Product-Led Growth is rapidly approaching Buzzword Status within the startup ecosystem, and it’s no surprise. Over the last decade, the popularity of PLG has been driven by the record growth and scale of companies like Slack, Shopify, Dropbox, and, in Colorado, JumpCloud (recently valued at $2.6B). In the eyes of some founders, PLG is too often simplified as a go-to-market strategy centered around a freemium offering.
But this definition undervalues the intentionality behind a PLG company, which must work across all business functions to create a customer journey that feels so seamless, frictionless, and value-additive that a product sells itself.
To design a company whose growth is driven by product, each team needs to be aligned in creating the most autonomous customer experience possible, beginning with Marketing. The entire marketing strategy has been related to product, and in turn solving product issues. In keeping with the autonomous nature of PLG, marketing should never feel “salesy” or pushy, but instead be utilized to educate passively and inspire. And you can do this by solving the problems of your target audience through informative blog posts, external articles, and other content like video tutorials and webinars that showcase how the product can be part of a possible solution.
Engineering teams at a PLG company are tasked with creating a frictionless product experience with as few barriers as possible. Consider every step of a customer’s interaction with your product – how can you make it easier to use, understand, and ultimately find value?
You want to give your end users autonomy to understand and access your product without having to rely on anything or anyone else. People feel at ease when they can do things themselves rather than have people dictate how they can interact with a product. Intentionally designing a product that can be used independent of tech support or onboarding assistance is critical.
When defining the trial period for a PLG company, founders should be wary of a one-size-fits-all approach. Instead, determine the Aha! Moment – that moment when users realize value and feel confident enough to pay – and then put guardrails around it. Those guardrails will vary of course, and may include timeboxes, number of transactions, number of users, or a combination thereof. Many PLG companies offer a freemium version as a trial for non paying customers, with some features paygated. While certainly a viable strategy for some SaaS companies, paygates add significant overhead on the engineering side and can limit your customer from seeing the full potential and value of your product.
No matter how your product or service is positioned and delivered to your audience, one thing is clear: without intention, users will not pick up on the path you want them to take, which can lead to incomplete or lackluster experiences. If you truly want your product to lead growth at your organization, it has to have the ability to support, sell, and inspire every user who engages with it. Great features are one thing; a seamless, frictionless, value-additive experience is what makes a PLG company thrive.
About Rajat Bhargava
Rajat Bhargava is an Endeavor Entrepreneur and most recently Founder & CEO of JumpCloud, (read their recent feature in Forbes). JumpCloud has seen enormous growth over the last several years with customers around the world, relying heavily on Product-Led Growth to fuel expansion.
The JumpCloud Directory Platform helps IT teams Make (Remote) Work Happen® by centralizing management of user identities and devices, enabling small and medium-sized enterprises to adopt Zero Trust security models.
Endeavor Colorado identifies and supports high-impact entrepreneurs in our state – those with the biggest ideas, the greatest potential to achieve meaningful scale, and the ability to inspire, mentor, and reinvest in the next generation. Rajat Bhargava is an Endeavor Entrepreneur and Founder and CEO of JumpCloud, using PLG to scale to a $2.6B valuation. Rajat joined us for a small, private roundtable advising Colorado entrepreneurs who are seeking to use PLG to fuel their companies growth.