product-led growth

Is Your Product Right for Product Led Growth?

Editor’s Note: Product led growth is a go-to-market strategy propelling the rapid expansion of companies like Slack, Dropbox and Expensify. In fact, we’re seeing it as the primary driver behind many of the companies OpenView has invested in most recently.

We feel this strategy is so important to SaaS companies looking to scale, we’re ungating our Product Led Growth Playbook, which features advice on how to implement a PLG strategy in your own company. You can access the full book here and read the eight characteristics of PLG companies below.


There are primarily eight characteristics that product led growth companies embody. Without following at least some of these eight qualities, it is extremely difficult to make a PLG strategy work for your current product or company. These eight characteristics are:

1. The product market conditions are right for the strategy.

When it comes to implementing a product led growth strategy, the right market conditions are imperative. The market enables product led growth when:

  • Marginal costs of serving each user are low
  • The user plays the additional role of being the buyer, or one of the buyers, of the product, or the users have reasonable influence over the buyer(s)
  • The known solutions in the market are inadequate for user needs

2. The value of the product is perceived by the user as being a unique “highest-value-product” that they want to use regularly.

  • The product allows the user to achieve their daily tasks with more efficiency
  • The experience can be personalized for the individual user

3. The user realizes significant ongoing value quickly and easily with little-to-no help from company personnel.

  • The product integrates easily into other products in the user’s product ecosystem
  • It is very clear what the product does and requires little explanation
  • Users can use the product without creating an account
  • The initial value is real, not a “demo account” with “dummy data”

4. The product “paywalls” follow, rather than lead, the actual value that the user receives and pricing scales as usage increases and more value is delivered.

  • A free product is offered to show value and build credibility as part of the sales process
  • As user needs become more sophisticated, customer success and direct sales are deployed to complement the sales process

5. The product has features that allow the product to market, sell and onboard new users.

  • Users have a strong incentive to invite others to use the product and the user of the product can easily invite other users to use the product (viral potential)
  • The product automatically communicates through non-product communication channels (for example email, push notifications, text, etc.) to deliver additional value and bring the user back into the product
  • The product monitors user behavior and makes ongoing recommendations to the user to provide additional value
  • Users can connect with other users to exchange ideas from within the product

6. Marketing aims to engage users with the product rather than engaging buyers with a sales team.

  • Users often discover the product when looking to solve a problem
  • Users have great places to learn and exchange ideas with other users and potential users (for example through content marketing, online forums, Meetups, online training and so forth)

7. The product has a built-in network effect.

  • The more people using the product in a network or company, the more valuable it becomes
  • If it’s a platform, the more services you connect to it, the stronger the value

8. There is a strong product champion within companies using the product to drive greater adoption.

If your company embodies the above eight characteristics, you should be using a product led growth strategy to grow product adoption. In fact, a PLG strategy can impact how you think about marketing, product optimization, pricing and sales. Read OpenView’s on to learn how to implement a PLG strategy in your company.

Ready for more product led growth content? You can access OpenView’s Product Led Growth Playbook here.

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