Product-Led Growth is Dead. Long Live Product Led Growth!

“Build it and they will come”; “You shouldn’t do sales. You should be Product-Led!” these common misconceptions about Product-Led Growth, often perpetuated by PLG fanatics, do both PLG and SaaS more harm than good. No wonder people on LinkedIn are saying “Product-Led Growth is dead”. Or should be.

I’ve read on LinkedIn recently that Product-Led Growth…doesn’t exist:

Now — look. I think we got something wrong here…

❌ Being Product-Led doesn’t mean that your product is (or is supposed to be) your *only* growth channel ❌

This is an insane proposition and you shouldn’t strive towards it. You will still need marketing. Heck — you may even still need sales *and* achieve product-led growth (heresy, I know!)

What Rob meant I think is that the term “PLG” is redundant as we have other, more granular terms that describe the different aspects of…Product-led Growth. Anyway — tomayto, tomahto.

When I hear “product-led growth” I don’t hear “make sure all of your growth comes from your product”. Because no, they won’t come if you build it.

You still need marketing. Heck — you may even still need sales *and* achieve product-led growth (heresy, I know!)

To me, #PLG means you achieve some of your growth from your product, through:

  • viral loops (the quality of your product being inherently viral, e.g. Calendly, Dropbox, Hotmail or even Facebook back in the day — they all involved an element of sharing and inviting other people to make the tool more useful for the original user, hence — the product spread like wildfire.)
  • great UX and onboarding, leading to higher user activation rate [see this case study exactly on that!] > higher feature adoption > higher user engagement rate > higher user retention > more net revenue retention = bingo! More revenue!
  • upsells and cross-sells — can you use your product to push users to adopt more (especially premium!) features/ increase their usage (especially if your pricing is usage-based)/ encourage the user to upgrade to a higher plan when it’s time. You can also use one of your products to drive sales to another one in your portfolio.

On that point — almost as soon as I saw the post declaring the death of PLG on LinkedIn, one of the Chrome extensions I’m using actually showed me PLG is alive and well 😉

PLG in action — pushing for expansion revenue with in-app experiences

While answering my emails, I got this slideout from BlockSite…A great example of pushing for Product-Led Growth (or upsell…or however we choose to call it):

blocksite slidout upsell plg

Let’s see what they did here:

  • The chrome extension is designed to keep me away from distracting sites and increase my productivity.
  • It used a web-push slideout with a relevant, contextual and timely message to encourage me to block another site I was on (+1 for suggesting my work mailbox is a distraction 😅).
  • Since its pricing is based on the number of sites I’m blocking, this is pushing me to use up my freemium allowance and upgrade.
  • It’s focusing on the *benefit* — increasing my productivity by 10%?! Yes please!
  • What BlockSite could do better: show me how much time I’ve saved per week from blocking each site. This is currently their premium feature (time-tracking), which is a pity — as this would give me the ‘aha!’ moment and make me more likely to upgrade (show actual data behind the ‘10% increase in productivity’ claim).

Are you using slideouts like that to push upsells in your product? 🤔 Or maybe a contextual modal like Hubspot to push the users to adopt a premium feature when it’s obvious from their behaviour that… they need it?

hubspot plg modal

Do you have a product growth strategy at all?

If not, jump on a quick call with us and we’ll help you build one for free!

It’s not pushy. It’s brilliant. Right Product-Led Sales pitches delight your users

You may wonder though — won’t I be too pushy if I create in-app UI elements to drive more upsells? 🤔

Won’t it put my users off?

Think about it yourself.

Imagine you’re sending a slack message to someone in the US from Europe.

It’s 3 a.m. their time and you don’t want to disturb them. But you don’t want to leave an open-loop and ultimately *forget* to send the message. 🤦‍♀️

At this very point when you’re thinking what to do:

  • send that message at 3 a.m. and potentially wake your friend up with a notification?
  • leave that message unsent in drafts and potentially forget to send it at all?

…Slack shows you this tooltip:

Slack tooltip PLG

It’s not pushy. It’s brilliant.

It *delights* you.

It scratches that itch exactly in the right place, at the right time.

If done well, Product Led Sales leaves your customers running after you screaming “take my money!!!”

And it totally leads to Product Led Growth.

Slack has done it *so* well with their tooltip urging the users to explore the scheduling option:

- It was shown when the user was typing a message to someone who was in a different timezone
- Nobody wants to be *that guy* who sends Slack messages at 3 a.m., so the message totally resonated
- It was subtle and didn’t interrupt the flow

How to build in-app experiences to drive more Product-Led Growth?

Now you may be thinking:

“That’s all really cool but I don’t have a whole dev team waiting to build all these tooltips and modals for me!”

Don’t worry. You don’t need to. There are some really cool, affordable code-free tools that will allow you — the non-technical Product Manager or Product Marketer — to build anything you want in minutes.

Imagine you are a Product Marketing Manager for a Social Media Scheduler. You notice a segment of your users is becoming disengaged. Based on watching their session recordings (where they faff around creating new content for their social media) you suspect the reason for their disengagement is actually…a shortage of creative post ideas.

You happen to have a feature that addresses this problem — Social Tips Calendar with ready-made post templates for every day of the week.

All you need to do now is to push these users in the ‘disengaged’ segment to adopt this feature when they come back to your app:

As you can see, this tooltip has been built with a simple, visual editor — similar to Canva.

You don’t need to code to push this tooltip to the right audience. Simply set a right segment in Userpilot:

userpilot audience targeting

Based on certain pre-defined criteria such as number of sessions in your, last seen, signup date and engagement with different features in your app:

segment in userpilot

The only time you will need to ask your dev for help is with the installation + passing some custom events (although even that can be replaced with feature tagging!)

Can you already feel your user-engagement metrics going through the roof?😉

You can build unlimited experiences and audience segments in the cheapest Userpilot plan for just $250 per month. We only charge you extra if you have more than 2,500 monthly active users.

Sounds good?

Jump on a free call with us to see Userpilot in action.

You will find a lot of inspiration for milking more expansion revenue from your product in our latest post here.

Also — feel free to jump on a free call with us to see how you can drive more PLG with code-free in-app experiences.

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Userpilot Team

Userpilot Team

Userpilot is a Product Growth Platform designed to help product teams improve product metrics through in-app experiences without code. Check out userpilot.com