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Product Led Growth: The PreSales Impact by Todd Olson

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PreSales Collective

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Oct 11, 2021

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Product-led growth is a hot (and hotly debated) topic in the B2B world these days. What do PreSales professionals need to know about PLG, and what influence does it have on the PreSales and sales engineering functions? To learn more, I talked to Todd Olson, CEO and Co-Founder at Pendo at our recent PreSales Leadership Collective Symposium to find out more.


PLG Done Right


Peloton is a powerful example of a great product-led experience. You purchase the bike online, it arrives at your house, and you use it yourself without much human interaction to get set up and started. Most sales are through word-of-mouth because people love the product so much. Product-led isn’t just for SaaS companies, it can work in almost any industry.


After all, people love trying products before we buy them. We try on clothes in a dressing room, a car on a test drive, a food sample at a grocery store - this is all product-led. So how can you give prospects a feel for your product? Giving them a taste is the best way to get them hooked.


How to Leverage PLG

There are a few ways your organization can lean into product-led. You can offer a try-before-you-buy model, like Netflix’s free trial. Or a light version before buying the whole product, like Adobe Acrobat. Self-guided tours are also product-led but in a way that lets users try without complicated set-up and long corporate approval times. Since every product is unique, you need to find the PLG strategy that works for your product and your customers.


Leverage Data


But just offering a taste of your product doesn’t work every time. That’s where data can come in to help convert more of those users to customers. PreSales teams can monitor heavy usage and have a conversation with those users, and also track and show value from the product to the user.


It’s also vital to understand the leading indicators of success with your product. What are your customers actually doing with your product? Share that with prospects, and use that information to find other companies you can help as well. And finally, look at every aspect of your trials closely to figure out what’s impacting your win rate. This will give your PreSales team a strong plan for developing a trial gold standard and making it as effective as possible.


What to Give Away


A big concern for SaaS companies when moving to a PLG model is deciding how much product to give away. It’s a balance of letting people have enough of your product that they get real value without overwhelming them with features and set-up.

Either way, whatever you give away needs to be a great experience or people won’t use it and won’t convert. A good rule of thumb is to give away more than you’re comfortable giving, without giving away the secret sauce that makes your product work (or at least constrain it in some way). And once you’ve decided what to give away, don’t stop there - keep testing and iterating.


Personalize to Win


Personalization is vital. The more you know about a prospect, the better the experience. Let your PreSales team go deep on what the company you’re selling to does instead of just what your product can do.


Customers want to buy from a vendor who feels like a true partner. It’s like walking into your favorite sandwich shop where they know your name and order, instead of feeling like a random transaction. The B2B world develops long-term relationships, so investing time here will serve you well for years to come.

Key Takeaways


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Read this content here ↗

Product-led growth is a hot (and hotly debated) topic in the B2B world these days. What do PreSales professionals need to know about PLG, and what influence does it have on the PreSales and sales engineering functions? To learn more, I talked to Todd Olson, CEO and Co-Founder at Pendo at our recent PreSales Leadership Collective Symposium to find out more.


PLG Done Right


Peloton is a powerful example of a great product-led experience. You purchase the bike online, it arrives at your house, and you use it yourself without much human interaction to get set up and started. Most sales are through word-of-mouth because people love the product so much. Product-led isn’t just for SaaS companies, it can work in almost any industry.


After all, people love trying products before we buy them. We try on clothes in a dressing room, a car on a test drive, a food sample at a grocery store - this is all product-led. So how can you give prospects a feel for your product? Giving them a taste is the best way to get them hooked.


How to Leverage PLG

There are a few ways your organization can lean into product-led. You can offer a try-before-you-buy model, like Netflix’s free trial. Or a light version before buying the whole product, like Adobe Acrobat. Self-guided tours are also product-led but in a way that lets users try without complicated set-up and long corporate approval times. Since every product is unique, you need to find the PLG strategy that works for your product and your customers.


