PLG Weekly#18:The Alley Oop for a Slam Dunk Product Led Sales process
Welcome to the eighteenth edition of the PLG weekly. This week we focus on the Sales Assist role and what the role looks like in some of our favorite product-led organizations.
Teams that have a self-service motion that allows customers to experience their product and purchase it themselves, often wonder whether, and how to pair their self-serve experience with a sales team and what that role looks like.
The need for a sales assist team in product-led organizations crops up with two broad categories of customers:
Self-serve customers who are stuck in their process but aren’t yet ready to engage in a traditional sales process.
Enterprise buyers who need help in getting their POCs activated and adopted by their team while getting assistance in navigating their Org’s buying process.
In both these cases, the users are looking for someone who can validate their use case, and remove friction wherever necessary to get over the line of success in their evaluation.
This has resulted in an evolved sales role at several of our favorite product-led organizations like Zapier, Slack, and Guru.
⚡Trigger - Improve self serve conversions → Destination - Sales assist
Our favorite automation product Zapier, recently announced their introduction of a sales team in the form of a Sales-Assist representative to focus on customers who needed that nudge at just the right time to move them over the line to either purchase the product or get unblocked in their evaluation.
The role of the sales assist team at Zapier as you’ll see below is one that’s closer to a product specialist whose outreach is powered by product insights and usage patterns to identify signed-up users who need assistance and identifying existing customers who could benefit from a higher plan of Zapier.
✨ Help at your fingertips
The sales assist team at Guru started with an interesting mix of folks from support, sales development, and account management and were focused purely on proactively reaching out to customers to uncover friction and guide them to their next steps.
The team follows the Core Four principles in their outreach to their customers:
Teams like these typically rely on Product Qualified Leads to identify which of their customers need help, proactively reach out, and provide assistance.
💃 Send a message to the buyer - We love this tool!
The Sales team at Slack is designed to assist their self-serve customers in fully understanding Slack and how to leverage it in the complexities involved in their organization.
As Butterfield mentions in one of their earnings calls:
We're still in the very early days of providing our sales teams with the tools that are going to be most effective in helping them get customers to understand Slack. So they're operating in an environment, and we want to be as critical for us to maintain this where there are very happy end-users who are telling the people responsible for the purchase decision, hey, we love Slack, it makes us more productive, please get out of the way and let us expand.
One of the common responsibilities of a sales role at product-led organizations is to be able to make champions out of those who are evaluating the product, for them to then be able to convince the buyer to make the purchase decision.
You’ve reached the end of this week’s edition and we hope you’ve enjoyed it. We’ll be publishing every Wednesday and if you like what you read this week, share it with anyone who might be interested in PLG.
🕸 Good PLG reads from the internet
There is no one standard playbook for PLG and Jason Lemkin reinforces the idea through this succinct piece about learnings from top PLG companies.
Marketing in a PLG world where users educate themselves in new ways has resulted in several interesting and successful adaptations, as laid out in this guide to product led marketing.
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