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Insight to Product-Led Growth Strategy for SaaS

Allen Bayless
Allen Bayless 25 October 2022

Is your product-led growth (PLG) strategy leading your customers into a great story? If not, now's the time to really look at what you're planning on presenting or re-shaping your existing PLG strategy.

For those who are researching "What is product-led growth", it is the use of your product to grow your SaaS business. This means that your product is the main driver of acquisition, conversion, expansion, and engagement.

In our post we discuss key points and provide a guide to creating a great product-led growth SaaS product.

The PLG Funnel

You might have run into the terms product-led growth and product-led funnel. Let's discuss both.

Product-led growth can be defined as acquiring customers through your product, which means that you’re going straight to the end users with no salespeople or other external parties involved. In our minds, it means that someone is buying your software without ever having talked to a human being at your company.

A product-led funnel is when someone enters into your product (such as a 14-day trial) but ultimately still requires some level of interaction before they buy or expand their relationship with you as a brand. This could include signing up for an account or paying for something related to their purchase and may require some handholding from one of your sales or support reps along the way. Maybe even a chatbot if we want to consider that!

For this article, we're going to assume that a product led funnel could exist in some form - even if it's just answering questions about features after someone signs up for an account - so let's just think about what makes up a solid PLG strategy as a whole instead if it's a true product-led growth only.

Think about your pricing page first

A key component of a PLG strategy is having an effective pricing page that clearly communicates the value of your product to potential users. At the heart of any product-led approach is the idea that users will first think about pricing when considering whether or not to try out a new software product. Typically, a SaaS company should see their pricing page getting a majority of website traffic.

Thus, it is critical to create a pricing page that effectively conveys the value and benefits of your product. This means using clear, straightforward language that explains exactly what your product can do and how users will benefit from using it. In particular, you need to show how your product can help customers achieve their goals within their budget range.

What kind of "Free" model?

Free trial or freemium – which is the better model for a SaaS product?

The SaaS freemium model has become an increasingly popular way for companies to grow their user base. With this approach, companies offer their product for free, but with limited features or access. By providing a free product that users can try out and get used to, companies can more easily attract new customers and encourage product-led growth. At the same time, customers benefit from being able to access a range of features at no cost and upgrade only as needed. However, in order for this model to be successful, it is important to carefully consider which features to offer in the free version and how much value they provide. If customers are not sufficiently engaged or find that the product lacks key functionality, there is little incentive for them to upgrade to a paid plan. Ultimately, by successfully balancing value with accessibility in the freemium model, both companies and customers can reap its many benefits. Additionally, the viral nature of freemium models means that users often recommend your product to their friends and family, creating buzz and new business opportunities.

A free trial is an excellent way to give users full access to all the features and functionality of a product, allowing them to experience its full potential firsthand. By ensuring that users reach an "Aha! moment" during their time with the product, you can help them see why your solution is the right choice for them.

There are two main types of free trial structures – those that require users to enter payment information in order to gain access, and those where no payment information is required. The former may seem like a risky proposition, as requiring credit card information may deter some potential customers from signing up for your product. However, this can also be useful in filtering out people who are not serious about using your product, helping you focus on more engaged prospects who are more likely to become paying customers down the line. Ultimately, a well-designed free trial should give prospective users enough time to experience all the benefits of using your product without feeling overwhelmed or rushed into making a purchase decision. Thus, setting up your free trial in a way that balances engagement with clarity is key for product-led growth and maximizing ROI.

Whether you choose freemium or free trials as your pricing model will depend on your specific product, market conditions, and growth objectives. So think carefully about which option will best help you achieve these goals, and then implement accordingly!

Retain more customers with onboarding

Having an effective and frictionless onboarding process is more important than ever before and we've seen users when there's no onboarding. Dumping a trial user into the wild of your platform can deter retention. Whether you are launching a new product or app, or simply looking to improve your existing onboarding experiences, there are a number of key factors to consider for achieving successful product-led onboarding.

