'Is PLG the next big revolution for the SaaS industry and B2B companies?'
'Is your company following the Product-Led Growth model or is it still a Sales-Led growth model?'
'Wow! Look at that brand dropping big bombs with their PLG strategy!'
'Is your entire team ready for PLG strategy? It's already 2023!'
Ufff! Catch your breath, folks. No one can deny the crowning of PLG strategies to take your business to the next level. The hype is real! A report by HubSpot mentions that the adoption of PLG has been up by 20% over the last three years as we thrive in the Age of Connected Work. PLG strategies skyrocket business growth!
If you're still struggling to understand the impact of PLG, here are 10 SaaS Product-led Growth companies that aced the product-led growth strategy. Read on to also find interesting advice from Product Leaders and proven tips to do Product-Led Growth work for you.
A Quick Refresher on What Product-Led Growth Is
Product-led growth (PLG) is a business strategy in which the product takes the lead ias driver of customer acquisition, activation, retention, and expansion. This approach places the product at the center of the organization's focus for sustainability and scalability rather than relying on marketing team or sales team. Essentially, the product itself becomes the primary means of achieving growth, and its design and functionality are optimized to deliver a self-sustaining growth cycle.
10 Examples of SaaS Product-Led-Growth Companies
Here are 10 SaaS companies that have effectively implemented a product-led SaaS growth strategy and turned out to be the wizards that we draw inspiration from.
Yes! Your friendly neighborhood Calendly is a perfect example of a PLG company useful tool for scheduling meetings and the company employs less than 250 individual users.
It is a unicorn company worth $3 billion, having amassed more than $100 million in revenue 🚀
What we like about Calendly’s PLG Strategy:
- At Calendly, they employed a consistent K-factor corresponding to the number of invitations dispatched. Whenever users utilize the platform, they effectively extend an invitation to others, giving Calendly an opportunity to offer our solutions for their scheduling needs. Perfect for building network effects!
- Offering the Freemium plan worked wonders for Calendly. They allowed users to schedule meetings for FREE with up to one event type. This attracted a large user base and increased their visibility.
It’s not unfair to say Canva is a household name now. With Canva, every one of us felt like we are ready to be crowned as the best creative designer!
In 2020, Canva reported average revenue of $500 million, a more than 130% growth compared to the previous year.
What we like about Canva’s PLG Strategy:
- The first rule of PLG is - Appeal to your customer's emotions. Canva did exactly that! Their positioning revolves around the democratization of design and user experience, as evidenced by its mission statement to empower individuals worldwide to design anything and publish it anywhere.
- Delivers value blazingly fast - Curious about how long it takes to build a Christmas card on Canva? We timed it, and the answer may surprise you - even without an account, the process takes just 52 seconds! That's all it takes to access the website, select a template, customize it to your liking, and export the finished product to your desktop. With Canva, you can go from discovery to design to value in just over half a minute.
Datadog is the most adored contemporary monitoring platform for the ever-expanding cloud infrastructure by developers worldwide.
With an annual revenue of over half a billion dollars and a grand IPO, Datadog is a shining example of how product-led approach can scale to the enterprise! 🌟
What we like about Datadog’s PLG Strategy:
- Getting started with Datadog is a breeze - simply click "Get Started Free" on their website, provide some basic information, and you're ready to go! Within a matter of minutes, you'll be up and running, making the most of all that Datadog has to offer.
- Uses viral loops technique that encourages users to invite their colleagues to join the platform. For example, you can share dashboards or alerts with others, which helps to increase adoption and expand the user base.
Candidately is a client portal platform for BullHorn where candidate submissions are made lightning-fast and helps make placement instant.
The strategic investment from Bullhorn Ventures reflects the potential of Candidately and its PLG motion!
What we like about Candidately’s PLG Strategy:
- Tapped into the unexplored category of a good CRM for recruiters and has the simplest onboarding process
- They have an interactive demo embedded on their website to instantly prove the value of their product.
- The tour not only highlighted the key product actions, including the ability to locate potential candidates, manage resumes online, share with companies, and incorporate their staffing agency's branding, but also aided potential clients in making faster and more informed decisions, leading to a Eureka moment.
Toplyne is a plug-and-play SaaS platform that helps businesses monetize their product-led growth strategies.
In 2022, Toplyne revenue run rate hit $4.4M in revenue.
What we like about Toplyne’s PLG Strategy:
- Toplyne decided to guide prospects through their product demo. With just a few clicks and no coding required, Toplyne created multiple product tours tailored to a potential customer base across various segments. This streamlined approach allowed them to effectively showcase their offerings and connect with prospects in a more engaging and personalized way.
