July 15, 2021

Introducing Product-Led Sales

Product-Led Sales (PLS) is an end-user focused sales model that leverages self-serve users as the primary funnel for the sales motion

Alexa Grabell
CEO of Pocus

The fastest growing product-led growth (PLG) companies discover that a sales team can be a massive accelerator to a healthy self-serve growth business model (see more in our previous blog post). But, sales teams at successful PLG companies don’t look like sales teams at traditional enterprise companies; these teams have figured out a way to be more customer and user-centric, more personalized in their approach, and as a result, more effective.

How? By tapping into data from their self-serve users.  

GC Lionetti is the former CMO of Confluent, former VP of self-serve at Dropbox, and alumni at Atlassian. As he puts it,

“Sales at PLG companies are data-driven sales teams. Data drives the behavior of your sales team to inform what sales interactions happen - who to reach out to and when.”

With access to self-serve user data, sales reps are able to identify and engage with users with the highest propensity to buy. This new methodology, which allows sales reps to work smarter and achieve a higher ROI, deserves a new name: Product-Led Sales.

Product-led sales (PLS) is an end-user focused sales model that leverages self-serve users as the primary funnel for the sales motion

Instead of relying solely on customer firmographic data (company size, geography, industry) to inform identification and prioritization of leads, PLS teams analyze product usage data as a primary driver of their sales strategy. This product usage data can include:

  • Who signed up for your product
  • Which teams were invited
  • Who the power users are
  • How many total daily active users are on your product
  • Which features the users are engaging with

Neatly summarized by Aaron Geller, Director of Sales at Cypress,

“Firmographic information about your customer isn’t enough. You must look at the end-user data and product triggers to come up with the right expansion plan so that you are engaging the right customer at the right time.” 

A product-led sales approach is all about understanding how a team is using the product, who the product champions are, and when the sales team should engage. Eli Weiner, Vice President of Sales & Success Strategy & Operations at Slack, is a PLS expert and has helped build and refine Slack’s PLS strategy. According to Eli,

“The faster you can identify the signals that correspond to propensity to buy, the better. Once you have a decent handle on them, these PLG signals should drive a big chunk of your sales strategy, sales rep prioritization, and be a main feature of your reporting and analytics.”
Why Is Product-Led Sales A Winning Strategy?

After a PLG company has a successful self-serve flywheel in motion, the sales motion is layered on top as a multiplier to the existing machine. With the self-serve motion continuing as a standalone revenue engine, PLG companies invest in sales to become a two-engine machine, finding a more streamlined and elegant path to larger deals and customers.

A PLS strategy offers two main advantages over a traditional enterprise sales strategy: 

  1. Superior Customer Experience. The PLS motion is all about meeting customers where they are and aligning on how the customer wants to buy. When a PLS rep engages, they are already familiar with how the customer uses the product and can skip the frustrating discovery questions. It’s a more intuitive, frictionless, and efficient sales process that reflects the values that likely attracted a user to your product in the first place.
  1. Cost Efficient Model. Sales reps are expensive, so they must engage with customers who are actually ready to sign up for a paid subscription or buy an enterprise contract. Product-led sales achieves just that. With PLS, sales reps know which accounts and users have a high propensity to buy, so they can spend time problem solving with customers. The PLS sales process enables more efficient sales reps, leading to a lower cost to acquire each new customer.
So, what's next?

If you’re reading this and thinking, “This all sounds great, but how exactly do I do this?”, you’ve come to the right place. 

Pocus is here to unlock the magic of product-led sales. Our newsletter, Pocus Post, will walk you through everything you need to know to implement product-led sales. Sign up below!

Thank you to Sara Archer (ChartMogul), Ben Davis (Coda), Chris De Vylder (Atlassian), Aaron Geller (Cypress), Mike Geurtin (Notion), Francesca Krihely (Snyk), Daniel Levine (Airtable), GC Lionetti (Confluent, Dropbox, Atlassian), Karishma Rajaratnam (Vidyard), Melissa Ross (Clockwise), Garrett Scott (Calendly), Steeve Vakeeswaran (Zapier), Eli Weiner (Slack), and Barr Yaron (dbt) for your insights and to Meka Asonye, Leeor Mushin, Allison Pickens, Vik Ramakrishnan, and Camille Ricketts for your thoughtful feedback.

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