Top 10 Examples of Companies that Implemented Product-Led Growth + [What They Did Right?]

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This article will give you practical examples of companies that implemented the product-led growth strategy and what they did right.

Product-led growth is the idea of making your product the ultimate salesperson by drawing users in and maintaining their engagement with its inherent awesomeness. Picture this: you download an app, and within minutes, you’re hooked because it’s so simple to use and solves a real problem you have.

TL;DR

  • PLG is not limited to freemium models – companies can find success with other value delivery methods.
  • Focus on removing friction from the user journey for better adoption.
  • Strategic free trials can showcase product value and convert users.
  • Continuously update your product and prioritize user feedback to build ongoing value.
  • Network effects can be a powerful force in PLG, where a growing user base attracts even more users.
  • PLG thrives on understanding your ideal customer and their pain points. Design a product that solves their problems directly.
  • In today’s mobile world, ensure your product offers a seamless and optimized mobile experience.
  • Building a successful PLG strategy requires long-term commitment and continuous optimization.

10 Examples of Companies That Implemented Product-Led Growth

Building a fantastic product isn’t enough; you also need to make it a driving force in user acquisition, engagement, and growth. 

The following are ten leading PLG companies that have employed this method to win big.

1. Dropbox (File Sharing & Storage)

Dropbox is a file-hosting service and is the perfect example of product-led growth. They’ve crossed $1 billion in sales in less than 10 years

What did they do right?

Dropbox understood the value of instant satisfaction. They provided a smooth file-sharing experience along with a sizable free storage plan. 

Because there was little barrier to entry, customers were encouraged to give the platform a try and eventually move towards subscription plans for increased storage as their needs changed. 

There was also a viral referral program that incentivized existing users to spread the word, creating a self-sustaining user acquisition loop.

2. Slack (Team Communication)

Slack went from zero to a $7 billion valuation in five years, how did they do it?

What did they do right?

Slack prioritized user adoption from its inception. Their freemium model provided foundational tools that were perfect for small teams, establishing communication and teamwork from the ground up.

Slack has been the preferred platform for smooth team communication because of its user-friendly layout and seamless connections with popular calendars and applications, which minimized obstacles and streamlined workflows. They rose to the top of the sector because of this natural user growth.

3. Calendly (Meeting Scheduling)

Calendly is a handy meeting scheduling tool for fewer than 250 employees. It is valued at $3 billion and has generated over $100 million in revenue!

What did they do right?

A common problem that Calendly found was the time-consuming back-and-forth involved in meeting scheduling. They provided an easy-to-use interface for sharing links, which made it simple for users to specify their availability and get rid of scheduling hassles. 

They became a user favorite due to their integrations with widely used calendars and little friction for scheduling appointments, which speeded up their adoption and gave them a leadership position in the scheduling software market.

4. Zoom (Video Conferencing)

Zoom made approximately $4.5 billion in revenue in 2023, a 2.9% increase year-on-year, and also reported $637 million in net income in 2023.

What did they do right?

Zoom took advantage of the increase in remote work by providing a free plan that included high-quality video conferencing for a set amount of time. 

By allowing users to directly experience the platform’s capabilities, this calculated approach helped to build user confidence and encourage premium subscriptions for longer usage and more extensive meetings. In addition to promoting user growth,.

The free trial helped them establish themselves as a market leader in video conferencing at a pivotal moment.

5. Canva (Graphic Design)

Canva hit $2 billion in revenue in 2023; its valuation skyrocketed 666% in less than two years.

What did they do right?

Canva allows anyone to create basic visuals, unleash their creativity, and experience the power of design with its user-friendly templates and free plan. 

This low barrier to entry encouraged user engagement and made it natural to upsell to paid plans for advanced features like premium templates and stock photos. Canva’s freemium model makes graphic design accessible to everyone.

6. Grammarly (Writing Assistant)

Grammarly has quietly grown to 6.9 million daily users in 9 years.

