In my recent conversation with aRevGeniusfellow memberManuel Buri, he asked❓ about a good PLG CRM to use for a SaaS startup🆕.
My take on this subject was, at an early stage, you don't🚫 need a specific PLG CRM. Before you argue, let me summarize the conversation.
PLG is a methodology and not a tool dependency. It's a thought 💭process in growth that prioritizes a product as both a sales tool and its usage as a key indicator of growth🌿.
This also means early SaaS companies that go PLG don't necessarily need to implement a bunch of tools but imbibe the philosophy. So here are those points that you could embrace as an early-stage company:
Use base systems like CRM, email marketing, product analytics, billing, and web analytics💽
Make sure your CRM captures both leads and has a sales funnel
Make sure you have a mix of marketing and transactional email system setup e.g. newsletter vs "account activated" emails📥
Set up key product events e.g. logins, page visited, features used🔢
Ensure product events are captured in the respective tools
Ensure you have a clear classification of paid🤑 vs non-paid🥶 users
Make sure paid users are classified by different plans
Ensure your non-paid users are getting product education email sequences📖
Ensure you're monitoring KPIs of product usage for paid users📊
Last but not least ensure your CRM tracks all touch points of marketing communication, billing, and any sales/other touch points with a customer
This setup should leave you ready for the future. No PLG CRM is needed, but PLG thinking is - EMBRACE IT🤗
Very insightful post regarding the PLG thinking. It's an absolute truth that PLG is not dependent on any tool when it comes to scale and growth. For the last 5 years, I am specifically working with SaaS-based early-stage start-ups. It's absolutely thrilling feeling when you try to scale a product from € 0 to € 10,000 MRR (the toughest zone for founders & core team)
But I believe the PLG approach completely depends on the industry B2C or B2B. And founders getting confused between freemium & free trial.
As you mentioned "Make sure your CRM captures both leads and has a sales funnel" now I won't go for this funnel when it comes to B2C. It's absolutely different terrain and the AARRR funnel is king where customers are not segmented into leads but segmented based on the usage of the product/activity and on what stage the biggest churn of your customer is happening.
CRM comes in handy to interact with each marketing link that you have set for customers. That's where CRM is an absolute must!
I mostly agree with your points (very very insightful & detailed ) but in the end, it's all about three things in the SaaS world to achieve PLG thinking:
You need to make your product
& have a loop to retain customers.
If any of above mentioned three bullet points are missing you will never going to achieve Product led growth.