2020 was the year of Product-Led Growth (PLG) companies.
And this is not really surprising: Organizations that have fully adopted Product-Led Growth as a Go-to-Market see higher conversion rates. According to OpenView, the median enterprise value (EV) of PLG companies is 2X higher than the public SaaS index as a whole.
Why? Simply because offering a free-trial or freemium model allows SaaS companies to let their users play with the product and decide by themselves if it fits their needs - without going through a long and complicated sales process.
Unfortunately, most SaaS companies can’t currently move to this try-and-buy approach—mainly because of technological limitations. SaaS products can require high-touch implementation, and not every company can adopt this kind of Go-to-Market strategy.
But it’s 2022, and we have some good news. A new trending category in the B2B sales ecosystem aims to tackle this specific issue - and much more than that.
First, let’s explain what the buzzword is about.
To give a short definition, PLG is a strategy that relies on the product as the main growth source of a company. The goal is to make the users’ experience as simple and self-explanatory as possible, so they’ll adopt the product without any (direct) human intervention.
As opposed to a Sales-Led approach, where the sales team drives the growth and revenue of a company, Product-Led companies will use more direct marketing to attract users to try the product. Usually, this type of business offers either a free-trial model or a freemium model. The latter refers to models in which users can directly try the product, and only then decide if they’d like to pay for it—or for specific features.
There are many examples of PLG companies: Zoom, Slack, Wix, Miro, Figma, Calendly, DropBox, and many (many) more.
How is Product-Led Growth evolving?
As mentioned above, most SaaS companies aren’t PLG. With that said, a few critical steps can be quickly taken to close the gap. The only thing needed is to know the right tools and understanding how to use them to put the product in the front and optimize the processes.
Here’s a quick overview of how PLG is evolving in 2021 based on hot SaaS sales trends:
Trend #1: No free-trial or freemium? No problem
The first - and primary - issue for SaaS companies that don’t offer a free-trial or freemium model is that the prospects don’t see - and even less interact - with the software until the product demo.
To get to this phase, the prospects need to go on a discovery call, then book a meeting; only then can they look at the product for the first time. Pain in the neck indeed.
With product demo platforms like Walnut and others, SaaS companies can now create an interactive product walkthrough (including annotations for better usability) and embed it on their website - for everyone to experience. This means the prospects will know the product from the first moment, and if they book a demo, they’ll be more likely to convert.
Trend #2: Hyper-personalization - at scale
According to RingDNA, in 2021, companies are reimagining sales engagement, focusing on the “three Ps”: Personalization, Productivity, and Prioritization. Let’s focus on personalization for the moment, which is essential regardless of the SaaS sales model you're using.
With the rise of the new codeless demo platforms, sales teams can now customize their demos for each prospect in a matter of minutes—without the help of a dev. They can send a link to a tailor-made interactive demo to their prospect in their outreach mails, during the demo call, or even in their follow-up emails. This way, the prospects can understand how the product meets their exact needs at any stage of the sales process.
Trend #3: Demo automation
One of the biggest challenges for sales leaders is to make sure their product is presented in a consistent manner to their prospects, regardless of the sales reps’ skills or experience. Knowing that sales reps spend only 35% of their time selling, it’s clear that there are real productivity and prioritization issues, in addition to consistency.
Thanks to the new solutions we mentioned, sales leaders (and solutions engineers) can now create demo “templates” for each prospect’s profile and industry. This way, all there is left for the reps is to add their potential clients’ information, logo and other details.
Gartner’s survey reports that 50% of buyers cite demos as one of the most valuable materials during the buying cycle. You got the point: there’s no room for mistakes.
Trend #4: A new era of analytics
Knowledge is power. It’s a bit cliche to say it, but we live in a data-oriented online world, and understanding your prospects’ needs is key to your success. What if you could collect analytics on how your prospect navigated and engaged with your demos, at any point in the process?
Think about it: From your lead scoring (how far the prospect went in the demo) to your sales pitch (what are the features he needs the most), and your product marketing strategy (how people interact with your demo on your website), the optimization possibilities are endless.
And yes, with Walnut, you can collect any insight you want about your product demos.
Trend #5: Fewer sales pitches, more product experiences
According to Gartner’s report mentioned above, 43% of buyers are gravitating to rep-free experiences. It doesn’t necessarily mean that sales teams will be obsolete, but there are ways to move quicker in the sales process by letting your product speak for itself.
From the moment your lead lands on your website to your product demo and customer onboarding, you can now expose your product to your prospects at any time. Need an interactive tutorial? Want to share an interactive product tour with your champion? Want to test a new feature to see how people engage with it? Your product can now turn to be the beating heart of your sales process, making your prospects’ (and your team’s) life much easier.
Conclusion: Moving toward a customer-centric SaaS sales process
At the end of the day, B2B buyers seek a new experience where they feel (like in B2C) at the center of the process. And that's what the new trend is about: customer-centricity.
Walnut Sales Experience Platform was designed to make the B2B SaaS sales process customer-centric - starting with the product demos. Not only does the platform allow you to offer personalized product experiences to your prospects—but it also enables you to understand their needs based on insights so you can provide them with the perfect solution.
Your prospects get more value, and you close more deals in less time. It’s that simple.