Rocketship Scholars: What is PLG all about?
Rocketship Scholars Series: Written by Helena Tran
This week we had an introduction to product-led growth – what it entails, how it compares to the traditional approach and strategies adopted by current PLG companies. It is now week 5 (nearly halfway through the SaaS Trial Rocketship course), and I find it quite interesting how this course has been structured – the first few weeks were very hands-on, then we took a step back and learnt the theory, and I assume the remainder of the course will be very hands-on. I guess the team at Unlocking Growth likes to keep it exciting!
The biggest misconception I’ve had this week is that PLG is not just about offering free trials. Of course, it is the first strategy anyone thinks of when asked – “how do you get the product to sell itself? Let the people test the product for themselves”. In the physical world, it’s exactly the strategy adopted at Costco with the food stalls giving out samples – shamelessly I can definitely say it works! However, this week I’ve learnt that surprisingly, free trials by itself is not enough – there’s a whole suite of other strategies required to convert a potential customer – strategies like in-product onboarding, product analytics and self-service buying experience. It really is about creating a seamless customer journey, and putting customers first. Realistically, it is obvious all businesses should put customers first, but there are so many times when I questioned this when seeing businesses put in features they think are “cool”, but it actually creates a minefield for the customer. It’s an interesting dynamic – you need to put yourself in the mind of your customers, and question how you can improve their experience AND put yourself in the mind of your business in order to ensure profits. This journaling is great, I’m realising things that are beyond my narrow world of being the “developer”, the “data cruncher”.
As I go through the exercises each week in this course, I really wished I had started this course with my own product, business idea, or already working in a startup. As I get to know more about my peers through my weekly 1:1s, the more I feel imposter syndrome. These wonderful people are actually reflecting and applying the learnings to real-life situations, whereas I am here being the studious person following instructions to a tee. Abraham was my buddy last week, and during our conversation, he said that I seem to be cruising through the course with no difficulty. I told him it’s only because I don’t have anything to customise the learnings to. Silly me, the product that I have chosen actually is a company that already adopts PLG strategies! I guess the way I can see it is that instead of customising the learnings, I can compare the PLG learnings in this course to what is adopted by the company, and other PLG companies out there. In a broader sense, my focus will be on learning, and not necessarily getting it right, or coming out of this course with an amazing PLG roadmap. I know if I can fully understand the learnings, I will have the knowledge and skills to apply it to a company down the track.
You’ve got this Helena!
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