May 12, 2023

Product-led growth: The key to thriving in a downturn

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If there’s one positive to shine through all the economic negatives dominating the headlines of late, it’s this: a macroeconomic environment like the one we’re now experiencing forces businesses to prioritise or perish.
Those who want to build for a better tomorrow must figure out what their biggest opportunity is today. And as they discern what that is, many companies are coming to the same conclusion: their product.
A recent survey commissioned by Pendo and Mind the Product of more than 500 professionals in the field confirms product’s growing importance for businesses as a whole. The results are in, and 67% of product leaders say their company has grown more focused on product in today’s economic environment. Meanwhile, 62% say the economy has led their company to view their product role as increasingly important.
If there’s one word that explains why product has become so important, it’s data. In today’s world, your product can deliver heaps of data about your customers. With the right analytics, this data can yield insights that help answer vital business and customer health questions.
Product-led growth (PLG) – the strategy by which a company puts its product at the centre of all stages of the buying journey – was already growing in popularity before the recent downturn. Think freemium models, friction-free self-guided tours, in-app purchasing and cross-sell/upsell capabilities.
The aforementioned survey results bear this out. Fifty-four per cent of respondents said their organisation had either implemented or accelerated implementation of PLG during the current downturn. That’s in addition to the 29% of respondents who said their organisation had already implemented PLG strategies before the downturn. PLG is “smart growth” at its smartest.
This “smart growth” can take many forms. One is to leverage product analytics to understand customer usage data and identify at-risk accounts. If a customer’s usage is significantly down, or if they haven’t adopted any new features in a while, it could indicate potential trouble. Customer success teams can then proactively check in and assist the customer to stave off the threat of churn.
Alternatively, consider how to best chart your product roadmap. Product, development and engineering time are precious resources, yet too often these teams plan products and features that don’t reflect customer priorities.
As we face continued economic uncertainty, there’s an overarching takeaway for businesses to anchor on: product teams and the work they do are more important to overall business health than ever before, and product-led tactics are the key to business success.

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