A company is only as successful as its product, at least in a company that operates on a product-led growth (PLG) strategy.
But the primary driver of product-led growth is how successfully your customers use the product. The more successful your customers are with the product, the faster your business will grow. Customer success leads to happier customers, lower acquisition costs, and more upsell opportunities.
Customer Success Drives Product-led Growth
In a PLG strategy, the product drives user acquisition, expansion, conversion, and retention; it’s the largest sustainable, scalable business growth source driving company-wide alignment across teams.
PLG relies on customer success to drive product success by understanding how customers use the product and why they are using it. The goal of customer success is to ensure that customer finds success with the product—and in many cases, without the company’s help. Company success directly correlates with your customer’s success.
Let’s talk about five customer success strategies to achieve product-led growth.
1. Proactively Solve Your Customers’ Needs
What’s the point of a product if it’s not solving its customers’ problems? Customer success teams look for gaps in the product and use customer feedback to inform the product roadmap.
If your product isn’t evolving to meet your customer’s needs, you risk losing customers. Notion is an excellent example of a product-led company that continues to add innovative features to address its customers’ evolving needs. Its additions have been thoughtfully implemented with the customer in mind, helping the company create an overall better product.
Your customers want to see all possible use cases for the product to see how they can best configure it to meet their needs. This is where a product-driven community can come into play. Customers can regularly engage and connect to have conversations, answer questions, and share ideas and inspiration around your product.
2. Understand User Behavior by Tracking & Monitoring Customer Data
Data collection is a key component of customer success. By collecting data, customer success teams can dig deeper into user behavior to better understand how customers use the product. This data includes but is not limited to the features they’re leveraging, how often they use the product, and what they use it for.
There are several metrics you can use to track and monitor user engagement, such as:
- Customer Lifetime Value (CLV): How much revenue a single customer brings for the business during your relationship
- Customer Retention Rate: Percentage of existing customers who remain customers after a period of time
- Customer Churn Rate: Percentage of customers or subscribers who cancel or don’t renew their subscriptions during a given period of time
- Customer Effort Score (CES): Measures the ease customers can use your product or service, resolve a support issue, or find the necessary information
- Repeat Purchase Rate: Percentage of customers who come back for another purchase
- Customer Health Score: Measures if customers see value in your product or service
- Product Usage Rate: How often users access your product
- Average Time on Platform: How much time your customers spend using the software
- Active Users: How many users are using the product daily, weekly, or monthly
3. Improve the Product Through a Customer Feedback Loop
While your customers learn from you, you can learn from your customer’s feedback. Feedback can be collected directly through surveys, focus groups, or interviews or indirectly by tracking usage and customer behavior. That said, both happy and unhappy customers can provide valuable information.
Happy customers can tell you which features and components drive the most value for them, which can help you understand where to focus your efforts on the product. The more features they love, the more likely they will stick around.
Alternatively, feedback from unhappy customers is just as valuable. Unhappy customers can help you identify the product gaps you didn’t see yourself and why they might stop using your product, which can help you serve the next customer. And you might even win those customers over if you implement their feedback.
4. Educate Customers About Your Product
You must give your customers product-led content to be self-sufficient. Providing resources such as guides, videos, and webinars can help customers understand how to use the product and how to use it best to meet their needs—and minimize any roadblocks to product success. Notion leverages several channels for product education:
- Customer stories that showcase how various companies are using Notion
- Help center with reference materials, getting started guides, and information on its API integrations
- Webinars that cover the basics of using the product each week
- Blog posts covering features, use cases, and product updates
- A community where users can learn from each other
Product education doesn’t just have to be content the company puts out; it can also be user-generated content. For example, several Notion creators, like Thomas Frank and Marie Poulin, have created content to explain how to use various product features. Often, customers like learning from real-life product users to gain insight.
5. Create an Easy Onboarding Experience
Onboarding is the first step to getting your customers to love your product. You want to make the onboarding process as frictionless as possible. If you make it hard for your customers to get into the system or use the tool, the less likely they’ll spend time in the tool and use it to its fullest potential.
Customer success teams should kickstart the onboarding process shortly after the customer purchases the product. More often than not, there is a lot of anticipation and excitement around implementing a new product (not to mention the pressure from stakeholders to show the ROI of the investment), so make sure your customer is set up on the platform sooner rather than later.
While customer success teams act as a customer resource, the product needs to do the heavy lifting to get the customer onboarded—not a person. However, customer success reps help remove roadblocks quickly and efficiently when customers get stuck, have questions, or want to configure the product for a specific use case.
Product-led Growth Starts with Customer Success
Customer success is critical to a product-led growth strategy. When companies prioritize customer success, they can create happier customers and lower acquisition costs.
About the Author
Alexa Phillips is a freelance writer and fractional marketer for B2B SaaS brands. She also writes about content, social media, internet culture, consumerism, and retail. You can follow her on LinkedIn and Twitter.