Product Monetization

3 Sales Playbooks to Accelerate Your Product-Led Business

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CloudApp has over 3 million users of its product that allows you to create instantly shareable videos, screenshots, and GIFs. With over 53% of the Fortune 500 using CloudApp, it needed a sales and customer success staff to help scale with its Enterprise demands. In this talk, Scott Smith a co-founder and current CEO of CloudApp will show you

How to get immediate quick wins from a scaling sales staf How to turn small teams into company wide license potentials How to establish customer feedback best practices to ensure loyalty And how to get product and sales to work together from day 1.

Scott Smith:
Hey everyone. My name is Scott Smith. I'm really excited to be able to talk to you today about a part of our business that's really helped accelerate our growth, and that is incorporating sales into your product-led strategy. Today I'm going to talk about three sales playbooks to accelerate your product-led business. But before we get into that, I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm the CEO of a company called CloudApp. I live in the Bay area with my wife and four kids. The little guy with the heart on his face is my foster son, and we're going to be adopting him in the next two weeks. I'm including some contact information in case you want to follow up or ask any questions, anything you're curious about. The best way to get in touch with me is Scott@getcloudapp.com.

Scott Smith:
What's CloudApp? I'll just give you a quick kind of a background on me, just so you understand where this presentation and deck is coming from. Communication really sucks. It's really hard. You have all these different tools that you're using all the time. Most of the people that you're communicating with either don't understand you, or they kind of get what you're saying, or they need a little bit of help. We built this tool to make it easier. CloudApp, basically, is a way of capturing what you see and sharing it with somebody. If you think about like the whole Spock/Kirk relationship from Star Trek, the idea is we want to take what you see, and we want to share it directly into the mind of your coworkers so that they can immediately understand what you're saying, and you can give so much clear context into exactly the idea, or the concept or the problem that you're trying to convey. Basically, we want people to feel the magic of an experience at work powered by CloudApp.

Scott Smith:
What does it do? You can record your screen. You can take a screenshot. You can annotate it, basically capture visual information and then share it as a link. I'm actually recording this right now with CloudApp. Then on the right hand side, this is just a video example of what the result of a CloudApp link would look like, both the URL below, which you can customize, and then also the web browser. Basically you just make a video, you make a screenshot, you make a link and you share it with somebody into Slack, Jira, all these great tools, so that you can communicate really, really clearly. You can imagine, especially right now with this sort of corona environment, working remotely, out of office, et cetera, it makes it really easy for you, and people really like the product. We've made a really light, easy-to-use, simple product that's powerful. It helps people, and they get more work done. It's also a product that's used by a lot of great companies. Over 91% of the Fortune 1000 uses it.

Scott Smith:
What am I talking about today, and who am I? I talked a little bit of who I am. I'm a CEO of a SaaS company that makes an easy-to-use product to communicate at work. I'm specifically going to talk about adding salespeople or sales process to a product-led freemium business. Many people are making these kinds of businesses now, and there's a lot of different ideas and approaches that you can take. In many cases, people have really, really strong opinions. I think in SaaS, just like in exercise, you have people who are believers and followers in a certain protocol and process that they believe is an absolute must, and in some cases it's not entirely true.

Scott Smith:
I'm going to talk about why freemium, why product-led, when's it time to hire sales, how do you hire that person and who should they be, who should they look like or act like, some of the playbooks that you can use that are product-led and kind of how you can scale up. The first thing, many of you here already probably know a lot of this, but why freemium? I think a big reason for freemium is that the era that we're in, in terms of software is very, very, very different than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago. Even at big companies today, they're still locked in this old way, this old approach of doing software. It used to be that if you wanted to get any budget, if you wanted to get any software purchased, if you wanted to get any new hardware in your data center, you had to get to the CIO, and he had to approve it, or she had to approve it. This sort of king at the top would make the acquisition of whatever product it was and then distribute it across the team.

Scott Smith:
It eventually moved into sort of a line level manager or an executive over a business, a GM, and they would make that decision. The sales VP or the support VP, they would make all those decisions. Those were great. But I think what we're starting to see now is people in their homes, there're certain ways that they buy software. When they go to work, they expect it to be exactly the same. You think about the last purchase you made from a software perspective, it was probably to meet some kind of criteria in which your life would be made easier. It could have been buying groceries. It could have been playing music more easily. In the software case, it could be like, "I hate scheduling meetings," so it could have been Calendly.

