1. Allow customers to “TRY BEFORE THEY BUY”
a. Offering a free experience to key features to help them realise product value “Aha moment”.
b. Remove all friction to get end users to use product (some products even remove sign up step to get them to use the product directly).
c. Payment should be requested ONLY after the Aha moment, activated users have seen the value of your product.
2. Drive freemium with product qualified leads and sales engagement.
HubSpot was primarily a sales and marketing-led company.
It now offers freemium versions of their CRM, marketing, and sales products, boasts that half of Hubspot’s new customers use the free product before buying.
CEO Brian Halligan has described this revamped go-to-market motion as “a flywheel where the customers are the main driver that pulls in prospects”.
3. Remove hiccups to improve the user onboarding experience over time.
A good case is Pipefy – an enterprise process mgmt platform for large brands.
Pipefy mitigates the complexity of their product by giving free users easy-to-use process templates based on the most common use cases that customers have.
This helps free users see the potential value of the product, even if their specific use case requires a more in-depth implementation.
4. Optimize your In-Product Onboarding
a. Users now expect the same quality of experience in their SaaS applications that they have in their personal apps.
b. They want to use the product quickly (ideally in minutes) and without sitting through formal training.
c. To achieve this, it is critical to onboard and guide users in-app.
d. Since free users have no ‘skin in the game’ and will quickly abandon something that seems too complicated.
5. Product analytics must be accessed by all functions.
a. Collecting data on in-product activity is only part of the equation.
b. The data needs to inform actual decision-making. One tip: make the data accessible to all key functions in the organization:
PRODUCT (for prioritization of new features)
GROWTH (to optimize in-product onboarding)
SALES (to reach out to the right users at the right time)
CUSTOMER SUCCESS (to flag users at risk of churn) and more.
6. Define user activation – Aha Moment
a. The minimum point when a user has reached their “aha moment“ and found value in the product.
b. Once a customer has activated, they are much more likely to continue to use the application (and thereby generate revenue in the future).
c. The classic example is Facebook, which aims to get a new user to reach 7 friends in their first 10 days.
7. Sales still plays an important role in Product-led companies.
a. Of SaaS companies with a free version, only one-in-four see >50% of their paying customers buying purely via self-service.
b. Sales reps are still important to educate users, facilitate the buying process and increase conversion rates.
c. Slack defined an “enterprise customer” as generating >$100k in annually recurring revenue, which accounted for 40% of their revenue in 2019.
8. Focus on Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)
a. PQLs are users who’ve demonstrated in-product behavior that triggers sales engagement.
b. This in-product behavior can be reactive (people who have more complex needs and want help) or proactive (people who are showing signals that they’re ready for an organization-wide purchase).
c. PQLs already see value in the product and typically exhibit much higher rates of conversion than traditional MQLs.
9. Have a focused Growth Team
a. Everyone in a company should be responsible for growth.
b. But without a clear owner, growth initiatives can take a back seat to more urgent, day-to-day responsibilities.
10. Growth teams align their companies around key metrics and foster a culture of continuous experimentation
a. A dedicated growth team dramatically impacts the pace at which companies embrace key elements of product-led growth.
b. Those with a growth team are 2.6x more likely to be running one or more experiment at a time, which drives continuous rapid improvement throughout the funnel.
c. They’re also 50% more likely to have a definition of an activated user, which helps ensure that those experiments actually impact user behavior (and ultimately revenue).
d. Growth teams are high ROI teams; hire them early