PLG: If products sell by themselves, why do we still need salespeople?

Could you please introduce yourself and your company?

Certainly! My name is Jacob, and I am the founder of YourSales. We specialize in assisting SaaS companies worldwide with their sales growth through consulting, lead generation, and full funnel sales.

What is product-led growth?

Product-led growth is a business model in which a company's software, which they sell to their audience or ideal clients, drives the company's growth by gathering insights from software usage. These insights are then delivered to either a mechanism or individuals who can follow up and engage with customers.

What is the optimal sales funnel in a product-led growth framework?

The optimal sales funnel can vary depending on the offering and the audience. The most important criterion for any sales funnel is its success. It should always be used and analyzed at each step to ensure it is optimal for the company's offering. Without proper analysis, it's challenging to determine if the funnel is truly optimal.
This applies not only to product-led growth but to any other sales approach. Neglecting to use and follow the sales funnel as intended can lead to trouble.

Which companies, products, or customers is product-led growth best for?

Product-led growth can be suitable for any kind of customer, depending on the offerings in place. It is particularly appropriate for business models that offer free trials or freemium access to the product.

To operate efficiently, a product-led growth model requires a significant amount of data and customer engagement. As long as the free trial or freemium model is financially viable, there are no limitations on the types of offerings that can be used.
Any offering that can work within the freemium or free trial approach can benefit from product-led growth, making it functional for any type of customer.

In theory, PLG companies should not rely on salespeople. Is this a reality?

While it may seem like thousands of salespeople will be replaced by automation, it's not that simple. Salespeople need to adapt and focus on increasingly complex and expensive sales that cannot be easily automated. In cases where customers are purchasing new technology or making expensive and complex decisions, they require human interaction to alleviate any uncertainties.

Buyers still value learning from a human rather than solely relying on machines. As customers become more accustomed to buying through automated processes, they will be able to make more complex and expensive buying decisions. Consequently, the need for salespeople will remain, although the products and levels of complexity they handle will shift. Salespeople will need to evolve to meet the changing demands, or they will face difficulties.

How do product-led sales teams use scores like PQLs?

Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) are a valuable component in the sales process. The triggers and metrics used will depend on the specific offering.
For example, a CRM software may have specific features that serve as buying triggers, while others may be considered nice-to-have but not essential. The score assigned to a lead will depend on the combination of triggers and features that indicate a product-qualified lead.
Determining the specific triggers and features that result in a PQL will vary based on the offering and the type of customer.

Does better qualification have a significant impact on costs and efficiency?

Absolutely. Improving qualification can lead to cost savings and increased efficiency. For instance, by understanding the customer's specific interests, a sales organization can reduce the duration of demos from 45 minutes to just 10 minutes. This not only improves the customer experience but also reduces acquisition costs, as less time is spent on each customer.
With improved qualification, sales professionals can cover a larger territory, resulting in a positive impact on cost and revenue. While cost reduction may not be the primary aim, it is a beneficial outcome of enhanced customer experiences and optimized sales processes.

What are the best practices for implementing PLG in a SaaS company?

When implementing product-led growth in a SaaS company, it is crucial to carefully consider the metrics and problems that need to be addressed. Instead of adopting tools solely because they are popular, focus on finding solutions that align with your business model and the specific problems you aim to solve.
Ensure these solutions integrate well with your existing technology stack to minimize friction in the sales process. The goal is to leverage product-led growth tools to reduce friction for customers, salespeople, and the entire organization.

Any final advice for SaaS salespeople?

The key to product-led growth and any sales technology is to improve the customer experience and continually raise the bar for sales capabilities. As automation progresses, we may see deals in the five-digit range being conducted through purely automated sales funnels. It will be interesting to observe when these figures move into the six and seven-digit range.

This trend applies to various types of selling, including inside sales. However, I am concerned for field sales reps who exclusively rely on in-person interactions, as it is the most expensive way to sell to customers. To stay relevant, they need to adapt and meet the increasing threshold for when human interaction is necessary. Otherwise, they may encounter significant challenges.
Jakob Thusgaard
Founder and CEO
at YourSales
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