Scott Smith:
Let's talk a little bit about product-led. When you look across the market, there's a lot of great companies that are exploding right now. One that we all heard of is Zoom. Zoom is probably one of my favorite products. I think right now I kind of have a love/hate relationship with it though, because I'm on 10, 15 Zoom calls a day. Sometimes it just feels like a little bit too much, especially if I'm surrounded by my kids who are also on Zoom calls. I think we're just all in Zoom calls right now. Zoom, I love you, and I think we'll get back to loving you even more, but for me, I'm a little bit tired of it. But regardless, it's an excellent product. It's an incredible product. It's made problems with video conferencing so much easier, so much better.

Scott Smith:
In the past it was just really hard. When I worked at Facebook, we used a bunch of different products. We actually built our own internally, eventually. When we first started, there's a number of different video conferencing products you can use. You have to install a product, and then when you're making the call, the other person has to install something. During the call, the call quality would drop you. You wouldn't able to hear them. There'd be an echo. There's so many different problems. Zoom made it so that you can install the product, and you can have your call, and you wouldn't even think about the product. You would think about the call, which is awesome.

Scott Smith:
Twilio is another great one. They have an awesome billboard that is frequently around San Francisco that says, "Ask your developer." The idea behind this is that rather than being the CIO or the VP, the exec, you just ask your developer, and you would say, "Hey, what's the best tool to integrate SMS?" The same thing with Dropbox. In the past, you would carry around a USB drive. What if you left the USB drive at home? You're kind of out of luck. Instead, Drew Houston and the Dropbox team, they made it easy for you to take your data, sync it and distribute it everywhere in cloud-based data centers. All of these companies made the sign-up process, the activation, the engagement, the retention, basically, they made the product good, and you wanted to keep using it. The idea with product-led is you provide value. You make it easy before you even ask for money.

Scott Smith:
In the context of product-led, you're probably saying like, "Well, Scott, we have these great examples of Atlassian, and Slack, and endless other great companies that they don't have salespeople." Well, it's not really true. Most of these companies do have salespeople. Slack has salespeople. Atlassian started with a big partner ecosystem, which basically meant they were offloading sales to other people. I think a lot of early founders, early developers, they think, "I can build a product like Google, and it'll just work." Again, Google has a gigantic sales team. Facebook does, too. Most people don't know that, but a lot of the people think that if you just build it, your customers are going to come to you.

Scott Smith:
Paul Graham, one of the founders of Y Combinator, he frequently says, "Make something people want," which is entirely true, and that's where you should start. But distribution is really a huge, challenging problem. It's frequently a place that most companies fail. Recently, for example, there's a company called Canva that was raising a huge amount of capital at a significant valuation, 6 billion valuation. Everyone's, "Oh, wow. This amazing self-serve product that has just grown tremendously overnight." Really, it's taken a long time and organically. It's true, it's organic, a lot of the growth, but they also have a gigantic, absolutely massive SEO content strategy. They've essentially been selling themselves to Google to get Google to care about them. I think one of the things that I want to talk about is in the context of sales, you can't always build it and expect people to come to you. It's like a lemonade stand. If you live in the middle of nowhere, and you've got a lemonade stand out there, well, even if you have the best lemons, best lemonade, nobody's going by.

Scott Smith:
Is it time to hire sales? For different business models there are different approaches you can take to distribution and go to market. If your price point is really low, for example, I mentioned Canva, not necessarily Canva as an example, but let's imagine that you had a product that was a very low price point, and you could easily buy it, meaning you could click to buy. You may need to entirely focus on SEO content or profitable ads with Google and Facebook, so very self-serve hands-off model, no salespeople really involved, maybe more like marketing demand gen. On the other hand, if your price point is really high, so high that it's a significant investment, like maybe 50K, 100K, basically meaning it involves somebody else to make the decision, you most likely are going to need to hire a serious marketing and sales team to help you not only develop interest in your product, but to move deals through your pipeline.

