Try like consumer, buy like enterprise — 18 months of a B2B product led journey!

Try like consumer, buy like enterprise — 18 months of a B2B product led journey!

TL/DR — Doing a product led journey in B2B startup is building two products with money allocated to build one.

In Oct of 2020, I wrote a blog describing our journey of building out a self serve product in code analysis space. Almost 10 months have passed since then and the time is ripe to review and recount our learnings so far.

PS: If you want to experience ShiftLeft latest product experience, register for a free account.

B2B is not B2C

It seems obvious but it needs repeating. We B2B product managers have long invested in the idea of delivering value to end customers by relying on ideas developed in B2C space for user experience, funnel definition and so on.

B2B has different set of metrics, some more specific to your business than others

However, as it happened to us, the twains did meet, but just tangentially. For example — B2C products track users while B2B product need to track both users and accounts. This was a small discovery for us, but it lead to major disruptions in how you want to develop insights.

Track better, wider

Adopt a funnel model — it could be pirate metrics or something else that you like. Define your stages, identify data to measure those stages and start tracking. Track the data every day, every week, every month. Look at the insights and also look at what data is missing for you to develop insights. Improve tracking and repeat again.

This will improve your product and also educate you on what matters. Only few things matter — you just need to discover them.

Conversion is more important than expansion in your funnel

Mindless growth at top of the funnel is good only to a point. If folks signing in your product are dropping quickly after the first step, they would never consider your product again. And then negative word of mouth happens, almost instinctively.

Improve your funnel at every stage

We saw folks using Github based automated workflow were proceeding for activation (getting their first app scanned) at a high rate of 60% or more. They also formed the bulk of prospects who eventually became customers.

Self serve grows itself, at-least initially!

For a lot of enterprise products, we have grown with the idea of top down marketing to build up an interest pipeline. However, our self serve product just grew up by itself by existing in right market places. People will find your product in such marketplaces, Google, through friends and colleague recommendations.

Off-course it helped that our free offering was our primary CTA (call to action) on our website. Outside of that we hardly spend any $$ on promoting our self serve offering.

However, to be sure, there is a point when plateauing happens in this growth curve and will require external triggers. You would need to know where your users are coming from — direct/search/campaigns/social media/referrals and you need to optimize for that channel. However, that discussion is for another blog.

It is a lot about emotional uplift due to reduced task effort

Simplistically yet without loss of generality, we saw three kind of folks who came to our self serve. All of them experienced instant gratification just in terms of reduction of effort to carry out certain type of tasks.

  1. End users (developers/app-sec) who were our primary target and experienced ease of setting up security in a CI/CD pipelines.
  2. App-sec engineers who were able to get proof of value (PoV) concluded quickly and save time in their busy lives.
  3. App-Sec decision makers, who could experience product for themselves all by themselves before reaching out to us for commercial conversations.

Try like consumer, buy like enterprise!

Data leads you to know who is your buyer? SMB, SME, Enterprise or all of them. Or is everyone trying like consumer and buying like enterprise?

In our case, we found that our buyer existed everywhere. Their starting point was same but they ended differently in their buyer journey. As one would expect SMB had simple purchase model while enterprises wanted to negotiate, plan and then do the purchase.


Product led journey is in vogue today. For ShiftLeft however, it was a series of fortunate accidents that brought us here. We do not claim to know it all, but we have learnt from our experiences, learnt it from the community and would like to share back. In case, you want to chat more on this, reach out here.

Try like consumer, buy like enterprise — 18 months of a B2B product led journey! was originally published in ShiftLeft Blog on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from ShiftLeft Blog – Medium authored by Alok Shukla. Read the original post at:—-86a4f941c7da—4