Technical Sales by Hub
How Does Sales Engineering Evolve to Support Product-Led Growth (PLG)?
We live and sell in interesting times. Digital transformation is driving massive adoption of technologies across all industries, and technology providers have to rely more on presales and sales engineering professionals to support business-to-business (B2B) sales transactions. Additionally, product packaging has quickly evolved from on-premise offerings and is predominantly delivered as a software as a service (SaaS) solution.
Despite the evolution of product packages from on-premise to SaaS, many sales organizations still rely on the traditional sales-led growth (SLG) approach of targeting specific personas that evaluate, buy and use technologies.
In SLG, presales typically conduct daily activities around technical qualification, presentation, demonstration, solutioning and evaluation management, often referred to as proof of concept (POC) and proof of value (POV). SLG sales stages and presales activities primarily rely on human engagement among sales, presales and buyers and can be a fairly manual process. Despite this human touch, which usually occurs digitally in today’s remote selling world, it is still effective and necessary for some products, technologies and buyers.
But in some markets, a product-led growth (PLG) sales approach, which primarily relies on using your product as the main vehicle to acquire, activate and retain customers, is a preferred method to drive revenue. While among certain go-to-market professionals there is a misconception that if you have a PLG approach the need for presales is not needed, nothing could not be further from the truth.
A common PLG approach may incorporate presales activities like the creation of pre-canned demos and front-loading the evaluation process of free, restricting of time-bound users to paid users by offering guided trials, workshops and office hours. Many presales and sales leaders supporting PLG approaches have discovered that by investing in presales to support those potential users evaluating the product, they experience greater conversion rates and more top-line growth.
Additionally, in certain PLG scenarios where technical products can be highly customizable, presales support around solutioning is critical to scale revenue. As an example just look at the vast products offered by Amazon Web Services (AWS) in a PLG process. In recent years, AWS has made massive investments in hiring thousands of presales professionals, called solution architects, to further guide buyers on the right mix of technologies to develop the right solutions and convert them into loyal paying customers.
Whether a company’s go-to-market entails SLG, PLG or even both approaches across various product lines, the need for presales professionals is in high demand and more critical than ever. Technical sellers who want to scale their presales operations must account for both SLG and PLG presales stages. And they’ll want to invest in the right tooling, training and talent to scale their daily presale operations to maximize growth and revenue.