Episode Thumbnail
Episode 107  |  36:05 min

How sales guides product-led growth

Episode 107  |  36:05 min  |  10.04.2021

How sales guides product-led growth

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This is a podcast episode titled, How sales guides product-led growth. The summary for this episode is: <p>PLG (product lead growth) flips the traditional sales model on its head. Kai Mak, VP of Sales and Customer Success at Webflow, knows that an end-user-focused growth model isn’t just good for customers -- it’s also good for business. Learn how sales teams can influence product design, what it means to truly delight customers, and why the term 'product qualifying lead' will soon be common sales vocab.</p><p><br></p><p>Key Takeaways:</p><p>05:27 - What a product-led growth company(PLG) is</p><p>10:56 - Focus on the user experience - Bring support and customer success together</p><p>13:33 - Data Breakout: PLG companies scale faster once they hit 10 million ARR</p><p>21:03 - Leading a team with builder mentalities</p><p>27:23 - How Kai and his team use Gong</p><p>34:34 - Micro-Action: How to build a strong start for a product-led business</p><p><br></p><p>Want to explore Revenue Intelligence for your org? It starts here: <a href="https://www.gong.io/revenue-intelligence/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.gong.io/revenue-intelligence/</a></p><p>Connect with Devin Reed: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/devinreed/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/devinreed/</a></p><p>Connect with Sheena Badani: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheenabadani/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheenabadani/</a></p><p>Connect with Kai Mak: <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaimaksf/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaimaksf/</a></p>
Takeaway 1 | 00:59 MIN
What a product-led growth company(PLG) is
Takeaway 2 | 01:55 MIN
Focus on the user experience - Bring support and customer success together
Takeaway 3 | 00:46 MIN
Data Breakout: PLG companies scale faster once they hit 10 million ARR
Takeaway 4 | 03:08 MIN
Leading a team with builder mentalities
Takeaway 5 | 02:41 MIN
How Kai and his team use Gong
Takeaway 6 | 00:59 MIN
Micro-Action: How to build a strong start for a product-led business

PLG (product lead growth) flips the traditional sales model on its head. Kai Mak, VP of Sales and Customer Success at Webflow, knows that an end-user-focused growth model isn’t just good for customers -- it’s also good for business. Learn how sales teams can influence product design, what it means to truly delight customers, and why the term 'product qualifying lead' will soon be common sales vocab.

Guest Thumbnail
Kai Mak
VP of Sales and Customer Success, Webflow
Specialties: Sales management, business development contract negotiations, corporate strategy, sales operations, lead generation, early stage growth startup, technology startup, compensation planning, enterprise sales
Connect with Kai

Devin Reed: Welcome to Reveal: The Revenue Intelligence Podcast powered by Gong. We're your hosts, Devin Reed.

Sheena Badani: And I'm Sheena Badani. Revenue Intelligence is a new way of operating based on customer reality instead of opinions. Making data- driven decisions based on facts instead of opinions or guesswork.

Devin Reed: And it's made up of three success pillars, people intelligence, deal intelligence, and market intelligence. You know, the things all revenue teams need and care about. Every week we interview senior revenue professionals and share their stories and insights on how they leverage revenue intelligence to drive success and win their market.

Sheena Badani: You'll hear how modern go- to- market teams win as a team, close revenue with critical deal insight, and execute their strategic initiatives. Plus all the challenges that come along with it.

Devin Reed: Sheena, have you ever worked at a PLG company?

Sheena Badani: I didn't know what PLG was until we had this conversation. But now that I know what it is, product- led growth, I have worked at companies that had at least that mindset. It may have been before this was an official term, but basically where we were driving users, enabling those users, making sure they had an amazing experience before we then... We're able to sell to them. So I would say that probably at my experience at MongoDB fit into that category.

Devin Reed: Yeah.

Sheena Badani: And that would be probably the best example of my experiences so far.

Devin Reed: That was going to be my guess. Knowing your Link, I say your LinkedIn background, not your LinkedIn background. Your background via LinkedIn and hanging out with you all the time, I was going to guess Mongo was probably the closest. I wasn't sure if there are PLG technically or not. And I don't know if the PLG community has hard boundaries. You know what I mean? There could be some hardcore PLG- ers listening like," Nope, you either are or you aren't." And you can't, I don't know.

