BIAS BLOG

How to build a Product-Led Growth Strategy with Sandy Mangat

 

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PLEASE NOTE THAT THE TRANSCRIPT BELOW AND THE SUBTITLES ARE CONVERTED BY AI TECHNOLOGY AND WHILST WE MAKE EVERY EFFORT TO CORRECT GRAMMAR, ERRORS MAY STILL BE PRESENT.

 


00:01

Paul Sullivan
Hi guys. It's Paul Sullivan again from digital bias and I am here with another great speaker talking, all things, product-led growth. I hate introducing my speakers. I believe they do it much better than me. So please Sandy, take the stage. Tell me about yourself, tell us who you are, what you do and where you do it.


00:21

Sandy Mangat
All right. Thanks for having me on Paul. I'm super excited to be here and talk about product-led growth. So I'm Sandy Mangat. I just very recently joined as the head of marketing at focus. We're building the ultimate platform for what we call product-led sales. Helping product-led growth companies convert those amazing self-serve users that they have into high-value customers. You can turn that goldmine of product data into revenue. Prior to Pocus, I led growth and marketing for Charlie AI, and have worked in startups for probably the better part of the last decade. Ranging from various roles in product marketing, growth and marketing. The main thing is I've always been really passionate about digging into the products that I work on. I think that's what like really set me apart as a marketer, is I took the time to learn like what a SQL database was.


01:18

Sandy Mangat
That kind of helped me learn more about what it means to be a great product and eventually get into product-led growth. I'm based in Vancouver, BC, which is currently rainy and miserable. Otherwise it's a beautiful place to live and, convenient time zone close to San Francisco, close to LA. Also really like deep in nature, which, you have to be into nature if you live in Vancouver,


01:48

Paul Sullivan
Right. That's the best balance, right? You've got like a thermic flight down into Texas. He, and the rest of the time, you can just be more rural and take it all.


01:55

Sandy Mangat
In. Yeah, exactly.


01:58

Paul Sullivan
That's exactly. I like, so you touched on being a market or that go into product-led growth. Right. So talk to me about that. When did it all start with product-led growth and why?


02:08

Sandy Mangat
Yeah, so I think really where it started to materialize fully was probably at my last role at Charlie. Before I joined the team, I was actually an advisor to the company and kind of helping them go through your typical, like early-stage product marketing stuff. Messaging, positioning, ideating on the go-to-market. It was running workshops with the team and that's where it kind of started to realize like, the team was going towards more of a traditional like enterprise top-down sales model and based on what I was learning about the product and how we want it to be positioned and kind of where the company wanted to go, I was like, well, it feels like almost, we're doing a bit of consumer and a bit of business. I almost wanted to suggest like the tactics I had heard from the best consumer companies and e-commerce companies and building a go-to-market around that.


03:05

Sandy Mangat
I didn't have the language for it right in that moment. I think what I was touching on was really product-led growth is thinking about, the growth of your product and how users find it and activate on your product. Embedding that within the product itself, instead of putting it outside the product and sales and marketing, which consumer companies do really well e-commerce businesses do really well. I didn't do a great job explaining it in those like early workshops, but then I went and did some self-education honestly, like I went, searched high and low about what are the best companies doing. I just happened to like, think about slack and some other companies like Calendly. This thing called product-led growth popped to the top of the list like that. Digging into product-led growth fast forward a few months, I had consumed every piece of content on the internet about product-led growth.


04:06

Sandy Mangat
I did a course by Reforge on growth foundations and I, it started really joining all the product-led growth communities. That's really where I got the language that I needed to go back to the team at Charlie and say, Hey, we need to build a self-serve product. That's inherently viral. We need to embed the levers for acquisition and retention in the product. And, that's the only way we're going to be able to scale this type of product. We're not going to be able to do it with like a kind of hard sell top-down selling motion. Huh.


04:45

Paul Sullivan
Okay, cool. That sounds really interesting, right. Because that's like a whole process that you have to go through yourself before you can even go back to the company and buying something that I want to talk to in but before we get there, what would it early challenges you face before you got the buy-in?


05:03

Sandy Mangat
There were, a ton, I would say like, obviously educating myself was like one of the challenges because, I think the, my, I, my instincts were right, but like, obviously, like I said, it didn't have the language to adequately explain exactly how I needed the company to get behind this. What would it all entails? So I had to learn all of that. That was like hurdle number one, and then herbal number two. I think this was the main one is the team. I include myself in this we're all, were all more attuned to that enterprise traditional top-down sales model. It was like a mindset that the comfort that we always saw was in familiar things. So, let's hire a sales team. Let's like create a lead list. Like all of those tactics were things that were second nature to all of us and even in building the product, it was very much, a different way to think about, product development and how your roadmap is influenced by a few early customers, as opposed to thinking about kind of, the broad appeal of just putting it out there and getting people to self-serve onto it.


