If you are into B2B SaaS product selling, you may use the term ‘Product-led Growth.’ The question here is, what exactly do you mean by it?
In this blog, we are going to start our journey toward product-led growth, where you will understand what exactly it means for your business and how to adopt and implement it to be successful.
Here is a quick snap of what we are going to cover in this blog:
1. What is Product-led Growth?
2. Comparing PLG to other growth models
3. Why are businesses adapting product-led growth strategies?
4. Benefits of implementing a product-led growth strategy
5. Challenges in PLG
6. How to become a product-led company
So, put on your seat belt for a long ride.
What is product-led growth?
While there is no single strategy for scaling a business, product-led growth is the go-to marketing strategy that can scale at its best. It is a methodology that holds the user acquisition conversion, expansion, and retention that is driven by the product itself.
Product led strategy
Product-led strategy is not just about marketing alone. It’s about leveraging your product to create a pipeline of active users targeted to convert into paying customers. It is a mindset and a way of thinking about the product as the centre of everything you do.
In this case, the power is shifted from buyer to end-users, which means they now demand a better experience from their tools
Although it’s rightfully associated with viral, freemium, bottom-up distribution, product-led growth is more than a simple go-to-market formula. Any company, even those selling to large enterprises or operating in niche vertical markets, can adopt PLG principles to improve user experiences and increase go-to-market efficiency.
“Did you know? – According to the Gartner, 44% of users prefer no interaction with a sales rep in a b2b landscape.”
Comparing PLG with other growth models
There are primarily three different growth models that companies used to follow. Sales-led, Marketing –led and Product-led.
The significant differences between these three models come down to internal alignment.
Sales-led companies are built to support the sales departments as they treat the sales department as the primary revenue source. So, everything they see through how they can help the sales team closes more deals and get revenue.
Marketing-led companies mainly focus on attracting and appealing the customers with their products. They mainly focus on marketing teams to get more customers through customer research and advertising strategies. Of course, sales teams are still involved in closing deals.
Product-led companies, On the other hand, product-led companies prioritize the value their product has and always focus on how their product reflects its value all by itself. Instead of keeping the budgets on outbound sales, product-led companies encourage prospects to engage with their product quickly by offering a freemium or a trial subscription. It helps prospects to learn, understand and know the value of your product by themselves and become a paying customer.
Why are businesses adapting product-led strategies?
Over the years, SaaS businesses have opted to switch from sales to product-led strategies to create value for their product and business. This is a similar strategy adopted by the many top companies like Grammarly, Slack, Dropbox, DocuSign, and others. But what makes product-led organizations stand out is how they lead with products across every department.
Businesses are choosing the product-led growth model as it is well aligned with the modern SaaS customer’s thought process and comes up with many advantages for the overall growth. The companies that we mentioned above are just a very few from the list of successful product-led companies today
Benefits of implementing a product-led growth strategy
· Eliminates dependency on the competence of salespeople to close the deals
· Reduces the friction in buying cycle
· Enables faster customer signups and upgrades
· Aligns with the organization to work through a single centralized channel
· Product planning involves every department that drives more innovation from marketing, finance, sales, and engineering teams.
Challenges in PLG adoption
Companies expecting to shift to a product-led model face the unenvious task of reorienting the entire business infrastructure around the product. Organizations have to invest in the following resources:
Provide the right balance between free value and identifying their own premium features where payment is required
Ensuring the right level of customer value to ensure purchase
Achieving a constant focus on the customer right from adoption to feedback usage
Constantly get feedback and implement the improvements
Enabling faster development cycles
Providing immediate value to ensure customers don’t drop the product
How to become a product-led company?
Any company that decides to adopt the product-led strategy is going to start its journey on a unique path. There will be differences in industry, product, resources, talent, and maturity, making it difficult to recommend one size that fits all approach.
Here are the basic steps that help you get started with a product-led growth journey:
Connecting every department and team across your organization
Internal alignment right from the executive level is a prerequisite to getting started with a product-led mindset. The resources and time must be concentrated and funneled into delivering a world-class product experience. The product-led model is not just about building the best product, but it’s all delighting the existing customers and pitching the new ones to experience the value of your product. It involves every digital facing team, marketing, customer success, analyst, and more as the product-led strategy fall not just for a product team
Determine the North Star
Identifying the north start of your product helps in the intersection of customer value and business value that your product provides. Setting up the focus with a North Star will help your product teams deliver the improvements that are needed in your product rather than becoming a feature repository.
Make behaviour analytics the center
Making data-driven decisions based on user behaviour plays a crucial role in product-led growth. Behaviour analytics helps track every interaction between the product and its users Digital events like abandoning a cart or skipping a feature reveal what users find value and what they don’t.
In turn, behavioural product analytics helps in showing exactly how to improve the user journey and helps in personalizing the product experience to the users. Marketing and customer success teams should utilize the integrations to send messages to users. If you are serious about product-led, it is important that your business should invest in an event-based analytics platform.
Monitoring the metrics related to prospects like how they are finding your product and converting to users. In the acquisition phase, tracking the major indicators like signups and qualified leads helps you identify of various opportunities and challenges with lead generation. After all, the lowering of CAC is the central component of the PLG model. The main objective of the PLG company is to get the CAS as close to zero as possible.
Sales and marketing-led approaches can sometimes fall into the trap of prioritizing the acquisition over retention. The success of any marketing campaign is measured in leads generated, while sales teams' success is calculated by the number of deals that are closed successfully. This creates a culture that often overemphasizes the generation of new customers and delights the existing customers.
The product-led companies succeed based on the continued usage of the product by satisfied customers. It places extra emphasis on retention efforts across teams and departments. Even if you convert all freemium users to paid, it won’t matter unless they stick around with the product.
The product-led growth models affect how you think about your product, your customers, and their interaction. Your product may be the strongest point or the weakest one that reflects your overall success in the product-led strategy. Clear-cut goals, strategies, and implementations are a must before you jump into the product-led model. Make sure your product is efficient for a product-led model, as the product which can solve the customer pain points is the major factor in product-led growth model success in your business.