How to execute Product Led Growth based on the Stage of your Company

Breezy Beaumont

Breezy Beaumont, Head of Growth & Marketing at Correlated, joined us on the podkast to discuss everything Product Led Growth (PLG)! One of the biggest myths around PLG is that it’s only for simple, easy-to-use products (aka Enterprise deals can’t be done through PLG). Intrigued? Listen to all the details about how PLG is all about improving your product and the process of buying and selling it.

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Greg Reffner 0:00
Hey everybody, this is Greg Reffner, founder and CEO of Abstrakt again, we are on the Abstrakt Podkast with Breezy Beaumont head of growth at Correlated. And we are talking product lead revenue today. So Breezy, please take a moment and say hi.

Breezy Beaumont 0:19
Hello, what’s going on everybody?

Greg Reffner 0:22
Not much I’m uh, I’m super excited to talk about this with you today. Because as I think about probably the next six to 12 months here at abstract, I’m thinking about like product lead growth. And there’s a couple of questions that we’re going to wait to get to, to kind of the end to dive into around kind of how to compensate people in a product lead growth strategy that I think are going to be really interesting and exciting for our listeners to kind of take away from. So before we begin that looks like kind of some foundational elements kind of walk us through, who is breezy? How did you get here? Kind of what was your, your path to getting to the head of growth at correlated?

Breezy Beaumont 1:04
Yeah, well, let’s see, at 12 years old, I got my first job running shoes up and down the stairs. And from there, I found my way into the software world, and the product led growth phase specifically, but a couple of stops along the way. So I’m a big fan of disruptive technology and ways of disrupting processes. And any way that we can improve the way things are done. So whether that’s the buying and selling of software, the way that we you know, run a certain type of campaign, the way we talk to people, when we’re trying to have either a sales or even Customer Success type of conversation. Any way that we can disrupt and improve things is always been my passion. And that’s kind of where I found myself in different parts of my career, whether that’s on the marketing side, and really leaning into sort of like this dark funnel, the dark social funnel, or on the product lead side where I think, you know, it enables us to have better conversations with folks in a product led company, but also it pushes every company to create a better product. And I also have to say I do really enjoy the way that it’s kind of making people rethink the way that they run their entire business for the better. How to execute Product Led Growth based on the stage of your company. And so yeah, at that’s sort of my my background and a little bit on the way I like to think about different problems out there.

Greg Reffner 2:38
Nice. Let’s let’s back up to that first job real quick. So running shoes up and down the stairs is that like, Dad give you like a quarter for go get his shoes downstairs for like No, no

Breezy Beaumont 2:48
local, local store on Nantucket, hired me paid me under the counter. Because they’re their employees didn’t really enjoy running shoes up and down the stairs. The funny part about that job is that I have like a foot phobia. And these old ladies with the nastiest feet I’ve ever seen would come in and I’d have to go put the shoes on their feet. And it was like, it was horrible. But then I learned, I started to figure out, okay, if I worked a certain amount of hours, if I put in, you know, 40 hours in a week, which is crazy for 12. But if I fit, but if I put in 40 hours that week, for like three weeks straight, I’d be able to buy a laptop. And this is when I started to really learn what, what I could do with money. And and it’s, I think a jump started my whole career probably from there. As silly as it sounds running shoes up and down at 12 years old.

Greg Reffner 3:48
That’s awesome. So there’s so many questions there around like so many life lessons, like overcome your fears and early age. How did you find time for school for like, doing normal 12 year old things, but instead you were, you know, hanging out with old women’s nasty feet at 12 years old buying yourself a laptop. So that’s a that’s awesome. All right. Well, I appreciate that. So let’s the disruptive part. I want to dive into that a little bit. So there’s so many things about, like sales that have been the same for so long. Like, you know, with you know, I think we’re all we’ve all accepted the fact that there’s, you know, digital, you know, the buyers are more educated now than they’ve ever been like that is that’s eight years ago, but that messaging was a thing. What’s, what’s interesting is there’s still so many companies out there that are holding on to this idea of like, this is how you sell. And so when you first were introduced to this idea of product lead growth, like was it something that you were just like, yeah, that’s for me, or did it kind of take you a while to wrap your head around it and kind of helped me understand kind of what that that catalyst was for you’re like, Yes, this is this is me. Yeah,