- Built a scalable business model that allows them to grow rapidly while maintaining a positive customer experience by seamlessly integrating with various customer engagement platforms such as Braze, CRMs including Salesforce and Hubspot, and product analytics infrastructures like Amplitude and Segment.
Should we even introduce Grammarly to anyone? One of the best digital writing assistants that use AI to improve users' writing. Makes our lives so much easier! 🤩
What we like about Grammarly’s PLG Strategy:
- The freemium experience allows users to test the product for free, with paid plans offering additional features and integrations.
- Their referral program incentivizes users to invite friends to try the product, driving organic and rapid growth. Also, different models were created for different types of users, such as professionals, business helped Grammarly target different segments of the audience and helped them collaborate on the same tool.
Intercom is a customer messaging platform that helps businesses communicate with their customers in real time.
They reached a whopping revenue growth of $150 million in 2020 📈
What we like about Intercom’s PLG Strategy:
- Intercom's product tiers offer increasingly advanced features as users move up the pricing ladder. This allowed Intercom to upsell and cross-sell to existing customers, increasing their revenue per user. For example, Intercom's Pro and Enterprise tiers offer features such as custom branding, advanced reporting, and team management capabilities that are unavailable in their lower-priced plans.
- Intercom's product is designed to be intuitive and easy to use. For example, the product's messaging feature allows users to communicate with their customers directly from their website or app without switching between different tools. This makes it easier for users to engage with their customers, resulting in higher levels of user engagement and retention.
Atlassian is a popular name in the space of collaboration tools.
Reported revenue growth of 29% for the fiscal year 2021 compared to the previous year, reaching a total revenue of $2.6 billion ✨
What we like about Atlassian's PLG Strategy:
- Atlassian offers a self-service model where users can easily sign up, explore, and use their products with minimal involvement from the sales team. This approach allowed users to discover and appreciate the product's value independently, making it easy to adopt and evangelize.
- Atlassian products like Jira and Confluence are designed for teams to collaborate and work together seamlessly. The more users that adopt the product within a team, the more likely it is that the product will spread throughout the organization, creating a viral effect.
Introducing ClickUp - one of the world's fastest-growing SaaS startups!
The SaaS brand has successfully attracted more than 4 million users without relying on a sales-led approach or investing heavily in marketing efforts.
What we like about ClickUp's PLG Strategy:
- Focuses on continuously gathering feedback from its community of users and also growth loops. They achieve this through their thriving user forum, social media groups, and customer success teams, allowing the product team to stay in touch with their users' needs and preferences.
- Employs referral programs to reduce customer acquisition costs. This approach involves offering rewards for sign-ups and upgrades to paid plans as part of their product-led strategy.
Say hi to BetterLesson, an online platform that provides a wide range of resources and tools for teachers to enhance their teaching skills and create engaging lesson plans 🧑🎓
What we like about BetterLesson's PLG Strategy:
- BetterLesson's platform allows teachers to easily sign up, explore, and use their products with minimal involvement from sales representatives. This approach allows teachers to discover and appreciate the product's value on their own, making it easy to adopt and evangelize.
- BetterLesson has a culture of continuous innovation, with regular updates and new features being released for their platform. This approach keeps teachers engaged and excited about the product, making it more likely that they will continue to use and recommend it.
6 Tips to Make Product-Led Growth Work for You
Product-Led Growth is an art as well as a science! And needs proper guidance to ace it. So, here are 6 techniques shared by PLG practitioners across the SaaS industry.
1) Implement a Freemium Model
“One of the best ways to capitalize on PLG is by implementing a freemium experience. By offering a basic version of your product without any cost, customers can try it out before deciding whether they want to upgrade or purchase more features. This will allow them to test out all your features before making any financial commitment, which increases their likelihood of staying with you long-term and drives up customer conversion rates while reducing churn rates.”
For example, one of our clients, a software testing platform, offers free trial and demo versions. And by providing a free version of their product with limited functionality, they encouraged users to try it out without committing to a purchase. This helped build trust with potential customers and increased the likelihood that they would upgrade to a paid plan in the future. Thus, they have had a 50% conversion rate.
