PLG orchestration is an umbrella term for the processes, team setup, tools, and practices a company uses to run their product-led strategy. There have been lots of conversations on LinkedIn, Twitter, and various Slack communities about how product led growth (PLG) companies should be thinking about their go-to-market strategy, and with that – what tools and processes they need to be most effective.
So, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to pull together many of these insights together, along with our own experience, so product-led warriors like yourself have a starting place.
The need for product-led specific tools
James Lee, who runs Marketing Operations at Writer and was previously at Asana, put up a post discussing the need for “PLG Orchestration” tools over simply sending product qualified leads (PQL) to your legacy CRM (like Salesforce or Hubspot). He says that with existing CRMs, you run into two major problems:
- Hard to see full picture context or trends
- Can’t really see how this individual is related to others
James says that product led sales tools, like Correlated, should not only uncover and enable actions for teams, but should also work at “translating PLG into Account Plans” to give sales teams the insights they need to take appropriate action. This includes being able to:
- See trends
- Identify anomalies
- Start to see the story behind the numbers
At Correlated, we’ve been building a PLG orchestration platform for 18+ months and have learned a ton along the way. One of the major learnings was just how difficult it is for companies to identify the right product-qualified leads and accounts to reach out to, begin that initial outreach process, and get a view into key accounts – so we decided to build it into our product.
Examples from other PLG companies
Show don’t tell. Instead of telling you about all the capabilities of PLG orchestration tools, let’s take a look at an example from a leading PLG company and one of our customers - Reveal.
Reveal, uses Correlated to spot trends and route the right Accounts and Leads to the appropriate Sales or CS team members when certain Accounts hit thresholds (inviting teammates, adding partners etc).
They also use the platform to identify anomalies that would indicate it’s time for their team to reach out. This includes things like integrations not being added, signs things are broken in their customers’ onboarding, and so on. Knowing these anomalies enables their team to intervene at the right time.
Finally, Reveal uses Correlated’s customer 360 views to get the full story behind the numbers when they aren’t sure what’s happening in a particular account. The ability to have all of these insights in one place with actionable next steps is nearly impossible to do with existing tools like Hubspot or Salesforce.
The future of PLG Orchestration
James then outlines his product roadmap for PLG Orchestration:
- Productize collaboration maps: I want to see the network of usage across teams. Who invited whom? Who is collaborating, sharing, editing with whom?
- End to End Customer Journey: Takes in the full customer journey (marketing attribution, content pages, etc), NPS?
- AI Recommendations: Creating rules for inferring what that collaboration + marketing journey means. What use case does the AI think these users are trying to solve?
- Automated PLG Internal Case Studies: Making product customer stories readily available when you’re looking to upsell/cross-sell into different teams or lines of business exhibiting similar behaviors to another team that’s already bought.
Important or Not?
After hundreds of conversations with prospects, customers, and the broader product-led community, as well as being the CEO of a PLG company, here’s my take on his top 4 requirements:
1. Productize collaboration maps
This is an evolution of views/insights on trends or anomalies and makes a ton of sense for sales or CS teams at PLG companies. Assuming the underlying data is in a good place, a tool like Correlated could make it a lot easier to trigger Playbooks when team-based thresholds are met and offer insight into who the “super users” are within a given org.
🟡 I would rank this as more of a “nice to have” than a “must have” based on what we’ve heard.
2. End to End Customer Journey
This is a challenging problem and a big gap for PLG GTM teams across product, marketing, sales, CS, ops etc. Since the full customer journey touches multiple teams which each have their own tools (Product uses Amplitude, Sales uses Salesforce, Marketing uses Marketo, CS uses Gainsight) the customer journey is often siloed.
A true PLG Orchestration tool should be able to synthesize all of the data around your customer journey and allow you to build cohorts or stages that match where individual users, workspaces or accounts are in the customer journey.
🟢 I would rank this as a high priority for PLG Orchestration.
3. AI Recommendations
I think AI can be really important in PLG Orchestration, but I think it’s likely best leveraged when the definitions can be explicitly outlined. In Correlated we leverage AI for our PQL and PQA Scoring recommendations.
🟢 I think this is a high priority as well.
4. Automated PLG Case Studies
Slack has built an internal tool to enable Google Slides creation on a per account basis that provides a business case for Slack Sales team members to use that leverages an account’s organic usage of Slack to make the case to internal CIOs for consolidation.
🔴 This seems less important unless you have a mature GTM function and a truly at scale self-serve product with millions of users and workspaces (like Slack).
What’s next for PLG GTM
It’s clear to me, based on what we’re hearing from our customers as well as from smart people like James at PLG companies like Writer, that a new generation of tools to enable PLG go-to-market are sorely needed. We’re excited to be building for that future here at Correlated. If you’re on the GTM team at a PLG company, we’d love to hear from you so please drop us a line if you’d like to share your thoughts, or try Correlated for free here.