Product Led Growth and the Future of Sales Podcast

Product-Led Growth and the Future of the Sales Force with Doug Landis, #172


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Sales and marketing have evolved significantly in the past few decades, especially in the SaaS space.

In the 90s, for example, we had sales-led growth, with sellers doing cold calling and hitting the phones. In the 2000s, it was about marketing-led sales or marketing-led growth, with events, inbound leads, and SDRs doing outbound prospecting.

Now, according to my guest in this episode of the Modern Selling Podcast, we are moving into a new era of product-led sales.

Doug Landis is a Growth Partner at Emergence Capital. In this role, he is responsible for capturing, creating, and sharing go-to-market strategies and ideas with the Emergence Capital portfolio companies and the greater SaaS community.

Join us in this conversation about the future of the sales force and how to better qualify your sales leads.

This is an excellent conversation about the future of the #sales force and how to qualify #leads better. Thank you for the insights in this @GoModernSelling w/ @douglandis from @emergencecap and @m_3jr Click To Tweet

What is Product-Led Growth?

“I would argue in this generation and especially over the next three to five years,” says Doug, “you’re going to see a tectonic shift to product-led growth, meaning the product is leading every single interaction. Instead of us doing outbound prospecting to a brand new client cold, we’re actually reaching out to people who are deeply already involved and getting value out of our product.”

He gives the example of Slack, Dropbox or Twillio, where people just go to their websites, enter some information and can start using the product right away, getting full value.

In this scenario, people have a need and instead of having a sales conversation with a rep or requesting a demo, they can try a product for free and immediately know and understand whether it is the right fit for them, the solution they were looking for.

After customers try the product, an SDR would call them and help them get more value out of it.

“So now an SDR’s role is different,” Doug says, “because I’m no longer cold calling people who I think are a good fit. I’m actually looking for signals in the product based on how you’re using it to call you and help you learn how to get more value out of the product and in doing so you will then become a paying customer.”

This scenario implies we are moving from a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL) or a Sales Qualified Lead (SQL) to a Product Qualified Lead (PQL).

And when working with PQLs, both sellers and marketers have a different role in the buying process. SDRs become Product Specialists, now having conversations with prospects who have tried the product, and marketers focus on leading people to a product trial, not a web form.

Listen to the whole episode to learn Doug’s predictions about the future of SDRs and how their role will dramatically change.

WOW! that Product Qualified Lead concept is super accurate. We are moving into a new era of product-led #sales, which means SDRs will play a new role in the process. Great ep. of the @GoModernSelling w/ @douglandis from @emergencecap… Click To Tweet

From SDRs to Product Specialists

Here are some ways Doug sees the SDR and AE roles shifting:

  • Sales conversations will focus on discovering why a free user should turn into a paying customer.
  • It’s all about upselling opportunities and how the product could be used more broadly across the client’s organization.
  • Using data on product usage to create more sales opportunities.

Although many SaaS companies are already doing this, Doug predicts it will be more common in the next two years, as companies ask themselves, how do we get people into our product with the least amount of friction with the most amount of value?

This is the future of the sales force and as sales leaders, we must think differently about the characteristics of our sellers and the metrics we use to measure sales success.

I understand the importance of a product specialist mindset for the SDRs because it turns free users into paying customers & creates more upselling opportunities. Great @GoModernSelling w/ @douglandis from @emergencecap & @m_3jr Click To Tweet

“What we’re looking for is more product signals versus the prototypical marketing signals, like the MQL and the SQL,” Doug says.

Listen to the episode to hear how the PQL is more valuable than the MQL, and why Doug thinks the MQL actually doesn’t exist (Hint: they are just contacts until someone talks to them and validates they are a good fit).

Also learn why modern sales organizations must change the way they qualify leads and the real job of an account executive.

10 thoughts on “15 LinkedIn Profile Optimization Tips to Get Found This 2023”

  1. My LinkedIn account was ranking on the first page for best mommys blog keyword quite a few years back and I didn’t have any idea. While working, I stumbled upon the Analytic section of LinkedIn and saw that most of the visitors are coming from search engine later on I realized that in my profile I’ve used “Mommy’s blog” word a lot of time and that is the reason why it was ranking well on SERP. This is how I came to know about SEO and I was also amazed by the fact that how easy it was to rank for competitive keywords back then. Anyways loved your article and please share more tips on SEO.

  2. There is a lot of value in this article, especially for those looking to improve their visibility on LinkedIn. My favorite of the fifteen tips shared in this article is number nine. I’ve observed that people with custom profile links, seem to get more attention than those who haven’t customized their LinkedIn profile URL. Interesting article, thank you for taking the time to put it together.

  3. I agree with the recommendations, they are a very important part of our strategy on LinkedIn, it can give confidence to potential customers (or leaders when someone is looking for a job).

  4. People shouldn’t underestimate keywords on their LinkedIn profile! This helped potential buyers to find me on LinkedIn more easily when they searched for certain products and/or services. Thanks Viveka!

  5. Thank you for another great blog post. For the alt text and/or naming images, do you mean two to three different keyword phrases as a maximum, like this?

    B2B cybersecurity content marketing writer , technical writing cybersecurity content , cybersecurity technical writer , David Geer

    Or can you add more keyword phrases than this?

  6. All the information is very helpful which can help us to increase our Profile ranking on LinkedIn. Another big interesting article, this blog is very useful for the Optimization of my LinkedIn profile.
    I also get much knowledge from this blog.
    thank you keep sharing.

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