06:21

Sandy Mangat
I feel like that was probably the main challenge.


06:25

Paul Sullivan
Okay, cool. There's something that you just mentioned, right? You talked about top-down bottom-up top-down right. We're talking about traditional sales models, the enterprise sales, which I'm sure, but the ordinance that gets the watch, this there'll be like, well, we just need to sell, right. We just need to sell. Do you feel like retrospectively the, companies that are considering a pivot to be more product-led than sales lead should just like tear up like the enterprise sales approach and do something completely different.


06:54

Sandy Mangat
I guess like in all instances, it always depends kind of what your goals are. I think it's so not all products are suited first of all, to, I think product-led. Okay. Some, but if you are considering it, you probably have a good reason to consider moving to product-led. In that case, I wouldn't say you want to immediately tear up the enterprise sales playbook. Okay. Sales is actually really important. It's just, you want to pivot how you think about sales in the world of product lead. That's actually like a lot of what we do at Pocus is think about how do you layer sales on top of a healthy product-led kind of growth, flywheel the challenge for a sales-led companies, first setting up that self-serve flywheel. If you're primarily sales lead, you may or may not have a freemium or free trial version of your product that users can self serve on to.


07:56

Sandy Mangat
That's going to be challenge number one, and then challenge number two is reorienting your sales team to understand how to leverage that new channel of self-serve users as your, like the leads that you go after. These are your now prioritized accounts that you should go talk to as opposed to, kind of hitting them up when they're cold, you're now hitting them up once they've had some product experience.


08:23

Paul Sullivan
Hi. To stay in with sounds a minute before we move on, do you feel in the, when you go and product-led and you open up top, you open the product up, do you take on a whole new, approach to recruitment and go and kind of hire some Demo experts? Or do you train your sales team to become the demo experts?


08:46

Sandy Mangat
That's a good question. I've seen it done both ways and I think it really depends on like your ability to invest in that existing sales team, because it is going to require a lot more kind of coaching and, like investment into sales enablement, especially like trying to get them to become more of these product experts. The other way I've seen it done is you compliment your existing sales team with like product specialists or roles like sales assist. These are people who are specifically trained on understanding more of like the product space and how users are behaving in the product and can help them along the way with adoption and engagement. At a certain point, they kind of have a bit of a handoff to the AEE or account manager. I think in like, if you are starting from scratch your first role needs to be a product specialist.


09:47

Sandy Mangat
Or like, as I like to think of it almost like the R and D hire, right? Like we're really attuned to experimenting. They're not the assembly line. They, they don't have a playbook and they don't have a repeatable process yet they are discovering it. If you have the luxury of starting from scratch, go with the R and D, if you have the resources, to invest in your existing reps, then you can certainly retrain them. I think the happy medium is, retrain some and then hire in a bunch of product specialists.


10:21

Paul Sullivan
Okay. Just one last question on this, with everything that you've just said for someone to people that might be listening, is there a difference between what you've just explained and what people are now calling the sales engineer?


10:34

Sandy Mangat
Yes. I, I think typical and, people can feel free to correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding, what I've seen for about sales engineers is sales engineering roles are like solutioning often with customers. I've often seen them be, like very consultative. I've mostly seen sales engineers work on products that, require some level of like configuration or customization. The persona that you hire into sales engineers, and like, you can certainly pivot that to suit your needs. The persona that self-selects into sales engineering might be more of that, tinkerer and somebody who can like, build new types of demos on the fly for bespoking something to a specific customer. Whereas like the product specialists and sales assist is more similar to like a customer success persona. They're really like leading with customer empathy and really trying to understand how to get you to value quickly within the confines of that freemium or free trial product that you're using.


11:52

Paul Sullivan
The app for us. Tell me about, you've got buy-in, how do you start setting and managing expectations?


12:02

Sandy Mangat
Pretty simply do not ever promise that product-led growth is going to be some magic bullet. Like that is the number one thing is I think, and especially like in my experience, sometimes when you use these buzz words, like product-led growth, leadership can latch onto it and then think of it like this magical mythical thing. It gets into your, investor outreach. It gets into your reporting to your board, like we're doing this product-led growth thing, and it's going to be game-changing. Like do not set yourself up for that because product-led growth is like a long game and there will be, those walls that you hit. And so managing expectations is super important. You need to really state, like, what are we trying to accomplish when we're going from zero to one? What are the objectives here? And being very clear about this is what we want to achieve.


