PLG Motion: 3 Important Things Startups Must Do Today

PLG companies require different tactics to acquire, convert, retain, and expand customers.

But where should you start?

In this guide, discover the fundamentals of the PLG motion—from locating your end users to knowing when’s the best time to hire a sales team to amplify revenue acceleration. 

1. Zoom in on end users

Long gone are the days of selling to decision-makers sitting right on top of the organizational ladder. 

Today, the PLG motion involves a bottom-up approach where your product speaks directly to the needs of your end users

Instead of qualifying a C-suite executive for a demo, your product—a fully armed digital sales force—does all the heavy lifting work to acquire customers. 

Now that there’s zero barrier, users can explore the product features on a full-scale level immediately and freely without any sales interaction.

And if your product-led onboarding is on-point, these end users eventually upgrade to a paid plan with little to no action on your part.

There are a myriad of ways to locate these end users, such as:

(i) SEO

In product-led growth, the product acts as the primary vehicle for acquisition.

But for acquisition to happen, you need to first attract eyeballs to your product. And in this case, there’s no better way than SEO. 

With 75% of marketers sharing that their SEO tactics are ‘extremely’ or ‘very effective’ at helping them achieve their marketing goals, we can no longer second-guess this fruitful inbound marketing practice. 

Case in point. A quick search on “long-tail keywords” shows top brands like Ahrefs and Yoast ranking on the SERPs. This huge visibility boosts awareness. 

“It’s important to let the product advertise for you,” emphasizes John Jacob, co-founder and CEO of Hoist.

“A strong online presence helps you build momentum through word-of-mouth. Nothing beats branding when it appears high on search with your money keywords.”

(ii) Virality

Think back to the time you used Calendly for the first time. Chances are you were exposed to it after receiving a meeting invitation.

You accepted the e-invite in a single click, witnessing in front of your very eyes how it solved your problem with scheduling meetings. And just like that, you registered for an account and used it to book your own meetings.

From then on, it exposed more users to Calendly, extending the viral loop and boosting acquisition.

That’s PLG motion in action. 

It promotes the product and kick starts a viral loop naturally. 

(iii) Integrations

Integrations reduce time-to-value from a conversion perspective. The quicker users experience value from your product, the more likely they convert to customers.

Breadcrumbs integrates with multiple data sources spanning from email marketing and CRM to in-app and engagement tools. Users can envision what their streamlined workflows look like and reach activation faster.

Often, users reach activation either through robust onboarding or integrating the product with third-party apps natively. 

The second point is crucial, as it helps users envision how your product fits in their workflow, increasing product adoption, and conversion rate.

And it’s not only conversions. 

Products with at least one integration also boost 10-15% higher retention and 10-30% higher willingness to pay (WTP)!

2. Offer value before paywall 

If we could sum up PLG motion in a phrase, it’d be “customer success before sales.”

Freemiums or free trials are only one small part of delivering value to prospective customers. Yes, it’s vital to create a full-scale product experience for your leads, but if you want to upgrade them to paying customers, you’ll need to do more than that.

According to LinkedIn’s State of Sales report, buyers now expect transparent pricing, alignment between the product and their success metrics, and recommendations if your product doesn’t fit their unique needs, among others.


Sellers, too, agree that these factors are vital in speeding up the buying journey.

And yet, the data tells a different story. 

Despite 65% of sales representatives saying that they put buyers first, only 23% of buyers agree with the assessment. 

Why is there such a stark difference?

There are a lot of nuances to this huge disconnect. 

And it boils down to the mindset of the sales organization.

According to the same report from LinkedIn, there are six top roadblocks to this buyer-first strategy. The biggest reasons lie in organizational culture, lack of skills, and limited budgets.


Moral of the story? 

Ensure value delivery at every stage of the buying journey so that you can position your product as an irreplaceable solution to the buyer’s problem.

It’s only a matter of time until they click the “upgrade” button.

3. Hire a sales team after hitting your ARR goals

There’s no competition.

Both sales and PLG motion must work together to accelerate revenue (note: your PLG motion will evolve into a product-led sales model at some point). 

Once you hit a threshold in your annual recurring revenue (ARR), add a sales team to scale.

Gary Amaral, CMO of Breadcrumbs, advises companies to hire a sales team when improving customer lifetime value. He shares the telltale signs:

“If customers are churning once they reach a certain size or maturity, or the limitations of the product can be addressed with additional development and monetized with pricing and packaging, it’s time to add product-led sales into your PLG motion.”

As you start expanding your sales team (i.e., hiring a chief revenue officer and several SDRs), you’ll notice a growing focus on product qualified leads (PQLs)

PQLs refer to leads who have experienced value from the product. It’s smack in the middle of marketing qualified leads (MQLs) and sales qualified leads (SQLs).

Complete the following steps to identify your PQLs:

  1. Connect Breadcrumbs with the CRM and product analytics tool (e.g., Pendo)
  2. Determine what makes a PQL (e.g., creates 3 documents in a week, invites a user, and imports data from a third-party app)
  3. Set the scoring model live

Breadcrumbs will, in turn, display a detailed view of your product usage and engagement data on the CRM. Not only does this data detect PQLs quickly, but it also helps you refine your product onboarding and overall user experience.


Of course, PQLs are still a siloed piece of data. If you want a holistic view of all contacts and build product-led sales in full force, focus on SQLs (leads who reach activation and display explicit buying behavior).

After connecting your CRM and product analytics tool with Breadcrumbs, continue with the following steps:

  1. Determine who makes an SQL in the Fit model (e.g., “content marketer” in job title, “>$10 million” in ARR)
  2. Include the buying signals of an SQL in the Activity model (e.g., downloads a white paper, visits the pricing page 3 times over the past week) 
  3. Set the scoring model live

Breadcrumbs acts in real-time. You can quickly identify your hottest leads sending high buying intent signals and pitch them at the right time.


The deeply connected CRM and product usage data give you in-depth insights into the entire customer journey

Instead of looking at web form submissions in your CRM and in-app data in your product analytics platform in another tab, you can now access all customer data at every touchpoint in a single source of truth. 

Marketers, sales, product, and sales can align their shared PLG metrics on one platform, boosting cross-functional collaboration and revenue acceleration in return.  

Combine all customer data in one place with Breadcrumbs today.

PLG motion with a dose of sales assist

No successful company is truly “product-centric.” 

At some point in the growth stage, you need to add an element of human intervention to scale your business—whether it’s customer success checking in with inactive users or account manager upselling a customer.

Book a demo with Breadcrumbs to kick start PLG motion, combine all customer data in one place, and amp up revenue acceleration today.

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