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Top 7 PLG Examples: Companies That Aced Product-Led Growth

Top 7 PLG Examples: Companies That Aced Product-Led Growth

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August 17, 2022
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Min Read time
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Top 7 PLG Examples: Companies That Aced Product-Led Growth

Here’s 7 PLG examples of SaaS companies that have nailed product-led growth.

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August 17, 2022
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Min Read time
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Table of contents

We bet you’ve heard all the buzz about PLG strategies skyrocketing business growth! 🚀

The hype is real!

PLG strategies are laser-focused on user experience and benefit from:

  • lower customer acquisition cost (CAC)
  • more product qualified Leads (PQLs)
  • increased customer retention

Peak into the success stories of these 7 PLG companies we discuss in this article, and you’ll have your answer. 

We’ll also introduce you to a powerful tool that can help you replicate their success!

Without further ado, let’s begin!

Top PLG Examples: 7 SaaS Companies That Nailed Product Led Growth

Let’s get some inspiration from this list of seven SaaS companies that aced the product led growth strategy:

1. Slack

Here’s why you should pay attention to this product-led company:

Slack went from zero to a $7 billion valuation in five short years!

Crazy, huh?

With over 10 million daily users, it’s safe to say that this PLG company is a household name. 

How Does Slack Ace Product-Led Growth?

For starters, Slack offers a freemium plan. This allows potential customers to experiment with the platform without buying the software.

The software then prioritizes customer success and delivers a positive user experience. And because the product is designed with the user in mind, it’s highly functional and easy to use!

This triggers virality! 

But wait, how? 🤔

Let’s say you discovered the best Chinese restaurant last Sunday. And you share it with your friend who’s also a Chinese food lover. 

Well, you have unintentionally deployed the greatest product marketing tactic of all times: word-of-mouth! 🗣️

This is what happens with Slack too! 

Every Slack end user urges others to join, creating a network of loyal users. 

And what does Slack do with all these active users? 

It upsells by promoting a paid version with more robust features, leading to its exponential revenue growth!

2. Dropbox

Dropbox is a file-hosting service and is the perfect example of a product-led approach.

The result?

They’ve crossed $1 billion in sales in less than 10 years! 🚀

How Does Dropbox Ace Product-Led Growth?

This product-led growth company has one clear goal: creating an intuitive product that meets users' needs. As a result, file sharing is easy and accessible for its end users. 

But that’s not all. Dropbox has a secret weapon up its sleeve! 

Virality is built into Dropbox's product-led growth model! 

Here’s how:

Dropbox offers potential customers a limited free plan that gives them access to 2GB of storage space to use on three devices. 

But what if users want more storage?  

All they need to do is share a referral page to receive more storage!

And ta-da! 

Dropbox can now attract new users while boosting its current users’ product experience.

3. Calendly

Here’s a modest take: Calendly is a handy meeting scheduling tool with fewer than 250 employees.

Here’s a not-so-modest one: This unicorn is valued at $3 billion and has generated over $100 million in revenue!

And that leaves the door open for one question…

How Does Calendly Ace Product-Led Growth?

This PLG company gives its end users access to many features, including a calendar connection, unlimited one-on-one events, and one-off meetings.

But there’s a catch (And it’s genius!) 🧠

The product’s marketability is ingrained in it. 

Every time a user shares a Calendly invite, they promote the product.

Invitees who have no idea about the tool are exposed to the “powered by Calendly” invite. They use the tool with no entry barrier–creating a viral loop.

For more, check out our article on how Calendly will scale to $1B ARR. 

4. DocuSign

Behold the poster child for the PLG approach in the legal software industry!

Since 2003, DocuSign has successfully empowered organizations to manage electronic agreements. This product-led company has raised over $500 million in funds! 🤯

How Does DocuSign Ace Product-Led Growth?

DocuSign’s products offer document generation, contract management, and more. But its most popular offering is its e-signature service. 

With this feature, users can access a 30-day free trial and send and receive e-signatures from users without an account. 

The result?

The initial product experience for new users is as smooth as gliding butter on toast! 

Their usage based pricing is also super straightforward and depends on the number of users and e-signatures required. So at the end of the trial period, users can easily upgrade based on their needs.  

5. HubSpot

HubSpot is a well-known tool in the CRM (client relationship management), marketing, and SaaS sales product space. 

This SaaS company has a current valuation of $17.56 billion. 🏅

The secret?

They focused on improving user experience, customer support, and the overall customer journey.

How Does HubSpot Ace Product-Led Growth?

For starters, HubSpot’s growth strategy rides on an exceptional onboarding system, and the platform’s free plan doesn't require credit card details.

But that’s not all!

The free plan gives users access to their fully functional CRM, including:

  • Contact management (site activity and deal tracking) 
  • Free product marketing tools (landing pages and email marketing)
  • Sales rep tools (live chat and basic bots)
  • Service tools (ticketing and shared inbox)
  • Operations tools (data syncing and default field mappings)

You’re probably thinking: these guys are generous – how are they even making money?

Not really.

