Turn Your Product into a Lead Generation Machine
In this webinar, we discussed the value of product-led lead gen, how to do it effectively, and which companies can benefit from this new marketing strategy.
Our panelists for this session:
Breezy Beaumont, Head of Growth & Marketing at Correlated
Michael Nguyen, Growth Marketing at Taplytics
Ramli John, Managing Director at Product Led
Importance of time to value for lead gen
During the session, we discussed gaps in common B2B Lead Gen strategies. One downfall we focused on was time to value, or how long it takes for a prospect viewing your website to see any value in your product. A study from Lead Connect shows that 55% of companies take over five days to respond to demo inquiries. We performed a similar study earlier this year specifically for B2B SaaS companies. We found that out of about 100 companies without a freemium without a trial - the average lag time was about 4.3 days.
That is almost a week before your prospect sees any value from your product. And what is your prospective buyer doing during that time? They are:
- Losing interest.
- Evaluating other vendors
- Allowing the status quo to remain the default option in their business
Modern-day buyers expect almost instantaneous value when evaluating vendors, a week lag time no longer cuts it.
The changing landscape of B2B buyers
Next, we discussed why buyer behaviors have shifted. The main reason is the changing demographics of B2B buyers. 45% of B2B buyers today are 25 to 30 years old. This demographic has grown up with technology. They have grown accustomed to quick results at the click of a Google search button or the download of an app.
However, in the B2B world, prospects are forced to go through the process of talking to sales and requesting a demo to see the software. Sometimes a freemium option or trial is possible, but a majority of the time a conversation with sales is required to see any value in the product.
The issue with traditional lead generation engines
We then broke down why traditional lead gen engines, such as ebooks or whitepapers, don’t work for these new buyers. The main reason is a mismatch between the information that a prospect is giving up and what they are getting. Form gates often ask prospects:
- number of employees
that is a lot of information. We have seen a shift moving towards companies ungating all or most of their content. However, businesses need to know who’s on their website and interested in their product.
Our advice is if you’re going to gate your content - you need to make sure it is a high value for your prospects. The buyer is more educated than ever before. Giving them something that they want is the expectation. And ultimately, what they want is they want to get in front of the product and start evaluating that solution to see if it’s going to be the right fit.
One good way to tell if you are providing enough value is to look at the conversion rate on your lead gen forms. What you’re looking at is if you’re offering enough value for that person to take the time and fill it out.
Product-led lead gen methods
We then evaluated different options for product lead gen machines and discussed the pros and cons for each. When evaluating different product-led lead gen methods:
- Free trial
- Product tour
The biggest thing to think about is what’s the experience going to be for the end-user. If you’re giving them full product access and they can see all the features that you have - is that a good thing? Or is that too much because they don’t know where to focus or it’s overwhelming. They may have a limited amount of time to explore your product. And if there’s too much there, they may skip over it entirely.
The goal is to see how much you can show that end-user and provide value without making it a difficult onboarding experience for them. One actionable way to implement this is to understand where your biggest drop-off points are in your free trial and then dial that back after those.
On the flip side though, if they’re going through a freemium plan or free trial, but they’re not converting - you may not be giving them enough value. If there is a lengthy setup involved or if it is too complex, there may be too much effort required to get to that wow moment.
If a lead is top of the funnel and just window shopping, you also need to ask if it makes sense for them to jump into your whole product. Instead, you may want to give them something more lightweight.
Lead gen product tour
One option besides free trials or freemium is the lead generation product tour. The lead-gen product tour is helpful for teams that are not in that position to launch a free trial or freemium but want to embrace a completely hands-off PLG motion.
There are several reasons why a company may be in this position:
- Their product has a lengthy setup time
- There are integrations required to see value
- Lack of engineering hours or resources to build a free trial/ freemium
The product tour can be a powerful tool to drive early engagement while collecting valuable lead data. For buyers, they are getting to explore what they want to see, which is the product, and getting to that wow moment right out of the gates. This is an experience they would never have with an ebook, video, or white paper.
The product tour can also act as a new CTA on the website on top of a free trial or demo request. Prospects can get hands-on with this lightweight clickable version of your product before they talk to your sales team. This enables marketing teams to generate the leads they need and ensure they are passing along high-quality, educated leads to their sales team. Plus unlike the traditionally recorded demos or a white paper, product tours allow marketers to track prospect engagement.
Competitive risk of product tours
Next, we dived into a common objection to product-led marketing - the risk that your competitors could see your product. We have found there is a much larger risk of not being forward-facing about your product and its capabilities. Companies may be losing deals just because they don’t want the competition to be able to see what your product might look like.
Studies have shown that the median enterprise value (EV) of PLG companies is 2X higher than the public SaaS index as a whole. There’s a much bigger risk in being left behind than being forward about what your product looks like and what it’s capable of.
What companies should try product-led marketing?
Lastly, we explored what companies can benefit from product-led marketing. When deciding if product-led or product tours are right for your company, it’s important to look at who you sell to. There is a common misconception that PLG is only for businesses that sell exclusively to SMB.
However, most companies these days sell to a wide range of potential buyers and you can segment out those different groups. For example, maybe you have your SMB directly go to a product tour. Then have your Mid Market and Enterprise go to more of that sales-led motion.
The question comes down to how do you want your sales team to spend their time. If it is a lower ACV deal, is that worth the hours of building a custom proof of concept? Maybe not.
There’s not a one size fits all model for product tours. The easiest way to get started is to have conversations with your prospects and customers and find what those common use cases or personas are.
Ask your users - what do you want? How do you want to experience my product? Did you enjoy this experience, to begin with? As you continue to grow and get more data, you’ll paint a better picture of how you can service those different segments.
Watch the full webinar