Sheena Badani: Like a club. Private club.

Devin Reed: And if we upset you with this example, we're sorry. Write a letter to reveal @ gong. io and let me know. But it was cool because there's two things that tied this episode together. One was, we've been hearing a lot more about PLG. Something that's just been coming up here, there and other, and was cool because Kai is somebody I know from my first sales job, which we talk about a little bit, and we're both on the sales floor together. We reconnected. And he was like," Hey, I'm a sales leader at a PLG company and would love to catch up on reveal if you think it'd be valuable." And I was like," You alone, good sir, would have plenty of expertise, but you bring that PLG side- bag and we've got an episode here." So I was really thrilled that we got to learn. I genuinely feel like I got a little bit of a crash course on PLG here.

Sheena Badani: Yeah.

Devin Reed: And it was cool to listen to him break down how a sales team is still so vital. And also what kind of caught me off guard was how support was really near and dear to him and, and big on his buyer experience.

Sheena Badani: Exactly, exactly. It was all about putting the user first, before any other person at your prospect. The decision maker or the champion, anybody else. It's all about the users and putting them front and center, which is amazing.

Devin Reed: Very cool. Very different from what I'm used to. It's like you need the end users, but they're like influencers at best. it's like get to the decision maker. Get executive buy- in soon and as quickly as possible. So yeah. To hear," No, our entry point is the users," that was cool. And the thing for our listeners, you probably know what an MQL is. Hopefully marketing's delivering. You probably know what an SQL is. Sales qualified lead, but Kai broke down what a PQL is, product qualified lead, which kind of blew my mind, but makes complete sense once you hear him break down what it means to lead at a PLG company.

Sheena Badani: Mm- hmm(affirmative).

Devin Reed: What do you say, Sheena, we go hang out with Kai? Shall we?

Sheena Badani: Let's go hang out with him.

Devin Reed: Let's do it. Kai, I am excited to have you on the show. Not just because I know you're going to drop some fantastic expertise for us, but as I said before the show, we're reunited and it feels so good because you and I go way back to my first sales job at ClearSlide. So it's great to reconnect and have you on the show.

Kai: Good to see you. It's been a while. Those days were tough, hard, but also rewarding. We learned a lot. We learned a lot.

Devin Reed: Yes. I tell folks," I wouldn't want to go back, but I wouldn't have it any other way."

Kai: That's right. That's right.

Sheena Badani: And great to meet you today, Kai.

Kai: Yeah. Great to meet you too, Sheena.

Devin Reed: Kai, we're here to talk about sales leadership and specifically sales leadership at a product- led company because you are the VP of sales and customer success at Webflow. And they're a product led growth company, PLG for short, for anyone loves the buzzwords or what's hot right now, PLG is hot, and you're focused on pioneering the no- code movement and building products people love. Before we even get into the leadership stuff, can you set the table for us real quick and just define what exactly is a product- led company?

Kai: Yeah, you bet. So PLGs are definitely, call it a buzz word nowadays, but ultimately they're are companies where the product is really built with the end user in mind and not necessarily the business stakeholder. So basically the product team is just hyper hyper focused on the user so that we built a delightful experience and ultimately make them become fans and advocates and eventually bring the product in to either their company with them or their organization with them. This is pretty dramatically different than, call it a Salesforce or Workday, where those products are built with the business stakeholder in mind versus the end user. And furthermore, with PLG companies, then when we think about go- to- market, then we really think about, hey, the acquisition channel actually starts when users start using the product before they've even paid for anything before they've even spoken with anyone and are ultimately signed up and are very, very knowledgeable about the product before we start engaging.

Devin Reed: That's interesting. It sounds almost like what a, if you have an enterprise sales motion. Almost like the middle of the sales cycle. Which is getting a pilot or a proof of concept going and getting to the end users that way. But it is interesting thinking that the entry point is very specifically, like you said," Not the business stakeholder." So is there a part of, hey, let's get people signed up for trials? I'm sure there's certain milestones we want people to hit use this feature. Use X for Y amount of days in a row, something like that. Fun fact, I saw that Facebook's metric was if they add three friends, I think, in a week. Just curious, at what point for you all do you try to get to that business stakeholder, because I imagine, eventually you have to get a deal done, right? Or am I wrong?

