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Key takeaways from the first ever Product-led Sales Summit main image
Dec 7, 2022

Key takeaways from the first ever Product-led Sales Summit

Minami Rojas

Minami Rojas

Insights from the best revenue leaders at high-growth PLG companies including Atlassian, MongoDB, Calendly, Figma, Retool and Notion

This past November, we held the first ever Product-led Sales Summit in LA and boy was it amazing. The way modern software companies go-to-market is changing, and our goal was to bring together the revenue leaders at the forefront of that change to ask and answer hard questions.

Product-led growth has unlocked a new wave of complexity in our go-to-market:

  • Scale and velocity - Companies are serving millions of users and growing at 10x rates
  • GTM complexity - Companies now have to support multiple buying motions from bottoms-up to tops-down, open source, and everything in between
  • Cross-functionality - All teams from product, sales, marketing, and engineering touch a part of the buying journey

The cherry on top is that we’re still in the first decade of building companies with this level of sophistication and we are all asking the same questions, “should I create a free trial or a free plan?”, “where should I draw the line between self-serve and sales”, “should I be building a growth team”.

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Key takeaways from the best product-led leaders

The Summit was a one day event, jam packed with insights from the best product-led leaders in SaaS from Atlassian, MongoDB, Calendly, Figma, Retool and Notion. We’ll be sharing deep dives & recordings for each but below are key highlights:

1. “You need to always continue focusing on net new customers to drive growth. There’s a large TAM out there, don’t forget.” - Cameron Deatsch, CRO at Atlassian

Atlassian is one of the poster children for product-led growth, famous for not having a single sales rep until $100M in revenue. Now at a $3B run rate and a public goal to get to $10B, Cameron shared with the group what continues to drive their revenue engine.

PRO TIP 💡

It can be tempting to let off the gas on customer acquisition when you have an install base the size of Atlassian – but new customers are an integral part of building a revenue system that lasts.

2. “Growth KPIs are split by input (customer usage) and output (revenue)” - Sahir Azam, CPO at MongoDB

MongoDB, at a $23B market cap, transformed from a traditional software company – sales driven, longer cycles, etc. – into more of a consumer-style self-service model with the launch of Atlas, their multi-cloud database service.

Atlas fundamentally changed the way MongoDB operated as a company from its engineering roadmap to sales teams and go-to-market strategies and more importantly built a foundational Growth team where KPIs were diligently chosen to measure success for both inputs (like usage and adoption) and outputs (revenue and retention).

PRO TIP 💡

When layering on an entirely new PLG motion and product at MongoDB with Atlas, Sahir measured success by looking not just at revenue, but also product adoption that led to long term expansion.

3. “The role of sales is to cross the chasm from self-serve users to the enterprise buyer” - Kate Ahlering, CRO at Calendly

Calendly team has 15M users, of which most are either free or $10/ month and most definitely not an enterprise buyer. So what is the sales team’s role with such a huge base of avid users? Find the buyer, use product adoption to show impact and potential in the enterprise plan, and cross the chasm from self-serve to wall-to-wall adoption.

PRO TIP 💡

You need more than order takers to drive efficient growth in an existing install base. Let the serve funnel do that. Instead, use sales resources to connect product usage to value for the enterprise buyer to drive wall-to-wall expansion.

4. “I don’t like PQLs” - Jesus Figma, VP Growth Marketing at Figma

A PQL (Product Qualified Lead) is a human who has achieved success with your product, but they may or may not have buying power. So if you’re Figma with over 4 million users, the last thing you want is to serve sales with a long list of adopted users with TBD purchasing power.

Instead, this is why PQA (Product Qualified Accounts) are key. A PQA is an  account that fits your ICP and has strong product signals that indicate likelihood to convert. The aggregation of usage signals across multiple users at a target ICP account lets the rep prioritize so their time has the highest impact.

Check out our guide with Elena Verna on PQAs vs. PQLs with Endgame that gives you a framework on how to think about them for your company.

PRO TIP 💡

Early success doesn’t mean long-term growth. Some PLG companies see early success with PQLs, and it feels amazing – you talk to a buyer immediately, they already use the product, and they are ready to purchase. But as you move upstream, this approach starts to break down, and you find yourself with a PQA that does not have a PQL’s. This is essentially a lame duck in your user base that cannot purchase even though they may want to.

Elena Verna

5.  “Revops is having the foresight to be a good steward in data ops space” - Jonathan Krangel from Retool

“Let’s put product data into Salesforce.” is a common phrase we’ve all heard before but the best RevOps leaders know it’s not as simple as it sounds. In product data you have workspaces, an instance that a user has created of your product when they sign up. In Salesforce, you have accounts that designate a single business entity or company.

However, in a product-led world, one account may have two, three, even four workspaces as users across the company are signing up for your product unbeknownst to each other. This is where RevOps holds the keys and must have the foresight on how the data should be treated, modeled, and stored.

PRO TIP 💡

The data construct behind CRM objects (accounts, leads, and contacts) doesn’t mesh with product data constructs (users, workspaces, and domains) and requires additional data modeling, mapping, and thought to bring together. A tool like Endgame can solve this for you, bringing product data to your GTM teams without data and engineering efforts.

6. “Keep product signals simple, and don’t strive for perfection”  Olivia Nottebohm, ex CRO at Notion, COO at Dropbox, and GTM for Google Cloud

Using product signals to drive your product-led GTM strategy is critical, but finding the balance of strong signal strength and comprehensibility for your sales team is key.

Olivia speaks from past experience where she spent months with a team of 15 analyst crafting a perfect propensity score, but when it came time to deploy it to the GTM team - the lack of context behind an account scored at 9.4 vs an account scored at 9.1 actually raised more questions than expediting the sales cycle.

PRO TIP 💡

Product signal strength and scores are great for analysis, filtering, and segmentation but for your reps to have the highest impact - you want to give them the details behind it. Reps who can see an account did X, Y, and Z step that then ladder up to an excellent signal strength are armed with more context to craft their outreach vs. a simple number itself.

We have so much more footage and insights to come from our Product-led Sales Summit but just wanted to say a huge thank you to our speakers and attendees for a great first event and we cannot wait for more to come!

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