Breezy Beaumont 5:06
I mean, I think a lot of the ways that we’ve worked in the software space, both on the marketing and the sales side. And even customer success has always been, how can we measure it, and therefore, let’s work in the way that we can measure things. And so if you look at the way that marketing tactics are run, people tend to lean towards the places where you can measure, but that doesn’t necessarily correlate to the things that are actually producing the best results. And same with on the sales process, we like the idea of a sales process, we can move them from A to B to C in go through, so we can move them from a lead to an MQL SQL sell opportunity stage. And we love these stages, because everything’s so trackable and, and it just, it feels like the way that we you know, that feels good in our brain to be able to move from one to the other. It’s very predictable. And it’s just, unfortunately, the things that can be measured and done in this perfect setup of a world that we build are not the best ways to do things. So for instance, even on your sales side, so you know, setting up and a way to get in touch with a bunch of people and do things at scale, is not as effective as doing things in a higher quality type of way. And so the idea of product lead, I like product lead growth for for two different reasons. I think one, the main thing is that product lead growth is less about even putting your product out there and changing your go to market motion. It’s more about improving the process of buying and selling software. So us as consumers, if you if I go to a group of people and say, oh, like do you want to like product lead growth is way better? Do you want to do product lead growth, I’ll get a ton of pushback. But if I instead say, hey, what would be an ideal buying process? Like if you had to go buy a software today? What would you want that to look like? And what would you not want that to look like and the things people describe or what happens in a product like company and the things they don’t want or what’s happening in, you know, marketing and more sales lead companies where they say, I don’t want to go to the website and try to request a demo and wait five days, I want to be able to try to try out the product and see if I think that it fits conceptually with what we’re doing today and might improve some of our processes. And then I also want to then go have a conversation with the sales team. So if you have people sort of like pin out the way that they want to do things in the way they don’t want to do things, you quickly see that like sort of the answer there is product lead growth. And so then I think it also then sort of like the added benefit of this is it requires you to create a really great product. Because if you don’t, then you don’t get the business. And for me, I really liked that I do not like the idea that you were you know, to have great marketing and talk to an amazing salesperson, then you get locked into some contract that, you know, maybe the software isn’t all that you thought it was or that you were told that it was. And I would much rather have like truly the the person who should win the deal win the deal. So I think it ends up being this added benefit for your marketing and sales team to be able to talk about something that they know truly works that they can stand behind and really believing they’ve most likely use the product themselves. And then also for the for the buyer it it means a better buying process and better as a customer because you have a product that’s working.

Greg Reffner 8:49
Yeah. So before we started, I promised you that there was a high likelihood we’re gonna go off on a tangent, and then we’re gonna we’re gonna get that out of the way right now. So there was a couple of things you hit on there that I’m gonna push back on a little bit or maybe ask for some clarity around because product lead growth makes complete sense. Maybe when as a company, you have something that is point and click configurable. has found product market fit is something that maybe is not super integration heavy, and conceptually easy to understand. Like it’s something that you or I could log into. And by clicking around, we can probably figure out how the software works. I would argue there’s two probably more situations where like free trials might not make sense. One, like an enterprise level solution, that super heavy on like an integration and requires some type of setup and integration into a firewall. Maybe some Cybersecurity system, or to maybe companies that are a little bit earlier stage and don’t have maybe necessarily, maybe it’s a newer type of technology and how to use the software is not easily understood by the market. And so what would be your rebuttal for those two types of companies, or those two types of products for how product led growth might fit for those two types of companies?

Breezy Beaumont 10:27
Yeah, I think that you hit on one of the biggest misconceptions about product led growth, which is that it’s only for simple, easy to use, and more. So low ACV products. So enterprise deals can’t be done in product lead, which, if you just even look at the publicly traded product, lead growth companies, then that myth is kind of, you know, debunked in looking at data dog, looking at Atlassian. There’s definitely a lot of really high ACV products being sold in a product led format. What it does is it enables people to sort of grow through their contract. So what we think of as an enterprise customer, because of our historical thinking of how sales is done, we think of someone coming in and immediately, like, immediately, 18 months later, buying a product for you know, however many hundreds of 1000s, or even in the millions. Whereas instead, you get to the same end result, but the path to getting there, you are getting paid at all the stops along the way, and you were incrementally getting paid more, whether that was usage based or seats based, or whatever the other pricing model might be. The other thing you talked about is products that are more complex, maybe they’re not as easy for the user to understand. So I do think it’s important to note that like, you know, in complex products, there is, you know, there’s there’s steps that you’re going to have to take to really enable this, you’re gonna have to think about it a lot more critically, and really understand what’s happening when someone drops into your product. What’s happening in those key moments? How can we make sure that we are reaching out as a team to be available for them? How can we be creating, you know, docs that are supporting what they’re looking at? How can we create in app notifications, or in app guides and tours to help them understand what actions they should take next? How can we pre build some pieces of functionality for them so that they can at least, like start to see some of the benefit, and then custom build their own sections of it as well. So all of that is is definitely the case.

