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How Product-Led Growth is Shaping the Future of SaaS Demos

The two topics I’m most infatuated with these days are demos and product-led growth. So I quickly jumped on the opportunity to host a recent PreSales Collective webinar about these two things! 

In this webinar, I talked to:

They both had incredible insights to share. Here are my favorite takeaways from the conversation – and you can find the link to the full webinar at the end of the post as well. 

The Popularity of Product Led Growth 

Who wouldn’t want to try a product before buying it? That’s why product-led growth has become such a huge force in the SaaS industry over the last few years. 

Not to mention, the fastest-growing companies in our industry recently have all started out without a sales team – they relied on PLG instead. And tech investors and CEOs alike love it, because it hits the gas pedal on revenue with low costs unlike many traditional go-to-market motions.

But the rise of PLG also can strike a little bit of fear into even the most experienced salesperson’s heart. Is there room for us in this product-focused world? In fact, many product-led companies are integrating a sales team to get the most out of their PLG strategy. 

And that’s awesome – but it also shifts the traditional sales demo a lot. 

PLG and the Prospect 

Most of the traditional sales process doesn’t really have a lot of benefit to the prospect, as much as we salespeople try to convince ourselves otherwise. 30 minutes sitting on a call as the rep asks them questions – they just don’t see value to them from that. 

Instead, you can think about the first call as a chance to get the prospect set up to use the product themselves. Because if they can’t use the product, they won’t see value – and if they don’t see value, they aren’t going to buy. This approach lets you lead with value because you’re giving something, instead of asking for something, in that first human interaction.

Channing told us that Hubspot uses this approach where free users get a really detailed automated onboarding experience when they sign up. Then a little later, a chat box pops up to ask how Hubspot can help them use the product more effectively. Users love it – they understand and get value from the product faster. And in the meantime, Hubspot is getting a behind-the-scenes understanding of their pain points. They’re leading with a “how can we help you?” motion instead of a “buy now” one. 

Then, once a user is ready to think about buying but has a few follow-up questions before they commit, they book a call with a sales rep. The rep already has tons of info at their fingertips to prep for that meeting, and a holistic picture of what’s going on. 

Their chat team is kind of a mini PreSales team. They’re not only coaching the prospect on how to use the product, they’re also saving that chat transcript for the rep to read and see the questions the prospect has asked. When the rep hops on to talk to that prospect, everyone is farther along in the sales process together. And this conversation is way more effective than a typical cold sales call. 

Instead of booking a discovery call to personalize that demo – and the prospect spending 30 minutes of their busy day answering questions – Hubspot lets everyone skip right to the value part. This is the power of product-led growth – your sales calls and demos can be personalized with the info you have from the product. 

PLG doesn’t just benefit prospects: it can help sales close more often too. Don’t fear it! 

Personalizing the PLG Experience 

At PatientPop, KD says they have a tool that makes the demo entirely about the prospect, not about the software features. They can actually tell prospects exactly where they stand right now and where they can go, and educating prospects on themselves spurs interest in the product. 

It’s rare for either Channing or KD to receive truly personalized messages and outreach. (Channing actually replies to all the really personalized messages he receives!) 

Trying to figure out how to personalize your sales outreach effectively? Talk to customers – it’s kind of funny to realize that sales only talks to prospects. KD suggests talking to 30 customers and asking them these questions: 

  • Why they bought your product
  • The problems they were hoping to solve
  • What were they afraid of before buying (unspoken objections)
  • Their favorite part of your product 
  • How would they describe what you do in their own words 

These answers will help you build out truly effective sales messaging and create better demos. Using your software yourself also helps you build those better demos, but sometimes the product is too technical for you to use yourself. In that case – ask customers if you can set up time to observe them using it. It’s surprising, but many of them will let you do it, and you’ll learn so much about the product that you can take into your demos. 

One Great Demo Tip 

PLG isn’t going anywhere – in fact, it’s where more and more industries are headed. Salespeople aren’t going away either, but we do need to adjust our approach to succeed. 

Demos will continue to be important, but they need to show prospects their own world – not just a picture of the product itself, but what the prospect’s world will look like when they buy and use this product. Even if you’re not fully product-led, you can do this in demos: hand over control of the mouse, get prospects to actually use the product, or even just get them to picture themselves using it. 

Watch the complete webinar here: