An Inside Look Into PLG From Leaders Who Are Doing It Right

When it comes to growing a successful business, it helps to learn from the best.

Believe me when I say that I could sit here all day and rattle off all the reasons I believe that product-led growth (PLG) is the future of SaaS. But I figured it might be all the more powerful to hand the mic to the people who successfully implemented this strategy in their businesses—and are now reaping the benefits. 

We sourced PLG wisdom from some of the smartest people in SaaS, ranging from department heads to CEO/founders. Here’s what they had to say:  

What is your definition of PLG?

Product-led growth is anytime that your prospect or customer interacts with your product before making a decision. This can be in the form of a freemium, free trial, product tour, demo center, etc.

Jorge Soto, Head of Partnerships & Community, Reprise

 

In PLG, the product itself is the primary vector for customer acquisition, growth, and retention. Contrast this to a traditional model where growth is driven by marketing/lead-generation activities and followed by sales outreach. In PLG, the model is flipped: Customers can access the solution without barriers to entry and begin using it to solve problems before being asked to provide any payment information.

Solutions best-suited for PLG inspire viral adoption. That is, a single user or small user group begins using the solution and realizes value. This causes the users to recommend the solution to other colleagues and adoption grows. As adoption grows, the value being delivered to the solution increases in a direct relationship.

Puneet Gupta, Founder & CEO, Amberflo.io

 

Product-led growth is a go-to-market strategy that puts your product at the core of everything your company does. This means that people are easily able to get started using your product if they so choose, and that all of your team, including marketing, sales, product, engineering, and customer success are aligned and focused on getting your customers to value as quickly as possible—think Slack, Calendly, Expensify*, Dropbox, etc.

Breezy Beaumont, Head of Growth, Correlated

 

How do you tell the story of a product?

Compellingly describe the problem the product solves: Why is it a problem? Why aren’t the current methods of overcoming it working? Introduce the solution: Explain how it is well-suited to solve the problem. Prove value: Communicate the outcomes from using the solution. How will it benefit you? How has it benefited other customers? The more specific and data-backed these answers can be, the stronger the message will come across.

Puneet Gupta, Founder & CEO, Amberflo.io

 

A great technique is to assume the persona of your end-user, articulate their problem and showcase how your product solves that problem end-to-end. In the world of pre-sales, this is often known as the “tell-show-tell” method. In this way, you can highlight core features in the context of why they would be valuable to the end-user.

Neil McLean, Co-Founder & CEO, Navattic

 

I think of telling the story of a product in two parts. First, it’s the PLG motion where the user gets to craft their own story of the product for their own specific use case based on their initial engagement. They might hunt the internet for a solution, find a product solving their exact problem in an elegant way, and self-serve onto the free version. The user loved this experience because it was a frictionless and efficient way to experience the value of a product. They are the storytellers here—they craft the narrative for how the product added value to their life and may even share that story with their friends and colleagues. 

Then there is the product-led sales motion where a salesperson gets to help guide the story of the product. There are always opportunities for end-users to realize more value out of the product whether that means they try new features, explore additional use cases, or invite teammates. The salesperson is responsible for helping the end-user get to additional value of the product by telling a customizable story to their specific needs.

Alexa Grabell, CEO, Pocus

 

What do you predict for PLG in 2022?

PLG will further be applicable to all aspects of the funnel—from top of the funnel in marketing to the bottom of the post-sales funnel.

Jorge Soto, Head of Partnerships & Community, Reprise

 

PLG vendors will continue to proliferate in 2022, fueled by rising customer expectations and a more difficult economic climate, and equipped with more optimized technology and best practices to enable usage-based pricing and other business transformation initiatives that are strongly aligned with PLG.

Puneet Gupta, Founder & CEO, Amberflo.io

 

2022 is going to be the year of communities in PLG and other verticals in tech.

José C. Cortizo, CMO, Product Hackers

 

*Expensify and Calendly are OpenView portfolio companies

 

Alexa Horwitz
Alexa Horwitz
Community Manager at OpenView

Alexa builds and engages OpenView’s community of founders and CEOs through social media, events and our podcast. Prior to joining OpenView, Alexa was on the brand and non-consumer communications teams at Wayfair. She led content initiatives and marketing efforts for Wayfair’s suppliers, employees, and consumers.
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