Product-led growth (PLG) has become one of the most effective ways to grow in SaaS and tech. More and more companies are relying on their product as the main driver to gain customers. But using your product to acquire customers doesn't mean you should neglect sales and marketing. In fact, these three growth models work best when you align them to create a seamless customer experience.
In this episode of the Product Led Revenue podcast, our host Breezy Beaumont welcomes Moritz Plassnig, the Chief Growth Officer at Immuta and former Founder & CEO of Codeship, a company acquired by CloudBees in 2018. Breezy and Moritz get into what makes the product-led growth strategy so effective, how to decide which type of growth model is right for your company and how to align sales and marketing in your business.
💡 Name: Moritz Plassnig
💡 What he does: He's currently the Chief Growth Officer at Immuta, the market leader in cloud data access control, providing data engineering and operations teams.
💡 Company: Immuta
💡 Noteworthy: Moritz was the CEO and Founder of Codeship, a developer tool company he eventually sold to CloudBees in 2018.
⚡ Which GTM growth model is the best for your company?
A critical step in every business success. For your business to grow, you need to implement a set of strategies and tactics that align with your company culture. In this episode, we touch upon the question of identifying which growth model works best. Here's what Moritz has to say. "You have to ask yourself, what's our market? What's the problem you're solving? What's the value we create? Who are we selling to, who is our customer? And then think through for that product in this specific market what's the best model to grow and what's maybe the best model today. And then maybe a different model works better tomorrow. So I think you have to be smart about it. It doesn't work for every problem in every market."
⚡ B2B companies will need to excel in both sales-led and product-led growth models.
Moritz believes that marrying the product-led growth model with the traditional sales model is the best approach to business growth. According to him, this mixed model will give you a competitive advantage in the market. He also thinks that B2B companies will need to excel in both areas in order to stay relevant in the fast-changing market. "In five or ten years, I assume most B2B companies will simply do both, and we will probably not talk too much about it anymore because that's just the model. And there's something new that everybody talks about. I think it just makes sense that they do both because I think all the companies that don't excel in both won't be around if their market requires them to excel in both."
⚡ Alignment between product and marketing is critical in business.
A seamless customer experience is a key to business success. According to Moritz, businesses should align their product and marketing efforts to ensure a good experience for the customer. From the moment your customer lands on your website to the final conversion steps, they need a good experience. "I think the two functional areas that impacted the most are obviously product because the product needs to support it and needs to be good enough and simple enough and all of that. [...] I think aligning product marketing around that goal of making sure that the customer, from wherever they land in terms of marketing assets and gets into product, that's a seamless experience and becomes successful there. I think that alignment is absolutely critical."
💜 Your customers' feedback can point you in the right direction
"I think our customers eventually forced us to do sales, and I think how we started doing it, we first started doing customer success in a better way. We started doing customer success but just answering support tickets. We helped customers whenever they had issues. [...]
I feel like our customers pushed us in that direction because larger and larger companies tried out the product. They had a certain expectation that there is somebody on the other side that talks to them and maybe does a demo or answers certain security-related questions. And so I think our customers are the primary reason why we started doing sales."
💜 What does the transition look like for a product-led company that a sales-led company acquires?
"It's just such a different culture and mindset that it's really hard, I think to merge and bring together. So we try to think really, really hard, and we all knew what the obstacles are, and we were mindful of those, but it's still hard. And you could have done many things better. That being said, I think there are very few companies that really did that well. I think that our own role model, we always used and looked at what MongoDB, and I can't think of many others. [...]
I think you also need to have those role models where you can see somebody else did it and hear all the lessons you can learn from that to make it happen because, again, your incentives are just screwed. So it's hard to stay focused and keep doing it."
💜 The importance of customer success
"I think customer success is really focused on making sure the customers get value out of the product, and it's really successful, and that then unlocks upsell, cross-sell, and all of that. And so I think if that's the main goal of the customer success team, I think they are always appreciating if you do more product-led growth stuff.
Because what it means is a better product experience, which means happier customers, happier end users, easier to use products. [...]
So I think customer success is actually the easier functional area in that transition to deal with because they get so much good out of it. I think it's harder for sales because incentives, as I said, are just screwed."
[3:33] "I always say I grew up in this product-led, bottom-up world, never truly understood enterprise sales. At CloudBees, I learned enterprise sales and started to understand how to do large seven-figure type transactions, what it takes to do those transactions."
[23:54] "Whenever you try to lead a team through a big change, I think it always comes down to - you need to evolve your processes, people need to evolve, culture needs to evolve. So you have to be mindful of all of that."
[26:21] "As much as I like to think about tools and products that are in that space, to be honest, it comes second for me because you can change tools quite easily as long as the team is aligned and the culture is there, and everybody is ready for the change. That is why we focused on the culture change and the enablement and the incentive piece first. And then tooling comes second."
[41:01] "And then there's something that gets done by humans; figuring out that and coordinating that, I think is key because end-users just hate it if they get three different emails and they are not well-coordinated. It's outside of the product, but it's still part of the product experience and part of your brand. And so it really hurts you if you can't figure it."