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Debunking PLG Onboarding Myths: A Roadmap to Success

Usha Vadapalli
August 10, 2023

Product-Led Growth (PLG) puts the product experience front and center, aiming to win customers over through the product's own merit. But like any hot topic, myths have popped up around it. Today, we're here to uncover the reality behind onboarding myths in PLG companies.

Let’s bust these myths.

#1 Onboarding in PLG Companies is Exclusively Self-Serve

Depending on the product and scenario, a high-touch component can significantly enhance the customer experience and drive long-term satisfaction and loyalty.

Here are some scenarios and reasons for adding a high-touch component to the onboarding journey:

Enterprise customers with unique needs and use cases may require tailored solutions for effective implementation.

  • High-value customers may want assistance with setup, hands-on training, and addressing any challenges they encounter. This can help boost user adoption rates.
  • A strong partnership is sought between the business and the customer, especially during the product’s initial phases where all the resources for a low-touch onboarding may not be available. A white glove onboarding experience demonstrates commitment to the customer's success and builds a great relationship.
  • Larger organizations often have multiple systems and applications that need to integrate with your product. A complex integration requirement will require your team to work closely with the customer's IT department to facilitate a seamless integration and minimize potential disruptions.
  • High-value clients may find the risks associated with adopting new technologies significant. A high-touch onboarding plan can help alleviate concerns, build confidence in your product's capabilities, and mitigate risks.
  • When the customer needs professional services like dedicated account managers, technical consultants, or customer success specialists, and is willing to pay a little extra.

#2 You Won’t Need a Sales Team in PLG Onboarding

Sales teams can add great value and contribute to the onboarding process and the overall business in scenarios like:

  1. When they can offer a value-added proposition that is beneficial to the customer and enhances their experience.

For instance, when Sales knows how many employees from an organization have been using the product and can look at their product activity, they can go to a decision-maker in that org and say, "Your team has been using the product.... I'd love to show you who is using it effectively and the new manager dashboard we just rolled out”.

  1. When there is an intent for upgrading. Customers exhibit intent for upgrading their current plan or subscription through their product activity. Sales teams can closely monitor user activities and interactions with the product to identify these triggers. This could be due to reaching usage limits, attempting to access features not available in their current plan, or encountering pain points that can be addressed through an upgrade.

Sales teams can establish themselves as trusted advisors, building stronger relationships with customers when they have visibility into user/account level information and their intent triggers.

By focusing on delivering personalized assistance and addressing pain points, sales can position the upgrade as a solution rather than a mere upsell while ensuring seamless product onboarding.

#3 PLG Onboarding Doesn’t Need Human Interaction

Introducing Customer Success or Sales in the onboarding journey is not just a balancing act – it's a strategic necessity.

The traditional sales approach might not align with the self-service, product-centric nature of PLG. However, when done right, incorporating the sales and success teams can enhance the onboarding journey and drive even better results for the business.

The question is, ‘When to induct Sales or Customer Success into the process?’

By leveraging Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) and Product Qualified Accounts (PQAs), you can accurately identify the ideal timing to introduce Sales or Customer Success into the onboarding journey, for a seamless transition from self-serve. Here’s why:

  • Targeted Engagement: The sales team can focus their efforts on high-intent PQLs and PQAs who have already shown strong interest in the product. the sales representatives to have more meaningful conversations with potential customers, understanding their specific needs to guide them better.
  • Personalized Demos and Training: Instead of generic demos, the sales team can deliver personalized product demonstrations based on the features and functionalities that the PQLs and PQAs have already engaged with.
  • Accelerating Sales Cycle: Since PQLs and PQAs have already experienced some level of value from the product during their self-service journey, the sales cycle can be faster. The sales team can build upon this foundation and address any remaining concerns or questions, ultimately leading to quicker conversions.
  • Upselling Opportunities: The sales team can identify potential upselling opportunities by understanding the specific needs and pain points of the PQLs and PQAs. They can recommend higher-tier plans or additional features that align with the customer's requirements, driving revenue growth.
  • Customer Success Handover: After the sale, the sales team can facilitate a smooth handover to customer success. With valuable insights into the customer's journey, preferences, and expectations, the CS team can provide personalized and proactive support.
  • Relationship Building: The sales and success team's interactions with high-value customers can establish a human connection with the brand. Relationship-building aspect can always enhance customer trust and loyalty, which is vital for long-term success in a PLG model.

PQLs and PQAs help identify the right timing for handoff, enabling targeted engagement, personalized demos, faster sales cycles, upselling opportunities, smooth CS handovers, and relationship building. The challenge is iteratively refining the product and firmographic signals to mine the right PQLs and PQAs.

As we wrap up our exploration of onboarding myths in the world of Product-Led Growth (PLG), one truth becomes abundantly clear – incorporating Customer Success or Sales into onboarding isn't just about balance but a strategic imperative.

So, as PLG evolves, remember: while the product leads, there are more ways to add value. With Inflection, you can create onboarding experiences based on the user’s actual product usage. And, with our unique take on personalization, it can be a custom journey for every user. Request a demo to see how it's done.

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