Scott Smith:
In the product-led growth world, there are many products like Slack, Atlassian and Survey Monkey that can easily be signed up for. There can be a groundswell of employees that are using the product, but eventually there's going to be a process where the CIO is like, "Whoa, who are all these people buying our software? This is crazy," or, "why are there all these people using it?" They start to get worried. That might be the time for sales. Salespeople are frequently maligned. People are afraid of them. They don't understand them. When I worked at Facebook, I met lots of engineers who had never met a salesperson, and they thought they were trash. I don't think that's necessarily their fault. It's more just to say that they didn't have any experience. They just had stereotypes of experience.

Scott Smith:
But salespeople can be really, really excellent if you have a procurement process. You can do everything possible to make the procurement process easier, but ultimately, it's going to usually involve people, whether it's security or legal negotiation. The security reviews are pretty tough. They go back and forth. The sales process you may know a little bit about, and actually they can get pretty complex. There's lots of steps. You need to know different people, different parties. You may or may not have to go on-site just to close or start the deal. I mean, I know, for example, at Lucidchart, there are customers who started off very small, and then became half a million, a million dollar deal, where they were closing $10 to start. Salespeople can also be a great guide for the product.

Scott Smith:
Really, who do you hire, and how do you hire that person? As I mentioned, I think a lot of engineers think Leonardo DiCaprio of Wall street as the quintessential salesperson. From my experience working with salespeople, salespeople are just curious. They want to solve problems. They're hungry. They're learning. They're looking to learn, and they're looking to provide value in whatever way. The reality is they look more like these people on the right, every background, every ethnicity. They're really wonderful to work with, but sometimes it can be hard to hire them.

Scott Smith:
One of the things that I experienced when I was interviewing at a company called Parse is the executive team and some of the engineers mentioned that they'd been trying to hire sales people for months. It seemed like months. I was kind of surprised. I was also a little bit nervous. I thought, "Well, I guess I'm just going to be another one of those people on this long list of salespeople." They mentioned that it's been really tricky to find people that meshed well with their team, that they felt comfortable with, they felt like they could trust their product with. Basically, what I think ends up happening is people develop this idea of what a salesperson can look, like just I might or you might imagine what an engineer would look like, rockstar, Ninja, all the buzzwords.

Scott Smith:
Same with salespeople. They know the product really well. They're not very expensive. They can sell huge deals and small deals. They're incredible pitchers. They can build the best team ever. It's the most amazing team, even though they've never managed anybody so they can just figure it out. They have at least two years of experience. This kind of hire is really, really rare. It's really hard. Again, you're looking for a unicorn that doesn't exist. So who do you hire? Well, one of the things that I've probably realized over time, and I think you probably have as well with your product, is that when you get people to sign up with your tool, your product, your solution, you get really, really excited. You care just an immense amount about that person. You can personally remember the people that have signed up. You start to think like, "Wow, I need to make sure that these people are taken care of and I do a great job with them." The easiest test for you is to find somebody who cares as much, or at least a reasonable amount, and that you're comfortable potentially buying from. Hire somebody you would buy from.

Scott Smith:
Talking a little bit more about how product-led and sales meet together. They do. I just wanted to kind of walk through a couple of quick playbook ideas and really make it easy to understand what it is to be product-led in a sales environment. Old school way was come to our page, click, contact us, and do webinars and maybe buy some leads. Glengarry Glen Ross got the good leads. In the product-led world, you've got things like number of people who were at the company using the product, product qualified leads, people who use the product and might have a high title. You also have things like using NPS to follow-up on users and try to engage with them. You also have a huge community of people who are using your product potentially, that you might want to tap into.

Scott Smith:
What I wanted to do is just talk about three examples that I think might be really useful for you in the context of a product-led growth world. Product-led growth playbook number one. If you're not already doing this, I highly recommend it, which is to implement and start using an NPS tool. You can use an NPS tool. You can use a survey tool, like you could use Typeform. You could use Formstack to build your own, send emails out and just ask, "Hey, what do you think of our product?" You can also use products like Delighted, or Qualtrics, and Survey Monkey and many others.

Scott Smith:
Basically, all you're doing is saying, "Hey, would you recommend our product to a friend?" They can say, basically, from zero to 10, whether or not they would or they will. It's an amazing experience. You get so much incredible feedback that you would not have if you had directly asked them. It's a really strange thing. It's like, if you ask somebody how they're feeling today, they'll say great. But if you ask them to fill out a pseudo-anonymous form that they're not sure is actually going to get back to them, they're going to tell you more. The idea with NPS is you're getting more real, authentic, raw feedback that is actionable, which is incredible.

