It’s helpful to start by examining a typical B2B SaaS customer journey to gain an understanding of how product-led growth works.
First, a user signs up for your free plan. They use it solo initially. The more they use it, the more they integrate it with their workflows.
The more they integrate it, the more comfortable and reliant on your product that user becomes, so they’re more likely to share it with their colleagues to collaborate. For example, a Canva user might create a design for a social media campaign and share it with their team for feedback and further edits.
Then your users invite fellow team members to use the product. Now, more important work is happening within the product. As use expands, the company needs more options or more access to get their work done—so they’ll pay for more features, user seats, data storage, or integrations. The relationship you have with this customer is cyclical and compounding.
Even if you’re a SaaS company with multimillion-dollar deals and years’ long sales cycles, PLG has enormous benefits:
- Product-led growth drives retention. Those multimillion-dollar deals won’t stick around if employees aren’t using the product. So PLG continues driving growth after an account has become a paying customer.
- You can automate SMB and mid-market customer relationships that don’t require as much handholding in the sales process.
- With active free users in your product, it’s easier for leadership to continue investing in the product because the impact is clear.
Atlassian is well-known for cracking the code on PLG for the B2B SaaS industry. The company doesn’t charge teams for their first 10 seats—an offer that goes a long way in attracting customers. Then, if free users want to become paying customers, they can do that self-serve without sales involvement.
Atlassian’s former president, Jay Simons, tells Intercom, “If we add 5,000 new customers a quarter, and add that to the base of 120,000 existing customers, it would be very, very difficult to do that if we had to touch of all of those customers along the way.”
But where a human touch is needed, the team is ready to help—particularly for those enterprise customers that have more complex questions and use cases.