What’s a sales assist role in a product-led sales ecosystem?

January 15, 2024
8 min read
Product-Led Sales

Dropbox, a cloud storage SaaS company and a preacher of the product-led sales strategy, secured $550.2 million in the third quarter of 2021. It has inspired many SaaS organisations to jump on the Product-Led Sales bandwagon and look into new sales operation teams to handle the backend.

A key step in this migration would be hiring the right people to support sales to lead the company's growth.

The sales Assist role is crucial, to begin with. Since the product-led framework is developing, companies are not handy with titles. Some SaaS organisations call this role a product specialist. And in this blog, we'll use this term interchangeably.

In this blog, we'll discuss:

  • What is a sales assist role?
  • When should you add a sales assist team?
  • 5 Traits you need to look for while hiring a sales team

What is a sales assist role?

A sales assist role is specially designed to accelerate product-led growth. In the PLS framework, a customer believes in self-educating. And they need assistance in making the most out of your product. A Sales Assist helps with both.

The main role of a product specialist is identifying users who are ready to make a purchase and directing them towards the sales team. Still, not all customers fall under this category. Some users experience friction within the product, such as not understanding a feature or implementing it in their workflow.

A product specialist solves their problem every step of the way. The aim is to lead them to the moment when they know your product is the best choice for them. To summarise, the role of a product specialist comes down to three aspects:

  • Providing sales support
  • Educating the user
  • Gathering Feedback

A sales assist never pushes to make a sale; the money lies in identifying the right prospect and genuinely communicating an approach to solve the user's problem. It creates the right flow that ultimately ends in sales.

A sales assist team pinpoints qualified users who're ready for an upsell and ask the right questions; a friendly interaction accompanied with problem-solving skills is what makes the sales assist role so valuable.

Expand and retain customers

When should you add a sales assist team?

Adding a dedicated sales assist team in the PLG approach can be confusing. And you might be contemplating if it's the right time or not. Here are two signs you need to look for before you add a sales assist team:

Too many hand-raisers

In the Product-Led Sales (PLS) framework, you let the user experience the product first hand; if they like it, they ask for assistance. The sales assist team explains how the premium feature will help them.

As your user base grows, more people ask for sales assistance. So if you have more questions than you can handle, add a sales assist team.

Too much friction

Friction in product usage is harmful as it causes users to churn without seeing the value proposition in the paid plan. If you see users dropping off, deploy customer support to inspect and gather feedback.

If the reason is an operational difficulty, you must add a sales assist team. Also, users may reach out to customer support for help before quitting, but they might not be able to provide undivided attention to each query due to workload. And a sales assist team helps here.

5 Traits you need to look for while hiring a Sales assist

  • Customer-centric

A great Sales assist team is fixated on improving customer experience without sounding salesy. The team must constitute active listeners who understand customers' pain points and provide genuine solutions by showcasing use cases to highlight the product's value proposition.

Sales assist teams should ace creative problem solving; they must provide instant support to hand-raisers whenever they want. The aim is to help users make the best out of your product and convert more of them as paid customers.

  • Instructive

When a user raises queries, the sales assist team guides them towards an outcome; they must swiftly direct the query to the respective team — marketing, development, or customer support. And instruct them to implement feedback. They also provide step-by-step procedures to remove roadblocks in product usage.

The sales assist team must identify handhold users in the self-education process. It calls for great instructive skills so customers can understand them, otherwise they would leave without seeing the value proportion – the paid plan. It comes in handy while converting Beginners to Regulars in the product-led flywheel framework.

  • Well-aware

With a mix of customer support and sales tactics, the sales assist team is your organisation's representative. A product strategist must be empathetic yet analytical with detailed knowledge of the customer's industry to suggest accurate solutions.

A well-aware sales assist team makes customers feel comfortable knowing which plan fits their needs. Customers open up when their problems are acknowledged, and it's easier to introduce them to new features even if they're in the education phase.

  • Data Savvy

Customer feedback is a verbal query without data that your employees can misinterpret, which leads to unsatisfactory results. The sales assist team must be comfortable with deriving and understanding data as it helps a product-led company create measurable KPIs for customer support.

A product specialist must be comfortable with handling data to drive the conclusion. In the Product-Led Sales (PLS) strategy, measurable customer insights play a huge role in implementing feedback. It leads to swift enhancement of the product as per the user demand.

  • Collaborator

The roles of a sales assist team extend beyond the sales cycle; they collaborate with developers and product managers and act as user representatives to distribute essential information amongst other teams.

A sales assist team must have a fruitful relationship with all the other company teams to translate user feedback into actionable steps. It cuts down unnecessary formality amongst different departments that can lag the sales process.  

Wrapping up

A sales assist team gets crucial when you see the graph of customer acquisition rising. And with the product-led sales model, you can have the best of both worlds. And there is no set rule or criteria for the ideal sales assist. It can differ with every company and its goals.

Successeve is the tool of choice of Product-Led Sales Assist teams.

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