Scott Smith:
In this case, what I wanted to show is an example that we used, which is we get feedback from all of our customers. We try to ask all of our customers all the time with a reasonable cadence, what they think and how they would recommend us. This person [Italia 00:15:45] responded back and said, "It's great, but it does this thing that's annoying." I sent her an email at almost 10:00 PM. I think I was eating ice cream or watching Netflix with my wife. I sent them a note, and they actually got back to me really quick, and it developed this quick relationship. Interestingly enough, these relationships can really develop. Just as an aside, we were able to take an NPS feedback score just like this one and turn it into our second biggest customer with our biggest deal initially, ever at the company, literally by just responding back with [inaudible 00:16:19].

Scott Smith:
Playbook number two. Again, this one will probably seem pretty simple, but the idea is you just look at how many people from a specific company, let's say like google.com or acme.com or qualtrics.com, are using your product and actively using the product, engaging with it regularly. You start to track this. In our case, what we did was we write a SQL query, we put it into a spreadsheet, and then we track our outreach to those people, those active users. Over time what we start to realize is this company is never going to buy from us. This company, I think we have a shot. Wow, this company we're making real progress. As you do this over time, you start to develop an understanding of the types of companies, the size of the company that might be interested. You also realize a lot of companies that you can't sell to, at least directly.

Scott Smith:
A lot of these for example, are domains that are free email addresses. Companies like Slack call them social emails, which is like Gmail, Yahoo. It's not to say they don't matter. It's more to say that it doesn't represent an organization you can sell to. This is a really great one, and I'd highly recommend it, if you haven't already. Find out how many people are using your product at a domain, and then start to think about them as a target. The higher number of active users at a company, the potential higher number in terms of revenue, if they're the right type of company.

Scott Smith:
Playbook number three. This one at its face will probably seem pretty easy, but just to give you a little context, I want to share an anecdote about my time at Parse. Parse was, again, like a Y Combinator startup that I worked at when I was earlier in my career. It was incredible, one of the best, easiest, fastest developer products in the world. We had a lot of people trying it every day. We had about a thousand initially, and then it grew over time, signing up for and using the product. Me, as a sales guy, recently joined working with a bunch of engineers. I felt immense pressure and stress to figure out a way to develop revenue from those leads or from those sign-ups. When you look at the sign-up list, it's basically all Gmail addresses, just all of them. Occasionally, you'd see an @disney.com or you'd see an @salesforce.com.

Scott Smith:
We'd see this list of people and sort of get overwhelmed. How are we going to turn this into revenue? We just sort of hope we reached out to everybody. We weren't really sure. Fast forward four or five years later, and I'm working at CloudApp, and I start hearing about a bunch of different tools other companies are using. I had friends that worked at Segment. I had friends who worked at GilApps. They mentioned companies like Clearbit, for example. You throw your emails into this magical tool. They take an email address and turn it into like, "Hey, this is actually the CEO of one of your customers," or, "it's a CEO of a company that you're trying to sell to."

Scott Smith:
The next thing we would do after we got the email address and a little bit about the company is we started to think about who was buying our product historically, who looked like a good potential target company customer. We made a simple lead score, maybe education and health and medical were not great targets for you, but other types were. In those cases, we made a very simple lead score within Salesforce, which we were using as our CRM. Then from there, we would basically set up some rules in another product that we're using called Outreach. Outreach is an amazingly excellent tool that helps you automate a lot of sales process that you would normally have to do manually, which I wish I had had when I was brand new out of college. But, thanks for making it, guys.

Scott Smith:
Basically, what you could do is you could say, "All right, if the lead score is an A or a B on your spectrum of quality of lead scores," you would trigger an email that you put together. In the case of the email, which I'm happy to send and share templates for, literally the template was subject, quick question, and then the body of that was like, "Hey, I saw that you signed up for the product. Would love to talk with you about it, walk you through a demo," et cetera. Then three days later you'd send a simple reply that said, "Hey, just wanted to follow up." Anecdotally, in our case, we would go from, literally when we implemented this, zero demos a week to 70 demos a week. It was simply just implementing a process that we could follow regularly and using technology.

