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What Is Product-Led Growth? Let Your Customers Tell The Story

Illustration with a light green background of a businessman stepping his way up a growing bar chart / What is product-led growth
Companies have found tremendous growth by using their products to create a pipeline of active users who are later converted into paying customers. [Malte Mueller / Getty Images]

The customer experience with your product is the most powerful marketing tool you have. Here’s how you can get started with product-led growth and build customer loyalty.

You can help your marketing team by getting your die-hard customers to spread the word about your offerings — sparking product-led growth. What is product-led growth? It puts your product at the center of the customer experience and buying journey. The product’s benefits, capabilities, and performance do much of the selling and persuading.

Customers don’t rely on marketing campaigns and salespeople to tell them what the product will do for them – they experience it for themselves. It’s an approach that Gartner predicts 95% of software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers will use by 2025 for new customer acquisition. 

Your customers can be your promoters

Discover how product-led growth is changing marketing through personalized, data-driven experiences.

What is product-led growth?

Product-led growth is based on the notion that customers who enjoy a product will become loyal users and share it with others, which will result in lower customer acquisition costs and a self-sustaining growth loop. 

This takes weight off marketing and sales teams and also brings them in closer alignment to product design and engineering teams. The result? A persistent focus on innovation and improving the user experience. 

How product-led growth works in tandem with account-based marketing

Account-based marketing (ABM) has long been a go-to B2B marketing approach that delivers results. In fact, 89% of B2B marketers use an ABM strategy right now. 

While product-led growth focuses on making sure customers love the product enough to sing its praises, ABM is a more targeted approach that identifies and engages high-value accounts with personalized messaging and content. 

With the emergence of product-led growth, many marketers might fear a shift from ABM. But, don’t worry — ABM and product-led growth work better together. Here’s how: 

  • They provide a holistic view of the customer journey. Product-led growth drives user awareness and adoption of the product. ABM engages buyers, wins over key stakeholders, and converts high-value accounts. By combining the two strategies, your marketing will span the entire customer journey.
  • They create a better data-driven approach. Product-led growth relies on data to understand how people interact with the product, while ABM relies on it to identify and go after high-value accounts. Together they create a more data-driven approach to marketing that helps brands better understand and target their customers.
  • They drive targeted personalization. ABM is all about personalization, and product-led growth can be used to support this effort. By using data to analyze how people interact with the product and what features they find most valuable, brands can tailor their ABM efforts for target accounts with personalized messages and content.
  • They allow growth at scale. Product-led growth provides a scalable approach to marketing that can help trim down expensive advertising and sales efforts. By focusing on building a great product, you can create a marketing engine that not only generates growth and revenue, but also sustains it over time.

How to put product-led growth and ABM into action

Companies have found tremendous growth by using their products to create a pipeline of active users who become paying customers

Let’s say you’re a company that offers a project management tool, and you’re looking to expand your customer base across different industries. You conduct market research and identify target accounts that align with your ideal customer profile. You consider factors such as company size, industry, and pain points to create a list of high-value target accounts.

Based on your research, you begin to craft tailored messages and content — case studies, industry-specific guides, thought leadership articles — for key stakeholders within each target account that highlights how the project management tool addresses specific challenges.

Once a target account signs up for a free trial or “freemium” version, you begin their seamless onboarding experience. This can include informative materials, training sessions, and direct support to help the account’s team fully understand the product’s features.

As the customer uses the product, you monitor their usage patterns and engagement to identify upsell opportunities, such as upgrading to a higher-tier plan or adding additional user licenses. In addition, you use the data to build nurture campaigns — webinars, workshops, or exclusive events — that deepen your relationship and position your company as a trusted partner. 

Building product-led growth into your marketing strategy

To help your teams better understand how they can contribute to a combined approach, here are some questions you should ask now:

  • With your marketing teams:
    • Are our buyers and users different roles? How are we targeting them differently?
    • What are the ways our customers achieve value with our products? How do we help them get there quickly?
  • With your product teams:
    • What product data can we access today? What does it say about the user lifecycle?
    • What information does the product try to teach? How can we reinforce those outcomes in our messaging?
  • With your sales teams:
    • How would you like more leads that are better qualified? 
    • What customer types would be best served by a freemium model?
  • With your customer success teams:
    • What questions do you hear our customers ask when using the product?
    • What is the most tangible value customers get quickly?

Product-led growth and ABM are both designed to create a better buying process and overall customer experience. Where product-led growth focuses on the end-user, ABM targets the purchasing committee. 

If you only use one of the two strategies, you’re missing an opportunity to engage a key audience — and likely leaving revenue on the table. Together, product-led growth and ABM will keep your customers coming back for more.

Make your B2B marketing strategy thrive

These six B2B marketing campaigns are great examples of how to make the most of your resources.

Cory Davis contributed writing and research for this article.

Meredith Turner
Meredith Turner Content Marketer, Marketing Cloud

Meredith Turner is a content marketer for Marketing Cloud. She is a firm believer in the power of storytelling and creating meaningful connections. Her work focuses on building customer relationships by engaging with audiences authentically.

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