What is Product-Led Sales?

DEFINITION
Product-led sales (PLS) is a user-centric sales model that leverages self-serve users as the primary funnel for the sales teams.

đź’ˇUnderstanding product-led sales 

Old-school selling is dead. Unlike traditional enterprise sales, we’re no longer chasing cold leads where the sales team sells the “value” of your product before customers even try it. This sales cycle not only leaves the sales team exhausted but also makes the leads run away. 

Here’s where product-led sales enters. 

Product-led sales makes use of product-led growth (PLG) model to identify and pitch users who are already aware of the value of your product. 

PLG lets the customers test your value proposition by themselves. And when you deliver on that value, product-led sales has the potential to be one of the fastest ways to build trust and sell your product.

PLS is then a way to continue delivering value to leads by addressing their needs and use-cases.

đź–‹ Takeaway

There’s a myth that sales doesn’t exist in product-led growth. But if you’re scaling quickly, having a sales team on top of your self-serve model can fast-track your linear growth to an exponential one.

PLS is a way to leverage selling as a powerful tool that guides your existing customers to get as much value as possible from your product. As your sales team is involved in nurturing and delivering value, you’ll not only see a high conversion rate but increased customer retention as well. 


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What is product-led sales?

Does having a PLG strategy mean you don’t need a sales system? Not really. 

Having a sales team can accelerate adoption and expansion by selling to large enterprises or organizations on a much bigger scale than a product alone. It can even help in nurturing your ideal customers who are not ready to make the purchase yet.

This sales structure, on top of your existing product-led growth model, is known as product-led sales.

With product-led growth in motion, you already have a large base of self-serve users, which serves as the funnel for the sales team. Since they’re already actively using your product, you have existing in-app data, giving you complete visibility of their behavior – from their most used features to the challenges they face.

With these product-usage metrics and other user data, your sales team has access to insights they can use to guide leads to the paid features. The aim of the sales team is not to hard sell here. Instead, they want to help the users to get the maximum value from your product.

As a result, you’re able to convert more users and continue to add more value to their lives.

Your tech stack shouldn’t get in your way: when combining your existing product-led growth model with product-led sales, you need a Go-To-Market OS that works with you and adapts to your changing needs as you scale, not the other way round.

Signs you need product-led sales

As a product-led company, you don’t need a sales team from the get-go. While you can set internal KPIs to hit before you hire a sales team, here are two qualitative indicators that you can use:

  • Your company starts getting sales-y requests. When you start seeing “hand-raisers” asking complex questions that go beyond the scope of customer support, it’s a good time to consider hiring a sales team. 
  • Your customer-facing teams (like customer support, project managers, marketers) start “acting” like a sales team. 

How to identify PQLs for successful product-led sales

Defining and identifying product-qualified leads (PQLs) are the basis of the success of your sales team. The more accurate data you have, the easier it is to convert the users. 

But it’s important that your sales team get the data in an organized way that they can use. Here are three metrics with which you can identify the PQLs who are ready to purchase:

  • Customer fit: How close is the user to your ICP? If the user doesn’t fall close to it, their chances of conversion will be slim.
  • Product usage: How frequently is the user interacting with your product? How much time do they spend on it? Define the product usage metrics clearly with a trigger that the sales team can use to reach out to the users.
  • Buying intent: Are there any signals that show their purchase intent? For example, if a user has reached a feature limit, that’s a good time to pitch them.

It’s important that you create a process to surface this information to your sales team. It’s important that you create a process to surface this information to your sales team. This will allow them to reach out to the right user at the right time by using a lead scoring method. 

What product-led sales means for your organization 

Adding a sales team is not a one-time decision. It’s a cultural shift that requires consistent reinforcement, education, and retraining. You’ll need to address things like organization and compensation restructuring, creating processes, and playbooks. 

Transitioning to product-led sales often means integrating it with the other successful GTM strategies you have been using — in particular if they have proven successful for a segment of your audience.

Whether you’re shifting from a sales-led or a product-led only model, a mindset shift is also involved in embracing product-led sales as part of your strategy, but creating processes and using data the right way will make sure the transition is smooth for you.

For that, you need tools that work as product-led sales enablers by integrating with your tech stack and working with you as you scale knowing that no matter what shift you need for your business, the logic powering your processes will be safely tucked away.

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Lead scoring is the method of assigning points to a contact or potential prospects based on how closely they resemble your buyer persona. The higher…

What is a PLG company?

PLG companies or product-led growth companies are SaaS businesses using their product to drive growth, customer acquisition, and customer retention.