Scott Smith:
Just to wrap up, I wanted to kind of reiterate what we discussed today. We basically covered three sales playbooks to accelerate your product-led business. The first was building relationships through NPS. You can use great products from lots of different companies. At CloudApp we use Delighted. Basically, what you can do is every time you get an NPS score, you can connect with the person if it's relevant and important for you if they're a target company, a customer that needs help. You can find ways to build deeper relationships that potentially may lead into opportunities to grow your business.

Scott Smith:
The second one is very simple. It's, keep track of how many people are using your product at different companies and use that as a way to potentially prioritize how you will sell into that business or sell into that company.

Scott Smith:
The third one is automating your sales demos with lead scoring. If you're getting lots of sign-ups, lots of different emails every day that come to your product, you can use tools like Clearbit to enrich those emails. They'll give you basic demographic information, like their number of employees, where the person works, their title, potentially. This will allow you to potentially prioritize these leads based on a score. For us at CloudApp, we might say we are going to prioritize people that are in the B2B world that are in SaaS companies, and we're not going to focus as much on medical or health, government, financial.

Scott Smith:
What can you do with these? Hopefully, I've provided a little bit of an overview, but the first thing I recommend is test one of these playbooks with a small sample of your customers. Start and incorporate NPS feedback, would be a great first step, and then start reaching out to folks as they give you feedback. Then you can start to engage with them. Don't just ask simple questions. Be willing to take phone calls. Take Zoom calls. Spend a half an hour, an hour with your customers. You'll learn a lot, and you'll get to know them.

Scott Smith:
The second one is, as you implement these playbooks, I would watch for improvement in areas that you care about and you're trying to focus on. If your outcome that you're looking for is to increase sales, see if these NPS opportunities help you get there. Similarly, if you're trying to book more meetings, maybe using the number three playbook with lead scoring, watch to see if that playbook helps increase those.

Scott Smith:
The last thing I'd say is, obviously, if you're going to start small, and once you figure it out and it's working great, scale it up. See if you can improve and do it greater.

Scott Smith:
Again, just to kind of close, I'm Scott Smith. I'm the CEO of a SaaS company called CloudApp. It makes it really easy for you to communicate visually using videos, screenshots and annotations sent instantly as a link. If you want to try the product, I'm including a 50% off coupon for the first year of using the product. It's just productled50%off. You just have to use that by the end of August and great talking to you. Thank you.

Scott Smith:
Hey everyone. My name is Scott Smith. I'm really excited to be able to talk to you today about a part of our business that's really helped accelerate our growth, and that is incorporating sales into your product-led strategy. Today I'm going to talk about three sales playbooks to accelerate your product-led business. But before we get into that, I just wanted to introduce myself. I'm the CEO of a company called CloudApp. I live in the Bay area with my wife and four kids. The little guy with the heart on his face is my foster son, and we're going to be adopting him in the next two weeks. I'm including some contact information in case you want to follow up or ask any questions, anything you're curious about. The best way to get in touch with me is Scott@getcloudapp.com.

Scott Smith:
What's CloudApp? I'll just give you a quick kind of a background on me, just so you understand where this presentation and deck is coming from. Communication really sucks. It's really hard. You have all these different tools that you're using all the time. Most of the people that you're communicating with either don't understand you, or they kind of get what you're saying, or they need a little bit of help. We built this tool to make it easier. CloudApp, basically, is a way of capturing what you see and sharing it with somebody. If you think about like the whole Spock/Kirk relationship from Star Trek, the idea is we want to take what you see, and we want to share it directly into the mind of your coworkers so that they can immediately understand what you're saying, and you can give so much clear context into exactly the idea, or the concept or the problem that you're trying to convey. Basically, we want people to feel the magic of an experience at work powered by CloudApp.

Scott Smith:
What does it do? You can record your screen. You can take a screenshot. You can annotate it, basically capture visual information and then share it as a link. I'm actually recording this right now with CloudApp. Then on the right hand side, this is just a video example of what the result of a CloudApp link would look like, both the URL below, which you can customize, and then also the web browser. Basically you just make a video, you make a screenshot, you make a link and you share it with somebody into Slack, Jira, all these great tools, so that you can communicate really, really clearly. You can imagine, especially right now with this sort of corona environment, working remotely, out of office, et cetera, it makes it really easy for you, and people really like the product. We've made a really light, easy-to-use, simple product that's powerful. It helps people, and they get more work done. It's also a product that's used by a lot of great companies. Over 91% of the Fortune 1000 uses it.

