3 Types of Product-Led Sales Workflows

How to turn data-driven insights into action

Alexa Grabell
March 8, 2022
3 Types of Product-Led Sales Workflows

According to the 2021 Product-Led Sales Benchmark Report, close to 50% of respondents have either implemented or have plans to implement a Product-Led Sales platform - a strong indicator that 2022 will see more teams adopt and execute a PLS strategy. 

GTM teams have realized the power of combining product usage data with customer fit data to prioritize the best opportunities and surface insights. Now, these GTM teams need to take the important next step: turning those insights into actions.

How do you turn insights into actions to enable better decision-making and improve your sales workflows?

The Holy Grail: Reaching out to the right user at the right time

A core principle of Product-Led Sales is to always drive toward value, not just a sale. One way this manifests is the approach to outreach. In a PLS strategy, it’s important to reach out to users at the right moment to help them get more value from your product, deepen their engagement, and move them along their user journey. Getting this right means happier customers and a higher likelihood that you’ll eventually convert them to a paid user, upsell them, or drive expansion within the account - a win-win. 

This is the holy grail. 

In order to reach out to the right users at the right time, you need insights about their usage and who they are (i.e. identifying your PQLs or on the flip side churn risks), a way to surface those insights within your sales teams workflow (i.e. alerts and updates), and finally, a way to make those insights actionable (i.e determine form of outreach based on data ). 

Solving this equation is not easy - especially when you are new to PLS and trying to do it manually. The best practices don’t exist. 

The universe of possible workflows and actions is vast and is often very specific to a company, product, and their goals. 

Based on our conversations with GTM leaders from the PLS community and insights from authors in The Product-Led Sales Playbook, there are three primary ways to leverage your newfound insights in a PLS workflow:

  1. Improve sales workflow and efficiency 
  2. Improve user/customer outreach and experience 
  3. Improve GTM operations

Improving Sales Workflow and Sales Efficiency

Before we jump into how a PLS platform can improve your sales workflow, let’s take a look at a typical sales workflow not enabled by in-depth data insights. 

As an SDR who focuses on inbound leads, your day might look like this:

  1. Open email to see if there are any follow-ups with users/customers 
  2. Open Salesforce to look at an existing prospecting list or create one yourself based on your conversations with your boss. 
  3. Open up a few more apps like LinkedIn, your product analytics tool (eg. Mixpanel), and your BI tool (eg. Looker).
  4. Based on what you learned from combing through LinkedIn as well as your CRM, product analytics tool, and BI tool, start conducting your prospecting activities such as email, in-app messaging, or phone calls.
  5. Update Salesforce with any new tasks for the week
  6. Closeout the day by preparing for tomorrow’s prospecting activities

So how can insights from your PLS platform improve this workflow? 

Top priorities and insights delivered in context

Rather than spend time clicking through various tools and scrambling to identify the top prospects for outreach, a PLS platform can deliver insights to you - where you work. 

By combining all of the data an SDR might be searching for across tools into one place, Pocus has the ability to identify, prioritize, and surface the user and accounts an SDR should prioritize within existing tools like Slack, Email, or the CRM. 

Reduce time spent updating the CRM

Your SDRs and the entire sales team spend a lot of time updating the CRM.

Updates to the CRM can be: 

  • Notes from a customer conversation
  • Creating opportunities
  • Updating existing opportunities (update stage etc.)
  • Creating tasks

With Pocus, your sales team can update the CRM easily from within Slack alerts or the Pocus insights dashboard. You can also set up automations to make updates automatically based on specific criteria. 

Example workflow: Senior user (director+ title) invited 5+ team members

#1 SDRs receives a Pocus Slack alert in a channel called “smb_leads_pocus”

#2 Reps can take the following action directly within Slack:

  • Open Pocus to research the account
  • Open Website
  • Send email
  • Mark qualified/unqualified to sync the status field in Salesforce
  • Assign owner to AE to sync the owner field in Salesforce

#3 If the account has an “excellent” customer fit score AND the user has an “excellent” product usage score, Pocus will automatically create a task in Salesforce to get in touch with the product champion. 

Improve Customer Engagement & Outreach Strategy

There are various channels and mediums to engage with a customer. Below are three categories:

  1. Sales or success-led: 1:1 or 1:few personalized outreach (eg. Slack, email, in-app messaging, SMS)
  2. Marketing-led: 1:many (eg. automated marketing sequence)
  3. Product-led: 1:many (in-app onboarding tips, product tours)

One of the most challenging aspects of actioning insights about your users is choosing the right channel and medium for that outreach. The first step is to map out your primary user journey and identify points of friction or opportunities for education. Then you can decide, depending on the lifecycle stage, what type of outreach would work best. 

For example, data shows that an account with excellent customer fit has a ton of users who only have “ok” product engagement, perhaps your 1:many messaging isn’t enough. This would be a good opportunity to layer in some 1:1 outreach from your customer success, sales-assist, or sales team.