13:09

Sandy Mangat
This is how we're going to measure success. And, essentially like create a one-pager and put all of that stuff in writing. It's fine if you change it, but, consistently go back to that as your guiding light, your north star, whatever you want to call it. Then, from one to 10, there will be another set of expectations that you need to set. I think it's a constant process of setting and managing expectations and just making sure that everyone's still aligned on what the goals are of the company and making sure that whatever you're doing from a product lead perspective match up to those, like higher-level corporate goals.


13:53

Paul Sullivan
Okay, cool. Brilliant, brilliant. Talk to us about what some of the benefits of a transition from sales lead to product-led.


14:04

Sandy Mangat
Honestly, one of the ones that really sticks out to me that I've noticed is a culture shift. I think one of the things I noticed in moving from a sales lead to a product lead is the team became a lot more collaborative. I think in a traditional more sales-led organization, you can kind of just burrow into your silos and kind of bury your head and do what you need to do because you are just worried about this narrow slice of the funnel. I think in a product-led world, everything is a lot more interdependent. The company becomes a lot better at collaboration, a lot better at working cross-functionally. I think that has like a really net positive impact on your culture. It becomes like a culture of transparency between teams, a culture of, deep collaboration instead of like staunch ownership and drawing battle lines between teams and, being like I own this and you cannot have an opinion here.


15:12

Sandy Mangat
To me that was one of the biggest benefits, I think, kind of more of the benefits that are touted at, like big scale is like, it allows you to, I think, scale faster in the long run. Obviously like the unit economics of being product-led are much better than being sales led. Obviously you can handle the waves of something like a global pandemic, a lot better because you don't have boots on the ground. There's all those other benefits that I think are, well-documented, but I think the thing that I talked to a lot of people about is just what it does for a company culture. I think it just creates a much better environment and I think a culture of product excellence. Yeah.


15:58

Paul Sullivan
Okay, cool. Thanks. That's a really good answer. I know that, for people watching them, that you sent me a deck and, some of the questions I'm going to S I'm going to talk to you about are from the deck without actually using it. One of the things that was really interesting when I was kind of just glazing for it was that you mentioned loops and not funnels. Can you expand on that for me ?


16:23

Sandy Mangat
Yeah. This actually like dovetails perfectly from what I just said. In that example where you're kind of burying your head into the ground, because you have a narrow slice of the funnel, that's what funnels do funnels create these organizational silos? They create metrics silos. In my experience, as a marketer, for years, working more kind of enterprise B2B companies, I was tasked with increasing our MQ ELLs. It was all about marketing, qualified leads, like fill the funnel, marketing qualified leads, and then toss them over the fence to sales. Guess what, like 98% of those SQLs never turn into any closed business. It's like, why are we spinning our wheels on all this stuff? And then it never closes. The feedback loop between the funnel like a funnel goes this way, it doesn't go back up. Just from a visual standpoint, funnels are a bad way of articulating how good companies run.


17:22

Sandy Mangat
Everything should be a feedback loop. Just from that perspective, loops are better. Growth loops actually have kind of a, a bigger foundation in that they allow you to articulate your product model, your product's growth model, your acquisition model. I think your overall business model into one framework where each input into the loop has a compounding effect on growth. For every one user you bring into your product, you're actually then multiplying them by, they refer friends, they invite friends to their team, they share a dashboard, all of these things have a compounding effect. Now if you go back to my marketing example of thinking in funnels, as a marketer, I would never care about what happened to a user once they became activated on the product. When you think in the loop, marketing has impact across the whole loop, because you are responsible for acquiring that user, but then you also need to make sure they stick around.


18:29

Sandy Mangat
You need to make sure that they're incentivized to share your product in some way. You can't just bury your head in the sand.


18:38

Paul Sullivan
This backs up, whether it's in product or marketing, that the flywheel effectively is like the best ride, because the more you can do it, the more speed and the bigger, the gross. But, so that makes a lot of sense. Thank you for that. What steps do you take in that process that are repeatable and scalable?


18:59

Sandy Mangat
I think in the early days, honestly, a lot of it won't be repeatable and scalable. Yeah. That's the truth. For example, like when we first started thinking about how we're going to set up our self-serve and onboarding, we did white-glove onboarding. We onboarded every single one of our new users ourselves. I've probably hosted like 200 just on my own. Our founder was doing it. We were all doing that kind of really unscalable stuff, because then that allowed us to figure out where are the friction points? Where are, like the areas users are getting stuck. That allowed us to then create a more repeatable and scalable version of onboarding, which was all self-service. One of the key steps in figuring out how to make things repeatable and scalable is first doing things the unscalable way. Do it the unscalable way first learn something, and then you kind of operationalize it in a repeatable and scalable way, because the truth is when you first start doing something, it's never going to be exactly how you need it to be.


