On Wednesday, June 22, 2022, members of the DevRev circle had an opportunity to meet and listen to Martin Gontovnikos. Gontovnikos previously worked with Auth0, where he successfully led growth and marketing efforts and helped the company grow its ARR from $0 to 9 figures. He is currently a co-founder of and partner at HyperGrowth Partners. The talk focused on Gontovnikos’ experience with PLG (Product-led Growth).
“PLG is using the product to drive revenue,” said Gonto. “What that means is that because what you're using is the product, what matters about PLG is that you focus on the user and their experience.”
He went on to elaborate on how typically the focus is on the decision maker but has now shifted to the user. The overarching idea was that if the user has a good experience, they would use the product as well as recommend it to others. “User retention makes or breaks any PLG SaaS,” Gonto summarized.
He gave the example of Android apps. With the help of a graph of retention curves for Android apps, he showed that there is a strong correlation between the number of downloads an app gets and the user retention rate.
Gonto clarified that while the primary focus at PLG company should be on the user, that’s not the only place where the focus must be. The users may bring their ideas and suggestions to the decision makers at the company, who would then decide what the best move forward would be. He addressed the presence of availability bias here and explained how the decision maker would be more likely to use a service or address an issue that they already know exists.
He then went on to address where it makes sense for companies to do PLG. The first question that he proposed was whether the user has a say in the decision? “The idea here is that if the user doesn't have a say or their opinion doesn't matter to the decision maker, then doing product-led growth doesn't make sense,” he explained.
Furthermore, doing PLG is effective when the product is useful for a small team. Gonto explained how it is easier to get small teams to test out a product, who can then recommend it to other teams at their companies and if enough teams use the product, the company can buy it. Conversely, if the product is not useful for a small team and needs to be adopted by the entire company, then PLG is going to be difficult and ineffective. In a similar vein, PLG is more effective when the product’s usefulness increases as more teams across a company use it.
Additionally, the product needs to have a good UX and onboarding so that it is easier for teams to start using it and that they want to continue using it once they start.
Gonto then went on to talk about the role of marketing in PLG. “Something that, to me, is important about marketing is that if you're targeting the user, something you should always do is start with doing some habits research,” he said. “The research is focused on what the user does on their day to day, how they do it, how they think about it, what they do?”
Talking about his experience doing market research at Auth0, he said, “We looked for developers on Twitter that we had as followers or similarly we looked at Linkedin for developers from different companies that we thought were interesting like an enterprise one, a startup one and something like that and we just contact them with a twitter DM or with a linkedin invite telling them, hey we're doing research, I want 30 minutes of your time for a call and we’ll offer you 100 bucks. That’s it. We just asked questions using that.”
Gonto emphasized that community is a must for marketing. “Creating a community is creating support for your users to help each other and slowly move in the same direction,” he said.
DevRev has embraced this need for community with our exclusive and limited DevRev circle. DevRev Circle is a community of entrepreneurs, developers and investors who are passionate about learning and sharing their knowledge about product-led methodology to build successful businesses. The group provides resources, advice, and networking opportunities that can help your business achieve PLG goals, including talks like these.