How many times have you used a self-service SaaS product and then received a completely cold email from the sales team shortly after signing up? Have you ever received cold, impersonal emails after you’ve already spent thousands of dollars on the product? Why are most sales teams at the most forward thinking product led growth (PLG) companies still running inefficient “spray and pray” email sequences to their self-serve users?
At Correlated, we know there’s a better way.
Correlated is building the best way for growth teams to execute personalized email sequences from SDRs and sales teams. Leveraging personalization to your self-serve customers helps your team respect rules of engagement and drives conversion rates higher leading to more pipeline. Before we dive into how Correlated helps as well as some tactical advice on email sequence playbooks, what does the world look like today and what are some of the key challenges?
Key challenges for PLG growth teams
One of the biggest challenges that PLG growth teams face is deciding rules of engagement for targeting their self-serve user base. There is a ton of opportunity to drive free-to-paid conversion and upsell within even moderately sized self-serve products, but many executive teams are hesitant to let SDRs (sales or business development reps) or AEs (account executives) prospect indiscriminately into those users and paying customers.
We speak with many of the leading product-led companies like Intercom, MongoDB, Twilio, ClickUp and more. We hear the same thing from revenue leaders at these companies:
- They get thousands of leads/sign ups every month and it’s hard for the sales team to know who to target within this cohort.
- Inevitably many of these companies choose to target hand raisers, limiting total leads for sales.
- Some companies expand the pool of leads by utilizing a very restrictive PQL scoring methodology that’s a black box and ultimately doesn’t help the sales team provide contextually relevant communications that help convert these end users into paid customers.
- Most sales teams feel constrained by the lack of actionability with data. They often have access to data, but it puts a lot of burden on them to make decisions on playbooks to run and as a result it’s hard to scale prospecting efforts.
So what’s the net result of these challenges? Most of the top PLG companies we speak with are still running very basic, un-personalized prospecting sequences. We’ve gotten many emails from salespeople of products we are already happy customers of! How often does that happen to you?
Even more damaging is that many companies explicitly restrict their sales teams from contacting existing customers and users. This is especially prevalent at companies that sell products to software developers. How much revenue are you leaving on the table by not contacting your existing users with relevant messaging to drive conversion and upsell?
Personalization at scale
So what’s the solution here? Even with the best of breed sales and marketing tech stacks of Marketo/Hubspot, Salesforce, Outreach etc. sales teams are not enabled to send the right message to the right user at the right time.
These systems often don’t have good visibility into product usage data so it’s hard to drive triggers and automation for sales communications beyond just that PQL score methodology mentioned above. While PQLs are useful, they aren’t going to solve this problem.
In our opinion, what’s needed here is the ability to do personalization at scale for sales teams at PLG companies and that’s precisely how Correlated helps.
Using Correlated to drive self-serve conversion and expansion
Correlated sits in between your customer data in Snowflake, BigQuery or Redshift and operational tools like Salesforce, Hubspot and Outreach. You can use Correlated Signals to create very specific cohorts of users or accounts in your self-serve customer base to target with specific messaging.
We just released our Dynamic Personalization feature starting with Outreach so you can target those cohorts with sequences that reflect exactly what users are doing in your product.
Finally, Correlated allows you to set Goals that are informed by customer data in your data warehouse so you can see which cohorts and playbooks are performing the best and double down on the tactics that are most effective.
Tactical examples of personalization at scale
So how does this work in practice? Here are some use case examples of how you’d use Correlated to drive successful playbooks at a PLG company.
Converting free users to paid
In Correlated you can bolster marketing automation drip campaigns that assist with onboarding by offering human assistance at scale to try to drive higher conversions of free self-serve users to paid.
We see customers leveraging Correlated Signals to combine PQL scores with other more tangible product usage based filters like recent workspaces created plus a sign of “inflection” like the fact that the user who signed up sent out a large quantity of invites.
You can then create a playbook by attaching any users who enter this cohort to a dynamically personalized Outreach sequence. Correlated will insert any variables you would like into the Outreach email so for example you can reference the “invites sent” to the user who receives the email.
Converting Paid Users to Sales-Led
Another common playbook at Product Led Sales organizations is finding a way to get self-serve customers to commit to a larger Pro or Enterprise plan from the self-serve plan they’re on now. Often this playbook is where the best sellers distinguish themselves by using product usage trends to form a narrative and strategy to use to close these deals.
Frequently these deals can be kicked off by hand raisers, but what if you want to generate more pipeline for Pro/Enterprise plans from your paid self-serve user base?
For Upsell playbooks, we often see a combination of an alert to the salesperson when an account they own hits interesting thresholds (PQA) as well as an email sequence kicked off to specific personas within that account.
In this example, the Power User of an account that hits a firmographic threshold (>250 employees) and that already has a spend of >$500 MRR is getting an Outreach sequence because they’re adding more users which could mean they’d be a fit for a Pro/Enterprise plan.
The content of the email is designed to reference the fact that the Power User may be a champion vs. a buyer and drive to understand more about the account’s usage to qualify whether a sales conversation makes sense.
The future is personalized
There are many more playbooks in addition to the ones mentioned above that you can activate to better personalize your go-to-market efforts as a PLG SaaS company. Correlated’s mission is to make the buying experience of B2B software better by enabling sales and marketing teams to reach out to the right customers at the right time using the right message. Contextually relevant communications should be an essential part of your GTM strategy.
If you’re interested in learning more about Correlated can help, let us know. We also want to hear your story. If you’re interested in sharing more about how you’ve set-up your PLG GTM strategy, consider joining our Product Led Revenue community.