Kai: One interesting thing about Webflow, So Webflow allows everyone to create for the web so you can create enterprise level websites with Webflow, all with no- code. So an interesting thing about Webflow is, for smaller companies they might actually just go by self- serve and be totally fine putting their company website on Webflow. But for larger companies, they actually might have a huge web presence, but they might run really specific campaigns. So users might just bring Webflow in to run those specific campaigns, have great success and ultimately talk to us and say," Hey, can you help us bring it up internally? Can you help us land this with the execs here, given that there's way more stakeholders involved with the re- platforming of a website." And so actually with this PLG motion at Webflow, what we see is call it for smaller companies they can go make decisions and of course, as they grow, they want to continue building a relationship with us. But even for larger companies, it gets brought in into smaller groups and then they really ask for our help. Like," Hey, how can you help convince our execs, IT, security..." All the things that enterprise sales normally does and consults with and help those users drive the sale on their behalf, really.

Sheena Badani: As you're talking, it's reminding me of companies, like maybe Slack and Yammer, where it was really user- focused in terms of usage. And then how can we get this deal done? How can we turn this into an account? Probably even like a lot of open source companies work like this too. Where you have developers that are using the product and now it's," Hey, we need to get to it to actually get some dollars here." Any other good examples that you can think of product- led companies?

Kai: I do think that is the traditional stereotype of like, hey, product-led growth companies that come up in these little pockets and the sales motion for PLG companies, as you go then talk to IT and guilt them into buying it for us and... But if you look at other archetypes, like a GitHub, I think GitHub is a great example, where that was definitely a PLG company. A developer started bringing it in. Certainly as a VP of Engineering, you want to standardize on where your code sits, the repos, and then you can actually drive enterprise sales that way. Ultimately with Webflow and our product leg- growth motion is, it's not going to IT and guilting IT until like," Hey, look at these folks that are using it. Don't you want more security? Don't you want to know what's going on?" It's mostly going to, and really helping those users- go to those and stakeholders and say, and really putting forward the case of why should you actually change the way you currently build your website, how you currently host your website and ultimately what the business use case is of re platforming over to Webflow. So as opposed to it being a purely IT security motion, it's really a large enterprise business value motion.

Sheena Badani: That's interesting. And as you're talking, it's like your role, just for the listeners, you oversee sales and customer success and you've done that for, I think the last few years now, even in prior roles. That's not always the case. You often see folks, they're just solely responsible for sales or solely responsible for CS. But I think this kind of experience from the user standpoint makes sense in the terms of how your org is structured and how you're balancing across both. I'd love to just hear your thoughts on why bringing those two together and have them both under your purview.

Kai: It's actually customer success and support, and support is... It's actually a big deal. And this is actually very, very important to me that I'm very connected to support and leading support. So ultimately our acquisition channel is really led through product. And so what that then means is it's really important to me what that user experience is, ensuring that any signal that I get, that my team gets, where customers, users, have issues with the product. I need to get that back to product immediately to our product and engineering team. At the end of the day, it affects our acquisition channel and that user experience is a big part of our growth. So really, really important. Another thing too is, as a PLG company users are very, very informed. They've been into our product and sometimes they just want to talk to us through multiple channels. So you might have enterprise customer coming in through support. And I need to ensure that that customer experience is cohesive across no matter who you're talking to at Webflow. It feels great and is great user experience. I do want to add more channels, whether it's on websites or chat in- product, and ensuring that wherever that user is, they have a way to reach us so we can help. And ultimately, one thing too, is that a lot of companies reserve support for paid customers. And the way I think about it is I want, as much as possible, I want our support org to be able to help all users, even free users. Ultimately, it's a huge flywheel, but with product-led growth companies, free users will eventually go work at companies or they will go tell their friends and family. So even if they're free, I want to make sure they have a great experience and ensure that they're successful using our tool.

