Product-Led Growth for CMOs, Part 3: How to Integrate PLG & GTM Teams

Laura Kendall

Leading SaaS companies like Slack, Dropbox, Stripe, Square, and Atlassian will tell you they don’t have sales teams. And while that’s true in name (you won’t find the word “sales” in a job title), the fact is that companies using product-led growth (PLG) strategies effectively still have go-to-market (GTM) teams. But team members’ roles are vastly different than those of traditional salespeople.

During the CMO Guide to PLG webinar, Francis Brero, CRO of MadKudu, shared some best practices for using GTM teams in a PLG strategy. He dispelled three common myths, explained how GTM teams can help customers reduce friction, and encouraged CMOs to embrace the complexity of B2B funnels.

Myth 1: Fast-growing B2B companies don’t have sales teams.

According to Francis, companies can’t simply publish a website, set up a free trial, and drive product sign-ups alone. That’s why even the fastest-growing B2B companies still have dedicated sales teams.

They may go by different names (account management, business development, customer advocacy) than a traditional sales-led organization, but they share a similar goal: helping address friction points in the funnel that can’t be addressed by the product alone.

Salespeople in a product-led motion (at least the good ones) don’t shove the product down the users’ throats. Instead, they should help ensure a user gets what they need —  based on the type of user they are — out of the free trial or product in general. This makes the GTM team a vital part of a well-oiled PLG onboarding machine.

Myth 2: The consumerization of B2B means buyers want to self-serve.

YouTube estimates that its algorithmic recommendations drive 70% of its retention. That’s because YouTube understands that having too many choices gives some people a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out).

In the same way that YouTube’s recommendations drive viewership, GTM teams can help B2B buyers figure out which product is right for them. While some of your customers may find your products organically, not everyone embraces self-service.

A GTM team in a PLG environment, Francis explained, brings value by reducing friction, helping end users better navigate product features and options, and creating a seamless path to a free trial or a freemium model.

Myth 3: An active user is always more likely to convert.

A customer’s product journey isn’t linear. Customers won’t always sign up, activate the product, and get recurring value in that order. Some will sign up and convert directly. Others will subscribe so they can refer new users to your product.

According to Francis, it’s important to understand that not every signup will be a core user. Ideally, you’d use personas to segment each group of users, then create a personalized onboarding experience for each. Companies that instead embrace a one-size-fits-all approach may push people toward activation who aren’t quite ready for it, thereby creating friction and driving away potential customers.

What does funnel segmentation look like in a PLG model?

At MadKudu, we help our clients with a PLG motion drive segmentation by linking companies’ product stacks to their GTM stacks. This level of segmentation will help lead customers down the most appropriate funnel.

Why does segmentation matter? Because B2B journeys are complex. Listen as Francis explains how B2B journeys are similar to those faced by characters from a popular epic fantasy movie series:

How B2B Buyers’ Journeys Resemble The Lord Of The Rings



To help execute a PLG strategy flawlessly — and help end users get the most value from your product — Francis recommends creating journeys for these four segments:

  • Self-Serve: Core users who require a no-touch sales approach.
  • Sales-Assisted: Mid-market core users who benefit from a transactional sales model.
  • Bottom-Up: Large, mid-market, or enterprise users who respond to a “land and expand” approach.
  • Top-Down: Enterprise customers who fit with an outbound sales model.

Everything CMOs Need to Know about PLG

For a deeper dive about empowering GTM teams to support PLG, watch the full webinar. In addition to Francis’s wisdom on PLG and GTM teams, you’ll get a venture capitalist’s view on PLG from Sam Richard, Director of Growth at OpenView, and you’ll learn about the practitioner perspective of PLG from Wes Bush, Founder and CEO of Product-Led Institute.

And if you missed our earlier Product-Led Growth for CMOs blog posts, check out Part 1 and Part 2.

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