February 9, 2024

Redefining B2B Revenue Models with Product-Led Growth and Personalization


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Are you looking to supercharge your company’s growth in a cost-effective and scalable way? If so, product-led growth (PLG) might be your perfect strategy. In recent years, PLG has gained traction fast because it offers the advantage of rapid scalability with minimal investment.

Luckily, if your revenue model is sales-led, you don’t have to overhaul it into a PLG strategy completely. As you’ll find in this post, you can incorporate elements of both in a way that works for your organization, balancing traditional go-to-market (GTM) strategies and PLG.

Kris Rudeegraap, Founder & CEO of Sendoso, shares how his organization embraces personalized engagement and direct marketing automation to maximize pipeline efficiency without sacrificing personal connection.

Product Led Growth Vs. Sales-Led Approach

Product-Led Growth (PLG) is a powerful and innovative way to drive revenue growth, enhance customer experiences, and stay ahead of the competition in a rapidly changing B2B business environment—especially as buyer behavior has shifted in recent years.

The reality: purchase decisions are no longer influenced by a single stakeholder. Instead, multiple stakeholders, including end-users with direct product experience, have a say. That’s where embracing a PLG strategy becomes crucial.

Empowering end-users as product champions fuel organic growth and smoothing out friction in the buying process. Now, you’re probably wondering how product-led differs from the traditional sales model and whether or not it would benefit your organization.

Product-Led Growth (PLG) vs. Sales-Led Approach: Understanding the Difference

Before delving into the intricacies of adopting a Product-Led Growth sales motion, it’s essential to grasp the difference between PLG and a traditional sales-led approach.

Source: Hotjar

The sales-led approach is what most of us are already familiar with an active sales team that reaches out to potential customers, conducts product demonstrations, and guides them through the purchasing process. In this model, the sales team holds a prominent role in converting prospects into customers.

However, in this model, the sales process often takes precedence over the product experience, and customers may only get to experience the product after they become paying customers.

In contrast, a Product-Led Growth (PLG) strategy flips this approach on its head. Instead of relying solely on the sales team, PLG places the product at the forefront. Therefore, you must have an intuitive, valuable product that customers can quickly try and adopt on their own.

Zoom is a perfect example of a product-led company. They offer a free tier that allows users to quickly try it out, which is how they’ve gained such a broad customer base. Their growth strategy is all about providing a great product to keep customers happy.

By providing a self-service experience, users access the product’s core value without extensive guidance from sales representatives. This bottom-up adoption approach empowers individual users to become product champions, leading to widespread adoption within their companies.

Understanding Buyer Behavior in a PLG World

Unlike the traditional sales-led model, where interactions are more controlled, PLG lets customers freely explore the product at their own pace. That’s why it’s crucial to align your product experience with your user’s needs carefully.

Why SaaS Businesses Need a Freemium Model

1- Expands user adoption

Attract a larger user base by offering a free version of their product encouraging users to explore the product’s value without any financial commitment.

2- Boosts market penetration

Once users know the ins and outs, they become champions for the premium version within their organizations. This leads to faster adoption and even expands the customer base through organic promotion and word-of-mouth.

3- Provides valuable data

Offers valuable user data and insights, driving continuous product improvement and higher customer satisfaction through data-driven iteration.

4- Lowers CAC

Freemium serves as lead gen tactic reducing the need for expensive marketing campaigns and sales efforts. As users upgrade to the premium version, customer acquisition costs become more efficient, boosting profitability.

To thrive in a PLG environment, you’ll need to dig deep into user workflows and understand all the awesome stuff your product can do. By truly understanding what your customers go through and what they like, you can make your product an immediate, intuitive source of value.

Take Slack for example – it’s a PLG-focused company that nails the whole onboarding process. You can sign up, create teams, and chat with your colleagues in no time. This easy-peasy onboarding experience caters to our need for quick and seamless communication, making Slack an instant hit.

Showcasing Value and ROI to Improve Deal Quality

In a PLG world, the customer experience takes center stage, so it’s crucial to prove ROI and present it in a way your prospect cares about. That’s why before you dive into the ROI aspect, there’s an essential prerequisite to consider: the discovery phase.

Winning Over CFOs by Mastering Discovery

Discovery is like being a detective—understanding who needs your product, why they need it, and how it will benefit them. Only then can you provide compelling stats and stories that demonstrate ROI?

We see that more decision-makers than ever are involved in the purchasing process, including CFOs. This makes a discovery that much more crucial. You need to know what’s in it for everyone, including the financial decision-makers, to become sticky within the account and close the deal.

By conducting thorough discovery, you can create a personalized and compelling value proposition that resonates with each stakeholder, leading to increased conversion rates and long-lasting customer relationships.

Pro tip: Winning over CFOs

Think of CFOs as friends instead of foes! In sales meetings, bring in CFOs from other companies to demonstrate empathy. They can help your sales reps ask the right questions and get honest answers. Involving your own happy customers to share their success stories can do wonders too!

To stand out and build strong business relationships with key decision-makers in a tight economy. Download our guide: “Winning Over Key Decision Makers: The Role of Direct Marketing in Building Business Relationships.”

Leveraging ROI Calculators in Your Sales Process

ROI calculators can help seal the deal by proving the value your product brings. But don’t just rely on generic calculators. Make sure yours is super specific and tailored to your customer’s needs.

