Product-led Growth

Customer Success: Product Led Growth Explained

Yves Delongie
Yves Delongie
September 18, 2023
Customer Success: Product Led Growth Explained

Product Led Growth (PLG) is a business methodology that leverages product usage as the primary driver of customer acquisition, conversion, and expansion. It's a model that places the product at the center of the organization and its strategy. This article will delve into the intricacies of PLG, its relationship with customer success, and how it shapes the modern business landscape.

Customer success, on the other hand, is a business methodology that is focused on ensuring that customers achieve their desired outcomes while using your product or service. It is a proactive, real-time sales approach consisting of building relationships with existing customers, understanding in depth their company and product goals, and helping the customer meet these goals through day-to-day contact. This article will also explore the role of customer success in a PLG strategy.

Understanding Product Led Growth

Product Led Growth is a go-to-market strategy that relies on product usage as the primary driver of user acquisition, retention, and expansion. This means that the product must deliver value and drive growth from the first interaction. The product is not just a part of the offering; it is the primary method of driving growth.

PLG companies, like Slack, Zoom, and Dropbox, focus on the end-user experience and aim to deliver a product that is so intuitive and delivers so much value that it sells itself. The product is the main focus, and everything else, including sales and marketing, supports the product's value.

Key Elements of Product Led Growth

The first key element of PLG is a focus on the end-user. The product must meet the end-user's needs and deliver value from the first interaction. This means that the product must be easy to use, intuitive, and solve a real problem for the user. The user should be able to get value from the product without needing a demo or a salesperson to guide them.

The second key element is a product that can be easily shared. This means that the product should have built-in virality, making it easy for users to invite others to use the product. This can be done through features like collaborative tools, sharing features, and network effects.

Benefits of Product Led Growth

Product Led Growth offers several benefits. First, it can lead to faster growth. By focusing on the product and the end-user, companies can quickly attract and retain users. This can lead to faster growth compared to traditional sales-led strategies.

Second, PLG can lead to lower customer acquisition costs. By leveraging the product as the main growth driver, companies can reduce the need for expensive sales and marketing campaigns. Instead, the product and the users do the heavy lifting.

Role of Customer Success in Product Led Growth

Customer success plays a critical role in a PLG strategy. In a PLG company, the product must not only attract users, but also retain them and encourage them to expand their usage. This is where customer success comes in.

Customer success teams in PLG companies focus on ensuring that users are getting value from the product. They proactively reach out to users, offer help, gather feedback, and guide users to get more value from the product. They are the advocates for the customer within the company, ensuring that the product continues to meet and exceed customer needs.

Customer Success Strategies in PLG

There are several strategies that customer success teams can use in a PLG company. One strategy is to focus on onboarding. A good onboarding process can help users get value from the product quickly, increasing the chances that they will continue to use the product and eventually convert to paying customers.

Another strategy is to focus on customer education. This can include creating resources like guides, tutorials, and webinars that help users understand how to get the most value from the product. The more a user understands the product, the more likely they are to use it and get value from it.

Measuring Customer Success in PLG

Measuring customer success in a PLG company can be a bit different than in a traditional sales-led company. Instead of focusing on sales metrics, PLG companies focus on product usage metrics. These can include metrics like daily active users, session length, feature usage, and churn rate.

These metrics can give a clear picture of how users are interacting with the product, how much value they are getting, and whether they are likely to continue using the product. This information can be used to identify areas where the product can be improved, as well as to identify at-risk users who may need extra support.

Challenges of Implementing Product Led Growth

While PLG offers many benefits, it also comes with its own set of challenges. One of the main challenges is the need for a cultural shift within the company. In a PLG company, the product is the main focus, and all other departments, including sales and marketing, must support the product. This can require a significant cultural shift, especially for companies that are used to a sales-led strategy.

Another challenge is the need for a high-quality product. In a PLG strategy, the product must be able to sell itself. This requires a high-quality product that delivers value from the first interaction. Creating such a product can be a significant challenge.

Overcoming PLG Challenges

Despite these challenges, there are ways to successfully implement a PLG strategy. One way is to start small. Instead of trying to shift the entire company to a PLG strategy all at once, start with one product or one part of the product. This can allow the company to learn and adapt before making a larger shift.

Another way to overcome these challenges is to invest in customer success. A strong customer success team can help ensure that users are getting value from the product, which can drive growth and retention.


Product Led Growth is a powerful strategy that can drive rapid growth and lower customer acquisition costs. However, it requires a high-quality product and a strong focus on the end-user. Customer success plays a critical role in this strategy, helping to ensure that users get value from the product and continue to use and expand their usage over time.

While implementing a PLG strategy can be challenging, with the right strategies and a strong focus on customer success, it can be a powerful driver of growth. As more and more companies adopt a PLG strategy, the role of customer success will only become more important.

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