Here's why you need a product-led laboratory too🔬
Break down Gong's product-driven marketing lab (and why you need one ASAP)
The first use of the phrase “first principles” dates back to a usual suspect: the son of a physician and the hand of King Alexander the Great - a certain Aristotle of Macedon.
Aristotle defined the first principles endeavor as a philosophical inquiry - to get to the bottom of "the first basis from which a thing is known."
While, like his teacher Plato, Aristotle traced art to the human love of imitation and mimesis, he professed that we must work backward to find the underlying truths about the natural world and thereby uncover axiomatic first principles.
In his work on ethics, Aristotle defined something called the “golden mean” - the desirable middle between two extremes.
If you asked Aristotle where he stood on art vs. science, he’d likely have pointed you to some sort of golden mean before going back to his daily speculation routine.
And you, a B2B Salesperson in the 1990s, would have been left hanging around in an ancient Greek gymnasium after asking your question, wondering what the hell you’ve been doing all your career.
Sales gravitating to the golden mean on the art vs. science spectrum is a very recent phenomenon. It took a few pioneers and ushers to lead the way. Chief among them? *drumroll* Gong.
Or, more specifically, a brainchild of the Gong founding team: Gong Labs.
What is Gong Labs?🧪
Gong Labs is content, product, and outbound marketing on product-led steroids.
A series started by product-marketer turned-head of Sales Chris Orlob, and AE-turned-head of content Devin Reed in late 2016, the Gong Labs series publishes findings from Gong’s data research team. The team analyzes millions of anonymized sales conversations from the 65k+ AEs that use the platform to generate insights that deliver value to 6M+ salespeople on God’s green planet.
The mission should you choose to engage? To find the golden mean of art and science in a sales conversation.
The revenue intelligence platform founded out of Israel pioneered a class of marketing that, honestly, not enough products have found the muscle to copy.
Here’s why you should try.
Soft power 👊🏼
In the theory of virtues, Aristotle suggested that there were many things needed for character development - okay, yeah, no sh*t.
But chief among them - a role model or “exemplar” that one can imitate, cultivating appropriate habits that become moral virtues over time.
In the world of B2B Sales today, Gong Labs is the Aristotelian exemplar.
Through research-driven content derived from the core product, Gong distills insights that are ✨ gold dust ✨ for salespeople everywhere.
Here are some gems from the “Sales Conversation Science Manifesto” released by Gong in the early days of the series:
Gong Labs brought to the Sales table what was previously missing from the menu: data-backed research and the scientific method. As the only one at this table with access to the data to garner these insights and the inspiration to leverage this data, Gong Labs had the stamp of approval from Aristotle’s school of virtue.
They established trust and authority.
Both transitive properties that trickled through to the product and the core offering.
In the revenue/conversational intelligence category that was just finding its feet and starting to get crowded with Chorus, Wingman, and others - all products that at the time looked more or less the same, Gong was suddenly hot.
They now had soft power.
A product-marketer’s dream 💭
Gong Labs’s secret sauce has two ingredients:
Their proprietary AI
Access to at least 1M+ anonymized sales calls
Mix these into the crucible of their Reality platform, and now Gong can set a powerful armada of product features to go gung-ho crazy to derive unique slices of valuable insights for a sales rep.
And the best part? The insights, while credible and valuable in and of themselves, transfer some of that juice onto the product features. A product marketer’s dream. 💭
How does Gong know that the deal duration increases by 14% when the economy is mentioned? Because Gong’s Economic Pulse is able to do that by scanning through 500k calls. (And it can do that for YOUR sales team too.)
Enterprise deals are 233% less likely to close if the DM (Decision Maker) isn’t involved. You should probably figure out if you have a true DM on the other end of the line. How? You should probably consider Gong’s Deal Intelligence feature.
Repurpose to pulp 🧃
Each Gong Labs post at its core carries one central valuable insight. Around this insight is built a solar system of distribution channels. You’d be right to ask - “What is so special about this genre of content?”
Gong Labs is stand-alone full-funnel content. It is BoFu meets MoFu and ToFu with VERY high redistribution value.
Each core insight is repackaged into:
A blog post on the Gong blog
The Gong Labs LinkedIn newsletter
Social media posts
A YouTube video series called Gong Labs live
Gated checklists, cheat sheets, templates, and reports - after being bundled along with other Gong Labs insights
Outbound e-mail sequences (the actually useful kind)
Welcome to the Gong BoFu restaurant of content - which has one of the highest repurposing value propositions that we are aware of.
Which other company does great bottom-of-funnel content marketing? Let us know in the comments 👇
Feedback loops 🔁
In most fledgling categories still finding their feet, after a certain time decay, most products begin to look very similar.
Back in 2017, when conversational intelligence/revenue intelligence was still in its formative years, Gong and Chorus found themselves at a similar point in their character and product arcs.
Today, Gong owns 75% of that category.
Why did they win, and why is Gong Labs a big part of that answer?
Many categories of tooling - but especially AI tooling eventually reaches a stage in the product roadmap where many roads diverge. Gong could have become a call recording tool, a transcription tool, a tool for marketers - or any number of shiny AI things.
And like their competitors, Gong made bets.
Gong was able to estimate the value of these bets before they even made them through product-driven content delivered to the Ideal Customer Persona. Gong found resonance through their content in specifically the sales-enablement and deal-intelligence space that gave them something the competition didn’t have: Clairvoyance. The product evolved through feedback sourced back from Gong Labs, which further informed more relevant content - and on and on and on to this day.
Why we built a lab (and why you need one too) 👩🍳
A good chef follows a recipe to the dot again and again and again until one day they tell themselves - “Hmm, at this point, I know how this works. But… what if I add a splash of rosebud to this Cacio Cheese and Pepper Spaghetti recipe for the first time in my life?” Most Michelin star recipes were once someone else’s recipe.
At Toplyne labs, we source product-led content from anonymized product-usage data and use Toplyne’s proprietary AI to bring you insights that can inform the monetization of your PLG product. Insights like:
PLG tools have something others don’t: an abundance of data. If you’re building one, chances are that you are now in a unique position to leverage your product data and bring valuable insights to the rest of us.
You need a lab too. Like yesterday.