Sheena Badani: At Gong we call that experience creating raving fans. So it really sounds like you have a really similar objective here. Let's focus on the users. If they're delighted in every single experience that we have with them, then we can create that unified experience for their entire company.

Kai: That's right. What I'm worried about is just like having these silos that we would just put upon ourselves like, hey, here's sales, here's support, here's customer success and throw it over the wall. Throw it over the wall. And that user just gets bounced around. That terrifies me. It's like my worst nightmare. I want to ensure that we do create these advocates, kind of like you just said,

Devin Reed: Companies with a PLG strategy, think Slack, Calendly, Expensify, to name a few, are able to grow faster and more efficiently by leveraging their products to create a pipeline of active users who are then converted into paying customers. While growth may be slow early on, data suggests that once PLG companies hit the 10 million ARR mark, they tend to scale faster. Why? Because product- led growth companies aren't held back by labor intensive lead generation, sales, and customer success processes. Meaning they can stay in hyper growth mode at scale. To date, PLG has created more than 200 billion dollars of market value and it's not slowing down anytime soon. Well, I have to ask, what are you doing Kai to like, do you have any kind of like some plays or some tactics you use to make sure those silos don't exist, or if they start to build you flag them and, and break them down, so to speak?

Kai: No. We're actually not that far yet. Actually the first thing I wanted us to do, I've only been at Webflow for a year and a half, is actually ensure that our systems are in place so that we can hand- off in a very cohesive manner first. And what that means then is, I needed to think, as opposed to just having sales ops, I have a revenue ops team that thinks through marketing, sales, customer success. I have a partner motion too and support. And the first part of that then is ensuring all the systems, whether it's Marketo, Salesforce, Gong, and Zendesk, how can we actually integrate all this systems into one cohesive system so that we can ensure and follow a customer through one pane of glass? That's actually the first thing I've been focused on and my team has been focused on before continuing to drive these plays. It's a pretty big lift to actually do that. It's not easy.

Devin Reed: Well, it's interesting too. You mentioned your entry point could be support and worried about silos from support to sales and so on. And it's the same for enterprise sales motions. It's just the entry point is the sales dev org and then it moves to sales and CS. It's interesting to hear that even though the sales process, to kind of air quote it here, is different, there's still those same challenges. Of making sure systems are in place, teams are talking to each other and the buyer experience is as smooth as possible.

Kai: That's right. And ultimately, as we introduce these new channels where users, where customers can reach out to us can speak to us, we will start creating all the playbooks. And by the way, we'll iterate, I'm sure. Like day one, it'll be fine. Day... But the way I think about it is like we want it better every day for the user experience.

Devin Reed: Something that I'm curious about is how the sales team differs at a PLG, because everything you're saying is support is starting this off. Maybe they don't even need to talk to sales for some examples. And I imagine, it was kind of mouthwatering to think that, hey, some account in your book is just going to hit you up and go," Hey, we're ready. Devin, come help us. Here's my executive, here's what we want, help me sell it." That's a dream. Sellers love that conversation and love that invite. So I'd love, Kai, to hear from you having been at Clearslide, being one example, I'm sure you've had others in your past of enterprise sales motion versus PLG companies. How are those sales teams different?

Kai: The types of team members I look for at Webflow, and certainly PLG companies, I want folks that can help ideate. One of the things I've told the team is," I'm all for buying software. If it's going to help add intelligence into our motion, be able to help us find the right user, the right lead, at the right time." But I also want my team to be able to ideate and collaborate. And I also think of in [bubble-up 00:17:34] use cases from the field level. So ultimately, I'm looking for highly, highly collaborative field team and I regularly reward and prop and recognize folks that do that. And also, by the way, that also means that I want them to be able to take risks. Either they can test some different value propositions. I think I've heard in previous podcasts that you've run, that sales is at the forefront of testing value props. And this is something I highly, highly encourage because there's so many use cases for our specific product. And also for PLG companies, given that's very much user- led lots of times we're so surprised about the use cases where users want to use our products. And then I want my team to be able to bubble that up so that we can then bubble that to product, to marketing. So ultimately looking for highly, highly collaborative sales folks. Folks that want to ideate and also are very, call it tech- forward, and want to think through how can we continually improve the process or how can we use data? How can we use software to increase that signal for us to find the right lead at the right time?

