ThriveStack - SaaS Growth Insights
#30 — GTM Journey from Seed to Scale ft. Kevin White, Common Room

#30 — GTM Journey from Seed to Scale ft. Kevin White, Common Room

Discovering the secrets of effective go-to-market strategies and the pivotal role of sales in scaling SaaS ventures

In this insightful episode, we welcome Kevin White the marketing maestro at Common Room, as he explores the strategic choices that propel a SaaS company's journey from a nascent stage to a robust scale-up.

Armed with years of expertise in fueling product-led growth, Kevin shares the critical decisions and pivotal shifts necessary to scale effectively in today's vibrant market.

Listen now on Apple, Spotify, Castbox, Google and YouTube.

Key takeaways:

From Seed to Scale

  • Initial GTM strategies focus on product and market validation, emphasizing speed and learning.

  • Growth involves shifting GTM to optimize customer acquisition costs and lifetime value.

  • Critical decisions include when to expand the target market and adjusting pricing and product offerings.

  • Achieving sustainable scale requires balancing a lean startup mentality with investing in processes for reliable growth.

Acquisition Strategies

  • Open Source: This model can dramatically increase product distribution and user adoption, particularly effective for tools aimed at developers. It allows for rapid community-led growth and significant scaling potential.

  • Freemium: Offers a no-cost introduction to the product, converting users to paying customers by showcasing value. It's especially powerful when there's a clear upgrade path tied to product usage or advanced features.

  • Beyond Traditional Models: As startups evolve, they often need to look beyond traditional models and innovate in their acquisition strategies, considering industry shifts, customer behavior changes, and emerging technologies.

Integrating Sales into a PLG Model

  • Identify Demand Signals: Look for increased inquiries, higher usage rates, or specific feature requests indicating readiness for sales engagement.

  • Define Sales Role: Clearly outline whether the first sales hire will focus on closing deals, supporting existing users, or a mix of both.

  • Establish Sales Goals: Align these with the overall PLG strategy to ensure complementary efforts.

  • Prepare Product and Support: Ensure the product and customer support teams are ready to work closely with sales to facilitate a smooth transition for users from self-service to sales-assisted experiences.

Reconciling PLG and SLG Playbooks

  • Assess Customer Journey: Understand where sales can add value in the PLG journey without disrupting the self-service experience.

  • Set Clear Objectives: Define what success looks like for both PLG and SLG efforts, ensuring they contribute to a common goal.

  • Communicate and Train: Ensure both product and sales teams are well-versed in each other's strategies and how they intersect.

  • Monitor and Iterate: Continuously review the impact of integrating SLG into the PLG model and adjust strategies as needed.

Fostering Collaboration Between PLG and SLG Teams

  • Align on Metrics: Establish common KPIs for both teams to work towards, fostering a sense of shared purpose.

  • Regular Cross-Team Meetings: Schedule consistent check-ins between teams to share insights, challenges, and progress.

  • Create Feedback Loops: Implement mechanisms for ongoing feedback between sales, product, and marketing teams to refine strategies and tactics.

  • Celebrate Combined Wins: Acknowledge and reward achievements that result from PLG and SLG collaboration, reinforcing the value of integrated efforts.


  • (00:00) Introduction to the GTM Journey from Seed to Scale

  • (03:14) Acquisition Strategies: Open Source, Freemium, and Hosted SaaS

  • (05:26) Open Source vs. Freemium vs. SaaS Models in PLG

  • (07:01) The Complexity of Product and Customer Onboarding in PLG

  • (10:07) Hiring the First Salesperson in a PLG Framework

  • (13:15) Handling Conflicts Between PLG and SLG Strategies

  • (16:00) Identifying the Right Time to Scale Sales in PLG

  • (19:10) Permission and Access: Key Factors in PLG Adoption

  • (21:00) The Impact of Permissions on PLG and Sales-Assisted Growth

  • (23:05) Marketing's Role in Balancing Inbound and Outbound Strategies

Where to Find the Guest:

LinkedIn: Kevin White

Common Room:

Where to Find the Host:

LinkedIn: Gururaj Pandurangi