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Learnings from speaking to 50 software revenue leaders about PLG

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Over the past 2 months I interacted with 50 sales leaders about PLG. In this article I highlight the key findings 🕵️

Starting the product led effort at a sales-led company

The current climate only strengthens the need for a product-led approach. It helps remove the need for human capital at every point of the customer journey by creating automation reacting to product usage.

If your company is sales-led, you may be wondering how to get started with it. Luckily, I've talked to 50 revenue leaders from PLG businesses and compiled their advice. Read on to find out how you can start the product led effort at your company!

The Shift from Sales led to PLG

The shift to PLG (Product Led Growth) has disrupted the traditional sales-led approaches in B2B SaaS organisations. Customers are more likely to want to try out a product before making a purchase, especially when dealing with engineers who require insight into the product's functionality. While Sales led approaches still reign supreme as it increases licenses upfront, PLG leads to reduced strain on sales personnel and a better collaboration between customers and product teams. Of the 23 revenue leaders surveyed at companies making over 1 million ARR, 17 showed interest in transitioning parts of their business to PLG, affirming the changing market conditions that support this approach none more so than now.

Where to start your PLG motion if you are a sales led company

PLG (Product-Led Growth) is more than just the ability to sell from top of the funnel to closing without a human touchpoint. It is an approach aiming to reduce the number of those touchpoints by using user behaviour data in the product to trigger automated actions that work together with a company's GTM team. Even if you are primarily sales-led, you can adopt PLG into your strategy by focusing on post-sales revenue journeys and creating events within your product that notify reps when they should act in order to prevent lost revenue or upsell faster. interestingly, of the 50 leaders, 27 were working at Sales led companies and most admitted that opening the top of the funnel wasn’t in their plan but making their reps be more reactive to upselling was.

Start adopting PLG lower down in your funnel

As companies prioritize sales effectiveness, product-led strategies have increasingly become a go-to partner in the sales cycle. From executing proof of concepts (POCs) to understanding customer renewals, products can strongly influence focused efforts towards achieving revenue goals.

For sales-led organisation, it's best to focus on what happens after the sale has been made: creating a notification system in your product that can alert account managers when it's time to act. This will help them identify opportunities for upsells as soon as they arise and also provide an easy warning system should any revenue be at risk of loss. Optimizing this post-sales journey can drive impressive results and will give you a strong foundation from which further Product Led Growth strategies can be built on top of. and remember in a crisis like the one we are experiencing at the moment, you are much more likely to drive revenue from existing users than from new businesses. 45 of the 50 sales leaders admitted that real time for their reps based on usage was critical yet only 12 said they were doing a great job at it.

The key to setting up successful event-driven behavior post-sales is understanding what great usage looks like. This requires insightful analytics that can help identify important metrics about customer behaviour. It's especially helpful to be able to track if customers are taking full advantage of a product's services and features, giving reps valuable data with which they can take action in real-time to potentially upsell or prevent churn. The use of notifications is also essential, as it allows reps to monitor customers who don't appear to be using the product optimally so timely interventions can occur if necessary.

Operationalizing your data

By leveraging the power of historical data, you can create customized PLG journeys tailored to each customer. For instance, if 12 accounts have purchased an extra product or feature within a three-month period due to certain triggers in your product, then by tracking those activities and predicting potential upsells early on becomes key. Therefore it's essential that account signals are taken into consideration when segmenting customers as their paths towards conversion will differ depending on characteristics such as ICP (Ideal Customer Profile). To maximize success here having access to current CRM information is advantageous so optimal journey pathways can be identified for maximum returns.

Uncover the story behind user behavior with product and external signal tracking. Look for correlation between license usage, feature utilization from price plans, company news such as staff layoffs - this can give you more insight into what's happening before an action is taken like churning or upselling. To drive your approach to successful upsells start by making sure that limit lines related to valuable features are monitored appropriately so that opportunities aren't missed!

Once the above is in a good state it is all about the real time signaling structure you put in place to notify your rep at the right time to take the right actions. Now the issue with that is the noise - from talking to the Head of Revops at a recruiting platform, she mentioned how useless these notifications can become if not super relevant to reps. To avoid that make the combination of events triggering notifications as complex / simple as possible (the more customer the more complex) in order to make sure that your reps are making the most our of those signals and aren’t seeing them as a spamming machine! Good to notice that 22 of the people interviewed were wary of notifying their reps too often for the wrong reasons making a supposedly more efficient process a pain for the end users.

Future of PLG

In the near future, PLG will concern about every role that involves customer interactions at B2B SaaS companies. Teams will be able to automate their playbooks from product usage insights and focus only on strategic tasks. Do not think this motion is only for the Notion and Miro of this world and get your sales led organisation started with PLG today with userled! Nevertheless, great to acknowledge that many sales leaders see a move towards an intelligent sales process to be a long company-wide process.