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Product-led sales, why your PLG motion can fail, & PLO tips from a PRO

I got fired from the keyboard factory

My boss said I wasn’t putting in enough Shifts.
That’s when I completely lost CTRL.

Welcome to the PLG Recap 👋 

Sorry for the silence last week, I was on holiday. I fully disconnected from LinkedIn and writing. I’ve added some extra bits this week to make up for it. Thanks for sticking around!

I spend all week deep diving into the best PLG LinkedIn posts so you don't have to.

Here are my favorite posts from last week!

1️⃣ Ben Williams

Strategy or Tactic? Tactics

Growth lever = Product-led Sales

Recap

  • Ben Williams on repeat. He is a wealth of tactical knowledge who passionately and generously shares tips on product-led sales.

  • As PLG was hot in 2018, PLS is now hot in 2023. Everyone is talking about it and here’s why:

    • We have to do better optimizing and extracting self-serve revenue to enterprise revenue.

    • We need to layer on sales to scale product revenue, increase close rates, and bring higher revenue retention.

    • It’s easier to create enterprise pipeline from your existing user base, but many companies are still facing challenges.

  • Ben lays out 10 tactical tips for us. My top 3:

    1. Create feedback loops with sales to improve scoring models and playbooks

    2. Ensure non-product communication is product-led

    3. Ungate value

2️⃣ Kyle Poyar

Strategy or Tactic? Strategies

Growth lever = Product-led Sales

Recap

  • Kyle recently spoke to Jesus Requena from Figma who laid out some amazing tidbits on product-led sales strategies layered on top of PLG

  • Signups are good, but not the end all. Activation (quality) should be the north star for growth marketing teams.

    • I am really happy to see more discussion around using product metrics for marketing. Feedback loops are crucial and cost-effective when growth marketing teams are working with product teams.

    • I have seen companies spend a ton of money on acquisition without a feedback loop. The majority of new sign-ups were low-quality.

    • Strong product-led marketing strategies bring forward activation into marketing activities.

  • Sales reps should go both bottom-up and top-down with product-qualified accounts so they can extract revenue from both ends of the spectrum.

  • You must equip sales reps with the actual meaning of product usage data to help them understand. Think of product usage data as a jobs to be done (JTBD) of your user, and your user is your sales team.

3️⃣ Alexa Grabell

Strategy or Tactic? Tactics

Growth lever = Product-led Sales

Recap

  • Alexa is one of the most consistent tactical leaders in the PLS space. Granted, her company is a PLS platform. She differentiates herself by being specific, verbose, and tactical. I like it.

  • How to go from user growth to revenue growth

  • My key takeaway was this: “Set up triggers for a variety of signals across the user journey that indicate it’s time to layer a human touch — whether that’s to convert from free to paid, expand an account, or proactively prevent churn.”

  • PLS isn’t just about getting teams to the enterprise tier, it’s also about saturating your current self-serve revenue by layering in expansion and additional conversion motions (aka extra seats, add-on packages, etc).

4️⃣ Elena Verna

Strategy or Tactic? Tactics

Growth lever = Acquisition

Recap

  • Elena Verna dropping a new bite-sized tactical framework and it’s… diagonal-shaped! 😉 

  • B2B PLG segmentation matters the moment a new user signs up. Why? Because you have to keep the end in mind → Enterprise deals.

  • With accurate segmentation, you increase the retention of your users because their experience is personalized. With an increase in retention, the more data you have on your users. With more usage data, the better your PLS motion becomes. #StrategicThinking

  • Know the difference between your direct monetization and indirect monetization opportunities.

5️⃣ Priya Bhatia

Strategy or Tactic? Strategy

Growth lever = All levers

Recap

  • Priya breaks down all the things that can go wrong when trying to go PLG and giving up along the way.

  • Common reasons:

    1. Stopped at a free trial or freemium plan

    2. Forgot to align product value with pricing

    3. Misalignment on KPIs

    4. Not utilizing product usage data

    5. Focus shift from retention to acquisition

  • I would add one more: didn’t set expectations with the executive team on potential pitfalls along the way

6️⃣ Iuliia Shnai

Strategy or Tactic? Tactics

Growth lever = Retention

Recap

  • Iuliia is a leading PLO (product-led onboarding) expert I am seeing on LinkedIn. She breaks down other companies’ onboarding flows.

  • Her top 5 PLO trends:

    1. Personalization

    2. AI

    3. Community-based

    4. Continuous onboarding

    5. Gamification

  • My favorite: AI

  • ChatGPT and others will be used to accelerate time to value for your users during onboarding and activation. Jobs to be done will be delivered at a rapid pace. This will leak into other value props such as documentation and sales conversations.

7️⃣ Yaakov Carno

Strategy or Tactic? Strategy

Growth lever = Retention

Recap

  • Yaakov just launched his own consulting website all about onboarding (PLO) - be sure to subscribe to his growth newsletter!

  • In this post, he creatively (as usual) makes thought-provoking statements about what IS product-led growth and what it is NOT.

  • My favorites:

    • PLG is less about growth metrics and more about user experiences

    • PLG is less about understanding competition and more about understanding differentiation

8️⃣ I posted this 6 months ago: The Tunnel™, not the Funnel

  • The Tunnel™ is my clever way to move away from the funnel but also be different from loops. Product-led sales is about moving potential revenue from self-serve to enterprise, laterally.

  • I am seeing a lot more PLS posts about separating PQAs and PQLs, which is exactly what this Tunnel is about. And, I agree. Go-to-market teams should optimize for the Tunnel. What does this look like?

    1. Sales, Marketing, Product, and Growth teams work together to drive Enterprise/Sales Assisted customers.

    2. There is more x-functional alignment on a metric that drives revenue across multiple GTM motions

    3. Product teams work on identifying and scaling product usage within existing users based on PQL signals, accelerating the PQL loop

    4. Marketing teams work on bringing product signals to the marketing site to scale Product Led Marketing (PLM) tactics

    5. Sales teams provide qualitative and quantitative feedback on leads/SQLs from PQLs so that the growth team can continue optimizing the PQL scoring model.

    6. The Growth team works on ensuring data/eng systems are in place so that PQL metric definition becomes the best Tunnel there is with feedback from x-functional/Sales team

  • Can we make the Tunnel™ a thing? Will it stick? 😉 

Thanks for taking the time to stop by today!

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