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Product-led growth: what is it and how to apply this strategy

Learn the origin of product-led growth and see the main metrics involved in this concept.

Product-Led Growth - translucent cube with a circle with a smiley face on the right and a circle with a heart on the left; in the background, an arrow pointing up. -

Have you ever thought about providing a sample of your product free to your audience? If so, know that this is a strategy that is part of a digital trend.

Product-led growth is a concept that involves business methodologies and acquisition techniques completely focused on the product. With it you can improve the customer experience and generate added value to your business.

Are you interested? So read our article!

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What is product-led growth? How did product-led growth arise? Which business models match up best with product-led growth?  How to apply product-led growth in your business? What are the metrics for accompanying product-led growth?
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What is product-led growth?

Product-led growth is a strategy based on customer acquisition by using strategies aimed at the product itself.

This is a method that breaks away from traditional marketing and sales concepts and delivers a positive and personalized experience of the product before a purchase even takes place.

Freely translated, the name could be “product-oriented growth”, and that’s why it’s an excellent strategy to launch digital products and also to boost results for products already launched.

However, to better understand what product-led growth is you have to understand the growth of customer acquisition techniques. You will find out more about these techniques below.

What is Product Qualified Lead, or PQL?

PQL or product qualified lead is simply a metric that indicates whether a lead is ready to acquire a certain product.

To analyze this data, you have to verify a set of actions carried out by the lead to indicate whether they have the maturity and potential to receive an offer for your product.

It is as if this customer has traveled a path with your brand and is closer to the finish line.

How did product-led growth arise?

The term was created in 2016 by the investor and partner Blake Bartlett from the venture capital company OpenView Venture Partners. With the name, he was betting on a new trend in the market.

Despite the concept being new, the strategy itself is not so new. Who has never received a free sample of a perfume, for example?

In the world of software, with the help of digital marketing and techniques such as inbound marketing, the old “free sample” has been transformed into more complex, quantitative, and qualitative actions.

Which business models match up best with product-led growth? 

Product-led growth is a concept that is directly related to some more specific business models. Check out these models below:


One way to bring the product experience to users is to offer a free plan with additional paid options.

Freemium has a strong relationship with product-led growth and has proven to be an attractive business model today, as it provides potential customers an opportunity to get to know businesses and become interested in their products.

This strategy also brings a more personalized service in which the customer can choose a plan or additional services that suit their own needs and desires.


SaaS is a model for producing and selling software that works with the help of the internet. You probably subscribe or have already subscribed to one of them: Netflix, Spotify, Dropbox, and many others that arise and win over new audiences.

These platforms often offer free demos to showcase their solutions and spark interest in purchasing a paid subscription.

An example is Spotify that offers a free trial period, or a cloud storage service that offers a small amount of space at no cost.

These strategies are very much in line with product-led growth, as the product itself is the main attraction for consumption.

How to apply product-led growth in your business?

But how to put Product-Led Growth into practice?

First, it’s important to know there’s a formula to apply this concept, although some actions help implement this strategy better in your business. Take a look at the hints we’ve picked out and put them into action!

Understand the value your product delivers

Do you know for a fact that your product delivers value to the customer? Having this well-defined is a fundamental factor to making more assertive plans.

Customers need to clearly understand what they are consuming and all the benefits they get with the purchase.

Communicate this value to the public

Value now defined, the moment has come to communicate this value to your public.

How can you buy something if you don’t know the benefits? Or even buy something that doesn’t do what is expected by your public? Not good, is it?!

Deliver what you promise

Be honest and deliver what was promised to the customer beyond the theory.

We see lots of promises when promoting products, but often not everyone fulfills these promises. Don’t create illusions about your product to generate interest. 

Identify and resolve problems

Be in constant touch with your public and customers. They are the way to identify problems with your product through surveys, conversations and metrics (we’ll talk more about them in this post shortly).

Improvement also has a fundamental role in the acquisition of customers. Notice whether there is lack of onboarding, whether the UX needs optimization, whether there are practical user instructions for the product, etc.

What are the metrics for accompanying product-led growth?

The concept of product-led growth is also loaded with metrics that analyze the relationship of the public with your product. We’ll talk about each one below:


Acquisition is the number of people who register to have free access to the product. This is the first stage of analysis, and this may be related to the traffic on the page or site with the number of registrations.


This metric is very important as it tells you who is really interested in the free version of your product and ends up buying the paid version.


Retention is the proof of the pudding of your strategy! This metric will monitor the use of the product over time by customers.

Both those who use the free version and those who use the paid version are analyzed here. The principal role is to identify how valuable your product is to users and how involved the public is with your strategy.

PQL (Product Qualified Lead)

As stated before, PQL helps identify when customers are eligible to receive an offer to opt out of the free option and purchase your product.

If a customer signs up for a free version, explores your product, is always accessing and using it, it’s a way for them to assess the value of your product for them and thus it’s easier to decide the best time to take the next step: buying!

Each product offers a different experience, so there are specific actions in each that more clearly determine a qualified lead, that is, show when the user is interested enough to want to make the purchase.

This data can be found in customers who have exhausted the free plan limit, searched for information about the paid plan, used the free features a lot, or even purchased without requiring any support.

Make your product the protagonist of your business!

Without a doubt, product-led growth is an attractive path for the digital market. Basically, your product is the protagonist and gains more value in business models that include this strategy.

However, the price of your product also needs to be consistent with the value it offers to generate more sales. If you still don’t know how much to charge, see our article on pricing digital products.