20:12

Sandy Mangat
It's not, you, there's a lot of learning that needs to happen. A lot of testing, a lot of iterating, and it just isn't worth it to invest all the upfront costs of making it automated and repeatable and scalable if you're just going to change it. Do it unscalable first, learn what you need to learn and then move into figuring out how to make everything repeatable and scalable. And that's investment in documenting process. It's, aligning, people on your team to kind of own specific swim and then the tooling to help you support that. Investing in a good product-led growth tech stack, like, self-plug, something like Pocus would be included in the ability to make this model repeatable and scalable. What investing in a good data warehouse, investing in a CRM that's set up properly. All of those things help make it repeatable and scalable,


21:13

Paul Sullivan
Great answer. That kind of really ties in with like your product roadmap, right, as you're moving along and you kind of keep it array in learning, are you in? And so talking about that in specific, in Pacific terms to product and product growth, what are the differences between that? I'll start that again. What are the differences between building product features and being product-led?


21:37

Sandy Mangat
Yeah. This is one that I hear all the time. I've heard so many people say, like, I don't understand product-led growth isn't job. Isn't not just building a good product. To a certain extent they're not wrong. Product led growth, I think is just a bit of a buzzy word right now. Premium and free trial have been around for a while. Bottoms up has been around for a while. We've just slept a bit of a label onto it. I think, there is a real need to educate on this difference between just building a good product with good product features versus being truly product-led. Cause I think you can build a great product that people love that is really hard to self-serve onboard yourself onto, that is really hard to make sticky within your organization. It becomes shelfware like you, the CIO loved the product and then you rolled it out to your organization, then nobody used it.


22:35

Sandy Mangat
I think when people, when nobody uses the product, it's almost always because you haven't thought about user psychology, you haven't thought about how to make that product sticky. I think when you think about the best product-led growth companies, they're not just thinking about, a widget to solve problem X they're also thinking about how you make that part of your workflow, how it becomes part of your everyday routine. I think those are the things that are uniquely, associated with product-led growth that you need to think about acquisition and retention as part of your feature development. Even more tactically, I would say, a lot of companies are always instrumenting, to make their features, like data-driven, right? So that's something we had to teach. Our engineers was okay. Every time we build a new feature, we also need to like build the event in segment and cause without the visibility into the data, we don't know how to improve our product.


23:44

Sandy Mangat
Because we don't like a customer advisory board of three enterprise customers. We can go and say, Hey, do you like X? we need to learn whether people like X and then re iterate and test and all that kind of stuff. I think there's definitely a big difference between, just building features and being product-led. It has a lot to do with being a little more, I think, tapped into user's behavior from my like user psych perspective, more than anything. Okay.


24:16

Paul Sullivan
And, I had a conversation today and it's a great answer. You just give me, and it just dawned on me that someone said to me today, what's the difference between a growth hacker and someone who's liked becomes a product lead application person?


24:32

Sandy Mangat
Not, I mean, I feel like growth hacker has a bit of a connotation of being kind of doing slightly more gray area things to like, get more people onto the product. Okay. I that's, at least my perception of, I think the term growth hacker, I think it's become like, you're really just trying to exhaust the list of tactics to get more users. It's, I think a lot more focused on acquisition. Whereas I think product-led growth hackers, you could say are a lot more focused on, what happens in the product and the like deepening of engagement and retention more than just acquisition. That's my feeling. I think there's a lot of tactics that are, they go back and forth between the two growth hacking certainly came before product-led growth. I will say that. I think it really grew up in more of that consumer, tech era.


25:39

Sandy Mangat
Where now just taking some of those tactics and applying them to B2B SAS. I think that in a way is also how they're similar, but maybe the way that we're applying them is just a little different.


25:54

Paul Sullivan
One more question in that space, because this finished off the conversation, B2B SAS, would you, are you better with a product marketing professional or an inbound marketing professional?


26:12

Sandy Mangat
I think product well, I'm biased. I'm a product marketer by trade. I think product marketing is really critical because you can have the best like acquisition tactics on the planet, but if your product is not positioned correctly and you're not messaging to the right buyers, which is I believe product marketing's job to define, then you can't tactic your way out of that because you'll just be acquiring the wrong people and they will just turn eventually, if not right away, they will turn eventually.


26:49

Paul Sullivan
No, I agree. So don't worry. I agree with you. I, I think that, whilst I've got nothing against content marketers in biomarkers, like I I've been doing it for a while. I feel that as a product marketer, it's like a small piece of what we do. It's like, do what I mean? It's not, it's like someone's taken a part of what you do as a product marketer and, become an expert in that as you become an expert in video marketing or an expert in social media. Right. I think that's kind of what. Is that for that fan?


