How to combine PLG and enterprise sales to improve your funnel • ZebethMedia

Kate Ahlering

Kate Ahlering is the chief revenue officer at Calendly, where she leads sales, sales enablement, revenue operations and partnerships functions.

Between the changing tides of the economy and digital buying preferences, SaaS companies are under tremendous pressure. Many of these companies understand that 80% of their interactions with buyers occur on digital channels. At the same time, they need to drive profitability to meet investor expectations.
The question is: How do they appease customers who want self-service while accelerating profitable growth?
While product-led growth (PLG) is a successful strategy, many companies will complement these efforts with sales-led growth (SLG), or an enterprise sales motion, to move upmarket or into a specific customer segment. With the right go-to-market (GTM) architecture in place and effective use of data, companies can make the most of both strategies to accelerate revenue growth.
When does it make sense to complement PLG with SLG?
Typically, companies follow three patterns when it comes to their GTM approach:

It’s important to make sure your pricing and packaging is differentiated between your individual, team and enterprise plans.

Product-led: Focusing on the user and their experience with the product as the primary path to revenue.
Sales-led: Leveraging traditional marketing and sales methods to reach the buyer or economic decision-maker. This approach may be supported by selected PLG techniques to drive user advocacy.
Hybrid: Combining the best of both worlds, with PLG techniques generating awareness and making inroads into prospect accounts, and sales activities driving most of the revenue.

With PLG, the product needs to make an impact on the user — and do it quickly. After all, the product is the primary vehicle for user acquisition, retention and expansion. While PLG works best for products with some level of virality, in many cases, you do not have to choose between SLG and PLG.
As an example, Calendly’s sales team often talks to customers about how we can help scale the platform to create an even deeper impact within their organizations. We follow a hybrid GTM approach, where PLG provides a critical access point into prospect accounts, and sales drives enterprise expansion and revenue. While PLG feeds the funnel, sales targets end users with influential titles inside the core use case we serve (e.g. VP of sales), where we can drive the most value and business outcomes.

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