Product-Led Growth is one of the hottest topics and trends in the B2B SaaS industry. Heading into 2023, most company will be evaluating their usage of every SaaS tool, and as a vendor understanding how customers are using your product is foundational to understanding and forecast customer retention metrics.
Todd Olso founded Pendo, the leading Product Analytics solution provider, over 9 years ago. His vision was to combine product analytics and product utilization to enhance the user experience.
Todd highlighted that as "software eats the world" the Pendo customer base has expanded far beyond software companies to mainstream industries such as retail.
The first macro industry term we discussed was "Product-Led Growth". Todd re-framed the question to be a "product-centric" company and that product-led growth is just one aspect of a company's culture.
Todd explained that when selling to highly regulated industries like governmental entities, that product-centric may be more about enhancing the user's experience in a digital-led model, even though the sale of the product was executed by and with humans.
Todd highlighted the phrase "is this a feature or a bug". The context of the phrase is that when the user experience requires a human being to train users, this is a bug that needs to be fixed by being a product-led company.
Pendo has recently launched a "product-led certification course", to teach professionals, including product managers and any other leader looking to learn more about how to introduce product-led concepts into their company.
We pivoted to the concept of the Chief Product Officer (CPO) and their role in a product-centric organization. The CPO should own the strategic goals of how the product directly drives the company strategy and goals including how to connect the product to market/customer needs.
Todd's personal belief is that a product-led company requires having both a Chief Technical Officer and a Chief Product Officer. The primary difference is the CTO is more conservative and focuses on the "-bilities" of technical products while the CPO is looking for strategic growth advantages that have a higher risk profile. This differentiation provides a healthy friction between the two different primary goals.
If you are currently using a product-centric, customer facing process, or considering a product-led growth strategy, this conversation with Todd Olson, Founder, and CEO of Pendo is a great listen!