27:19

Sandy Mangat
Yeah, exactly. I think it's a channel. Whereas like product marketing is thinking about how to message across the channels. Like what is our overall positioning and why do we exist and why should you care? Those things are so important to define, especially early on, I think early on like, you should hire a generalist who has a bit of product marketing, a bit of content marketing is a bit of a demand gen expert. You, you need somebody who can kind of cover all three and then eventually you can then have specialists in each of those.


27:54

Paul Sullivan
Cool. Thank you for that answer. So, we've talked about process, we talked about buy-in we talked about approach, you mentioned earlier culture, and I know we didn't get back there, but I am going to take you back there. Now tell me how product-led changes the culture of a company.


28:13

Sandy Mangat
I think so back to what we talked about, like the working cross-functionally, I think that's a huge part of it. One of the ways that manifests it, manifested at Charlie was our, growth squad. We had this squad of people who were from all different departments, working together on, everything starting acquisition. Growth engineers involved in thinking about marketing acquisition. That same growth engineer was in also helping tackle, building features into the product that would help us better activate or retain users. The same thing with customer success. Normally you would only add customer success further down the funnel or, later down in your growth flywheel, where the user is now activated on your product. Were actually using customer success to help us inform, what to do even on like acquisition. I think that's like a real manifestation of what product-led growth can unlock in your workplace is just this, I think super beneficial cross-functional collaboration.


29:26

Sandy Mangat
I think one of the other things is like I had engineers asking me questions for the first time about, where do our users come from? Like, where do you think our best come from? And I don't think they would've asked me those questions unless were a product led company. I think that makes them better at building product. In previous roles it was like marketing gets up and talks at an all hands. Like every engineer's eyes is just glaze over there. Like I do not care. Now with the context of product-led growth, being our primary go to market and the way that we're doing things, all of a sudden, everyone kind of had more interest in some of the answering some of these questions, which they normally maybe wouldn't have cared about. I think it makes us all better for it. Me being able to say, Hey, our best fit users come from this channel.


30:25

Sandy Mangat
And, they activate much higher because they upload X number of documents in their first three days. An engineer that might spark an idea for them and say, okay, if our best fit users come from this channel and they need to upload this many pieces of documents to likely that they're uploading them from their browser. How do I like optimize that? So now everyone's kind of thinking more like a growth person and less like just I'm building this widget. Yes.


31:01

Paul Sullivan
You kind of bring a team together of like experts and slowly as a product market, you bring them in to kind of understand that you're all affect each other. This isn't a silo effect is a combined effect. Right. The compound effect of all those learnings and practices helps the company grow and the platform then develops. Right. Totally.


31:20

Sandy Mangat
Brilliant.


31:20

Paul Sullivan
Okay. So, you've been through this once before it, Charlie, I'm sure that I shouldn't say I'm sure. Right. Because that's been really presumptive. Can I rephrase that question? Did you find it a challenge to build the right team?


31:40

Sandy Mangat
Yes. Not because, I mean, I, I would say yes for sir for specific roles, for example, hiring an engineer who was very attuned to growth and understanding product-led growth. That was hard. We wanted, we specifically wanted to hire on to, be part of the growth squad, a growth engineer, who really could own like basically the same, end-to-end that I did, which is from acquisition all the way to paying customer, and finding engineers who are both, I think entrepreneurial is the right word, like entrepreneurial in the sense that they understand like the broader dynamics of the business, not just like what is going on with the product. That was a little challenging. I think because if you're entrepreneurial and an engineer probably started your own company, you're probably not working for somebody, but I'm really finding a good growth engineer. We spent a lot of time on that role because we wanted a very specific type of person to join the team.


32:53

Sandy Mangat
I would say that was a bit of a challenge.


32:57

Paul Sullivan
Just before you move forward, Sandy, for people that are listening, what were you looking for in this higher, like people are gonna be like, well, that sounds great. If I don't know what a growth engineer looks like, and then I have to go into higher ed, I can just put the title down there, what we're looking for.


33:14

Sandy Mangat
Yeah. I think assessing their understanding of how products grow was one of the key things were trying to understand. You don't need to know all the lingo, right? Like you don't need to know what a viral loop is. You don't need to know what a network effect is. Like, weren't looking for someone who understood jargon. We asked questions like, do you use LinkedIn? If yes. Like how do you think LinkedIn grows? Like, what is the growth engine behind LinkedIn? And if they could explain something like that gave me a good sense of, okay, this person not only understands that, LinkedIn is a networking platform that connects, you to your professional network, which is like the technical terms. Right. They have all of these underlying technical things. They can't, they don't just explain that, but they can also explain the way that LinkedIn grows is that you join LinkedIn and then you invite your like, network to connect with you.


