Best Practices

How startups can go beyond growth and use their product to drive efficiency

Published Sep 28, 2022

For years now, product-led growth (or “PLG”) has been the not-so-secret recipe for startup hyper growth: using your product to drive customer acquisition, retention, and expansion. 

However, stopping at product-led “growth” means selling your product short. Growth is just one area of your business on which your product can make a real impact. And if the market is trying to tell us anything, it’s that “growth at all costs” is no longer good enough. Startups need to show that they are efficient: with their resources, their customer base, and even in how they grow. 

Let’s break down how startups and growing companies can use their products to drive efficiencies and cost savings across customer health, user productivity, and product development—and grow the right way.

1. Use your product to retain customers

    • Scale your customer support with in-app self-service. With limited support resources, it’s crucial to help customers help themselves, without human intervention. In-app guidance and always-on help centers built directly into your product are key tools to help users self-serve, share important product updates, and create paths to contact support as needed.
    • Build an industry-leading onboarding experience right into your product. Understand current usage patterns with product analytics, then build in-app onboarding flows that help new users discover and adopt crucial “aha” moments in your product.
    • Identify “at risk” accounts before they churn. Get ahead of customer churn by analyzing product usage data and identifying accounts with low adoption rates. Then, you can maximize customer success manager (CSM) time by prioritizing the most at-risk accounts.

Efficiency in action: Casted used product usage data to identify key features going unused by customers, then built targeted in-app campaigns to drive adoption—leading to a 431% increase in adoption of a critical feature and a 350% increase in weekly active users.

2. Use your product to reduce costs

    • Prioritize your limited developer hours. Reduce the burden on your engineering team by providing access to product analytics and in-app messaging capabilities to teams across the organization. That way, you can move faster and reserve development time on key product improvements.
    • Reduce expensive support motions. Use data-driven in-app guidance to onboard, educate, and support users at scale without ballooning support costs or adding headcount.
    • Build the right features (the first time). Use product data and user feedback to ruthlessly prioritize engineering time and focus on building the right thing. By making decisions with actual customer inputs, you can prioritize the most impactful places to invest in your product, or where it might be time to sunset a feature.

Efficiency in action: Chekhub saved $150,000 in development resources by using no-code in-app communication and self-service for users.

3. Use your product to grow efficiently

    • Tap into your most efficient marketing channel. In-app messages reach customers when you’re already top of mind, and these targeted, data-driven messages convert better than email. Drive efficient, cost-effective marketing with more conversions on less messages. 
    • Use your product to generate leads. Nurture free users with targeted in-app guidance, then use predefined product usage indicators to pass these product-qualified leads (PQLs) to sales.
    • Automate expansion motions. Turn your product into your best seller by automating upsell and cross-sell motions in-app, based on specific actions. This way, you can increase sales and grow accounts without needing to grow your sales team.

Efficiency in action: BEE increased feature adoption by 45% with in-app self-guided onboarding, and tripled cross-sell and upsell conversions with a segmented in-app outreach strategy.

Want to learn more tactics to help you operate more efficiently? Download “The inefficiency report” to learn 10 common areas of inefficiency and how you can overcome them with a product experience solution like Pendo.