SaaS marketers know we’ve entered the era of the self-serve buyer, where prospects expect price transparency and free trials. While this might not work for complex enterprise deals, there are lessons to be taken from a PLG motion that most SaaS organizations should employ.
Krish Ramineni, Co-founder and CEO at Fireflies.ai, dishes on how to execute a free trial successfully, what it takes to offer a freemium product and shares his personal story on ignoring his investors’ advice to stay away from a PLG model.
Go with your gut when starting up.
When Krish and his co-founder were starting out, they knew they wanted to develop their business through product-led growth motion. However, not everyone believed that was the best course of action.
“The advice we got in the beginning was, ‘Hey, this technology is really expensive…so, find a market where you can sell it to the highest bidder, which is salespeople, and charge them up the wazoo,'” said Krish.
Despite his investors’ imploring, Krish stood his ground and moved forward with the PLG model.
“We wanted to build something that was super affordable, super easy to install and get going with. Our value prop was, it should be one-tenth the price of the best product on the market, we need to provide ten times the value and it needs to be used by every person inside an organization, not just salespeople,” said Krish. “It just felt that the best way to go to market was creating something that had a freemium free trial, PLG motion where you can try it before you buy it or you can use the free tier perpetually.”
Be the painkiller, not the vitamin.
One of the most important aspects of attracting customers is having a solid value proposition. If your product provides a solution to customers’ problems, you should be able to get them to pay you…at least in attention.
“The currency in this world — whether it’s SaaS, whether it’s a consumer good, whatever it is — is attention,” said Krish. “Why should a customer give you attention enough that they should pull their wallet out and buy your product?”
Krish likens a valuable product to a painkiller — something fast-acting that addresses specific pain points and has obvious value to customers. Compared to a vitamin you may take daily, it works in the background, not necessarily solving a particular issue.
“If you don’t get that value, if people only see you as a vitamin and not a painkiller, that’s hard,” said Krish.
The key to being a painkiller? Determining how to create that novel, sought-after value that retains customers.
The case for self-service
Most B2B buyers want a self-serve process, but many companies have yet to take steps toward making this model a reality. These businesses are most concerned with what will help their bottom line, and they mistakenly believe salespeople are always the right foot in the door. But in the modern age, many customers want to access product information independently without involving salespeople. Here’s where self-service comes in.
“When you’re self-service, and you have pricing up on the page, you’re being very transparent, and you’re not making special deals or discounting or any of that…..what you see is what you get,” said Krish.
Krish said it’s about putting the customer and their needs first. Sure, you may leave some money on the table, but you’re also creating a frictionless customer buying journey that keeps customers coming back — and makes them more likely to recommend your product.
“The whole point around PLG and self-service is also to help you find more buyers and find different people within the org who can then go up to their, executives and say, ‘Hey, I’ve been using this. I like it. Maybe we should consider it,'” said Krish. “That’s a much more powerful source.”
Listen to episode 362 of SaaS Half Full for more of Krish’s insights.