Scott Smith:
What am I talking about today, and who am I? I talked a little bit of who I am. I'm a CEO of a SaaS company that makes an easy-to-use product to communicate at work. I'm specifically going to talk about adding salespeople or sales process to a product-led freemium business. Many people are making these kinds of businesses now, and there's a lot of different ideas and approaches that you can take. In many cases, people have really, really strong opinions. I think in SaaS, just like in exercise, you have people who are believers and followers in a certain protocol and process that they believe is an absolute must, and in some cases it's not entirely true.

Scott Smith:
I'm going to talk about why freemium, why product-led, when's it time to hire sales, how do you hire that person and who should they be, who should they look like or act like, some of the playbooks that you can use that are product-led and kind of how you can scale up. The first thing, many of you here already probably know a lot of this, but why freemium? I think a big reason for freemium is that the era that we're in, in terms of software is very, very, very different than it was 10, 20, 30 years ago. Even at big companies today, they're still locked in this old way, this old approach of doing software. It used to be that if you wanted to get any budget, if you wanted to get any software purchased, if you wanted to get any new hardware in your data center, you had to get to the CIO, and he had to approve it, or she had to approve it. This sort of king at the top would make the acquisition of whatever product it was and then distribute it across the team.

Scott Smith:
It eventually moved into sort of a line level manager or an executive over a business, a GM, and they would make that decision. The sales VP or the support VP, they would make all those decisions. Those were great. But I think what we're starting to see now is people in their homes, there're certain ways that they buy software. When they go to work, they expect it to be exactly the same. You think about the last purchase you made from a software perspective, it was probably to meet some kind of criteria in which your life would be made easier. It could have been buying groceries. It could have been playing music more easily. In the software case, it could be like, "I hate scheduling meetings," so it could have been Calendly.

Scott Smith:
Let's talk a little bit about product-led. When you look across the market, there's a lot of great companies that are exploding right now. One that we all heard of is Zoom. Zoom is probably one of my favorite products. I think right now I kind of have a love/hate relationship with it though, because I'm on 10, 15 Zoom calls a day. Sometimes it just feels like a little bit too much, especially if I'm surrounded by my kids who are also on Zoom calls. I think we're just all in Zoom calls right now. Zoom, I love you, and I think we'll get back to loving you even more, but for me, I'm a little bit tired of it. But regardless, it's an excellent product. It's an incredible product. It's made problems with video conferencing so much easier, so much better.

Scott Smith:
In the past it was just really hard. When I worked at Facebook, we used a bunch of different products. We actually built our own internally, eventually. When we first started, there's a number of different video conferencing products you can use. You have to install a product, and then when you're making the call, the other person has to install something. During the call, the call quality would drop you. You wouldn't able to hear them. There'd be an echo. There's so many different problems. Zoom made it so that you can install the product, and you can have your call, and you wouldn't even think about the product. You would think about the call, which is awesome.

Scott Smith:
Twilio is another great one. They have an awesome billboard that is frequently around San Francisco that says, "Ask your developer." The idea behind this is that rather than being the CIO or the VP, the exec, you just ask your developer, and you would say, "Hey, what's the best tool to integrate SMS?" The same thing with Dropbox. In the past, you would carry around a USB drive. What if you left the USB drive at home? You're kind of out of luck. Instead, Drew Houston and the Dropbox team, they made it easy for you to take your data, sync it and distribute it everywhere in cloud-based data centers. All of these companies made the sign-up process, the activation, the engagement, the retention, basically, they made the product good, and you wanted to keep using it. The idea with product-led is you provide value. You make it easy before you even ask for money.

Scott Smith:
In the context of product-led, you're probably saying like, "Well, Scott, we have these great examples of Atlassian, and Slack, and endless other great companies that they don't have salespeople." Well, it's not really true. Most of these companies do have salespeople. Slack has salespeople. Atlassian started with a big partner ecosystem, which basically meant they were offloading sales to other people. I think a lot of early founders, early developers, they think, "I can build a product like Google, and it'll just work." Again, Google has a gigantic sales team. Facebook does, too. Most people don't know that, but a lot of the people think that if you just build it, your customers are going to come to you.