Here’s the brilliant play: Hubspot’s PLG motion offers a free plan restricted to 100 contacts. So when a user wants to scale up, they must switch to a paid plan. 

And let’s be honest. Once all your data is loaded into a specific CRM, and you’ve built an entire workflow around it, it’s unlikely that you’ll want your entire team to shift to another CRM. 

That’s what we call a strong customer retention game!

6. ClickUp

Make way for one of the fastest-growing SaaS startups in the world: ClickUp!

Founded in 2017, this all-in-one productivity platform has leveraged its product-led approach to achieve a mind-blowing $4 billion valuation!

The SaaS brand now caters to over 4 million users, that too without a sales-led approach, and minimal marketing spends.

How Does ClickUp Ace Produc- Led Growth?

ClickUp’s success can be credited to its early decision “to go big and go wide, and not pick a vertical.”

Here’s some context: Productivity platforms are plenty! But most of these platforms focus on a particular productivity issue. As a result, teams end up using tons of different apps to get the job done.

Isn’t the whole point of using productivity tools to achieve efficiency?

This is that exact problem solved–it’s 10 productivity tools rolled into one!

But how does ClickUp know what features its users want?

By listening!

ClickUp’s PLG model is centered around regularly taking feedback from its community of users. Through a thriving user forum, social media communities, and customer success teams, ClickUp’s product team is on top of their user’s pulse!

ClickUp’s sales team further reduces its customer acquisition cost with its referral programs. Its product led strategy offers rewards upon sign-ups and upgrades to paid plans!

Check out this article to see how users save one day every week with ClickUp!

7. Figma

Considered design’s hottest start-up, Figma hit a whopping $10 billion valuation in 2021!

This graphics editor and prototyping tool owes its rapid success to its high-impact self-service strategies!

How Does Figma Ace Product-Led Growth?

Initially, Figma’s PLG strategy included a free plan that gave users options for two editors and unlimited files. 

Well, Figma would have agreed… but this plan didn’t lead to much growth at all. 😥

This was because Figma’s growth strategy was missing a key piece of the puzzle: customer experience!

So like our previous PLG champion Koan, Figma’s product team uncovered its “magic moment” by studying customer journey and product usage data. 

This product-led growth company realized its users loved having teammates collaborate on one file. And unfortunately, their current free plan didn’t allow for much collaboration.

So they changed their product led strategy to offer a new free plan with unlimited editors and access to two files. And boom – the SaaS brand began to witness rapid growth!

Check out our article on how Figma built a $10B GTM engine for more!

So there you have it – seven successful product-led companies with inspiring stories.

But can you replicate the same success for your SaaS company? 🤔

You definitely can! (if you read on 😉)

Transitioning to a Product-Led Growth Model with Toplyne

The PLG model is the way to go for most SaaS companies. 

But to be profitable, it’s key that you focus on a product-qualified lead (PQL). A product qualified lead is someone who has already proven their interest in using your product. 🎯

If you ace the PLG strategy, you’ll have no problem with customer acquisition or lead generation. 

Think: thousands and millions of active users!

But how will your sales team find the ones most likely to convert to paying users?

At the end of the day, you want to make that sale…

Say hello to Toplyne! 👋

Toplyne helps businesses and companies monetize their product-led growth strategy. It acts as a layer that sits between your data sources and GTM systems. 

The platform combines product usage data from your existing applications and creates customer segments that get sent into your existing GTM apps for experimentation. 

With just a few click integrations, you can instantly filter out high intent freemium customers that are most likely to convert to paying ones!

Here’s How Toplyne Helps You Become a PLG Success Story:

  • Can integrate with your customer engagement platforms (Braze), CRMs (Salesforce, Hubspot), and product analytics infrastructures (Amplitude, Segment, etc.).
  • Lets you set a goal on Toplyne. This includes creating a “Playbook” with: 
    1. A specific target audience (users/teams/accounts).
    2. A desired outcome (converting free users, expansion opportunities, or upselling opportunities).
    3. Choose a combination of target user personas from Promising Users, New Users, Hibernating Users, Champion Users, Needs Attention, and About to Sleep.
  • Enables growth, product and the marketing teams to experiment and deploy various go-to-market (GTM) strategies at scale, including re-marketing, automated messaging, sales assist motion, in product nudges, etc.

Oh, and leading product led companies with amazing success stories like Canva and OpenPhone are already on the Toplyne bandwagon!

Toplyne Can Help You Ace the PLG Motion: No Lies Detected! 🤐

Solely relying on a sales led approach is old news 🥱. Growth models that prioritize the end user are taking over the SaaS world by storm!

PLG strategies have helped thousands of SaaS companies crack the code to exponential growth. But focusing on customer experience and PQLs is key for all the PLG examples discussed in this article. 

And your SaaS business can be on the list of PLG champions too! 🏆

If you’re transitioning to a PLG approach or looking to make the most of your PQLs, use Toplyne to filter out high intent users!

Sign up for Toplyne for free today to make the list of the most successful PLG SaaS companies!

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