Product-Led Growth: Time-To-Value, Onboarding, Non-SaaS Businesses

An animated illustration of a rocket flying through the clouds.

“First time founders are obsessed with product.
Second time founders are obsessed with distribution.”
— @justinkan

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❓ What You’ll Learn

  • What’s product-led growth?
  • How does bottom-up SaaS work?
  • How to boost realized value?
  • How to uncover user intent?
  • How to optimize time-to-value?
  • How to simplify onboarding?
  • How to help users self-educate?

💎 Why It Matters

Distribution matters more than product.

🔍 Problem

Sales-led models limit adoption.

💡 Solution

Build a product that sells itself. 

Let users try before they buy.

🏁 Players

🔮 Predictions

  • SaaS companies will focus on SMBs and serve enterprise customers through agencies. Shopify and Webflow highlight trusted partners who provide implementation services. Allowing them to focus on (scalable) software. Without touching (unscalable) services.
  • End users will gain more power in large organizations. Most developer tools are bottom-up SaaS. Slack broke into organizations without permission from C-Suites. 
  • Product-led growth models will be applied outside of SaaS. Think Netflix, Spotify and Codeacademy. Lower lifetime values necessitate a product-led approach. 

☁️ Opportunities

  • Use onboarding surveys to uncover intent. What “job” is your product being hired to do? Customize experiences based on user goals. If I want to use your graphic design tool to make posters. Drop me into an editor with a sample poster instead of a blank canvas.
  • Optimize time-to-value. Once you know a user’s objective, measure whether they reach it and how long it takes. Here are 5 ways to improve user activation.
  • Help users realize value received. Brave shows you time saved. MailerLite shows you emails sent. Stripe shows money made. Sync received value with realized value.
  • Apply product-led lessons to non-SaaS businesses.

🔑 Key Lessons

  • Product-led growth goes beyond freemium and free trials. Sales, support and development should focus on acquisition, conversion and revenue expansion. 
  • Remove unnecessary steps from onboarding.
  • Help users self-educate. Invest in documentation.

😠 Haters

“I’ll lose enterprise accounts without salespeople.”

Product-led growth and sales aren’t mutually exclusive. See Zoom, Slack and AWS.

“My product is too complex for product-led growth.”

If this is true. Ok. If not, you’ll find out. You can disrupt yourself. Or get disrupted.

“Product-led growth isn’t new.”

No-Code isn’t new. Charter Cities aren’t new. Remote Work isn’t new. Few things are. Customer acquisition costs are rising. Code is being commoditized. Companies are competing on distribution more than product. This is why companies are obsessed with product-led growth.

​​🔗 Links

  1. Product-Led Growth • A primer on product-led growth from Wes Bush. 
  2. The Essence of Product-Led Growth • Things to consider when deciding between product-led and sales-led models.
  3. Product-Led Growth Framework Masterclass • Learn to eliminate unnecessary steps.

📁 Related Reports

  • No-Code • See more companies like Softr, Tally and Zapier.
  • Ecosystems • SaaS companies are becoming platforms. 
  • Growth Tools • Attract ideal users with free tools. 
  • Referral Programs • Leverage current users to reach new users. 
  • Micro-SaaS • Low lifetime values necessitate product-led models. 

🙏 Thanks

Thanks to Tyler King (Less Annoying CRM), Stewart Townsend (Channel asService), Jeremy Abraham (Spiffy), Ilya Sterin (Medidata Solutions), Deepanker Dua (Rerouting), Ben Alexander (PMG), Natwar Maheshwari (Engineering Brew), Uwe Dreissigacker (InvoiceBerry), Shashank (Omdena), Ray Deck (Sustained Ventures) and Yarty Kim (Bourne Fighter). We had a great time jamming on this report.

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    📈 What else?

    Trends PRO #0070 — Product-Led Growth has more insights.

    What you’ll get:

    • 30 Players (233% more)
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    With Trends Pro you’ll learn:

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