The rapid expansion that product-led companies have seen in the past ten years has dramatically changed the SaaS industry. Even companies that have been historically successful using their sales-led model are adopting product-led growth strategies to appeal to today’s modern buyer––and for good reason. Product-led companies outperformed their peers on the S&P 500 by 219% in the past ten years, according to McKinsey research.
Making the transition from sales-led to product-led is critical for any resilient company that wants to grow with the changing market and not hold shakily against it. However, the change to PLG has its unique challenges and can be a daunting task when looking at it from a birds-eye view.
It is essential to break down the transition and implement minor changes to produce the desired long-term results. One of these fundamental changes is reframing the role of sales to ease your business into the product-led funnel with minimal friction and ambiguity.
Abandon the Myth That PLG is “Anti-Sales”
In addition to the various changes an organization needs to make in their product to appeal to today’s self-qualified buyers, internal mindset shifts are also required. Product-led growth does not mean deserting your sales team. In fact, every household-name PLG company operates with a large and highly effective sales team. Approaching your business’ entry into the product-led funnel with the attitude that sales will take a backseat is perilous.
Besides the fact that this thinking is incorrect, it also plays a considerable role in company morale. Establishing a sales-positive approach reassures your team that their role, while expected to change, won’t altogether disappear.
Augment “Land & Expand”
Sales teams in product-led companies rely heavily on land and expand motions. It’s fundamental to amplifying the bottom-up word-of-mouth purchasing pattern. Consider this:
Your product is used by three of six departments within a large corporation, but your competitor’s product has the other half of the company. Rather than wait for fortune to slowly convert the entire company (or not), ensure that a sales rep is in contact with the existing users & decision makers, ensuring goals are being met with the product and encouraging expansion into the other departments. A sales rep can bring awareness of the product to executives and make sure that it’s on their radar the next time a tech-stack audit is conducted.
Sales can be the difference between a getting adopted by a few users and an entire organization. This is critical for rapid expansion.
Make Value Known
A sales team is responsible for properly positioning your product to the organization so that its inherent value is undeniable. Instead of just stepping in when there’s a problem, sales should intervene when things are going well, too. This strategy requires a slight recalibration within the sales organization but nonetheless proves vital when conjuring PLG’s signature rapid growth.