Let your product market and sell itself
Product-Led Growth (or PLG) is a go-to-market (GTM) strategy that puts user experience at the center of everything - your product, pricing, marketing, sales, customer engagement, buying decisions, churn, and more.
PLG is a growth model where product usage drives customer acquisition, retention, and expansion. Slack, Dropbox, AWS, Calendly, Zoom, and more, are all examples of successful companies that adopted PLG as their core strategy.
A PLG-first strategy requires a major shift in terms of people, processes, technology stack, and, above all, in the culture, as compared with the traditional Sales Led Growth (SLG) strategy.
Twin headwinds for SLG
According to ProfitWell, CACs have increased by over 55% in the last 5 years and during the same period, customer willingness to pay for features has dropped by 30%.
According to Wes Bush, author of “Product-Led Growth: How To Build a Product That Sells Itself”, product-led companies often benefit from:
- Shorter sales cycles
- Lower CACs
- Higher RPE (revenue per employee)
11 Principles for Building a PLG Culture
According to OpenView, the venture capital (VC) firm that first coined PLG in 2016, we are in an age of connected work where software has become a utility (like water & electricity) and we as users simply use it and are willing to pay for such usage.
Below are the 11 principles of PLG in this age of connected work.
Build for the end user - Software buying has shifted to end users from traditional top-down selling. Now users are discovering products, sharing them with their colleagues, and then telling their bosses what to buy.
Build to be discovered - The central tenet of PLG is that the product should market and sell for itself. Hence, you should build the product to be easily discoverable by users in the moment of their need.
Build to meet your users where they work - Modern users orchestrate various tools to get their work done. Using integrations as a core principle, you need to meet the users at their favorite place of work, be it Slack, Teams, or HubSpot.
Build for openness - Paywalls for features, sign-ups for product trials, and a lack of APIs for users to integrate your product into their context are all examples of closed systems. Make your product open by default and allow people to connect your product into their specific context.
Build for flexibility - Configurable features & menus, no-code interfaces for dashboards, and templates based on user persona are all examples of giving flexibility to users to build and customise your product to their needs.
Build community as a competitive advantage - Community-led growth is emerging as an important lever to drive growth. In a community, the users co-create the product with you, share what they like (or do not like), brag about and socially amplify your brand, and help build a unique competitive advantage for you.
Deliver instant product value - Your users should be able to experience and implement your product in the shortest possible time. In other words, the time to value should be in minutes and not days, weeks, or months.
Deliver instant customer experience - Ensure that users get their issues resolved quickly, before they turn to your competition.
Monetize after you deliver value - Asking your users to pay for features before they try them can be the kiss of death for your product. Deliver the value first, then monetize once the value has been delivered.
Monetize based on usage - In this age of connected work where software has become a utility (like water and electricity), users prefer paying for what they consume and not a fixed “rent” or monthly fee. Linking your pricing to usage or outcomes reduces your customer churn by 80%.
Monetize beyond software - The flip side of linking your pricing to usage is that your product becomes a commodity (like water or electricity). You need to build alternate sources of revenue by expanding the scope of your offerings built on the strength of your core product. Shopify in addition to the subscription fee, for example, generates revenue from financing, merchant services, shipping, fulfillment and more.
How OKRS can drive PLG?
PLG is inherently a data-driven approach to building, delivering and monetising value with product usage data at its core. Be it product qualified leads (or PQLs), or product signals or product led sales (PLS), product activated leads - product usage data plays a key role in your decision making.
OKR framework with its measurable key results approach for goal setting can help you drive PLG culture within your company.
Want to adopt Product-Led Growth as a GTM strategy?
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