We caught up woith Rodrigo Stoqui, the Growth Manager for Success at Pipedrive, about using PLG to achieve the three Es (engagement, escalations, and expansions).
Q: So you’re passionate about product-led growth. What is it about PLG that motivates you each day?
A: Think about this: Yesterday’s most exceptional product experiences are no longer exciting—they’re expected. And what is unexpected? This is what motivates me.
Buyers want to self-educate—a 2015 Forrester report found that nearly 75% of B2B buyers now say they’d rather buy through an app or website, rather than a salesperson.
And personalization is expected—not only are 80% of people more likely to do business with a company that offers personalization. And here is our goal, delivering personalized content, tips, experiences and to create repeatable and scalable strategies.
In a product-led approach, you should be selling to users not buyers.
Q: PLG is a tricky topic to define. Could you offer us your breakdown of what it means to you and how it functions in a SaaS business?
A: The fact is, an outstanding customer experience has always been key to success. Once that experience was owned by sales.
If you wanted to buy a new product, you talked to a salesperson. If you were lucky, they were knowledgeable and empathetic and helped you buy the best product for your needs.
With the internet came a growing ability for early digital marketers to measure results and to own growth metrics like engagement and acquisition.
But people don’t want to interact with salespeople or marketing campaigns anymore—not at the expense of actually getting to experience the product they’re buying.
To keep up with the market and get ahead of the curve, businesses must reshape their marketing, sales, and service strategies and fundamentally rethink the roles of their customer-facing teams.
Your product should be more trustworthy, deliver more value, and have better UX than your competitors.
Q: One of the big tricks in SaaS is to keep customers happy. What do you think are the key ways to go about making users happy?
A: 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. At this point, upgrading to a paid plan becomes a no-brainer. The secret ingredient/sauce is to allow your customer to try the damn product and engage them as fast as you can.
On top of all that, people now want immediate gratification and quickly give up on products that don’t provide it—for instance, 21% of folks open up a mobile app once and then abandon it completely; by the 90-day benchmark, 71% of app users will have churned completely.
Based on these numbers, and of course some other combination of expertise, I would say that some key ways that I can mention here are:
- Listen to your fastest growing customers.
- Develop high-end features to satisfy them.
- Help to engage them within your product (make sure they use it).
- Measure the results and scale.
Q: Now onto a wider look at the world of SaaS in 2020. What sort of new tech innovations have surprised you this year?
A: In my opinion I would say at least 3 or 4 top segments besides SaaS:
- Healthcare and Wellness (beauty and wellness as a service).
- Agriculture/Agribusiness (cannabis and other SaaS platforms that optimize operations).
- Finance (pay as a service platforms, white labels and SaaS platforms having your own checkout/payment methods).
- IPaaS (integration platforms as a service—focusing on digital transformation).
Q: Can you see this spike in popularity continuing on for the years ahead?
A: Sure, of course, and not just because considering that Product-led growth leads to a higher revenue per employee—in other words, higher financial productivity—but also because when the product is the driving force behind acquisition, engagement, retention, and expansion, companies are able to reallocate or save huge sums that would traditionally be spent on scaling sales, marketing, and service efforts. Keep this in mind!
Product-led growth begins with the product, that’s obvious. But what makes PLG so powerful is that momentum is maintained and exponentially grown by the increased inbound interest and word-of-mouth promotion that comes from having a well-designed product.
Q: As for yourself, what do you like most about being part of the global SaaS community?
A: I love to learn, I’ve been studying product-led for almost 2 years so far. The use cases, see the “a-ha” moment happen is priceless.
I was there when I saw one and there are no words to describe it, so I want to contribute to a million of those moments.
Q: For anyone considering a startup in SaaS, what tips do you have?
A: Since I am also an Angel Investor, besides a SaaS enthusiast, I basically follow some rules. Which for some people reading this article looks pretty simple, but I bet if the majority practice the following tips every day.
- Know your customer’s pain.
- Sell the best medicine to them, and preferable in a recurring way.
- Make sure your medicine delivers what they expect to get (and measure this).
- Invest smart as much as you can to find your ideal customers profiling.
- Do not depend on paid ads to acquire your customers (mainly or only).
- Be the authority in your segment (take years so you should start now).
- Ready the Rule of 40 playbook: a rule to analyze the health of a software/SaaS business. It takes into consideration two of the most important metrics for a subscription company: growth and profit.
Q: What’s your SaaS prediction for 2021?
A: I can't say that is mine because I am always studying and reading about SaaS in general (and other XaaS markets—you can name it). But I have some, let's not say preferences, predictions that I bet most for 2021.
1. Analytics is taking the stage more than ever, so working with AI is almost mandatory right now. Not just to give the best data for your business but also for your customers to make better decisions.
2. Tech stacks to power operations and get the job done. Something like white labeling in SaaS, as an example, we can expect lots of businesses like these.
3. Automations, Connections and Integrations will be even more relevant then it was before, so it's not just a matter of in-app integration between platforms, but also building add-ons, migration to PaaS and unbundling of SaaS.
4. Small SaaS companies targeted towards niche markets. Small but dedicated user bases, improving customer experience and delivering professional services, helping customers to get the most out of that specific solution. With a mobile-first approach.
Q: And finally! In a nutshell, can you explain what you love most about SaaS?
A: Many things that I can even count, but there is an article from Mark Roberge called “The Science of Scaling” that he mentioned the following.
We are scaling haphazardly rather than scientifically. Great businesses with noble missions fail because of inadequate answers to the following two critical questions:
1. When to scale?
2. How fast?
And this is what I love most about SaaS, to help companies scale scientifically, putting energy in some methodologies such as Product-Led and finding the “WOW or A-ha” moments a million times.