91% of SaaS companies plan to increase their PLG investment this year. But can all businesses can be product-led?
In this episode of the Product Led Revenue podcast, our host Breezy Beaumont sat down with Steeve Vakeeswaran, the Head of Sales & Expansion at Zapier. They talk about Zapier's self-serve pipeline, how it helped remove friction between the customer and the product, and the benefits of aligning product and sales teams.
💡 Name: Steeve Vakeeswaran
💡 What they do: Head of Sales & Expansion at Zapier.
💡 Company: Zapier
💡 Noteworthy: Before joining Zapier, Steeve used to work at Shopify.
💡 Where to find Steeve: LinkedIn
⚡ How to remove friction using a sales assist feature?
Self-serve features can improve customer experience and remove unnecessary friction. Steeve talks about how Zapier decided to implement a sales assist feature. "We were trying so many different nudges and product onboarding efforts and marketing efforts. No matter what, we really couldn't move some of these core metrics here and onboard more users. And that's when the concept of sales assist started at Zapier. I became our first sales assist rep and started injecting myself wherever I thought there was friction between the customer and our product and in our onboarding process and tried to use that as an educational piece to ultimately drive them to conversion."
⚡ Figure out the atomic value at each stage of the customer journey
Finding your atomic value at each stage is key when you are looking for opportunities to convert and expand your customer accounts. Steeve explains, "It looks like you're consistently hitting your cap in terms of task usage and that's forcing you to upgrade to the next task here. And we'd say, 'Aha!' That's an aha moment for us to have a kind of sales assist conversation because now we're proactively reaching out, but we're saying, 'Hey, look, you're hitting your cap. You're going to upgrade anyways; you already have 11 people on your account. Why not consolidate all of these folks under a centralized instance and let us show you and educate you on the value of collaboration, teams, folders and shared folders, and all that stuff?'"
⚡ Can your company be product-led?
Before you shift to product-led strategies, you should ask yourself if your business is compatible with a product-led model. Steeve explains, "I think the first question to ask yourself is, 'Hey, is my business prone to being product-led?' Not all businesses can be product-led. I think that's a clear distinction that you have to make from the get-go. And assuming your business is product-led, I'd say treat and solve for wherever there's the most volume going through your product."
💜 Three attributes of a great customer success rep
"Number one is that you've got to look for people who have a passion for experimentation and growth efforts. Typically what we've found is that many of our team [members] have either built something in the past, or they've been founders in the past. They've come from agency backgrounds in the past. They've just shown a really high degree of agency and resourcefulness. And I think that's really important. Number two: they've got to have a passion for a technical product, in our case. The products that we sell are all about API calls and triggers, and actions. And if this can make sense, that's something we really [look for]. And then the third is that I think you have to have a high degree of customer empathy and almost like a customer success profile in a sales role, especially for a product like ours that's usage-based."
💜 Learn as you go
"We're still learning what we need as we are continuing to build this motion out. But tools, syndication, and tool streamlining are definitely something that would be really helpful. Being able to surface insights where reps are and where reps live on a day-to-day, week-to-week, hour-to-hour basis is really insightful. And being able to be proactive with some of the tooling and plumbing on the backend is always going to be something that's very helpful. As we scale, it will be something that we also look at, and it's something that we're paying close attention to."
💜 Let your data guide you
"It's really important to just come back and understand your atomic value, and I think you should let the data guide you in your decision-making period. Broadly speaking, There are more than three — but I think that there are three general models that you can consider here. [...] When it comes to pricing and packaging, it's important not to fight friction and really lean into where you're seeing traction already. Is it scene-based? Is it platform-based? Is it usage-based? Is it a combination of two? And really getting that crystal clear in the early days."
[10:50] "Getting someone through the door for us is a great strategy, but most of our revenue growth, usage growth, and value for the customer comes from increased usage on the backend. So the job to be done from a sales conversation — it's not really selling them on a particular platform, but it's, 'Hey, can I empower you?'"
[17:51] "How we think about this is — if we can surface and enable our reps to have higher utilization on a day-to-day basis and serve more people in a lesser amount of time, we'll be in a much better spot. We'll be able to scale our motions."
[27:34] "At Zapier, we have self-service primary visits. It's a primary source of all of our revenue. Later, we started layering on sales as an incremental tool on top of our already burgeoning business. So for us, we knew that by accelerating — by using sales as a lever to accelerate self-serve — we would always feed that learning kind of content back into the product and back into marketing because we knew that's where the scale was. We knew that's where millions of users were really going through the products."