Breezy Beaumont 12:46
But I think one thing that we’re so hesitant on is the idea that a complex product can’t be understood by user. And I think that may have been the case in the past. But I think as you look at today’s, you know, people who are working in the software space, and also if you start to look down generations of who are the next groups of people who are going to be working at these companies, you’ll see that, you know, we can actually understand things that are much more complex than we used to be able to understand because we live and breathe in in software and technology. And the next generations have been brought up with it since Yeah, these are tech savvy. Yeah, super tech savvy. So you drop into that product. And even if it’s really complex, even if you haven’t integrated all these things, you’re like, oh, yeah, I kind of see how this could work. And our deal will be here, you know, like people have are more tech savvy, I think than we give them credit for. But that being said, not everyone is more tech savvy. And therefore we should also make sure that we are giving all the resources that we can from the human side, and from the you know, written and other in product pieces as well.

Greg Reffner 13:58
And ultimately, that goes back to you have to build a better product. And you have to think about the buyers journey Well, much more than you normally would. And which all results in a better buying process for the consumer of the product. So the end result is going to be the same. So one,

Breezy Beaumont 14:12
one other thing you brought up was the product market fit piece so and early stage. So let’s touch on that really, really quickly, too. I think that there are a lot of things that you’ll learn by making your product more accessible. The people you maybe thought were the ones who would come and want to buy and start using your product might not exactly be it. So there are actually some benefits to learning there. But of course, it’s going to be a bumpy road. If you’re an early product and you’re putting people in your product, you’re going to have a lot of bumps along the way.

Breezy Beaumont 14:43
So insert human humans as much as you can humans, so to speak, and in there, but I think also, you know, maybe it’s not a perfect experience for some of the early people and in my opinion, I still think it’s actually better to do that because there’s some learning that can be had there. But there’s also definitely some negative pieces where you could maybe not wowed someone and potentially lose out on on some parts there. So I think I think that’s definitely true. And one other piece I want to touch on here is that underneath the idea of being product led, being forefront with your product can happen in a lot of different ways. It could be a freemium version of your product, it could be a free trial of your product, it could also be something like a product tour. So there’s a ton of companies in that space right now. And so it’s basically like helping you walk through a product. And it might already be filled with dummy data. How to execute Product Led Growth based on the stage of your company. So you wouldn’t have to put in these core integrations and you can sort of start to play around with the product. So there’s a lot of different ways you can go about, even if you’re not necessarily a product lead company, you could still be a little bit more forefront with with what your product is and how it how it works. Basically,

Greg Reffner 15:54
I love that. I love that there’s a lot of great things that I was thinking about, as you were kind of talking about that breezy, that applied to abstract and our other days where we got people into the product, and it was, it was bumpy. Like that’s an understatement. Like the wheels came off. It was so bumpy in some cases. And so, I mean, I can totally relate to that. So let’s talk a little bit about how correlated sets up your SDR team to kind of support maybe those human touches and maybe nurtures people through probably some of the same arguments that I just made around kind of, well, I’m too early or I’m too complex. So how have you set up your SDR team to be supportive of that kind of product lead first ideology with your prospects in a way that doesn’t contradict? Right What the kind of the message and the vision you’re trying to accomplish anyways, because SDR team sales team is kind of a contradiction to product lead growth. So how does that all work together?