Devin Reed: Have you found, as you recruit and interview folks, is there, I guess I'm wondering if folks with more of my background. Like never been at a PLG company. Like enterprise sales folks. Do you find that they have those skills or like easy to transfer into the PLG realm? Or are you looking for folks who do have that specific experience?

Kai: Ultimately, what I'm testing for in interviews is I'm looking for folks that want to build, have a builder's mentality. So of course, traditionally, we love sales folks that want to knock their quota out of the ballpark. That's important, but that's not the most important thing for me because ultimately we're building, we're iterating and we need signal always back to product. So one thing is, as I think about just playbooks for PLG companies, I just think they're much more agile than what you might have at a sales- led company, given that we can give the signal back to our product team quickly, they can iterate, therefore the team just needs to have agility as they're constantly getting information from our users. So ultimately just having a great flexible playbook. Obviously you don't want too flexible, but you want to provide a little flex for the team to have creativity, to have that innovation, but also want to share. If they're not sharing that with other team members that's also not going to work. What you just asked about," Hey, could we find enterprise legacy reps? Can they fit that model?" By all means. It's really that culture that you build and the expectations that you set of what you think great looks like at this type of company.

Sheena Badani: You talked a lot about the qualities and characteristics you're looking for in your reps. I'm curious, from your own personal experiences, how has it been different leading a team of these builders and a entrepreneur... Entrepreneurially... I can't even say that word. Minded reps versus the traditional sales- revenue- first org. What kind of areas within your own skill set have you had to dial up or down or even develop?

Kai: Oh my gosh. So fun. When I first started at Webflow, I actually spent a lot of time with engineering and product. Lots and lots of time. One thing is, it's easy for a new, call it head of sales, to come in and say," Right, I have a number I want to completely revamp the product roadmap because... I think it's going to drive this revenue, this dollar amount." That's a big mistake. So ultimately as a revenue leader, what you don't want to do is you don't want to lose the community. You don't want to lose that magic that the users have fallen in love with your product, but at the same time, you want to try to figure out how can I monetize responsibly? How can I make sure I don't necessarily want to monetize the freelancers, the students, the small SMBs, I'd rather monetize on larger enterprises that are getting tremendous business value so that we can continue to expand our mission for users and not have to regularly raise prices every year as the only means of driving a revenue. So what that means is, I actually flex a lot in product. I spend a lot of time reviewing product specs. I weigh in a lot. The product, the PMs at Webflow hear from me pretty regularly and I'm very, very involved. Much more than I normally would be, call it at a sales led company, where it's, this is what I need. I need to hit this number. That's it. Regardless of the user. CSAT. So that, I would say, that's probably the first thing. And then the second thing is really under helping engineering product design also understand, because there's a sales team here does not mean this is going to change the culture of the company. How can I show them that sales can actually help be a great flywheel for them for product signal. So now they actually have this great asset, this great resource, especially with Gong. Huge chat- up, by the way. Something I actually really, really use where we have several channels set up, whether it's like, hey, a competitor mentioned with, from Gong and our product folks are in there. Specific feature request mentions. And our product folks are regularly in there as well. And then I'll also tag product folks on Gong calls. Specifically like," Hey, you should probably listen to this use- case." At the end of the day product folks don't like hearing features to build. They like hearing the problems that they go solve. And so you should actually listen to this use- case from this customer and the problem and issue that they're running into with our current product. Like you solve it PM, but this is what we're hearing in the field. And by doing this, then ultimately engineering product designer, like, oh my gosh, okay. We're not changing to a sales- led culture. Actually we have this new superpower. Now we have this new insight. We have this new asset to help drive intelligence and drive insights for us ultimately. So that's really... I don't know. You tell me if that's different than normally a sales- led company.