- Maria Harutyunyan, co-founder at Loopex Digital, one of the fast-growing SEO agencies
2) Prioritize Ease-of-Use
Did you know 60% of Asana’s customers come from self-service and 40% from sales? That’s the power to make your product easy to use for your potential customers. To optimize user satisfaction, it's crucial to adopt a product-led growth approach and design your entire product experience with user-friendliness in mind. This involves
- Supporting users throughout their customer journey by implementing a variety of measures
- Provide user onboarding tutorials, regularly offering contextual in-app communications about new features, useful upsell prompts, and other relevant information.
"Ease of use is essential for any product, but particularly critical for PLG (Product-Led Growth Marketing) products. PLG products rely on customers' ability to quickly and easily adopt and derive value from the product. If a PLG product is difficult to use, customers may become frustrated and abandon it, ultimately hindering its growth potential. A user-friendly PLG product can drive adoption, increase engagement, and ultimately lead to sustainable growth."
- John Sherrod, VP of Product at Appcues
3) Build a Product That Solves a Real Problem
“Set yourself up for success by ensuring your product is actually solving a problem for your customers. If you don't know what problems your customers are facing, how can you build something to fix them?
Second, make sure your potential customers are aware of how much value your product provides relative to other similar offerings on the market. If they don't know how great your product is compared with other options out there, why would they buy yours instead?
Finally, ensure your market strategy includes tracking and measuring how well your product is performing. If you don't know how well your marketing efforts are working, how can you adjust them accordingly?”
- Gauri Manglik, CEO & Co-founder of Instrumentl, an all-in-one grants platform
4) Make Your Product Prime for Viral Sharing
“One best practice when making product-led growth work is ensuring the product is prime for viral sharing. Your team needs to design the product in such a way that it organically encourages users to share it with others in their networks. Viral sharing/Viral product facilitates exponential growth and adoption amongst users.”
For instance, you can
- Offer a feature/reward that is only accessible if the user invites a certain number of people Leverage in-app messaging like automated prompts to encourage users to recommend your product to their followers across different social media platforms
- Create features that rely on social marketplaces and networks.
This way, the more users on your platform, the more integral it becomes for a wider audience, generating organic user growth and adoption
- James Wilkinson, CEO of Balance One Supplement
5) Use Data to Drive Decisions
Invest in a platform that helps you analyze the product usage data from your existing applications and categorizes customers into different segments based on their behavior. These customer segments can be integrated into your existing GTM (Go-to-Market) apps for experimentation.
This means you can easily identify high-intent freemium product customers who will most likely convert into paying customers. You can focus your marketing efforts on these high-value customers and customer lifetime, ultimately improving your conversion rates and revenue.
"Product-led growth is data-driven growth. Use data to understand user behavior, identify areas for improvement, and make informed decisions about optimizing your product for growth," says Casey Winters, former Growth Advisor at Greylock Partners.
6) Show Your Product in Action
Incorporating interactive demos into your product marketing strategy is critical to a successful PLG (product-led growth) approach. By allowing website visitors to explore your product's features and user interface in a hands-on, realistic way, you can enhance their understanding and appreciation of the product.
Moreover, interactive demos can be particularly valuable for products or services that are complex or challenging to develop a free trial or freemium prodcut model for. In such cases, offering an interactive demo can give users a taste of what the product can do and how it can benefit them without needing a full-fledged trial.
How Storylane Can Help Propel Your PLG Motion
PLG was never a choice for Storylane! It was the intent and purpose. What is the tenet of PLG growth? Your product has to do the heavy lifting. Isn’t it? It is exactly what Storylane helps companies do and ensure you ace the important four principles of PLG motion.
- Utilize the product as a self-serve distribution channel - Showcase your products, the must-have features to potential customers and let them play around with your features. Embed it on your website, or share it through emails.
- Deliver ‘aha’ moment instantaneously - Interactive demos are engaging than other marketing materials, such as text or static images, which can help capture users' attention and makes them say ‘aha’
- Focus on creating value instead of extracting value - You can understand why your potential customers love or hate your product with user behavior tracking. By integrating with analytics and CRM tools, it is easier to retrieve and act on data
- Make signup process as easy as ABC - Once your visitors or potential customers see your demo, all they would want to do is sign-up, and here you go, a lead sign-up form embedded with your product demo.
Product-led SaaS growth can be a real game changer for B2B companies. If you have a self-serve product that offers users an intuitive way to solve their problems, has built-in virality features, and provides excellent customer support, then adopting a product-led growth model could be a game-changer for your business. Don't hesitate to take the first steps towards becoming a product-led company if you meet these requirements.
If you’re transitioning to a PLG approach or looking to make the most of your product demos, sign up for Storylane for free today!