Product Love Podcast: Wes Bush, Founder of Product-Led Institute

This week on Product Love, I talked to Wes Bush, founder of the Product-Led Institute. As you may have guessed, we chatted about product-led growth.

Before Wes founded the Product-Led Institute, he was a consultant and digital marketer. Wes recently published his first book, “Product-Led Growth.” You’ve probably seen that term floating around the internet, but don’t disregard it as a buzzword. Many well-known and successful companies are ramping toward this mindset. 

Product-led growth can’t really be likened to try-before-you-buy. And contrary to its name, it doesn’t suggest that we move away from the customer. In fact, Wes believes the opposite: Product led is the most customer-centric way of building a business.

Now more than ever, customers are at the forefront of the product. In this episode, Wes discusses what changes when a company becomes product led, then shares a new perspective on onboarding.

What Changes When You Become Product Led?

How often does a user get immediate access to your product after signing up? How many steps do they need to go through before they can use it?

These days, anything that requires registration comes with activation emails. It’s a precaution a lot of companies take to make sure they only have real users. Unfortunately, Wes has discovered it’s a huge killer in terms of conversion. He once consulted for a company that found that 30% of their potential users never activated their emails. 

To combat this, Wes says companies should put less friction in their user journeys. Wherever possible, remove steps and downsize forms in order to get users into the product faster. 

When Does Onboarding Start?

Product-led businesses need to know three fundamentals. Understand your product’s value, communicate that value, and do an amazing job of delivering that value as quickly as possible.

So how do we approach onboarding? Wes believes that onboarding starts the moment someone interacts with your brand, even if it’s just with an advertisement. In the past, it’s been the only opportunity product managers would have to educate their customers on the entire product experience.

In other words, onboarding has traditionally been a “firehose” of information toward users. Unsurprisingly, customers can become overwhelmed with a tour that takes them through every nook and cranny of the product.

Instead, Wes suggests that the product onboarding experience should involve a small win. The PM’s immediate priority shouldn’t be getting users proficient in every piece of functionality. When product managers set up customers for early success within the product, it shows that they can deliver on their promise. Customers, fueled by that win, will be inspired to explore the product more thoroughly.

Want to learn more about being product led? Listen above, and don’t forget to subscribe to us on iTunes!