Should You Be More Product Oriented? Practical Advice From Wes Bush

Should You Be More Product Oriented? Practical Advice From Wes Bush

When I was still teaching, the three main points of advice I found myself repeating were:

  1. Take your time.
  2. Keep it simple.
  3. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

As it turns out, those three statements apply to most things in life – including business. Especially business.

I know. We’ve been in an era of calculated risk, mainlining entrepreneurial spirit, and the pervasive (-ly annoying) go-big-or-go-home philosophy for so long that “going above and beyond” isn’t even status quo; it’s bare minimum requirements.

Hear me out.

No matter what else you’re doing with your company, you have to take care of your customers. You have to understand them: what they want, what they need, and what they will need down the road.

That understanding of your customer and their relationship with your product is a crucial aspect of becoming a successful product-oriented business.

So you’ve read our previous post on product-led growth (PLG) and now know all the nuts and bolts of a PLG go-to-market strategy. It’s a super-exciting concept and exactly the direction you’ve wanted to take your company in.

But. (There’s always a “but.”)

Your business – the entire customer lifecycle every user of your product goes through – revolves around the traditional sales-led approach of painstakingly coaxing every customer through each step of the sales cycle from demo to trial to paying user.

You can’t go in tomorrow morning, clear out all your established processes, and tell your sales team: Right, we’re totally changing everything right this second. Even if your sales team doesn’t laugh you out of the office, it’s not going to work.

So how do you navigate that transition and maintain your success?

I didn’t know the answer to that, so for this Process Street post, I went straight to the horse’s mouth (🐴) and asked PLG champ, author, and founder Wes Bush about how to make PLG work and become a successful, product-oriented company.

Let’s get started!
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How to Build a Successful Go-to-Market Strategy

go-to-market strategy

A go-to-market (GTM) strategy is the way in which a company brings a product or service to market.

No matter how good your idea is, you need a go-to-market strategy.

Why?

Because statistically speaking, your business is more likely to fail than succeed.

In fact, if you’re a startup, your chance of failure is a dreary 90%. That’s not to say that your idea isn’t a brilliant one, or that you haven’t got what it takes to bring it to market.

Startups fail for different reasons. Perhaps the market is already awash with companies offering the same solution as yours, or the market isn’t mature enough to welcome your product. Or, maybe the cost of developing and launching your product is so steep that it’s unprofitable.

If successful, a go-to-market strategy will be your salvation and prevent you from failure. The question is, how do you develop a winning strategy? Which factors should you consider?

I asked our VP of Marketing Bryan Sise these very questions. Through the course of his career at companies like Twilio, SendGrid, Twitter, Dynamic Signal, and now Process Street, Bryan has noticed what contributes to GTM success.

In this post I’ll share with you what he has to say. I’ll cover what a go-to-market strategy is, types of go-to-market strategies, the key steps to building a successful go-to-market strategy, and what GTM strategies we use here at Process Street.

Let’s get strategizing. 🚀
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Build a Product That Sells Itself With Product-Led Growth

product-led-growth

“History tells us that “how” you sell is just as important as “what” you sell.”Wes Bush, The Definitive Guide On Product-Led Growth.

Slack’s revenue has grown 52 x since its launch in 2014: The channel-based messaging platform reported that revenue went from $12 million in 2014 to $630 million in 2020.

Their secret? …. Product-led growth.

Product-led growth (PLG), otherwise known as the “try before you buy” approach has helped companies like Dropbox, Netflix, Hubspot, and of course Slack go from Startup to scale up in record time.

But, the product-led growth approach isn’t just about trying before buying. There’s more to it than that. In fact, to truly be product-led you’ll need to choose between a free trial or freemium model; determine if you’ll be targeting the makers or the shakers of an organization; decide which sea you wish to sail when following the Blue Ocean Strategy; and, choose whether your strategy wants to focus on the bottom-up or the top-down.

Feeling confused? Don’t worry, this post will help clear things up. I’ll go over what product-led growth actually is and help you decide if the approach is right for you. I’ll also take a look at Slack and Hubspot, the poster children of the PLG approach to show what it looks like in practice.

To jump to a specific section click on the appropriate link below.

Let’s get sailing…
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