With onboarding lies the user's first impression – and that means getting users into the product quickly, and providing them with comprehensive training and walkthroughs within your SaaS platform itself. This not only allows for a personalized learning experience, but also makes sure that users stay focused on their learning from beginning to end.

A product-led onboarding experience can be delivered in a variety of formats to accommodate various learning styles, including videos, step-by-step walkthroughs, interactive tools and more. Additionally, it can be tailored across different user segments to provide each individual with the content they need most. If you have a technical SaaS application consider multi-step flows that need to get in-depth. However, if your platform has some common or familiar functionality then walkthroughs or product tours may suffice.

Onboarding should focus on your most important features to users while harmonizing those features together into an engaging and cohesive onboarding experience. After all, first impressions matter!

Is your SaaS product designed with your user in mind?

When it comes to product-led growth strategy, your number one priority should be designing your product for the end-user. Why? Because customers who are using software-as-a-service are going to be inclined to self-educate themselves. If your product is difficult to use or doesn’t meet their needs, they’ll simply move on to another software that does. And yes, we've literally seen people do that and calculated the amount of "signup & leave" within the first 5 minutes.

What you should focus on:

  • Ease of Use - Your software should be easy to use from the moment a customer starts using it. If it’s not, they’ll quickly become frustrated and give up. Make sure your interface is intuitive and easy to navigate. The last thing you want is for your customers to feel like they need a degree in computer science just to use your product!
  • Functionality - Your software also needs to be functional—it should do what it’s supposed to do, and do it well. There’s no room for error here; if your software doesn’t work as advertised, customers will quickly lose faith in it (and in your company). Make sure you thoroughly test your software before you release it to the public.
  • Time-to-Value - By focusing on time-to-value and understanding and optimizing the first mile of your users' product experience, you will be better able to help them achieve their moment of value and drive greater long-term success.

Let the Product-Led application expand your user base

Expanding your product-led SaaS by letting users invite team members or referring new users is a great way to drive product-led growth. Having a product that requires team members to join can make it easy for your primary user who started a trial to get their other teammates involved. This can help them get closer to the "aha" moment by allowing them to collaborate on projects and share insights with others in real-time in which will instill greater confidence in subscribing.

A product that promotes itself by offering a referral program is another effective way to drive product-led growth. With this method, you can reward your users for inviting more users to join, allowing your product to do the work of promoting the program through in-app ads and an easy way for users to refer and be credited. By rewarding users for inviting new users, you can build a viral loop that will help to expand your product's reach and increase engagement over time.

Creating a viral loop is an important strategy for promoting your SaaS product and growing your user base. One effective way to do this is by leveraging the inherently collaborative nature of your product to create a "viral loop of value." For example, if you have an application that schedules meetings or makes it easy to collaborate on documents, your users will be the ones promoting the product to others. By allowing them to easily share information and collaborate with others, they both use and promote your product's value at the same time. Additionally, the recipient of this communication may be intrigued by the product and start using it as well, further fueling the viral loop. In order to harness the power of this viral loop, it is critical to focus on effective branding and marketing strategies.

Listen to your users

We are big on user feedback. It is an essential part of product-led growth. You should constantly be seeking honest feedback about your product so that you can understand what works and what doesn't. Discover any friction points within your product. Ideally, this feedback should come from direct interaction with customers across multiple channels: surveys, usability tests, product reviews, and more. By learning from this feedback and continually iterating to improve your product's user experience, you can create something that really resonates with your customers and contributes to the success of your SaaS business.

PLG is storytelling

Product-led growth for SaaS is all about creating a really great story that your customers will want to be a part of. If you can do that, you're well on your way to success. But it's not always easy to create a compelling story, which is why working with a team that specializes in product-led growth strategies can be so helpful. They can help you identify the key elements of your story and make sure everything comes together in a way that resonates with your target audience. So if you're ready to take your SaaS business to the next level, don't go it alone—work with a team that understands product-led growth and can help you craft a strategy that works.