Attio, add notes, create lists, and interact with the platform as a whole. I’ve never seen people so engaged in a CRM.”

“We’re looking forward to building more workflows on top of Attio, and integrating it even more deeply with the rest of our stack. I’m excited to see the product evolve in the years to come, and have faith in Attio’s ability to scale with Modal as we grow.”

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