Devin Reed: Well, I have a lot of thoughts. My first was, I could imagine product folks not loving the VP of sales super involved. No Kai, you're wonderful. I'm biased toward you. I think you're great. But you know, as a whole maybe a bit of a stereotype, but you know, I can imagine product folks trying to join a sales kickoff. Like here's how you should sell the thing we bought. You know what I mean? Going the other way of, here's how you should build the thing I'm trying to sell. So I think it's just interesting hearing. It must be you finesse your way in there kindly, or maybe it's a culture thing where you know that aberration where folks want to hear from you.

Kai: It doesn't just come free, by the way, Devin. This is where I spent a lot of time earning that trust. I can't just ask for trust. I need to earn the trust. Really understand the lens and the journeys that the product engineering teams were thinking through when they initially built the product, through earning that trust. Then they actually wanted me to weigh- in. I and shared the documents. I made comments. I didn't tell, necessarily. I ask questions. I also provide context from what I'm thinking, but I'm not necessarily telling them," You need to do X, Y, Z."

Devin Reed: Sure.

Sheena Badani: And, it seems like you're really on a level playing field with the product team where you have this tremendous wealth of knowledge, you and your entire org, from the customer interactions, the conversations, the insights. They have a tremendous wealth of knowledge from a product development standpoint, what else they see in the market, et cetera, et cetera. And it's really a mutual, beneficial relationship. Whereas that's not always the case in some companies. It's one may have more power than the other, but it doesn't seem like that.

Kai: That's right. I regularly have one- on- ones with our VP of product, I think biweekly. And we have just such a great relationship. And when I say great, it doesn't mean that we always agree. We have a relationship where we can be candid with each other. We can disagree actually, but we have earned the trust of each other and we understand. She's incredible, but I also want to provide a perspective or lens either based on lived experiences or based on what I'm hearing on the market to help inform the way she's thinking. Or I'm always open to hearing the why, the context of why she might be prioritizing something in the product. And for me, that might be okay, just because I'm thinking across our entire revenue stream. I'm thinking through the revenue from our self- serve users all the way to the enterprise. It's not like I just care about enterprise users. If anything, I actually care more about our self- serve users because they are the flywheel for the future.

Sheena Badani: So if you know Gong, which you do, and we've been talking about the insights and the data, we love data here on Reveal, I'm curious what data do sales teams and your organization specifically have that your product team really benefits from?

Kai: My team actually knows I like to do this Thursday night Gong and wine. For me, I actually, I like to listen to at least three calls every week to ensure that I stay grounded. But as part of this too is, I regularly review either with keywords within Gong and be able to feed that back to the product team as part of our product roadmap. That's just within Gong. Obviously very, very strong signal founded and based on literally what customers are saying. But then outside of Gong, we collect a lot of data. We have a lot of telemetry and we have a lot of tools and it's one of those things where, how should we think about when a user is a product qualified, lead versus an MQL marketing qualified lead? Product, qualified lead, what are those steps? What are those actions? And by the way, the product qualified lead definition that we may have six months ago may be different today as we've added more features. Or if we change our onboarding or made the ease of use easier. So we collect tons of telemetry. Certainly I think the standard one is just logins. But outside of Webflow and just PLG in general, it's what are those steps that those users are taking with high, high intent? For us, it could be you've created a project, you've put a few things on your canvas as you're starting to build your website. It's an idea. Another one could be, you've actually launched your website. You've had 10 visitors come. That could be a highly qualified lead. For us, we're continuing to iterate always on this. It could be," Hey, here's six steps." Maybe if they've done four of the six, that's a qualified lead. So this is something that is... We are actively talking about and iterating on. We had one definition that we've are moving towards a different definition just to make sure we're just going up higher and higher in the user activation journey where, all right, is this the time we should actually engage? Should we add value here? Or should we go in- product and like introduce using a partner, because maybe you want a partner that wants to go in and help unblock and you're running a business. You don't really want to learn how to use Webflow to build a website. So I would say with this type of data and this type of telemetry, we're always iterating. It's not one of those things where we're going to say," Alright here's our definition and product qualified lead we're done for the next 20 years." So it is one of those things in flight.

Sheena Badani: That's so interesting. I've actually never heard the term product qualified lead. So I learned something new today.

Kai: PQL.

