Why and How Businesses Should Embrace Product-Led Growth
Product-led growth (PLG) is all the rage — and for good reason. Gartner predicts that 80% of B2B interactions between buyers and sellers will take place on digital channels by 2025. That is just three years away, which means if you aren’t already investing in PLG, you’re way behind. Best-in-class customer experiences, like those from Uber, set the expectations for customers to have the ability to self-serve. They are conditioned to try and buy on their own.
For SaaS organizations especially, PLG can open up new revenue channels, giving you a competitive advantage by making it easy for customers to understand the value of your product. PLG becomes an efficient, no-touch way to scale revenue, affording customers the ability to self-serve and self-select without being weighed down by a traditional sales cycle. This is driven by a strong partnership between marketing and product. The benefits can be tremendous: expanded market reach, lowered acquisition costs, increased conversion rates, and scale that isn’t limited to sales headcount growth.
In my experience working with companies of all sizes — from startups to large corporations — I have seen many teams struggle to implement a PLG strategy. I’ve also seen many teams succeed. What’s the difference? Three things: data, iteration, collaboration. In my experience, successful practitioners share a commitment to using data to find out how, when, why, and for how long customers engage. They then use that information to continuously iterate on the user experience to keep prospects engaged. They closely collaborate across product, marketing, and sales to deliver the right selling experience based on the customer’s needs.
Ready to embark on your PLG journey? Follow these principles to make the most of your efforts.
Track User Behavior in Real Time
A PLG strategy is user driven: it relies on building products that meet consumers’ emotional and material needs. By using analytics to analyze behaviors in real time and understand the entire customer journey, you can quickly see where the product is and is not meeting your customers’ needs.
The key is doing this in real time. PLG teams need to know how customers adopt their product, and how they use it. If you’re waiting months (or even weeks!) for data, you just can’t improve things quickly enough to keep up. The PLG world moves quickly, and the faster you can iterate, the quicker you’ll be able to scale.
Insights on What You Can’t See
Teams with successful PLG strategies don’t just look at individual moments in the user journey. They make sure that they have a clear, full view of the entire experience. They get a view that shows them not only how consumers move through the steps teams know about — they find a way to see the moments that trip users up, but that they weren’t aware of.
PLG, when done right, needs to focus on eliminating friction everywhere. But in many products. friction lives in all the places teams aren’t looking: in form fills, in intermediate steps in the funnel, in alternate paths users take. The teams that come out ahead are those that work to make sure they can excavate these moments of friction, even in places they’d never expect.
The quicker and more thoroughly you can address these issues, the greater opportunity to increase conversions and ROI.
Breaking Down Silos
PLG forces new kinds of collaboration. It changes how marketing, product, sales teams, etc. — all of which touch the customer journey — have to work together.
For marketers especially, PLG provides an opportunity to streamline the customer journey and improve the customer experience. By transforming the digital experience, and showing customers that they are a top priority by giving them a product they want to use, marketers can help drive business results without having to create pages and pages of precisely targeted marketing materials.
In the digital world, things move fast. It’s our job as marketers to keep up with the constant change. Start with data and collaboration, and you’ll give your entire company a headstart on using PLG to impact the business.
Lynn Girotto is CMO at Heap.