PLG is essential for durable growth, and other key learnings from Pulse 2022 Image

PLG is essential for durable growth, and other key learnings from Pulse 2022

Pulse 2022 may be over, but the impact is just beginning.

This year, for the first time ever, the focus of the event expanded beyond customer success to include speakers, sessions, and attendees from product and community. The result was exactly as we suspected, that together, we are unstoppable. 

If you weren’t able to attend the product-specific sessions, you can access everything in our brand-new Pulse Library. And if you want a sneak peek of the quality learnings you’ll receive when you sign up, just keep reading. 

Here are five important learnings from Product professionals during Pulse 2022. 

1. Durable growth requires collaborative efforts from Product and CS.

During the opening keynote, Karl Rumelhart, CPO at Gainsight, and Kellie Capote, CCO at Gainsight, detailed the Durable Growth Playbook. In their presentation, they explained that in order to build a company that can withstand the changes in the market, Product and Customer Success teams need to work together. And for the next two days, we saw that not only do other SaaS executives agree, but they also have implemented processes to make the collaboration successful. 

Geoffrey Moore, author and consultant, explained that SaaS companies have matured beyond simply developing product features to developing product experiences. We now must deliver a cohesive experience along each step of the customer journey, including when they talk to the CS team and when they are engaging with the product itself. To create these elevated customer journeys and experiences, both CS and Product must share the same vision and North Star metrics. 

Aaron Levie, CEO of Box, described what this looks like in practical terms in a conversation with Mehta. He said that his product team builds a number of features every quarter that come “directly from customer feedback.” Box’s CS teams share what they’ve heard from the customer directly with the Product team to ensure that everyone is on the same page about what is most important to their customer base. 

2. Internal triggers build habits, and habits create stickiness. 

During author and investor Nir Eyal’s session, the Product professionals in attendance learned a huge lesson in how to use customer feedback to create sticky features. In his Hooked Framework, Eyal explains that all actions require either an internal or an external trigger. And when an action has both, it is more likely to become a habit. 

What does that mean for your product? It needs to have the right triggers ready for customers at each step of the customer journey. 

In their session Building a Data-Driven Product Org for Durable Growth, Mickey Alon, CTO of PX Gainsight, John Manganaro, CPO Bonterra, talked about how to create a system of triggers that helps build habits and customer advocates. 

Alon explained, “The product has a ripple effect on your company’s ability to acquire, retain, and grow customers. Map your user journey toward designated outcomes based on stage, objective, and role.” From there, he explained, you can prioritize your product roadmap to impact key business metrics. 

That starts with Product teams understanding what motivates their customer base and using that knowledge to develop the right features. Teams must constantly evaluate which features deliver value and ensure that they are delivering the right feature and message to the right customer at the right time to create those habits.

These product-led and digital-led engagement strategies that are informed by mutual success plans can lead your customers to invest in your product, create habits around its features, and ultimately become an advocate for your company. 

Sounds like a win for everyone!

3.  Your competitors are using product-led growth strategies.

Another winning strategy that dominated many of the conversations at Pulse was product-led growth (PLG). It was brought up in a variety of sessions throughout the two days, but it was during the Expert Roundtable: Why the Future Is Product-Led session that attendees really took a deep dive. 

Harshi Banka, PX Post-Sales Leader at Gainsight hosted Ciara Peter, VP of Product at Robin, Ken Rudin, SVP of Growth at ThoughtSpot, and Curtis Townshend, Sr. Director of Growth at OpenView to discuss everything from how they leverage product-led growth to the urgent need to implement it. 

Peter began the discussion by explaining how PLG can help build relationships with potential customers immediately. She said, “Customers are going to go to your site, and if they can’t try your product right away, maybe they’ll go to a competitor site. Maybe the competitor’s product isn’t quite as compelling as yours. But if they can try it right away, and when they login, it’s pretty good, they’ll probably start using it and form a relationship with your competitor that way.”  

In other words, from the moment a person lands on your website, your team should know exactly how to deliver value.

Townshend also explained how PLG impacts their current customers. He described how Sales is much more efficient when using PLG initiatives. He said, “They complement each other. We still have a Sales team and now that we’ve added in product-led growth, we’re doing about three times the number of deals.” 

Ultimately, the sooner you start implementing PLG tactics, the more durable your business will be. 

4. Your product standardizes the customer experience—especially in enterprise businesses.

Enterprise organizations face a unique challenge when figuring out how to leverage their product to create efficient growth. Multi-product companies must find a way to create standard customer journeys for each segment of their customer base, which can mean conflicting needs and priorities. Luckily for everyone at Pulse, Thimaya Subaiya, SVP/GM at Cisco, Anisha Sivakumar VP of Customer Success at Cisco, and Jim Roth EVP of Customer Success at Salesforce all offered important insights for how to be successful. 

Roth offered an incredible piece of advice when he explained that specialists within your organization must be deep experts on the customer. That way, no matter what question they have throughout their customer journey, your team knows who to connect them with and why.  

When your team focuses on the customer, scaling is much more simple. He said, “Complexity is the enemy of scale. Can we explain it on one sheet of paper? Can I explain it to my mom?” 

Subaiya echoed Roth’s advice to be completely customer-centric in your approach. He said, “It doesn’t matter who you’re talking to about a Cisco product; the experience is the same.” 

5. In-app engagements are critical for improved time-to-value. 

As you can tell, the conversations from the product-specific sessions covered both conceptual ideas and tactical applications. One of the most popular tactical discussions came from the team at UiPath. Jay Snyder, Global Head of Customers and Partners at UiPath, Chris Colwell, VP Americas Customer Success at UiPath, and Jean Nairon, VP, Custom Success and Partner Ops at UiPath discussed how an automated customer journey helped them scale. 

By implementing a framework for customers to assess their maturity, document their success plans, and move through the product, UiPath was able to deliver a better customer experience at scale. 

Colwell explained, “It’s about enabling the customer to think for themselves and push themselves towards their growth goals without always having to show them where to go next.” A customer’s ability to guide themselves through training, education, and feature adoption impacts your time-to-value and, ultimately, the expansion opportunities your team has. If you aren’t using in-app engagements to foster that kind of self-service, you’re making your organization less efficient and more vulnerable to churn. 

Avoid churn risks and build efficient growth by using your product to implement digital-led customer success strategies. 

Get more in the Pulse Library

Can you believe that those valuable lessons didn’t even cover half of the incredible learnings from Pulse 2022? It’s true! If you’re inspired to learn more, and get access to each session, including the slides, try the Pulse Library. You’ll not only have access to this year’s Pulse content, but also sessions from previous years. It’s all available right now