Sheena Badani: I am very curious. How is that metric defined? Is it more coming from the product team? Do you have data science teams that defines that? Is it a combination of you working with those teams? Tell us more about that.

Kai: Yeah, you bet. Okay. So one role at, in product- led growth companies is product growth. So we have an amazing director of product growth. Actually, I believe her full title is Director of Product Life Cycle. And she is constantly thinking through what that metric is. That activation metric. And she's constantly thinking through how can we help folks convert from signup to paid. And part of that, that paid is called monetization, in between is that activation. As she continues to do research and work with users, look at... Run a bunch of experiments. By the way, she's constantly thinking through what does a qualified signup look like, which then translates to product qualified lead for the team, because maybe for a smaller company, we call it less than 200 employees, you probably don't want a sales team working with them. That seems like a great place for self- serve to live, but can we use those same themes for companies over 200 employees or companies over a thousand employees if they do those same things that our director of product life cycle has learned that then could translate to a pro qualified lead for the sales team. So there's just so much sharing between sales and product there to actually get the signal of when is the right time to engage in a lead and maybe we leave it for product for smaller companies, but then we give it to sales team for larger companies.

Sheena Badani: I find that really fascinating. So thanks for sharing that.

Devin Reed: Yeah. You said PQL and I was in my head. I'm like, here I am hoping for a demo request or something like that. And Kai's team is like," Yes, 10 visitors on their website. I got a hot one." I'm like," Guy is just way over my head. I'm like, that makes no sense to me until this interview. Now it does. But that is very interesting, Kai. Thanks for breaking that down. I feel like it'd be... It'd be interesting, I feel, as someone at that company in sales to see how that PQL has changed as the product has changed. Because even here at Gong our MQL scoring changes periodically as well as the company matures, but for very different reasons than the product has changed. So it's interesting.

Kai: That's right. That's right.

Devin Reed: We have one last question that we ask all of our guests. I think you said you listened to a few episodes before-

Kai: I did.

Devin Reed: So you might know what's coming but, got to ask you, how would you describe sales in one word?

Kai: Okay. I prepped for this one. Innovation. Traditionally, folks talk about sales marketing, they use the term blocking and tackling. It's like just run the playbook, run the playbook, run the playbook. I actually think that with the way that the market's moving users are just so informed and also the way that everyone is so digitally native at this point. Everyone expects a great user interface, a great user experience. So there's just so much innovation happening in sales today with software, with data. And this is something I'm so excited for our future account executives, to be able to take this and understand, hey, the sales was done a certain way for a long, long time. Blocking and tackling. But the sales of the future is going to be pretty different. And there's a lot of innovation going on. And I hope that we're at the forefront. Of course we have tons and tons of work to do, but ultimately think that there's... The way that we will sell in the future, that we sell today is going to be very, very different than in the past.

Sheena Badani: That's great Kai. And it really shines through in the way that you hire and build your team and work with your product team. So that innovation that lends really shines through.

Kai: Awesome.

Sheena Badani: Well, it was great to have you on the show today. Thanks for coming in and dropping by and hanging out with Devin and I.

Kai: So great to see you guys. Devin, great to catch up again. Thank you for having me.

Devin Reed: On the surface product- led growth may look like a simple model that empowers your buyer to try it before they buy it. But it's much more than that. Any company can adopt PLG principles to improve user experience and increase go- to- market efficiency. Here are three basic steps to win at product- led growth. One, understand your value. What are the main outcomes that motivate the purchase of your product? is it functional? Emotional? Number two, communicate the perceived value of your product. Product- led companies are upfront with their pricing for initial signup plans. And third, deliver on your promises and products. What you deliver in your product is the experienced value. The perceived value should align with that experienced value. If you can understand, communicate, and deliver on your value quickly, you'll be able to build a strong start for a product- led business. Did you like today's episode? Subscribe now so next week's episode will be waiting for you on Monday.

Kai: And if you really like the podcast, please leave a review. Five star reviews go a long way to help get the word out there.

Devin Reed: And if you're not ready to give a five, check out another episode and see if we've won you over by then.

Kai: And if you have any feedback or you want us to interview one of your favorite revenue leaders, just email us at reveal @ gong. io.

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