2022 Product-Led Sales Year in Review

Wrapping up an exciting year for Pocus and Product-Led Sales.

Alexa Grabell
December 27, 2022
2022 Product-Led Sales Year in Review

Holiday cheer has fully set in, but we can’t end the year without some reflections and our 100th blog!!!

It’s been a (pleasant) surprise to be this busy during the holiday season.

Sales teams are still full of energy, uncovering big opportunities, nudging that at-risk customer for a 1:1 session, or trying to get to inbox zero on priority leads before 2023. In fact, one of our customers just shared some recent late-stage Q4 wins they found because of Pocus! 

What we learned 

As we chatted with customers about their year in review, I’ve also been reflecting on Pocus’ year - our category, community, product, and company saw some big changes this year, and we learned a lot!

Product-Led is not a zero sum game.

Whether you are purely PLG, entirely sales-led, Product-Led Sales, or some other hybrid, what we uncovered this year is that it is not binary. There is a spectrum to Product-Led and where you land on that spectrum should be dictated by how your customers want to buy from you. Your go-to-market motion can have both PLG and an outbound sales motion if that is what your customers need. 

Product-Led Sales isn’t just about following up with PQLs. 

Based on what we’ve observed at Pocus for the last 18 months, there is more to a PLS motion than just creating a single PQL score and tossing that over the fence to your GTM team. A Product-Led Sales motion is most effective when you are using it to drive different playbooks. 

Surfacing insights is only half the battle. 

Similar to the point about PQLs, surfacing insights about users is not enough to activate your PLS motion and really see the value of that data. You need to make it clear for reps what action to take based on that data and make it easy for them to take that action without jumping between multiple tools. 

You can’t build a modern GTM without experimentation. Act accordingly. 

A Product-Led Sales motion is not one size fits all, and it is definitely not a static strategy. Modern GTM teams who successfully build revenue engines that scale usually have one thing in common - a framework for experimentation. Nowhere is that more necessary than in a Product-Led Sales motion. It’s why we focused on flexibility and ease of use when building out the Pocus platform this year. Customers needed a way to build, test, and experiment with their PLS motion, in a user-friendly way (aka no engineering resources required). 

Pocus Year in Review

Proving out Product-Led Sales in 2022

Establishing a new category is an uphill battle, but in 2022 we felt like Product-Led Sales (PLS) came into its own. Despite the noisiness of the go-to-market (GTM) tech space, Product-Led Sales early adopters' real ROI has helped to prove the value of this new GTM motion. 

We couldn’t have done it without our incredible Product-Led Sales community, now 1900 + members, our incredible customers, and investors who believed in the vision.

Let’s take a look back at some community & category highlights from 2022:

  • Officially a category covered by Gartner: Product-Led Sales was recognized on the famed Gartner Hype Cycle for CRM technology as an emerging innovative technology space with high benefit for GTM teams. 
  • PLS community growth skyrockets: From 25 people in a Slack channel in July 2021 to ~2000 members, 34K messages sent, and 20+ AMAs hosted with GTM leaders. 
  • Hiring for PLS surges: Product-Led Sales was not in the vocabulary of most sales leaders a year ago, and today, we’re seeing some of the biggest PLG companies, like Canva, hiring for a ‘Head of Product-Led Sales’. We get a ton of inbound questions in the community, and my LinkedIn DMs are asking for advice on hiring someone to own PLS. 
  • Following the money in 2023: One clear indicator we’ve seen recently as we talk to customers and prospects about 2023 is PLS getting a real line item in the budget. Companies are prioritizing their PLS motion and investing in tools, people, and processes. 

Pocus Platform Momentum 

From just an idea 18 months ago to a platform used by go-to-market teams at some of your favorite companies like Miro, Webflow, Linear, Clockwise and more. 

We made big changes this year to make it even easier for customers to unlock the value of a Product-Led Sales motion. Sales teams have been desperately trying to access better data and struggled to find these insights in their existing tools (Salesforce, Looker, and other BI dashboards). 

Much of the roadmap in 2022 focused on solving this time-to-insight problem, and we took it a step further by making it easy to take action on those insights without leaving Pocus. All of that work culminated in the release of Magic Playbooks, our biggest platform redesign to date. 

Here’s a look back at (almost) everything we shipped in 2022: 

  • Pocus Magic Playbooks: Magic Playbooks in Pocus operationalize the who, what, when, and how of Product-Led Sales. Customers like Miro, Webflow, Linear, and OpenPhone don’t just look at one PQL, they have multiple scores, workflows, and goals. Magic Playbooks allow them to uncover opportunities across the entire user journey in one place. 
  • Personalized, data-powered Inbox: It can be hard to stay on top of your workflow as a rep when you have 15 tabs open. We took the guesswork out of managing your most important leads with an Inbox that surfaces your top users/accounts, gives you insight about their product usage, and one click to take action (add to sequence, create opportunity etc.).
  • Integrations: Insights about your top opportunities mean nothing if you can’t action them. We launched several integrations to make it easy for reps to take action on their data without leaving Pocus. Tools like Outreach, Salesforce, Hubspot, Google Sheets, Google Slides, and more. 
  • Reverse ETL: We hate silos. So we built tools that allow customers to keep data synced between their tools and Pocus. Keep PQL scores generated in Pocus in sync with your CRM by building a Reverse ETL automation in Pocus.
  • Data exploration tools: Give non-technical teams the keys to explore data and test hypotheses. Customers can easily slice and dice data without SQL queries with Lists or use search to find a specific account or user and dig into their usage data. 
  • Powerful tools for data teams: Our goal at Pocus has always been to bridge the gap between technical and non-technical teams. We’re progressing towards the goal with updates this year that made it even easier to ingest data from your various sources and keep that data organized with features like field categorization, a shared data dictionary with GTM, and more
  • Easy user experience for Sales & RevOps: Sometimes it’s the little features that have the biggest impact and nothing was more impactful than the many incremental updates we made to the user experience. Features like bulk selecting leads in your Pocus Inbox, clearing leads that you have actioned with one click, sorting table views, downloading CSVs, and the list goes on.

Building Company & Culture 

There’s one thing we take pride in above all else. The incredible team we have assembled. From 5 people 18 months ago to 22 and growing. 

We’re so proud of the progress we’ve made in building the Pocus Platform, the PLS category, but most of all we’re proud of the culture we have built with the team. 

This year we all got to meet in person for the first time in San Diego. We established our values and what it means to be Pocus-y, saw dolphins on the team kayaking adventure, and had many laughs over dinner.

Championing Winning Customer Playbooks 

Where would we be without our customers? We’re fortunate to have incredible partners that trusted us to be the foundation for their Product-Led Sales motion or as some of them would call it “the sales cockpit” or “revenue insights hub.”

Our customers are not only seeing incredible results themselves, but they’ve also taken the time to document their playbooks so the rest of us can learn too. 

Here are a few playbooks we just launched (more coming in 2023): 

Levelling up in 2023

What a year! So proud of the team for the speed of building and shipping!

With so much progress made it’s easy to forget that it’s still the early innings for Product-Led Sales. The modern go-to-market motion, team, and tech stack are all continuing to evolve. We’re excited to ride that roller coaster into 2023 and keep up the momentum. 

Internally we encourage everyone to SHIPERATE (yes in all caps), it means to ship and iterate rapidly so that we are always delivering value quickly. I’m personally excited to continue to shiperate on this category and what it means for our customers. 

I wonder what this blog will look like next year? Till then, have a very happy holiday!  

Alexa Grabell
Co-Founder & CEO at Pocus
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