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Powering Product-Led Sales: Our Investment in Endgame

July 13, 2021

Helping Product-Led Growth Companies Succeed Upmarket

To win in today’s market, startups must build smart from the ground up with efficient business models that drive growth. Product-led growth (PLG), where SaaS companies rely on the product itself to drive adoption and revenue, is quickly becoming the growth strategy of choice. The new generation of SaaS companies recognizes the opportunity of viral, bottom-up growth as a way to reduce customer time-to-value and streamline GTM costs and focus. Even older companies that started with a top-down motion are increasingly seeking ways to move down-market and capture the efficiency and simplified user experience that can come from an effective self-serve approach.

However, bottom-up SaaS businesses leave money on the table when they struggle to connect product adoption with sales opportunities, and team and data silos are to blame. Product, data, and GTM teams are drowning in an ever-increasing volume of customer data—signups, trials, feature usage, support issues, billing events, and more, and each department leverages a different system of record and workflow. To figure out which prospective customers and expansion opportunities to target, reps have to manually log into a number of disparate tools in hopes of separating signal from the noise.

Endgame, the newest addition to the Menlo portfolio, is bridging the gap between PLG and top-down sales with the first commercial solution for product-led sales. Endgame’s product-led sales platform becomes not only the system of record, but the system of intelligence for customer-facing teams to know which self-serve accounts to prioritize, and how to best take action based on real data and insights. It effectively lets sales teams answer, “Whom should I follow up with next and why?” by analyzing real-time signals from a number of data sources, including product adoption, user behavior, transactional data, and more, without needing expensive data scientists or engineers. The Endgame platform already counts breakout companies such as Figma, Loom, Airtable, and Clubhouse among its design partners.

It’s a problem faced by many organizations—I felt the pain myself when I led the full-stack product growth/monetization function at Invoice2go and during the early days at Evernote. Without a solution like Endgame, we had to build our own infrastructure in-house (see Lesson 3 here) which was expensive to maintain and pulled valuable engineering resources away from proprietary feature development.

Endgame co-founder and CEO Alex Bilmes is the type of founder we love to work with. Not only does he have the experience and authenticity to set vision and be hands-on with the product, but his commercial instincts also shine through. He has already earned the confidence of Endgame’s early design partners, some of the most iconic PLG companies in the world, and it’s rare for us to see this level of market pull from an early-stage startup. When speaking with design partners the energy around Alex and Endgame is palpable—they keep saying, “Alex just gets it” and it’s clear he cares deeply about building something of value. Alex was formerly VP of Growth at Puppet, where he experienced first-hand the complexities of coordinating a top-down, bottom-up approach at a PLG company. An experienced operator, he co-founded Reflect Technologies which was acquired by Puppet. Graham Murphy, Endgame’s other co-founder, was Head of Customer Operations at Mesosphere and Director of Customer Success at Cloudability. Like Alex, Graham is intimately familiar with the pain of parsing through customer data for actionable signals. Alex and Graham realized that there were no platforms of choice to successfully arm GTM teams to cut through the noise—thus, Endgame was born.

PLG as a growth strategy shows no sign of slowing down. Many of our own portfolio companies, including Envoy, Teamflow, and Fleetsmith (acquired by Apple) follow a PLG strategy. But with the explosion of SaaS, and immense amounts of data generated by customers, GTM teams need more help than ever stitching together the right information to employ human intervention once accounts have matured beyond the initial product adoption phase. I’m so excited to be working with Alex, Graham and the Endgame team to help solve these challenges and evangelize PLG in the process. 

If these growth strategies are of interest to you, I often host workshops and events on PLG and monetization, including one called “Bottom-Up Meets Top-Down,” to help companies marry these two GTM motions. If you are an early-stage founder in the B2B SaaS space with a focus on PLG, please get in touch!