The problem with outreach 

It’s hard to know what your users/customers want, so it’s important to always give them options when it comes to education about your product and helping with adoption. Some will prefer to self-educate, while others want a more white-glove experience. 

Knowing the exact best time and approach is a big struggle for GTM teams crafting a Product-Led Sales customer journey. 

When teams are new to PLS, there is a tendency to just reach out to every user or customer that comes in via self-serve channels, send too many generic messages instead of personalizing, or apply the same outreach strategy across segments. 

Use data to improve outreach effectiveness

Using data about your customers and how they are using the product has the power to make outreach fit your user’s preferences. Instead of reaching out to every PQL with the same generic message, you can tailor your 1:1 messages with real insights.

For marketing teams… imagine sending product behavior-based onboarding emails instead of a linear time-based approach. 

For sales teams…imagine being able to easily personalize emails based on product usage. 

For product teams…imagine improving product tours and onboarding flows to remove friction and get users to value faster.

Data helps outreach, whether it’s sales, marketing, or product-led, be more thoughtful and tailored to your users and their experience in the product. 

Other tips from the PLS community:
1:many lifecycle marketing emails: “Reframe your lifecycle emails to be about what your users feel rather than what they need to do. For us, all comms are driven by how a user responds to an initial question about their goal (survey via Sprig), and those goals get mapped to these ‘needs’.” - Chase 
1:few sales outreach channels: “We’ve found success in creating Slack channels with customers. Not scalable but the stickiest communication channel for getting activation/adoption with new customers.” - Natalie 

Improve personalization

Instead of sending templated emails that prospects will likely ignore, with Pocus, the entire sales team can personalize effortlessly. With deep insights one click away - it’s easy to send a thoughtful email that can specifically identify the user's latest activity and how you can help them see more value. 

Here’s how users feel about getting timely, usage-data based, email outreach:
“​​I like the email I received from Notion’s Account Specialist recently. She waited until I was activated in Notion’s product and then reached out with specific & personalized suggestions (new workflow, new users). She also made it clear that she is trying to help me get more value out of the product (not upsell me).” - Alexa
“Dropbox did an amazing job! They could see all of the people in a company that we're using Dropbox free or pro based on email addresses. Then they could go to the team lead/security person and say, you have X number of people at your company using Dropbox with their work emails but you have no way to control what they’re saving/who they’re sharing it with. If you sign-up for Dropbox for Business, you will become an admin over all these accounts, which means better security and visibility.” - Annelies

Example workflow: Excellent Customer Fit Accounts with Fair Product Usage 

#1 Sales reps receive a Pocus Slack alert in a channel called “high-priority-PQL”

#2 Reps can take the following action directly within Slack:

  • Open Pocus to research the account
  • Send a personalized email with data about existing usage & recommended new use cases

#3 A task is automatically created to create a Slack channel with the account 

#4 The account is automatically added to the high priority PQL marketing sequence 

Improve GTM Operations & Scoring   

The final way to action your PLS insights is in operations. 

How do you use insights about customers to improve GTM workflow?

  1. Improve scoring models with new data and insights from experimentation with PQLs 
  2. Syncing data back to existing tools (Reverse ETL)

Scoring Model Improvement

For many organizations that don’t have dedicated data science teams for sales reps, it can be difficult to update and improve scoring models to leverage new insights. Perhaps you want to create a new PQL definition for your new enterprise segment, or you discover that your SMB PQL is too narrow.

Making these changes normally requires a lot of work from your operations and data teams. Pocus can help you experiment with scoring models without relying on a three month project from the technical teams. Additionally, Pocus provides you transparency into how your scores (like PQLs) are calculated with the ability to update the model without relying on data scientists. 

Reverse ETL

Reverse ETL includes moving data from your data warehouse to operational systems of records such as SaaS tools for sales, marketing, and growth.

Operations teams face the pain of creating the infrastructure to support PQLs. They are tasked with keeping this data consistent across various platforms like the CRM, Marketing Automation, and data warehouse. It’s an important part of the PQL process that is not often highlighted. 

With Pocus, operations teams can sync PQL data from Pocus back into 3rd party platforms. It’s a lightweight solution to keep all teams aligned on the same information no matter what platform they are using to view data about customers. 

How Pocus can help turn insight into action

Pocus’ Product-Led Sales platform is a single source of truth that powers GTM insights, scoring, orchestration, and experimentation. 

Tools to help your turn insights into action:

  • Create custom Slack Alerts powered by data insights and logic within Pocus to inform your sales team or individual reps when a hot PQL hits a new milestone or a named account has a meaningful usage spike. 
  • Push data back CRM in order to increase the efficiency of sales workflows. Create tasks, create/update opportunities, or update PQL scores. 
  • Trigger 1:many marketing sequences based on data or milestones (like a PQL) instead of a linear prescribed user journey. 
  • Initiate personalized outreach to optimize for the right message at the right time for better open rates. 
To learn more about Pocus’ Product-Led Sales platform 👉 Join the waitlist.
Alexa Grabell
Co-Founder & CEO at Pocus
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