SalesTechStar Interview with Chris Reuter, Head of Growth at Prefect
Chris Reuter, Head of Growth at Prefect discusses more on what can drive better PLG models in B2B:
Welcome to this SalesTechStar chat Chris, tell us about yourself and take us through your role at Prefect…what does a typical day at work look like?
I’m responsible for the self-serve end-to-end business here at Prefect, so my day is quite varied. I start every day by looking at metrics as we’re a metrics-driven company – making sure our top of funnel is functioning appropriately, checking out what marketing activities we have for the day, etc.
Weekly I also review our product activation metrics as we’re a PLG company. We have a really good idea of our product funnel and can understand in aggregate or down to the individual how quickly our users are going from first touch to mature product users. This leads to typical days working on product-specific improvements with our engineering & product teams or using some tools that my team has implemented that can impact the funnel like Chameleon.
Finally, everyday I also work on our self-serve monetization strategy. From working with our product advocate team to identify the users they should be talking to, to tracking how well our self-serve revenue business is doing, to working with our support teams to help onboard newly paying clients.
You’ve been a follower of product-led growth strategies, we’d love to hear from you on how you have seen PLG strategies evolve over the years and what some of the core trends surrounding this concept involve today?
There have been several key themes that led to PLG strategies blossoming so quickly over the past few years:
1. Open source – the proliferation of open source technologies and the trust that companies with large check books now have in open source tools means that what was once an enthusiast community is now very much mainstream. Open source tools mean trying products before you ever have to pay for them, which is one of the key components of PLG. PLG would not be possible without the 40 years of work that have gone into making the open source community vibrant and trusted.
2. Making compute accessible – It’s no secret that AWS, GCP and Azure have led the way in making computing power accessible to anyone. Infrastructure as a Service like EC2 or even Serverless offerings like GCP’s Vertex make the barrier to entry for starting a tech business incredibly low. This has meant that no business is safe – established vendors with huge sales teams have been disrupted by small, scrappy teams who are willing to make their product available for free or at very little cost at first. This has all been made possible by the removal of barriers to entry for SaaS products.
3. Social change – One other key trend in PLG is social change. Now, buying decisions don’t have to be made at a ‘senior’ level. Companies feel comfortable distributing decisions and letting their employees purchase products.
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Can you highlight more on some leading brands who follow a successful PLG strategy and what key takeaways we can learn from their experience?
Stripe – This is the developer’s payment tool, and a very famous case of successful PLG. Stripe gives anyone the ability to take payment for their services, and they make it easy to get started in doing so. Top class documentation supports their developer-focused PLG motion.
Snowflake – This is an interesting example of a company that has a PLG strategy combined with an aggressive enterprise sales strategy. Snowflake uses sales reps to target their customers with even only a few thousand dollars of spend a year – trying to lock them into annual agreements
How can B2B SaaS teams inculcate stronger product led growth strategies – a few best practices that you’d like to share?
Focus first on the product – you can’t be a PLG company without having top-tier documentation and a solid onboarding experience. You aren’t PLG if you require a human to help onboard your user (unless you’re Superhuman, which famously does have a human-in-the-loop onboarding).
Think of your PLG motion as another business at first – one that will not (at first) support your existing sales process. Build support, pricing, and marketing strategies that are.
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What can B2B teams to stay ahead of their customer’s need to drive a better product led growth process?
Leverage customer feedback. We collect NPS from all of our active customers, scrutinize their feedback, and act accordingly.
Measure usage as obsessively as revenue. If someone is using your PLG product, you’re one step closer to monetizing them. It’s much easier to convert an activated user to paid than it is a cold lead to an activated user. Therefore, focus on your product funnel and moving people through it. You can monetize them eventually.
Can you highlight more about the future of the B2B tech market and in what ways you expect to see it grow?
The pendulum will continue to swing towards open source and software with a first-class PLG experience. As the world continues to change and speed up, communication will be one more asynchronous – favoring self service models as opposed to communication gated by people.
AI will certainly come into play – whatever vendors figure out how to use LLMs and AI to create a better product or new offerings will win against their peers.
Prefect is an open source tool for coordinating your dataflow. Orchestrate data pipelines at scale and observe your entire stack using the Prefect Python library.
Chris Reuter is the Head of Growth at Prefect. Chris joined Prefect in late 2021 as Head of Growth, where he learns about PLG, GTM models and company strategy. He is responsible for the company’s self-serve motion, where his team collaborates with other parts of the company on things like pricing, growth marketing and growth engineering. Chris likes Maine (the US State), software & analytics, woodworking, hiking, travel, and spending time with my wife & dog.
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