Content We Love: Looking Back at 2018’s Best PLG Insights


This post is by Bayley Dietz from Openview Labs


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Every year we go to great lengths to deliver the best content from the leading minds in software. We publish five times a week, every single week of the year. That means we’re delivering more than 250 pieces of content to our community on topics ranging from sales and product to pricing, marketing, recruiting and much more. Last year, we placed a special emphasis on product led growth (PLG). PLG is a go-to-market strategy that underpins some of today’s most successful businesses including Atlassian, Dropbox and Expensify. Companies with a product led growth (PLG) strategy exhibit unique financial and operating characteristics like rapid scalability, economic efficiency and outsized investment in technology that enable them to grow at more efficient rates. We know that much of our community doesn’t have time to catch up on every single PLG article, so we compiled our favorites from 2018. Read on below and let us
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How Calendly Built Virality Into Their Product to Achieve Rapid Growth [Podcast]


This post is by Blake Bartlett from Openview Labs


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Welcome to Season 5 of the BUILD podcast! Today’s episode is all about virality. In this episode, we’ll hear from Oji Udezue, VP of Product & Design at Calendly. Oji previously worked at Atlassian where he was the product owner for Atlassian’s communication products like HipChat. Oji discusses the story behind Calendly and how they built virality, network effects, and viral loops into their product. He also explains how to add virality to a product that isn’t inherently viral, how to prioritize building out the core product vs. product enhancements, who should own the growth function in a product led growth business and more. Prefer to listen on iTunes? Click here.
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Should You Raise Prices When Your Costs Go Up?


This post is by Steven Forth from Openview Labs


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The knee jerk reaction to an increase in costs is often a price increase. Some years ago, I was sitting in the office of the VP of Pricing at a major manufacturing company. It was during a period of rising commodity costs and their input costs (metals, rare metals, energy) were climbing quickly. He was called out of our meeting by the CEO to explain to the board how he was going to protect margins by increasing prices. The advice he gave was quite different. He suggested lowering the cost of equipment and increasing the prices of software services. Their software was used with their equipment to make manufacturing more efficient. There was a post on the Professional Pricing Society’s LinkedIn group earlier this year that strongly advocated raising prices in response to higher costs. Judging by the number of ‘likes’ this seems to be a popular idea. But is
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How to Translate Freemium To Any Business Model


This post is by Amanda Nielsen from Openview Labs


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Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on New Breed’s blog here It may seem counterintuitive to offer part of your product or service for free, but sometimes, it can be the most powerful marketing strategy at your disposal. Freemium, a combination of “free” and “premium” is a business model used widely by software companies to promote product led growth. The idea behind freemium is this: By enabling prospective buyers to test out the software for free, you’ll show the value in it before they ever spend a dime. Eventually, they’ll hit a paywall where they can’t access certain key features without purchasing the premium product. Because they’ve experienced the benefits of the free version, paying for the upgrade feels like a natural next step. If that seems dubious to you, think again; countless companies, including DropBox, Hulu, LinkedIn and MailChimp, have seen major success with this model. It
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Can’t We Do Better Than NPS?


This post is by Kyle Poyar from Openview Labs


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Investors look closely at retention rates as a signal of customer health, product stickiness, competitive differentiation and pricing power. Happy customers are the best long-term store of value at your disposal. They drive word-of-mouth adoption, demonstrate credibility with prospects in the sales cycle, and fuel continued innovation. Retention rates – particularly net dollar retention – also strongly predict a SaaS company’s growth rate. The fastest growing SaaS companies see 89% annual logo retention and 109% net dollar retention (NDR) in their cohorts, according to data from OpenView’s SaaS benchmarking survey. That’s compared to 82% and 90%, respectively, among slower growing companies. Somehow, NPS has become synonymous with retention. These days it’s difficult to find a SaaS company that isn’t tracking their NPS on an ongoing basis (or boasting about their impressive NPS relative to peers). NPS is even a Board-level discussion point at many companies. It’s time to take a
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How Slack’s Commitment to Customer Experience Drives Phenomenal Growth


