My Product Isn’t Designed for PLG: How Can My Business Become Product-Led?
With the explosion of product-led growth (PLG), many companies are critically evaluating what it means for their go-to-market strategy. Many products are well suited to a free trial/freemium motion, while others may have the following considerations to work around:
- My product is a feature-rich enterprise product and it may be confusing to users without proper training
- My product has extensive integrations/setup required for users to see value
- My product touches sensitive data, which users are reluctant to share without company sign-off
That may be true for your SaaS product, but it’s important to remember product-led growth isn’t about offering customers a free trial of your product. And it isn’t a job title, like “growth lead.” It’s an organization-wide strategy that puts end-user needs first.
3 Ways To Incorporate Product-Led Growth Tactics Without a Trial/Freemium Option
Even if a trial or freemium option isn’t on the near-term roadmap, it’s critical to evaluate how you can incorporate product-led growth tactics into your organization.
Why? Building a customer-centric product is a strong competitive advantage. When customer-facing teams are fluent in the product, they can meaningfully share feature requests and help create a tight feedback loop with engineering teams.
Additionally, access to product and pricing information early in the customer journey is increasingly becoming a requisite. In fact, a majority of the modern software evaluation process occurs before a team even talks with sales. Teams that truly understand today’s customer can build trust, increase prospect engagement, and shorten sales cycles.
Let’s explore some different ways we can incorporate product-led tactics, even if your product isn’t designed for product-led growth.
1. Company-wide centricity around the product
An important PLG tenet is empowering all customer-facing teams to focus on the value of the product. Here are some tactical ways teams are incorporating this value into their day-to-day operations.
Empower all teams to share and track product & customer feedback – Empower all team members to flag and upvote feature requests in a shared document, kanban board, or a dedicated feedback management tool. Advanced implementation of this allows teams to tie won/lost deals to specific product features. By doing so, teams are empowered to incorporate customer feedback and positively contribute to the product’s direction.
Offer company-wide product training – Ensure all customer-facing teams have access to the latest product training and updates. This could take the form of a monthly product update call with the product management team. During this call, product managers could share the latest features, solicit feedback from internal teams, and review in-scope features for upcoming quarters. This helps maintain a central product alignment across the organization.
Ensure customer-facing teams are product-certified – As a company scales, there’s a tendency for employees to become more distant from the product. Some front-line sellers may even shy away from performing basic product demos.
To counter this “product fear”, internal teams can offer a product certification as a component of the sales onboarding process. Before interfacing with customers, require employees to have a basic fluency with the platform. This, coupled with continuous training across the go-to-market organization, is an excellent way to ensure all team members are knowledgeable about the product when talking with customers.
Provide a public-facing roadmap – One way to provide clarity and alignment around the product is to offer a public-facing roadmap. In addition to the expected benefits (transparency into upcoming features, internal and external clarity on product direction), teams have also reported an increased accountability to customer requests.
Interested in implementing a public-facing roadmap? We’ve seen companies take two main approaches:
- Granular Feature Requests – Allow customers to view and prioritize feature requests.
Example: Front’s public roadmap details a slew of features—across key product pillars—that are slated for release in the current quarter. Releases shipped in past quarters are also highlighted for transparency. To aid in prioritization, they encourage customers to vote on upcoming features. This not only allows Front to quantitatively track what features are most important to customers, but it also helps strengthen customer relationships by encouraging them to directly contribute to the product’s direction.
- Guiding Product Priorities – Provide a set of foundational principles that guide upcoming product development. For example, on PostHog’s public-facing roadmap page, we can clearly see their short-term and medium-term company vision articulated. They’ve also provided insight into guiding roadmap priorities for the rest of this year.
Internal and external users alike can easily understand that a majority of features developed will revolve around causal analysis, collaboration, scalability and capabilities for experimentation.
2. Offer transparent, upfront pricing
A key part of building a strong end-user experience is empowering buyers with pricing information to ensure there’s budget alignment. An effective way to achieve this is through a public-facing pricing page. We’ve seen companies take this approach, even if they have high ACVs. This transparency creates trust to strengthen the buyer-seller relationship and puts the end-user in the driver’s seat to choose their own path forward in the sales process.
Here are a few companies that have taken this approach:
Example 1: MadKudu Pricing Page
Example 2: Cube Software Pricing Page
Like many areas of product-led growth, building a pricing page relies on a close alignment between internal teams, largely sales and marketing in this case. Let’s look a few ways sales and marketing can collaborate to bring this to fruition:
- Share a list of commonly asked questions around pricing so marketing can build an FAQs section into the pricing page
- Set up appropriate lead routing based on plan type and company size.
- Develop marketing copy on the pricing page that reinforces the value your product provides to customers. Many teams also include logos and customer quotes to provide further validation.
- Setup conversion tracking (through Google Analytics or a product analytics tool) so you can quantitatively assess the impact of the pricing page rollout
If your pricing model is still under development, enable go-to-market teams to share pricing on the first call. On the website or not, don’t leave buyers 3-weeks deep into an evaluation, only to find there is a deal-stopping budget misalignment.
3. Decouple product access from the demo
A final, but equally critical tactic is allowing prospects to easily see and experience the product throughout their buying journey.
If your sales team uses outbound tactics, encourage them to share product information in the very first email. On the website, include a demo video, interactive product tour or gif to allow users to easily understand how your product works. Share news of latest releases in blog posts and LinkedIn updates. As a guiding strategy, allow prospects to easily understand how your product works at all stages of the buying journey.
Why is this important? On the buyer side, it helps them easily assess whether the product is the right fit for their needs. Vendors also experience quicker sales cycles when buyers come to the first call with an understanding of how the product works, leaving time to dive into use-case specific questions.
As many sales-led companies seek product-led growth, there isn’t a one-size fits all solution. In reality, finding the right journey to product-led growth will be hyper-personalized to the needs of each organization.
I’d love to hear additional tactics that you’ve found helpful, as well as your thoughts and feedback. Feel free to reach out to me on Linkedin.