Combining Product-Led Growth With ABM: Inside Smartsheet’s Case
Adopting product-led growth principles can benefit any company, even those selling to large enterprises.
Below, let’s explore an example of how you can effectively combine product-led growth with account-based marketing to improve user experiences and increase business efficiency.
In a nutshell, Smartsheet is a flexible project management solution heavily focused on collaboration.
Although the company is competing against widely used work management tools such as Asana, Trello, and ClickUp, they’ve gained traction across an extensive range of businesses, including Apple, P&G, and American Express.
Along with a standard spreadsheet functionality, the tool enables users to collaborate on a sheet, set up notifications and reminders, attach files, set up web forms, request updates, set up discussions, and publish sheets.
Smartsheet’s Digital Marketing Strategy
Product-led growth (PLG) is a volume-based, bottoms-up strategy that relies on the product itself as the main driver of customer acquisition. This strategy, however, is not traditionally designed to address enterprise buying cycles, which is why companies selling to enterprises rely heavily on account-based marketing.
With ABM, the flow typically begins with a sales-qualified lead, whereas PLG gets initiated when someone starts a free trial or enters a freemium plan.
In effect, we often place PLG and ABM marketing in two separate silos.
Smartsheet, however, takes an unusual approach – they actively target enterprise customers, but they are doing so with a product-led growth motion.
Their digital strategy is successfully combining PLG and ABM by providing a clear and compelling promise of what the product will do and letting prospects experience the offering, while also providing business context and support for complex account relationships.
From the homepage navigation and CTAs to the pricing page, Smartsheet’s impressive strategy of getting ABM and PLG to work together can be observed throughout their entire website. Let’s take a closer look.
On their homepage, Smartsheet is covering a number of crucial homepage redesign elements, including clear call-to-actions, on-brand visuals, and fresh content.
What’s even more, they are addressing their main target audience (enterprises) through their design, copy, and visuals. In fact, the word “enterprise” appears 7 times on that page alone, occupying crucial spots such as the top navigation and main H1 tags.
To help earn the trust of their visitors, Smartsheet is also leveraging several elements of social proof, such as well-renowned customers’ logos, testimonials, and reviews.
Incorporating cognitive biases, such as social proof, on your homepage is an excellent way to help turn decision-makers into customers.
In addition, unlike other B2B SaaS businesses, Smartsheet has included three very interesting tabs in the main navigation. Here’s a quick overview.
One of the first things you see when you land on Smartsheet’s homepage is the ‘why Smartsheet’ tab in the main navigation.
Pulling down that menu, you’ll notice a nice display of different use cases. Listed under ‘for your role or industry’, these cases are targeting very specific types of personas and are speaking directly to enterprises.
In Smartsheet’s ‘product’ dropdown, you can read a short overview of the platform and see some of its main capabilities and features, such as team collaboration, workflow automation, and content management.
Featured on the right side of the dropdown menu, Smartsheet has highlighted that the platform can be integrated with a range of other applications, including Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Adobe.
Another interesting dropdown that you don’t commonly see in the main navigation of a B2B SaaS company is the ‘enterprise’ tab. Here, Smartsheet has displayed three separate categories (PPM, Marketing, and Trust Center) and users can choose to watch a demo or contact sales.
Even more, the content displayed on the right side of the dropdown menu comes from Forrester, a publication that a lot of enterprise companies tend to read and be associated with.
Plan-Based Pricing Options
With most businesses selling to enterprise customers, the pricing page often remains hidden or not present at all. Smartsheet, however, has included a direct link to their pricing tiers in the main navigation menu.
Smartsheet’s page is one of the more prominent SaaS pricing page examples. Here, the company is empowering potential users with pricing information to ensure budget alignment, create trust, and strengthen customer relationships.
Enterprise prospects are given the option to choose their own path forward in the sales process, whether it’s negotiating a custom pricing plan based on their needs or giving the tool a try before making a purchase.
How Smartsheet Got ABM and PLG to Work Together
Arguably, the most common CTAs that you’d find on ABM-focused websites are “request a demo” or “book a demo”.
A very interesting detail on Smartsheet’s homepage is their “watch a demo” CTA. Effectively, this is telling prospects that their time is valued and they don’t need to go through a sales pitch. Rather, they can simply watch a demo in exchange for their email.
This is an extremely clever strategy. With a plethora of enrichment tools available, a work email can give you valuable information such as the prospect’s company, its size, industry, and location.
In addition, by allowing people to watch the demo on their own terms, you’re creating a very low barrier to cross in order to view content, making it a great alternative to the classic “book a demo” CTA.
All that said, Smarsheet also knows that a lot of enterprise leads still want to go through a product-led motion, which is why they’ve also included a second, “try for free” CTA.
Boost Your Go-To-Market Efficiency
At the end of the day, product-led growth for enterprises might seem contradictory to some.
That said, Smartsheet is pulling it off brilliantly; they’re engaging with their target customers and achieving a competitive advantage.
The blend of PLG and ABM principles is allowing their prospects to get in the driver’s seat and decide whether to watch a demo or enable a classic product-led growth motion – initiate a free trial and start experiencing the product right away.
On a roll? Here’s what you need to know about targeting enterprises with SaaS account-based marketing.