Leverage Data


But just offering a taste of your product doesn’t work every time. That’s where data can come in to help convert more of those users to customers. PreSales teams can monitor heavy usage and have a conversation with those users, and also track and show value from the product to the user.


It’s also vital to understand the leading indicators of success with your product. What are your customers actually doing with your product? Share that with prospects, and use that information to find other companies you can help as well. And finally, look at every aspect of your trials closely to figure out what’s impacting your win rate. This will give your PreSales team a strong plan for developing a trial gold standard and making it as effective as possible.


What to Give Away


A big concern for SaaS companies when moving to a PLG model is deciding how much product to give away. It’s a balance of letting people have enough of your product that they get real value without overwhelming them with features and set-up.

Either way, whatever you give away needs to be a great experience or people won’t use it and won’t convert. A good rule of thumb is to give away more than you’re comfortable giving, without giving away the secret sauce that makes your product work (or at least constrain it in some way). And once you’ve decided what to give away, don’t stop there - keep testing and iterating.


Personalize to Win


Personalization is vital. The more you know about a prospect, the better the experience. Let your PreSales team go deep on what the company you’re selling to does instead of just what your product can do.


Customers want to buy from a vendor who feels like a true partner. It’s like walking into your favorite sandwich shop where they know your name and order, instead of feeling like a random transaction. The B2B world develops long-term relationships, so investing time here will serve you well for years to come.

Key Takeaways


Unlock this content by joining the PreSales Leadership Collective! An exclusive community dedicated to PreSales leaders.
Read this content here ↗

Product-led growth is a hot (and hotly debated) topic in the B2B world these days. What do PreSales professionals need to know about PLG, and what influence does it have on the PreSales and sales engineering functions? To learn more, I talked to Todd Olson, CEO and Co-Founder at Pendo at our recent PreSales Leadership Collective Symposium to find out more.


PLG Done Right


Peloton is a powerful example of a great product-led experience. You purchase the bike online, it arrives at your house, and you use it yourself without much human interaction to get set up and started. Most sales are through word-of-mouth because people love the product so much. Product-led isn’t just for SaaS companies, it can work in almost any industry.


After all, people love trying products before we buy them. We try on clothes in a dressing room, a car on a test drive, a food sample at a grocery store - this is all product-led. So how can you give prospects a feel for your product? Giving them a taste is the best way to get them hooked.


How to Leverage PLG

There are a few ways your organization can lean into product-led. You can offer a try-before-you-buy model, like Netflix’s free trial. Or a light version before buying the whole product, like Adobe Acrobat. Self-guided tours are also product-led but in a way that lets users try without complicated set-up and long corporate approval times. Since every product is unique, you need to find the PLG strategy that works for your product and your customers.


Leverage Data


But just offering a taste of your product doesn’t work every time. That’s where data can come in to help convert more of those users to customers. PreSales teams can monitor heavy usage and have a conversation with those users, and also track and show value from the product to the user.


It’s also vital to understand the leading indicators of success with your product. What are your customers actually doing with your product? Share that with prospects, and use that information to find other companies you can help as well. And finally, look at every aspect of your trials closely to figure out what’s impacting your win rate. This will give your PreSales team a strong plan for developing a trial gold standard and making it as effective as possible.


What to Give Away


A big concern for SaaS companies when moving to a PLG model is deciding how much product to give away. It’s a balance of letting people have enough of your product that they get real value without overwhelming them with features and set-up.

Either way, whatever you give away needs to be a great experience or people won’t use it and won’t convert. A good rule of thumb is to give away more than you’re comfortable giving, without giving away the secret sauce that makes your product work (or at least constrain it in some way). And once you’ve decided what to give away, don’t stop there - keep testing and iterating.


Personalize to Win


Personalization is vital. The more you know about a prospect, the better the experience. Let your PreSales team go deep on what the company you’re selling to does instead of just what your product can do.


Customers want to buy from a vendor who feels like a true partner. It’s like walking into your favorite sandwich shop where they know your name and order, instead of feeling like a random transaction. The B2B world develops long-term relationships, so investing time here will serve you well for years to come.

Key Takeaways


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