34:16

Sandy Mangat
Those people invite their network to connect with them. You post content and that content gets liked by somebody and it gets shared. That is all the growth flywheel and action. Having somebody who can explain that, one of the indicators that they could explain it was, have having built their own products. If you've built a product like a game or some just like side hustle project that you were really passionate about, you probably understand that. That's actually who we ended up hiring was somebody who had the experience of just in their free time. They built like a gaming platform. I think it was, centered around like FIFA, maybe I can't remember exactly, but, they had the experience of like, I would go into the forums and figure out what people didn't like, and I would use that and then I would go fix my product. I would think about, okay, how do I get more users to invite their friends? Like explaining all of that kind of stuff, told me that this person would be a good fit.


35:25

Sandy Mangat
It's getting back to that like R and D type, persona, right? Like somebody who's familiar with tinkering experimenting knows how to ship an iterate really quickly. Okay,


35:38

Paul Sullivan
Cool. Thank you for that. That's really interesting because it kind of comes back to, what I think is like my normal understanding of what a growth team should be, and they just don't turn over it's entrepreneurial, right? Like all talent is like, you have your skill set, but if you're not entrepreneurial, you can't fit. You're not just going to job, being in a growth team. Right. That just doesn't go hand in hand. So yeah. Some companies might find that difficult, like, especially if something will come out of a corporate environment. They're quite rigid in, they think they're flexible, but actually they're really cheap. We work with founders, we noticed. Right. Also some people find that threatening, I, I don't want someone to come in and kind of be a superstar under me because that could take me out my position. Have you come across that challenge and have you solved that?


36:33

Sandy Mangat
I've seen it in other companies that I've like known. Fortunately for me, like that's never been my experience, because of working in startups, I think you like everyone is expected to be a little entrepreneurial. Especially a lot of my experience in startups has been at, series a series B series C companies. Still relatively early where you don't feel like you're put into a box yet you eventually do. I've, that's never been my experience, but I have seen it. I think, it's unfortunate really because, that energy that the entrepreneurial spirited person brings to your company can't beat. If you are limiting that by kind of, you want absolute control and you don't want, essentially when you are against it, like you're afraid of being challenged, If you're afraid of being challenged, then maybe you don't have as much confidence in your ideas. Yeah.


37:39

Paul Sullivan
Yeah. I'd agree. I'd agree with that. So, I've got a couple more questions and I'm going to talk about partners, right. Firstly, give me your top 10 ideas for getting started with PLG.


37:52

Sandy Mangat
Yes. This is, again from that deck that I had previously sent Paul and, it was just a brain, a bit of a brain dump of here's where I think you should start if you're thinking about product-led growth. I obviously can't go through all 10 of these right now. I'm going to talk about a few of them that are my favorites. If you're more sales led today and you're wanting to get started in PLG, there's kind of two areas that you could either focus in. You could either think more about product and trying to make your product more self-service or you could think maybe, what are some other things that are more marketing-related that I could do to start to make my product inch closer to being self-served. So, let's start with the first one. If you're going to go focus on product, obviously a great place to start is self-serve onboarding.


38:49

Sandy Mangat
How can you make your onboarding self-serve? so you need to start thinking about where the friction points, how do you make it super clear to users, how to get to that first value moment. You really need to think about documentation, like creating the knowledge base, at this stage, mine, your Zendesk and look at what are the most common questions people are asking or ask your salespeople. If sales is currently leading this process or your sales engineers, what are the most common questions people are asking and then, document that. Try and make everything as self-serve as possible. Then, if, again, if you're thinking about from the product side of things, obviously getting a freemium or free trial version of your product would be important if you're moving from that sales lead model. Oftentimes you don't have that. That's a huge lift to huge lift. One way you can kind of accelerate that is there's a couple of tools out there these days one's called Nevada.


39:56

Sandy Mangat
The other one's called, reprise, and they both help you make your product, feel your product demo, feel more like a free trial or a freemium. It's an interactive demo makes you really feel like you are the one in the driver's seat when in fact it is just a demo. You can put that out there before because it's going to take you awhile to make your product, self-serve enough that you can just put it out there as a freemium or free trial. On more of the marketing side of things, one of my favorites is building a sidecar app, and this is the one that I get super excited about because I just think it's so clever. A sidecar app is essentially a way to give users a feeling of your product. They are getting some touchpoint with the product before the paywall. It doesn't need to be your actual product.


40:52

Sandy Mangat
It's a sidecar. It can be adjacent to your products value. An example of this is HubSpot does this really well. HubSpot we know is a marketing automation platform and a CRM. They also have all of the sidecar apps. They have a email signature generator, they've got like a keyword scoring tool. They've got all of these tools that their marketing team probably built, that are adjacent to their products value. The persona who wants their product probably also could use, yeah, they could use those things and they get an experience of the product without actually having to buy the marketing automation platform or the CRM. Yeah. If your are, if your product is already self-serve and you want ideas on how to take, like even more advantage of PLG, I would say the one I want to talk about is focusing on defining PQL. Product qualified leads and figuring out how to operationalize them for customer-facing teams.