“Nowadays, many individuals are asking, “What’s in it for me?” or “How does this benefit my work and the organization?” They have specific criteria and expectations, like connecting with existing systems or meeting thresholds set by CFOs. To address this, we dedicate considerable effort to thorough discovery,” advises Kris Rudeegraap, Founder & CEO of Sendoso.

“We delve not only into the problem at hand but also identify key stakeholders, decision-makers, and their priorities. Understanding the big picture helps us create value propositions beyond generic online calculators. With a tailored approach, we instill confidence in our customers, knowing that our ROI calculators stand out from our competitors and other vendors.”

How Sendoso Leverages Product-Led Growth to Maximize Pipeline Efficiency

Sendoso, the leading platform for gifting and direct mail, embraces the PLG model, and the early results are promising. Kris shares that there’s been a clear increase in signups through their website, showing that users find immediate value in Sendoso.

Moreover, Sendoso has invested in lifecycle marketing and customer engagement, focusing on maximizing pipeline and revenue from existing customers. Kris shares, “Our PLG hypothesis aimed to reduce CAC (Customer Acquisition Cost) for sales and marketing, especially for small and mid-market SMBs.”

He continued, “We found that supporting very small customers with traditional sales was resource-intensive, involving multiple roles like SDRs, AEs, CSMs, and support. Our LTV (Customer Lifetime Value) improved by reducing costs, aligning with our focus on profitability in the past year.”

On why Sendoso has chosen the PLG approach, Kris explains, “We aimed to increase pipeline by having end users like enterprise sales reps try out our platform with a freemium product. This filled the top of our funnel by directing users into our sales process for a more top-down selling strategy supported by valuable data. Providing upfront value through the freemium product facilitated a smoother and more effective sales process, driving growth through this additional channel.”

Using Automation Without Losing the Personal Touch

AI is blowing up! Companies with “.ai” in their names are sprouting like weeds, and nearly every SaaS company is infusing AI into their products. But let’s not forget as automation takes the lead; personal touches become even more effective and impactful than ever before.

We find ourselves immersed in a sea of information, overwhelmed and bombarded with relentless marketing messages, no matter what industry we’re in. Therefore, standing out is crucial, and a direct marketing strategy with thoughtful, personalized gifting can be your secret weapon.

Elevating Lead Engagement with Personalized Messages

Personalized messages are magic for engaging your leads. Personalization is a surefire way to grab attention and skyrocket conversion rates. Not only does this set you apart from your rivals, but it also creates lasting impressions that open doors.

Companies are taking the Product-Led Growth (PLG) concept to the next level by using direct marketing strategies. This helps them drive pipeline efficiency and build high-quality customer relationships.

By connecting your advanced direct marketing automation platform with your tech stack, you can systematize the sending of physical gifts and unique experiences at every stage of the customer lifecycle.

Direct marketing aims to combine the pattern interruption of direct mail marketing with the data-driven, hyper-targeted capabilities of digital marketing strategies to reach new and existing accounts and increase revenue.

Here’s how:

Automating Sending Campaigns for Demand Generation:

When it comes to boosting demand generation programs, automating gifting campaigns can directly boost revenue. For example, say you’re hosting a webinar and want to encourage more signups.

You can easily send company-branded merchandise like YETI mugs and Maglite flashlights using an automated gifting platform to incentivize attendees.

See it in action: Read more about how Verkada used direct marketing automation to incentivize webinars, resulting in an impressive $4 return on investment for every $1 spent.

Incentivizing Demos with Physical Gifts:

Depending on your industry, some prospects might be bombarded with e-gift cards, making it tough to cut through the noise. That’s where higher-value physical gifts, like self-heating Ember mugs, come in to make an impact.

Empower your sales team to create meaningful connections with prospects by sending personalized emails to request address confirmation. This not only builds stronger rapport but also sets the stage for an effective direct marketing strategy.

Scaling Customer Touchpoints for Account Retention:

By using personalized gifting and seamless automation, they not only enhance pipeline efficiency but also build lasting relationships. Boosting account retention with automated gifting can be a game-changer for customer success teams.

This ultimately drives revenue growth and paves the way for success in a time when budgets are being slashed, and companies are looking for ways to do more with less.

Success Snapshot:How BetterCloud used swag to improve long-term account retention

BetterCloud needed to scale touchpoints with prospects and nurture relationships with its growing SaaSOps community. Because BetterCloud’s product is highly technical, onboarding services are critical to long-term account retention.

The BetterCloud CX team uses Sendoso to send a $25 coffee gift card and hoodie to customers who complete their required onboarding hours.

When customers achieve company milestones like an IPO or a SOX compliance audit,  customer success managers (CSMs) send a wine.com eGift or customized BetterCloud socks (a humorous spin on “SOX”) to congratulate them.

“Our onboarding program is an important foundation for long-term customer success, and Sendoso helps us ensure customers complete it.” –Joe Kaiser, demand generation manager at BetterCloud

Bottom Line on Embracing Automation and Personalization

By combining personalization and automation via direct marketing and infusing PLG elements into your revenue module, you can harness a powerful approach to drive revenue growth and foster stronger customer relationships.

Automating your campaigns allows you to scale their demand generation programs while engaging prospects with personalized gifts. Scaling customer touchpoints through gifting doesn’t just boost account retention but also nurtures long-term loyalty.

Ready to revolutionize your B2B sales strategy? Book a demo today!

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