PLG Just Got Dope
Why we embarked on a product-led journey
Product-Led Growth (PLG) is about putting the user’s experience at the heart of the product you are developing. It’s about capturing the correct metrics to ensure you are always aware of your users’ highlights and lowlights. Of course, this can only be truly effective when your organization is prepared to react quickly and effectively to the data you have captured.
Design also plays a central role in PLG. Designing with intent allows you to understand the problems your users need to solve, and is key to how you implement solutions, leading to far better UX design.
To succeed with PLG, your product has to have great UX or else it will be a challenge.
As product lead at dope.security, all components of UX are therefore a critical part of my job.
For years, companies have discussed enterprise consumerization with the focus on creating a more seamless user experience and consumer-like UI. Presently, companies gearing toward a PLG go-to-market strategy are thinking about every step of the customer journey; how the product moves in lockstep with the user and how those experiences inform business-critical decisions.
PLG is the customer success motion.
Having worked in cybersecurity for many years, I spent a lot of time at companies reacting to customer issues reported by customer support (CS). If I wanted a better understanding of how a product was being used by our customers, it meant countless calls to CS or sales engineers, or hours of my time exporting data from backend databases.
Not only was product usage data a mission to get, but there seemed to be an acceptance that the configuration of security policies had to be complicated as well, often requiring users to use multiple consoles. Whether you’re an internal PM trying to get data or an external customer configuring a policy, I knew cybersecurity companies did not prioritize user experience.
When I first discussed joining dope.security with Kunal, this experience from legacy companies was something we both vowed would not exist with our new product, agreeing that dope.security would be a product-led company.
By choosing a product-led approach, I knew we had a real opportunity to change things and that our differentiated approach would be welcomed with open arms.
What is PLG for dope.security?
A goal at the start of our PLG journey was to build an easy-to-deploy dope.swg that would be invisible to the end-user. Most users’ current experience with this [legacy] technology is that it manages to block them from accessing malicious websites, but it does it at the expense of performance. This, of course, leads to frustration for the user, but for an organization, it can also lead to a drop in productivity. The dope.swg we built is the first product in its space that finally delivers on exactly what is promised.
We aimed to make it as simple as possible for our users to deploy our product. We didn’t want a trial hidden behind a button on our website that said “call us for a demo.” We wanted to enable people to get the product up and running in just a couple clicks. Trial is easy through our implementation of Single Sign-On.
I can proudly say we have achieved this successfully. You won’t find a cybersecurity product that is easier to deploy.
Once deployed, we then want customers to love using it. We had great insight into web policy configuration from past careers and we knew the pain points existing around performance, reliability, and privacy. That knowledge allowed us to simplify how our users create, configure and maintain web policies, and we did this with a genuinely cool and modern UX unlike anything else in the space.
From deployment to configuration, making everything easy for the end user was always front of mind for us. Allowing customers to self-serve and be able to fully demo an enterprise solution without the traditional top-down sales model or sales engineer involvement was critical. We knew this would give the customer freedom to test at their own pace and involve a member of our team only when they are ready.
This is only the start of our PLG journey. We now need to be able to react to how our product is being used and ensure we always provide the best possible experience and fewest pain points.