The Rise of Product-Led Growth in Enterprise Software

This article originally appeared in Software Business Growth. This is part 1 in a two-part series on product-led growth strategies for B2B software providers.

Slack, TikTok, Netflix, Spotify, GitHub, Miro: what do these popular SaaS companies have in common? They are all evangelists of the product-led growth movement. This go-to-market strategy is common for business to consumer (B2C) vendors and means that all major sales, marketing, and support activities are driven by and through the product. This may begin with a free trial or free version of the product, but that’s not the full picture. Product-led growth companies focus on ease of access, ease of use, and quick time to value. 

According to product-led growth expert Wes Bush: “Unlike sales-led companies where the whole goal is to take a buyer from Point A to Point B in a sales cycle, product-led companies flip the traditional sales model on its head. Product-led companies make this possible by giving the buyer the “keys” to use the product and helping them experience a meaningful outcome while using the product.”

Ideas For The B2B Software Company

In our digital-first, COVID-19 world, this model makes great sense. It’s more agile, self-service, and convenient for the prospect. For vendors, it can result in a leaner operating model and faster market expansion. Even though product-led growth has had most of its traction in consumer product companies, there’s no reason why B2B software companies can’t take relevant ideas and put them into play.

Following the lead of B2C vendors that sell through the product is a smart way for enterprise software providers to grow faster.”

Some well-known B2B players are already doing this: take Google Cloud. This service is easy to get started on and use, even as a non-engineer. Making the difficult tasks simpler and focusing on user time to value are principles that should crosscut both B2B and B2C software.

Here are a few ideas to consider:

  • Provide a way for prospects to easily conduct their own proof-of-concept or demo, from your website.
  • Invite prospects to visit your website where they can fill out a short form qualifying them for a free 30-day trial. Prospects should be able to easily download and get started using the trial product on their own, without assistance from implementation teams.
  • Segment your product into a scaled-down free version (freemium), which can help a prospect realize a limited set of immediate benefits or outcomes and provide a runway for sales to get in front of the IT executive when the time is right for a full product demo.
  • Make it singularly simple to get basic support questions answered immediately from your website (such as through a chat or bot) and an equally easy method for starting a ticket with a more complicated request. Give the customer more than one way to interact with you: through email or form on your site, a chat tool, and via a mobile app.
  • Deliver ticket and support updates (including product updates or fixes) proactively to customers through their preferred contact method. Don’t make the customer wonder what’s going on.

In Part Two, we cover the workforce and operating considerations for moving to a product-led growth delivery model.

Next Steps:

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