Product led sales (PLS) – it may just sound like another new word in the dictionary of sales speak, confusing and perhaps useless to most operations: another fleeting trend, a distraction.
But in actuality, it represents a massive shift in the business-consumer relationship. Product Led Sales (PLS) is a transformative strategy for businesses, especially in the SaaS industry, that positions the product as a powerful lead generation magnet. PLS respects the consumer’s purchasing process and emphasizes consumer agency, making it more effective and less invasive than traditional sales methods. If you’re wondering if PLS is right for your business, the answer is probably yes, in some capacity.
What is product led sales?
The definition of product led sales, or PLS, is nearly self-evident – the product is the primary driver of sales. Rather than the heated experience of cold-calling, businesses that use PLS would rather let the product start the conversation.
PLS is a customer-centric, go-to-market strategy that leverages product(s) to acquire, activate, and retain customers.
- You need a product that is (1) self-serving and (2) can be acquired through free trial or by limited access (freemium)
- Optional, but important: spend some ads dollars promoting your free trial or product offering to your target audience. This is only as effective as visible the product is.
- Salespeople follow up with warmed up users (or product qualified leads, PQLs) to offer upgrades or full access
The SaaS industry has an inherent edge in PLS implementation, as the software product is the already the focal point of revenue generation – but all businesses can benefit from its tenets.
PLS is a smart way to invest company resources; either by fully incorporating or marginally molding it’s process into your own sales flow, its benefits are vast for your business and the people you serve.
- No more wasted time on cold leads that won’t convert, let the product qualify leads for you.
- Customer experience (CX) focused, allowing prospects to find you and convert on their own timelines, so you’ll never burn a lead again.
- Converting becomes a no-brainer, users have already built a reliance on the product or found success with it, so maintaining access becomes critical.
- Your value is demonstrated from the jump, salespeople cannot persuade users of your businesses value as well as they can persuade themselves through experience.
- Increased customer retention because users already love the product prior to purchase.
- Sales process inherently more data-driven, and therefore more effective and thoughtful.
- Less labor intensive, meaning you can have fewer salespeople who can focus on more impactful stages of the sales cycle.
- Major reduction to cost acquisition costs (CAC), so your business can spend a lot less on top-of-funnel marketing.
Tapping into PLS power
Product led sales have, and is, transforming SaaS sales. Software vendors are convinced by the undeniable value of PLS, and the evidence is everywhere.
Design-platform juggernaut Canva has found incredible success through PLS. The $40 billion dollar business is so successful because its intuitive interface – which allows everyone to be a designer – can be accessed for free. The catch? The platform gates high-level features and most of their massive asset library from unpaid users; they can see the tools, but they can’t use them. Once the indispensable value of the tool is established through free usage, paying to upgrade becomes necessary.
This is a total reversal of historical sales methods. Traditionally, the sales journey began with the brand and ended with the product; and salespeople, both shepards and representatives of the brand, guided prospects through that journey.
However, this reversal signals more than shifting business priorities, it also reveals how consumers are more educated than ever, and place increasing value on their opinion, research, and experience than on a singular sales pitch. By adopting elements of PLS, businesses can shift the spotlight from the brand onto the customer, improving customer satisfaction and driving sales.
Simple ways to implement product led sales
You can embrace the spirit of product led sales in your business by adopting these simplified PLS practices.
- Offering free trials for services
- Intuitive user interfaces on websites, products, and applications
- Investing more time and money into CX
- Using data to drive touch point frequency and talk tracks
- Turnkey onboarding process
- Allow prospects to drive conversations and product implementation
Extu supports effortless lead generation
Just like PLS, Extu can help you generate leads effortlessly. Our vendor-sponsored marketing programs take the hassle out of marketing by automating everything, so you can engage your customer base and new prospects without lifting a finger. Plus, our Insights Hub is your one-stop shop for lead scoring, reporting, and opportunity management; so you can spend more time closing lucrative deals and less time chasing cold leads.