Breezy Beaumont 17:03
Yeah, yeah, definitely. Yeah, so for for us, the SDR team falls under my team on the marketing and growth side. And then sales team, obviously, sales team. So for us, the SDR team is fully outbound. And for anything that comes inbound or product, signups is handled directly by either sales or customer success. So talking about how you can do outbound at a product lead company. It’s definitely different than some other companies, but not insanely night and day, but it is definitely different. So it’s a lot, we focus our SDRs on a lot of basically just value add. So anywhere they can add value, it’s a lot of social selling, talking directly with prospects about what’s their current setup. So we work with a lot of product lead growth companies primarily. And so what the SDRs will do is, so they’re account based SDRs. So they are assigned to a certain number of accounts, they go to that account website, that company website, they see, okay, this company has a free trial, they have these different pricing tiers. And they maybe have a couple of different product lines. So then they’ll sort of craft their messaging based on it. And this is like where, you know, things that are scalable, sometimes are not as effective. And, and so we sort of get nitty gritty with each person that we go to talk to you, but with the different pricing tiers like hey, how are you helping to move people from that free tier to the next year of pricing and, and talking about where correlated would fit in without being forefront and talking directly about correlated, but talking about what their processes and where there might be room for improvement, or cross selling or upselling? Are all these different sort of touch points. And so the conversation is, is exactly that it’s a conversation, it’s not a pitch. It’s adding value through different marketing content, that’s creative blog content. And then for them, it can be setting a meeting, it could be getting someone into the product directly. So it’s not just about always trying to get to you know, get them on a call every time if the person so chooses to use the product then great and we’ll try to make sure they’re successful on the sales and customer success side.

Breezy Beaumont 19:30
We are obviously we dog food, our own product, right? So we got to use correlated a correlated or else why the heck are we trying to sell this thing? Yeah. And so we have notifications and automated pieces set up for our team as well. So when people take core actions in the product will both notify the sales rep or add that person who took that action to an outreach or sales loft sequence so for us, we Using outreach sequences, so we can add them in there, send an email to them. And the other thing that we just we recently put into the product, which has been like a really fun way to test things out is variable tags based on actions people have actually taken in the product. So you could, you know, say, say, Hey, Greg, I saw you just invited two new users in the last week, let me know if you’d like to have like an onboarding call or whatever it might be. And so it enables a more value add conversation, so instead of sales, or even customer success, reaching out and saying, like, Hey, Greg, how’s it going? How’s your onboarding going? Instead, it’s like, hey, you know, I saw you did these things, if it’s worth having a conversation about or if I can support you in it, let me know, great. So it’s not, you’re still there, and you’re still having conversations with people as you always would. But the context of the conversation is different. Because you you have context to actually talk to them about you understand where they are in their journey. And so then it’s a, it’s a better conversation for both ends. And the, the end user also knows that when they get on that call, that they’re gonna leave with great takeaways. So they’re gonna leave with more knowledge. And they join the call with

Greg Reffner 21:18
this hit on so many nuggets of wisdom there, they feel like we could end the podcast there. And there’s a ton of value. So first things first, right? Like, you have to be personalized and relevant in your outreach. And your product is so uniquely positioned to be able to personalize and provide relevancy in some type of outbound type of cadence, because you could go, like you mentioned, go to the pricing page, can you sign up for a free trial? If I get at, you know, as an SDR? Can I go actually get into that trial? And can I show through maybe a Vinyard video where I struggled to figure out how to do something in the product. And I showed throw that to, you know, CRO, and be like, Hey, I tried to get you a free trial. This didn’t work. Have you ever thought about introducing something like correlated to help drive adoption in your free trials? Right, like, it makes it so easy to prospect when when there’s little things like that on a company’s website that you mentioned, like scale? is not always necessarily like I forget the language you use. But like, it’s not. You’re not trying to do 100 kind of accounts. Maybe you’re targeting 50 and doing 50? Very, very well. Right, and getting high hit rates on those 50. Yeah, there’s, that’s his genius. I love it. I love it. I’m sure your SDRs have a lot more fun going about prospecting that way than just kind of a spray and pray email phone call all day.

Breezy Beaumont 22:54
Yeah, I try to let them know that they should ask their fellow SDR and BDR friends how they’re, they’re liking their jobs. And maybe it’ll give them some gratitude for their current setup. And know that they are awesome, though. I mean, it definitely requires more work and more strategic thinking. But I, I think if you’re a person who thrives with that, then then it goes, well, one other quick thing that I thought you’d think is funny as we’ll get, we’ll be customers of a software and we’ll get, you know, outreach from their SDR BDR team, or even their, you know, someone on their customer success team. And it will be the most irrelevant message either it’s trying to pitch to us, and we’re like, we’re already a customer. So you should probably start to use or awkward or, or they like, say something that just doesn’t fit for our use case at all. It’s like, again, this could have this could have been a better conversation. And so that’s actually sometimes the way we’ll get the door open is kind of screenshotting their own message back in a friendly way, not being rude, but just in a friendly way, like, hey, you know, maybe this could be improved if you did it this way. So yes, know, a little bit of a snack.

