Product-Led Growth (PLG) is a go-to-market strategy that puts the end-user first. The strategy comprises developing products that deliver precisely what users need, building loyalty with those users, and resulting in those users promoting the product widely.
The PLG strategy — first introduced as a concept by OpenView Venture Capital’s Blake Bartlett in 2016 — has been used successfully by countless tech startups to achieve meteoric growth. These startups include Calendly, Slack, Shopify, Zoom, Zapier, and others.
To succeed in PLG, the adoption of a product must be as smooth as possible. Users can’t spend endless hours onboarding. Or, if they must onboard, then the product itself should onboard them so that they are using it within a few clicks.
When startups properly leverage PLG, there is no need for huge initial investments. An MVP (minimum viable product) is created as rapidly as possible and then pushed out far and wide, serving end users' most vital immediate needs and iterating rapidly according to consumer feedback.
Why are software libraries essential for PLG?
Swift response to user needs is essential in PLG. The faster your product provides the aspired value, and the more user-friendly and intuitive your product is to use, the likelier that user is to promote your product to others.
To deliver this experience and meet the high needs, all aspects and components of your product must meet certain expectations, from the first sign-on to the first steps, data onboarding up to payment and user support.
Software libraries are vital to making this happen. There is absolutely no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to certain components.
PLG means that your product brings something new to the table. Using software libraries, you can quickly deliver existing solutions to your product while focusing your development team’s energy on the new features that will ultimately drive your company’s growth through the product itself.
It’s important to understand that core features are as important as peripherals.
Here are four tools and software libraries that implement key features to make products more usable and so help you drive your PLG strategy forward.
Frontegg — User login and user management library
Few new product or service development tasks are as frustrating as building the login and user management infrastructure. If anything merits the phrase “reinventing the wheel,” it is this.
Frontegg solves this problem by providing a SaaS, out-of-the-box login, and user management infrastructure that you can just plug into your product and start using.
The tool can be implemented using Angular, React, Vue, or as a hosted solution. You simply sign up, configure the type of authentication your users will need, and then let it roll.
User roles and policies can all be configured using a WYSIWYG designer with simple if\else statements to determine users’ rights.
The tool implements everything from SSO (single-sign-on) to audit logs and even a subscription management feature.
Stripe — Payment processing
Stripe’s growth in the payment processing space has been truly spectacular. It now rivals PayPal as one of the best online payment processors in the world. The company is also the world’s sixth-largest unicorn.
Stripe offers a self-serve payment process which is essential for PLG. Its payment structure is particularly suited to SaaS solutions, and it also offers several services for free — such as refunds — which PayPal charges for.
Any company, whether large or small, can use Stripe’s APIs to process payments. The tool is user-friendly, intuitive, and easy to integrate.
nuvo — Seamless data importing, data validation, and data cleaning suite
As much as 74% of customers will switch to another service if the onboarding process is too complicated. A seamless onboarding process is therefore crucial to retaining customers in a PLG strategy.
But data onboarding is notoriously fraught with errors. Inconsistent formats, different file types, erroneous data, and other factors can lead to an onboarding process that is so frustrating that users leave your product before they even get started.
nuvo is an all-in-one, plug-and-play data validation, data cleaning, and data import software library that removes all the complexities of data onboarding. By simply inserting a few snippets of code into a website, nuvo immediately allows companies to import CSV and Excel files, and automatically cleans those files so that the imported data lands in your datastore with zero errors.
Developers can define the target data model using a simple key\value pair. RegEx data validation is built directly into the system. And cleaning functions let developers define more advanced validation steps to be taken on the data.
Once the data has been successfully imported by nuvo, it is provided — cleaned and validated — to the backend in JSON format.
The importer can also be styled easily using its settings object.
Through a simple yet sophisticated API, nuvo lets you integrate the onboarding process directly into your product so that users experience a self-service approach to onboarding. The quick implementation saves development time so that you can focus on your core product instead of on the peripherals.
Nuvo can currently be implemented in the following languages/frameworks:
- Vue.js 2
- Vue.js 3
The Olark Chatbot offers chat support for sales and customer service. The chatbot lets users obtain the most out of a product from the beginning by providing useful answers to support questions, and also providing customizable tips and targeted messages that let users more deeply explore your product.
Real-time dashboards furnish you with detailed chat metrics and customer feedback.
The chatbot integrates easily with numerous existing solutions such as WordPress, Drupal, Google Meet, Shopify, Magento, and others.
Using a customizable chatbot can drive your PLG strategy by providing customers with the information they need about your product without pulling resources off of key tasks.
And if a user wants to talk to a live human, they can do so easily.
There are likely many other tools. But the key things to keep in mind when operating a PLG strategy are:
- Don’t reinvent the wheel.
- Iterate fast.
- Keep your development team busy on building what’s new, and use reliable tools available for the rest.