This post is by Ashley Murphy from Openview Labs


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Slack is a company that needs no introduction. They went from zero to a valuation of $7 billion in only five short years, and have become a poster child for the freemium, bottoms-up go-to-market strategy. Their early success with product led growth (PLG) has also made them a leader in this emerging discipline. But, despite their consistent attainment of stratospheric heights, it turns out that they have built their empire on some pretty down-to-earth concepts and philosophies. Fareed Mosavat, Slack’s Lifecycle Product Manager, came to the company with multifaceted experience. In addition to working at a variety of startups (including Instacart, RunKeeper and Conduit Labs) he also spent seven years working in computer graphics at Pixar. Throughout his career, the one through line has been consistently working at companies whose products exist at the intersection of technology and the most fundamental parts of our human lives—health, sustenance and communication. At
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PLG and Sales – A Powerful, One-two Punch


This post is by Brianne Kimmel from Openview Labs


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Product led growth is the new norm. Series A investors and top-tier firms investing in B2B SaaS applications are actively looking for companies that are successfully implementing this bottoms-up growth strategy. A term coined by OpenView, product led growth (PLG) describes a go-to-market strategy that puts the product front and center at every stage in the customer journey – making product usage the primary driver of user acquisition, retention, and expansion. PLG has played a transformative role in the growth of many of the biggest names in enterprise software: Slack, HubSpot, Intercom, Lucidchart, Mixmax, Typeform, and ZipRecruiter, just to name a few. PLG also plays a central role at Zendesk, where I lead growth programs through multiple iterations of our go-to-market organization including self-serve, up-market, and account-based marketing. It’s easy to see why PLG is so attractive to both tech company CEOs and investors. PLG jump starts revenue through
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SaaStr Podcast #208: SendGrid Board Member Anne Raimondi on Why We Have To See Innovation In SaaS Pricing


This post is by Harry Stebbings from SaaStr


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Welcome to Episode 208! Anne Raimondi has more than 20 years experience driving growth at startups and building them into nationally recognized brands. She has served as a leader and executive for technology innovators including Zendesk, Survey Monkey, Blue Nile, and eBay. Anne is also a Lecturer in Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business, teaching two popular courses, “Startup Garage” and “POWer: Building the Entrepreneurial Mindset.” She currently serves on the board of directors for SendGrid (NYSE: SEND) and MyHealthTeams. If that was not enough, Anne is also an active angel investor with an incredible portfolio including the likes of Canva, ipsy, and Minted just to name a few. In Today’s Episode We Discuss:

Product Differentiation: A Guide to the Do’s, Don’ts, and Companies that Get It Right


This post is by Kyle Poyar from Openview Labs


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It’s not easy to stand out in a crowded market, but it’s necessary if you want your business to succeed. Product differentiation is a marketing and messaging strategy that uses your product’s characteristics to distinguish it from others that are vying for your audience’s attention and dollars. Sometimes referred to as the USP— Unique Selling Proposition—product differentiation helps create a competitive advantage by targeting a specific audience segment with a clear and persuasive message about how your product is truly different from (and superior to) anything else that’s available. There are many ways a company can differentiate their product depending on the maturity level of the business, available internal resources and the nature of competition within the market. Overall, however, companies with a strong focus on innovation will find the best success with product differentiation. Commodity products don’t lend themselves to this approach for obvious reasons. But companies that have
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The Role of User Activation in Atlassian’s Growth Strategy


This post is by Ashley Murphy from Openview Labs


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User activation is a critical step in the user journey. Without it, trial users fail to become customers. But, even though activation is one of the most important metrics for a SaaS company, its far-reaching influence on a company’s long-term sustainability is often overlooked. Shaun Clowes, currently the VP of Product at Metromile, focused heavily on activation during the six years he spent at Atlassian, building that company’s growth function from the ground up. He embarked on that mission during a time when growth was still a new concept in the B2B world. Mike Cannon-Brookes, one of Atlassian’s two CEOs saw how the strategy was working for B2C brands, tapped Shaun to put a growth team together, and gave him six months to see if he could create value and measurable ROI for the brand. Long story short, Shaun and his team delivered beyond expectations.

Understanding the Value of First
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