41:57

Sandy Mangat
If you've already got that self-service growth flywheel off the ground, but you're not necessarily now thinking about how do I expand these users and how do I expand these accounts? Thinking about product qualified leads is definitely, one of my top 10 ideas.


42:16

Paul Sullivan
Okay, cool. Thank you very much for that. Just to kind of flip that on its head, are there any myths about PLG that you could debunk?


42:27

Sandy Mangat
Yeah. The big one, and we've talked about sales already is a lot of people for some reason, seem to think that product-led growth means like you need to go fire your sales team like that they are diametrically opposed. I think it's because product is in the name, like it's product-led growth, not sales-led growth. People just automatically think product-led is the enemy of sales. I think that is absolutely not true. And, that's what I want to shout from the rooftops. The best, the best PLG companies have sales teams. The only difference is they just set them up differently. Actually, I think part of it is like a lack of education on this. Again, PLG has become a bit of a buzzword and I think when things become a little buzzy, like PLG, the meanings starts to kind of filter differently to different audiences.


43:22

Sandy Mangat
I think that whole, PLG equals no sales is driven by a lack of focus on that specific lever in your PLG playbook. There's a lot of education on, what it means to set up the self-serve growth flywheel. There is a ton of benchmarks and there's a ton of data, but there's very little data on being in product-led sales, which is actually why, we're running a survey via Pocus right now, to figure out like, what are the best product-led companies doing when it comes to sales? Like how do they structure their teams? How do you compensate your teams? And like how overall is it different than a traditional sales team? Just because were seeing that there wasn't any of this data out there and it's creating this, myth that PLG equals no sales.


44:19

Paul Sullivan
Okay. We talked about like a whole range of PLG problems and sales versus product seems to be, like a bone of contention, right. We're going to say that I personally feel like the best alignment can be marketing and sales, but it could also be product and sales. Right. Because ultimately they do the same thing. The product's good. It markets itself. If the market is good, you market the product well. Right. But, talk to me about pokers and how Pocus is going to help solve the sales problem.


44:54

Sandy Mangat
Yes. We are on a mission, to make it so that your sales team doesn't feel kind of out on an island, which is what, I think a lot of sales teams at product-led companies probably do feel like, especially if the sales function is relatively new, what happens is I think a lot of great PLG companies, they scale their self-serve growth flywheel, and then they hit like a certain inflection point where now they feel like they need to get bigger deals. They think that the best way to get bigger deals is to add a sales team. Oftentimes they add the sales team, but they create a bit of a silo. The sales team is now focused on chasing these bigger deals and self-service is just going on its Merry way. There's, they're missing like this goldmine of the self-serve users, that could be nurtured and expanded into amazing high value, high lifetime value customers.


46:02

Sandy Mangat
Because of the way that sales gets layered, sales kind of feels like it's out on an island focusing on these bigger deals and following more of a traditional top-down model. Our position at Pocus is like that old school sales model does not work with PLG. Like you can't just slop sales on top. It can't be like that because then you create the silos and the stuff that we hate. Product led sales is all about being able to leverage that gold mine of yourself, serve users and turn them into your high lifetime value customers. Pocus is a product-led sales platform that helps you understand those users, and help sales reps convert them into high-value customers by giving them insights into what accounts and users are sales-ready, which ones need more nurturing and not just telling you where they are kind of in your, sales process, but also telling you why they are there.


47:09

Sandy Mangat
Like, why do we think that notion is ready for sales? and then not just telling you that notion is ready for sales, but then drilling down into all of the details of why you, the sales rep should go and talk to notion. That includes data about your pro, like how they're using the product includes just general information about the company, like how many people within the company are using the product and how much are they using it? and this is all information that a salesperson wouldn't have normally had a salesperson normally lives in their CRM. They're focused on just, kind of working the leads in Salesforce, Pocus unlocks that product data, plus the data that's in your CRM and puts it into a single view. That sales rep has all of these insights and understanding of which accounts to prioritize.


48:05

Paul Sullivan
That's a really good answer. I'm going to tell you why just before I came and bought you on, I jumped on with, Romney John, Remley was doing, his call was how to be able to product-led tech stack and, analysis and all of that stuff. The one thing that they come up with was this was an area of problems for people, right. I think, they actually said that they felt that within two to four years sales reps probably wouldn't be living for SAS platforms, wouldn't be living in their CRM. They would be living in some other software now that other software conquers, right.


