This article is based on a presentation from the Product Marketing Summit, London. Watch this presentation, and others, with our OnDemand service.
I’ve gone through a few transitions in my life. I'm a lawyer by training but a product marketer by passion and trade. I’m Czech by origin, but after living in London and Brussels, I’ve settled in France. Most recently, I transitioned from a market-led company to a product-led company. This is the transition I want to talk about in this article.
Before I transitioned into product-led growth, I had a ton of misconceptions. When I heard “product-led growth,” I thought it meant PM-led growth, and I was worried that my career would take a downturn; the only question was how quickly. In reality, product-led growth is full of exciting opportunities.
Today, I'm thrilled to be working for Spendesk, a B2B spend management company. We help 3,500 companies spend smarter. Just this year, we handled €2 billion on our platform. We also raised our Series C funding, and we were voted the best FinTech company to work for in Europe.
In this article, I'll be focusing on:
- The evolution of product-led growth
- Marketing-led growth vs. product-led growth
- Universal truths of product marketing
The evolution of product-led growth
Before I get into the differences you’ll come up against as a product marketer switching from marketing-led to product-led growth, I should probably explain the concepts.
Let’s start at the very beginning. In the 1980s, software was just these big on-prem boxes. Back then, sales-led growth was the main model. Reps would go on the road, dining and playing golf with CTOs, and that's how software was sold. It was based on trust between the sales rep and the CTO.
Then, Salesforce and the like entered the scene, and they started to focus on non-tech execs.
That's where marketing started to take the lead in growing the funnel. There was a big focus on KPIs, ROI, and the value that software can bring to different business departments across the company. The goal was to sell through value.
Now, we’re seeing the rise of product-led growth, which focuses on the user’s experience and pain points. Because the cloud has gotten super cheap, we can offer our product for free, which allows users to try it and see its value before they decide to buy it.