Product led growth (PLG) is among the top go to market strategies for companies, and it’s easy to see why. Making your product self-serve enables end users to try before they buy, which in turn reduces churn, increases pipeline, and leads to better metrics like NRR (net retention rate) and CAC (customer acquisition cost).
What is Product Led Sales?
Product led sales is the act of enabling your sales team with product usage insights so they can have insightful conversations with the right people, at the right time. Product usage data is essential for understanding what the customer wants or needs at any given point in time. It shows us what features people are using, how often they log in, if they're inviting other users to join their workspace, whether they're using the platform more or less than usual, and so on.
Understanding product usage data on both the user and account level enables a much better conversation for your sales team. Companies who notify their sales team about product usage and use it to kick off usage-based emails see a 5x increase in conversion rates and higher overall pipeline. With product data, sales teams can:
- Follow up on product qualified leads (PQLs) that may not funnel through the typical lead qualification criteria, like marketing qualified leads (MQLs)
- Identify high quality pipeline opportunities, like cross-sell, conversion, or expansion, with users who are ready to purchase
- Save time by strategically choosing which leads and accounts are worth spending their time on (note: PLG companies can thousands, or even millions of users)
3 key PLG sales opportunities
Unlike companies with a more traditional sales process, product-led companies have multiple spots in the customer journey where sales teams get involved for a revenue conversation. Although there are many examples where product led sales can optimize the sales process, here are three of the most common examples we come across:
Let's say a user has signed up for free trial of your product, or your sales team manually set them up with a sales-led trial. When does your team know when the user is ready to move to the paid tier? How do they know which part of the product they tried versus where the prospect might need more guidance?
Instead of making it a guessing game or checking in every few weeks, product data can offer sales teams specific guidance on what to do and when.
Onboarding & Churn Mitigation
More often, BDR (business development rep) and SDR (sales development rep) teams are being tasked with a sales-assist motion during the onboarding phase. Whether it's owned by BDRs, sales, or customer success, successfully onboarding and retaining customers is crucial to the success of any company.
How do you know if a user or account is struggling during onboarding? It’s easy for churn to take place during this more vulnerable time as users evaluate a product and consider using it vs. other competing solutions. Good news is - you don’t have to check in with each company constantly - product usage data can identify who is struggling and notify account owners to intervene before churn happens.
Many product-led companies not only have multiple pricing tiers, but you may even have multiple product lines. Helping customers become successful so they're ready for upsell and cross-sell, and reaching out in that key moment is a surefire way to ensure success.
How do you know if someone is ready for a sales conversation? With product usage data you can easily identify expansion opportunities based on both sheer usage of your software, and when users take key actions.
Product led sales best practices
Product led sales sounds great in theory, but how can you put it into practice? After talking to hundreds of product led growth companies, and refining our own process at Correlated, here are the three best practices you can start today:
Product Qualified Leads (PQLs)
To identify high quality leads in product led sales, it’s time to switch the focus to product qualified leads (PQLs). Product usage data is a goldmine when it comes to identifying a lead’s intent based on actions. So why not qualify leads based on this data? We’ve already written a post that dives deeper into PQLs so you can read all about the do's and dont's of product qualified leads.
Identify key usage signals
Sales teams would pay a lot of money to understand what their buyer is thinking. What accounts or individual users are doing in your product can signal their intent - whether they are ready to purchase, want to add more seats, or when they are more likely to upgrade. Targeting users or accounts at the right time, with the right message based on how they’re using your product is key to capitalizing on these intent-based signals.
Usage signals are great indicators of when it's time to have a conversation, but then what? Building playbooks around these Signals is how the best teams execute on a product led sales strategy. This can include things like adding someone to a cadence, sending an email, etc.
Take a two-pronged approach
Empower the sales team
Put the power into the hands of your team and supply them with the important data to be successful in their role. For example, a trialing customer doesn’t connect a critical integration. This signals they are missing out on a valuable part of the product so an email is automatically sent via Outreach from the salesperson responsible for the account. This leads to the customer connecting that integration and the deal closing.
Along with notifying the team, you can also automate workflows based on specific signals. This may be useful when a user eeps tries to access a gated feature. It can trigger a workflow which not only notifies the account owner, but also sends an immediate email letting them know how they can unlock the feature. You can do things like trigger Hubspot emails based on customer behavior and product usage.
Get started with product led sales
Your team is already collecting product data, now it's time to leverage those insights for your sales team and run playbooks! Custom data engineering isn’t necessary with Correlated. Sales teams are able to own the workflow and easily build playbooks based on your specific product data and needs.