48:50

Sandy Mangat
We're making a big bet that it's going to be focused.


48:53

Paul Sullivan
I think it sounds like it's going to be a podcast, but just as a, like an I'm a HubSpot agency. Right. I heard you say Salesforce, and I didn't hear HubSpot is poker's going to work with HubSpot or not.


49:03

Sandy Mangat
Salesforce is just the thing that comes to mind mainly because I think there's like a lot of people who hate Salesforce. I think of like the big fat CRM, I just immediately think like, God Salesforce makes it.


49:16

Paul Sullivan
More of a compliment.


49:18

Sandy Mangat
Yeah. Like HubSpot is actually a lot easier to work with, especially I would recommend HubSpot more to PLG companies and I would Salesforce. Perfect. Pocus we'll work with HubSpot, for sure. We are CRM agnostic. We'll work with whatever CRM you have. The main thing is that connection between the CRM and your data warehouse. Wherever the product data lives, we need to be able to bring those two things together into a single view. I love that you talked to rambley about this, cause he's, he was like one of my entryways into PLG. I always look to his opinion on this stuff. And yeah, he's spot on that. This is like a big gap right now. We have a few design partners at focus that we speak to regularly about, how we're building the product. And, a lot of the really good PLG companies have like DIY hacked their way into a product-led sales platform like Pocus, all of them would much rather have something that's going to scale with them.


50:24

Sandy Mangat
They're, they're all a little worried about their DIY solutions and how brittle they are and the likeliness of them kind of falling apart and also how many resources those DIY projects suck up. Just imagine like how many internal engineering resources you would need to like DIY this solution. Those people could be doing something much more valuable with their time instead of kind of building integrations between, all of these different platforms and trying to, make sense of it for sales reps.


50:58

Paul Sullivan
This an offering has been really good having you on today. I've got one question. There was only one question to ask. So I'm really sorry about that. Someone wants John Watson, what do you say to get buy-in from your leadership team?


51:12

Sandy Mangat
What do I say? product-led growth is amazing and if you don't do it, you're going to lose money. I think it's there's no like one thing you can say. I think it comes with having a very strong like strategy or business case. Like however you want to position it, but it's really about here's our company goal. Here's our product goal. Here is how product-led growth is going to help us achieve those things at a much faster clip and we'll scale much better in the future. I think you need to be able to articulate that and if you can't make that connection, then you're not gonna be able to get buy-in from your leadership team. A way to back it up, why this is the right strategy. It's partially, you need to rely on what about your product. Like our product is well suited to PLG because XYZ.


52:14

Sandy Mangat
You can also say like slack Calendly, Datadog, like here are all these companies that have done PLG really well, and here's the thing, the dynamics and their product. This is how they are similar to ours. Like, if you have a, a communications based product, it relies on messages back and forth. That is really similar to slack. You can point to slack was able to scale because they were really hyper-focused on making, users, ability to message, with their team much better. They focused on getting as many team members into a workspace in those early days as possible. We have a similar dynamic, which means we could have crazy PLG growth like slack. Trying to point to examples of other PLG companies who have done it really well and then trying to like draw the line between them and what you do. I think it's also a helpful tactic.


53:15

Sandy Mangat
And, if you have skeptics on your leadership team who are like, well, I don't know if this is right for us. I feel more comfortable doing traditional old school, top-down sales, using those examples and then showing the valuations of those companies and the revenue numbers, all of that can be useful evidence to turn around the skeptics.


53:39

Paul Sullivan
Brilliant answer. Let me certainly, I'm definitely going to kind of follow up offline, find out more about pokers because I'd like to know a, like where you guys go in and then be, with the companies that I'm working with, is this a tool that I could introduce to that and then see where that goes? I want to thank Bradley because he's said that you've shared some great insights, so that's brilliant. I've got one more here and someone else Leanne is saying, thanks for sharing Paul and Sandy, they've learned a lot this evening, so it's gotta be worthwhile taking an hour out of your day. I really appreciate it. I'm Kim Sullivan, I'm the founder of buyers digital, and we work with SAS companies to do a lot of what Sandy is doing internally and we provide that help or outsource research. You can find us@www.digital.com and thank you very much for being here.


54:30

Sandy Mangat
Thanks so much for having me Paul and thank you, Leanne Bradley for those kind words. And, if you want to follow up with me, I am sandy@pocus.com. If you want to get more info about Pocus, we also have a slack community. If you're interested in product-led sales and you want to join a community of experts, we're like 200 strong already. If you go to Pocus.com, you can find out more about joining our community there.


54:59

Paul Sullivan
Thanks a lot, Sandy. Appreciate.


55:00

Sandy Mangat
This. Thanks so much, Paul, have a great one.

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