Expert Insight: Wes Bush - How To Approach Product Growth

An insightful look into the world of data analysis and what makes a great team in this interview with a product expert.

Wes Bush is the bestselling author of "Product-Led Growth: How To Build a Product That Sells Itself". He is the founder of the Product-Led Institute and is best known for challenging the way SaaS leaders approach growth. He believes the way we buy software has changed forever over the last several years: 

Gone are the days of hiding your product behind closed doors - where potential customers need to sit through a long, drawn-out sales call just to see what the product is capable of - it's time to lead with your product and see for themselves if you can deliver on your promise.

As someone who is currently working at SaaS and focusing on growth, I have been continually learning from Wes and from the product-led community of growth experts about SaaS foundations and best practices. That’s why I am so excited Wes agreed to share his thoughts on a product analysis, growth metrics, and SaaS challenges.

Every day, there are more and more new SaaS companies. Subscription-based business models proved themselves to be effective and fairly easy to launch. Do you think this trend will change over the next few years?  

No, if anything it's only accelerating. Platforms are making it easier than ever before to start a company. Shopify, Amazon, Google Cloud.

Many SaaS companies are dealing with high churn. What are your suggestions on how to approach and understand high churn? 

Understand your core customers. Don't get caught up in the whale hunting race where you sign the big deals and become a dev shop for the company. Focus on your core group of users that stay for a long time and you'll eventually find that your retention rates are reduced.

What are the benefits of Product Led Growth? 

Read more about Product-Led Growth:

What do you think data and product analysts should focus on analyzing product engagement? 

Without it you're crazy! You can't diagnose who has cancer just by looking at them - you need to use tools to understand what's going on underneath the surface. The same concept applies to your product.

Which SaaS metric you think is the most challenging in understanding or calculation? 

Hands down Product Qualified Leads. Here's a bit more about it:

Product-Led Growth is a methodology driven by the product itself, and not by sales or marketing (like we used to think). Does that mean that marketing metrics like user acquisition, CAC, LTV should have different definitions (or lower priority) for companies following the PLG approach?  

CAC and LTV will always have a place no matter if you operate a sales or product-led company. However, in many product-led companies, you do see an interesting shift from a religious focus on generating Marketing Qualified Leads to focusing on generating Product Qualified Leads. The main reason for this shift is because PQLs have a much higher intent to buy as they're users who have experienced the value of the product.

PLG lives at the intersection between product, growth, and marketing. It makes it challenging for product analysts to understand and adopt, as they have to comfortably navigate between all these domains, and know metrics and specifics well for each. Anything you can suggest or recommend in adopting or transitioning to a PLG approach?

Yes, you need to start with putting yourself in the end users shoes. Sign up for your own product and do all the steps necessary to get value from your product. Along the way, jot down every single step. Then measure it in your product analytics. Approach the team that's responsible for the largest drop off rate and work with them to understand the problem and how it impacts the business as a result. Help them measure this on an ongoing basis.

Anything else you can advise to any beginner product or data analysts thriving in SaaS?

You're going to find problems wherever you look. The trick is to find the problems worth solving right now. A brilliant product or data analyst will not just identify problems but develop a system to prioritize what needs to be solved first.

If you want to learn more about Product-Led Growth, here's the best way:

📚 - Read the industry-defining book on Product-Led Growth

📺 - Watch 100's of SaaS leaders share how they built a product-led business

📜 - Get Product-Led Growth Certified

👯- Join the leading community of Product-Led Growth leaders

💼- Get hired at a product-led company

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