What did they do right?

Understanding the value of continuous value delivery, Grammarly designed a freemium model that included basic spelling and grammar suggestions, making it a useful tool for occasional users.

As users saw the instant improvements in their writing, they became aware of the advantages of the premium features, such as advanced style checks, plagiarism detection, and tone suggestions

7. HubSpot (CRM & Marketing Automation)

HubSpot is a tool in the CRM (client relationship management), marketing, and SaaS sales product spaces. This SaaS company has a current valuation of $17.56 billion.

What did they do right?

HubSpot’s experience provides an insightful lesson in flexibility. They switched from using a sales-driven methodology to a PLG strategy. 

In order to demonstrate the platform’s efficacy to organizations, they provided a free CRM with essential functionality and marketing automation capabilities. 

This allowed them to upsell them on subscription plans with more fantastic features. In addition to growth, this user-centric strategy established HubSpot as a pioneer in the field of marketing automation.

8. Figma (Collaborative Design)

Figma is notable for the speed at which they scaled revenue early on: from $700K in 2017 to $4M in 2018 (5.7x growth), to $25M in 2019 (6.25x), to $75M in 2020 (2.6x).

What did they do right?

Figma prioritized real-time collaboration features, enabling design teams to work on projects simultaneously. 

This emphasis on seamless teamwork boosted adoption among design communities, resulting in a network effect. As more users joined the platform, the value proposition for everyone improved, drawing more users and driving organic product development.

9. Zapier (Automation Platform)

Everyone can use Zapier, a workflow automation tool that automates tasks across 6,000+ app integrations, freeing you up to concentrate on what really matters. Zapier’s recurring revenue increased by around 50% from the previous year, reaching $120 million at the start of 2021 and surpassing $140 million in March.

What did they do right?

They focused on ease of use with a drag-and-drop interface that streamlined automation workflows, making it a valuable tool even for non-technical users. 

This focus on user empowerment fueled organic growth and user-driven adoption.

10. SurveyMonkey

SurveyMonkey is another tool most of us have already seen or used, which is a significant hint that the company is using a PLG approach.

What did they do right?

The website allows users to develop and submit simple surveys, and they can get started for free. (Filling out a SurveyMonkey survey is always free.)

SurveyMonkey established a popular product by developing a straightforward, pleasurable experience. So, when consumers require more data collection capabilities than the free tier provides, paying more just makes sense.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is a freemium model essential for PLG?

Freemium models are a common PLG technique used by companies such as Dropbox and Canva, but they are not the only option. 

Companies like HubSpot found success with a freemium shift, while others like Zoom used targeted free trials. The idea is to focus on providing value upfront and removing barriers to customer acquisition.

2. How can I make my user experience more frictionless?

Companies like Slack and Calendly have prioritized user experience by providing intuitive interfaces and smooth interactions. Analyze your user path to find any pain points or stages that cause friction. 

Simplifying onboarding processes, providing clear lessons, and guaranteeing simple navigation are all methods to improve the user experience. 

3. What are the benefits of a strategic free trial like Zoom’s?

Free trials allow users to test your product’s full capabilities firsthand. This instills trust and demonstrates value, resulting in increased conversion rates when customers recognize the need for paid features. However, the duration and features of the free trial must be strategically chosen to promote upgrades while not delivering everything for free.

4. Beyond freemium, how can I create continued value?

Grammarly is an excellent example of creating continuing value. Their free plan provides minimal functionality, but users see the benefits of premium features as they use the program more. To keep consumers engaged and wanting more, regularly update your product with new features, provide interesting content, and emphasize user input.

5. How do network effects function in PLG, like they do in Figma?

When more people sign up for a product, its value grows—a phenomenon known as network effects. The more design teams that utilize Figma, the more important its real-time collaboration features become. This promotes a user acquisition cycle that is self-reinforcing, with an increasing user base drawing in new users.

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