Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
An inside look at Figma’s unique GTM motion | Claire Butler (first GTM hire)

An inside look at Figma’s unique GTM motion | Claire Butler (first GTM hire)

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Claire Butler was Figma’s first GTM hire and their 10th employee. She led Figma’s early GTM strategy from stealth through monetization. She also helped the team through the journey to find product-market fit and built the team that drove Figma’s unique bottom-up growth motion. Eight years later, as Senior Director of Marketing, she continues to lead Figma’s bottom-up growth motion, along with community, events, social, advocacy, and Figma for education. In this episode, we discuss:

• An in-depth look at Figma’s bottom-up GTM motion

• Why you need to start with individual contributors (ICs) loving your product

• How to spread adoption within the organization

• How “designer advocates” have played a critical role in Figma’s growth

• The freemium strategy that drove massive growth for Figma

• How to leverage product champions

• When to leave stealth

• Early-stage metrics, and why they are often unreliable

• Advice for people looking to join a startup

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

Where to find Claire Butler:

• Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/clairetbutler

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clairetbutler/

Where to find Lenny:

• Newsletter: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com

• Twitter/X: https://twitter.com/lennysan

• LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lennyrachitsky/

In this episode, we cover:

(00:00) Claire’s background

(03:47) The huge branding decision that Claire made on day one at Figma

(07:45) The most stressful memory of early days at Figma

(09:55) Advice for people looking to join a startup

(12:55) What a bottom-up go-to-market motion is

(17:12) Figma’s unique approach to bottom-up GTM

(18:52) Figma’s launch out of stealth 

(23:01) Signals vs. hard metrics in the early days 

(24:50) How Figma won over Microsoft

(30:08) How to win over ICs

(32:00) How to establish credibility

(37:38) Customer obsession in action

(41:11) Why getting users to love your product is so vital

(44:01) How Figma used Twitter as its primary channel in the early days

(49:06) Transparency and authenticity

(49:52) GTM tactics at scale

(52:09) “Little big updates” at Figma

(54:16) Figma’s acquisition, and why it was one of the hardest days of Claire’s career

(57:10) Figma’s core values

(58:06) The Config conference

(1:00:21) Spreading your product within the organization

(1:02:09) The pricing tiers at Figma

(1:07:35) The role of designer advocates

(1:10:57) Design systems

(1:16:12) Leveraging internal champions

(1:17:53) Accelerating spread at scale

(1:19:14) What types of companies are a good fit for bottom-up GTM

(1:24:16) A summary of the bottom-up GTM model

(1:25:27) Lightning round


• Dylan Field on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dylanfield/

• John Lilly on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnlilly/

• Ivan Zhao on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanhzhao/

• Xamarin: https://dotnet.microsoft.com/en-us/apps/xamarin

• Josef Müller-Brockmann: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_M%C3%BCller-Brockmann

• Datadog: https://www.datadoghq.com/

• Coda: https://coda.io/

• Oren’s Hummus on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/orenshummus/

• Intercom: https://www.intercom.com/

• How Coda builds product: https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/how-coda-builds-product

• Dylan Field on Twitter: https://twitter.com/zoink

• Dylan’s tweet: https://twitter.com/zoink/status/1566566649712431105

• Little Big Updates: https://www.figma.com/blog/little-big-updates-august-2022/

• Sho Kuwamoto on Twitter: https://twitter.com/skuwamoto

• Kris Rasmussen on Twitter: https://twitter.com/kris_rasmussen

• Config: https://config.figma.com/

• Tom Lowry on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomaslowry

Atomic Design: https://atomicdesign.bradfrost.com/

• Figjam: https://www.figma.com/figjam/

• Dev Mode: https://www.figma.com/dev-mode/

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity: https://www.amazon.com/Radical-Candor-Revised-Kick-Ass-Humanity/dp/1250235375

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts: https://www.amazon.com/Dare-Lead-Brave-Conversations-Hearts/dp/0399592520

100 Foot Wave on HBO: https://www.hbo.com/100-foot-wave

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones: https://www.amazon.com/Atomic-Habits-James-Clear-audiobook/dp/B07RFSSYBH

• Noah Weiss on Lenny’s Podcast: https://www.lennyspodcast.com/the-10-traits-of-great-pms-how-ai-will-impact-your-product-and-slacks-product-development-process/

• How to create an exceptional coverage plan for your parental leave (Tamara Hinckley): https://www.lennysnewsletter.com/p/how-to-create-an-exceptional-coverage

Production and marketing by https://penname.co/. For inquiries about sponsoring the podcast, email podcast@lennyrachitsky.com.

Lenny may be an investor in the companies discussed.

Lenny's Newsletter
Lenny's Podcast: Product | Growth | Career
Interviews with world-class product leaders and growth experts to uncover concrete, actionable, and tactical advice to help you build, launch, and grow your own product.