Greg Reffner 24:02
That’s awesome. That’s awesome. Well, I’m going to skip over a couple of questions that we originally talked on, mainly because we very quickly kind of hit on some of them as part of just kind of the flow of our conversation. But I have kind of two more topics I want to dive into before we wrap up breezy. First one. Let’s say I’m kind of maybe I’m the CRO, or the head of product for a company. And I’m kind of like, I keep hearing about product led growth. I see it all over LinkedIn. I’m hearing all the success stories of companies are doing it. I don’t know where to start. Like, where where do I start to kind of dip my toe in the water and go is this strategy right for us?

Breezy Beaumont 24:43
Yeah, I mean, I think the first thing to realize is that this isn’t just saying, Oh, now we want to it’s not like a marketing strategy. It’s not like oh, now we want to, you know, run ads, and we’ll just add that in and it just fits into what we currently do. It will truly shake up the way that the entire company runs, product teams will be much more need to be much more cross functional with pretty much every team and everyone’s gonna have product feedback.

Breezy Beaumont 25:10
The sales team, we’ve talked about works in a different way, marketing team have additional responsibilities and need deeper product, everyone across the entire revenue team needs much deeper product knowledge, because a lot of the people you’ll end up interacting with have already been using your product. So if you are not well versed in it, then it’s going to be an awkward conversation. So yeah, there’s a lot of different things that will change. I think that’s something to keep in mind. That said, I, you know, I strongly believe that that pain is worth is worth it, the effort is worth it. Because you know, the outcomes on the other end will be there. So I think you know, ways you think about getting started, you can if you’re still trying to build the business case, so maybe you’re not the head honcho, but you’re the one who’s trying to build this business case, internally, you can always do it like run a test, like how you’d run any other test in a company. And if you you know, put a button on the website, that’s free trial tends to be the easiest option, because it’s just you can just give full product access for X amount of time. And so if you put a button on the website for that, let’s say you run it for a period of time, like two weeks, you have it up there, when people come in, you manually add them and create an account for them. And those can basically be your like little beta testers of what it might be like. So it’ll show you a couple things.

Breezy Beaumont 26:33
I’ll show you the volume. How many people are interested in this path? What is the conversion rate look like? And now once the people get into the product into that trial, and you can always let them know, like, Hey, we’re testing out this free trial. So please let us know if things are not bla bla bla bla. But it will also show you where people get stuck pretty quick. Yeah. And so then you’ll have a lot of learnings there. Maybe you take the button back off the site for a little bit clean a couple of things up and then go back. But um, yeah, but I’d say that’s probably the best way to, to get started and to think about it.

Greg Reffner 27:04
Cool. I love that. And I mean, yeah, so that Free Trial button up there, let people know, like, Hey, this is we’re testing this out and, you know, be be harsh and blunt with your feedback, you know, and if something’s not, you know, working the way you expect it to, please tell us, you know, and if, you know, we’ll come back when we haven’t fixed we have an opportunity to earn your business later. Awesome. If not, thank you for the feedback. Like, you know, kind of I love that final thing. And this is something I really want to talk about is compensation structure for product lead growth sales teams, or in kind of your to your case, the STRS, under kind of the growth marketing side of the business. In a world where we’re using the product to upsell, we’re using the product to sell itself. And we’re using technology to kind of take people through that buyers journey as they engage with your product. Without giving away too much detail like what’s How do you go about thinking about compensation and variable compensation specifically, for somebody who, you know, is in quote unquote, sales, and a good chunk of their earning potential is tied to their ability to sell that software?

Breezy Beaumont 28:27
Yeah, yeah, I think so anytime, like conceptually, that just the high level of thinking about compensation is, what is the end result and what are the behaviors you want to promote. And that’s exactly what you should combine. So for the for the SDR team, if your goal is for like outbound team, for instance, if your goal is to have them, either get people in the product or get people on a call, then you should be compensating on both of those. For sales teams, one of the biggest changes we’re seeing is in product lead, like we talked about, you have a fairly small land of the deal, but there’s a lot of expansion inside of it. Whereas in more of a traditional company, so to speak. There, you try to land the biggest deal you possibly can. And even like the longest contract length you possibly can, which is very different. So expansion isn’t necessarily a huge play for you there. So one of the biggest shifts is for sales teams being compensated much more highly on expansion. overlanding because in product lead, you don’t even necessarily want them to land on a big contract, you actually really want to make sure that they’re successful at every stop along the way. So with variable comp there, you’re seeing a big shift in maybe 75% of your variable comp at 90%. On actually the expansion of an account over time, rather than on the land and maybe it’s only like 25% on the land of Where it used to be 100.

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