Product-Led Growth and Signal Substitution Syndrome Bringing It All Together

My old colleagues and I at SiriusDecisions introduced the Intent Data Framework a few years ago (IDF). We revised the model about a year ago to add non-behavioral data and dubbed it the Buyer Signals Framework (BSF). Already, it is evident that the IDF and even the BSF missed something out product-led growth.

Both versions of the framework attempted to solve a misperception that was (and still is) so common in B2B that I coined the term “signal substitution syndrome” to describe it. The nature of this condition is straightforward: Each new source of information about their potential consumers — each signal type —is often seen by B2B marketers and salespeople as a replacement for the prior one that failed.

When consumers use a product, the need is neither hypothetical nor hypothetical; it is real. The failure of these signals to be what we all hoped for may record in the history of B2B. Trade show booth visitor’s people and bots filling out online forms, webinar registration, syndicated content leads, third party objective signals, review site visits, and more.

The fallacy that underpins signal substitution syndrome is that any of these signals are sufficient — or even halfway good — signs of consumer intent in and of them. To be sure, by chance, certain leads have occasionally converted into business in a visible and understandable way.

However, if my stint as an analyst taught me anything, it is that leads have a depressingly high failure rate (95 percent to 99 percent). Intent data on its own is a disaster; they are, however, both superior to what we had previously, in truth, none of these signals indications of purpose in and of themselves, Interest expressions? Of certainly, but not so quickly, Along comes product-led growth (PLG), which proposes that we provide a free or very low-cost version of our offerings and leverage their uptake as fresh signals for generating business deals. Of course, a PLG motion is not appropriate for every product. For example, it is difficult to see Oracle PLG-ing their industrial cloud.