Scott Smith:
Paul Graham, one of the founders of Y Combinator, he frequently says, "Make something people want," which is entirely true, and that's where you should start. But distribution is really a huge, challenging problem. It's frequently a place that most companies fail. Recently, for example, there's a company called Canva that was raising a huge amount of capital at a significant valuation, 6 billion valuation. Everyone's, "Oh, wow. This amazing self-serve product that has just grown tremendously overnight." Really, it's taken a long time and organically. It's true, it's organic, a lot of the growth, but they also have a gigantic, absolutely massive SEO content strategy. They've essentially been selling themselves to Google to get Google to care about them. I think one of the things that I want to talk about is in the context of sales, you can't always build it and expect people to come to you. It's like a lemonade stand. If you live in the middle of nowhere, and you've got a lemonade stand out there, well, even if you have the best lemons, best lemonade, nobody's going by.

Scott Smith:
Is it time to hire sales? For different business models there are different approaches you can take to distribution and go to market. If your price point is really low, for example, I mentioned Canva, not necessarily Canva as an example, but let's imagine that you had a product that was a very low price point, and you could easily buy it, meaning you could click to buy. You may need to entirely focus on SEO content or profitable ads with Google and Facebook, so very self-serve hands-off model, no salespeople really involved, maybe more like marketing demand gen. On the other hand, if your price point is really high, so high that it's a significant investment, like maybe 50K, 100K, basically meaning it involves somebody else to make the decision, you most likely are going to need to hire a serious marketing and sales team to help you not only develop interest in your product, but to move deals through your pipeline.

Scott Smith:
In the product-led growth world, there are many products like Slack, Atlassian and Survey Monkey that can easily be signed up for. There can be a groundswell of employees that are using the product, but eventually there's going to be a process where the CIO is like, "Whoa, who are all these people buying our software? This is crazy," or, "why are there all these people using it?" They start to get worried. That might be the time for sales. Salespeople are frequently maligned. People are afraid of them. They don't understand them. When I worked at Facebook, I met lots of engineers who had never met a salesperson, and they thought they were trash. I don't think that's necessarily their fault. It's more just to say that they didn't have any experience. They just had stereotypes of experience.

Scott Smith:
But salespeople can be really, really excellent if you have a procurement process. You can do everything possible to make the procurement process easier, but ultimately, it's going to usually involve people, whether it's security or legal negotiation. The security reviews are pretty tough. They go back and forth. The sales process you may know a little bit about, and actually they can get pretty complex. There's lots of steps. You need to know different people, different parties. You may or may not have to go on-site just to close or start the deal. I mean, I know, for example, at Lucidchart, there are customers who started off very small, and then became half a million, a million dollar deal, where they were closing $10 to start. Salespeople can also be a great guide for the product.

Scott Smith:
Really, who do you hire, and how do you hire that person? As I mentioned, I think a lot of engineers think Leonardo DiCaprio of Wall street as the quintessential salesperson. From my experience working with salespeople, salespeople are just curious. They want to solve problems. They're hungry. They're learning. They're looking to learn, and they're looking to provide value in whatever way. The reality is they look more like these people on the right, every background, every ethnicity. They're really wonderful to work with, but sometimes it can be hard to hire them.

Scott Smith:
One of the things that I experienced when I was interviewing at a company called Parse is the executive team and some of the engineers mentioned that they'd been trying to hire sales people for months. It seemed like months. I was kind of surprised. I was also a little bit nervous. I thought, "Well, I guess I'm just going to be another one of those people on this long list of salespeople." They mentioned that it's been really tricky to find people that meshed well with their team, that they felt comfortable with, they felt like they could trust their product with. Basically, what I think ends up happening is people develop this idea of what a salesperson can look, like just I might or you might imagine what an engineer would look like, rockstar, Ninja, all the buzzwords.

Scott Smith:
Same with salespeople. They know the product really well. They're not very expensive. They can sell huge deals and small deals. They're incredible pitchers. They can build the best team ever. It's the most amazing team, even though they've never managed anybody so they can just figure it out. They have at least two years of experience. This kind of hire is really, really rare. It's really hard. Again, you're looking for a unicorn that doesn't exist. So who do you hire? Well, one of the things that I've probably realized over time, and I think you probably have as well with your product, is that when you get people to sign up with your tool, your product, your solution, you get really, really excited. You care just an immense amount about that person. You can personally remember the people that have signed up. You start to think like, "Wow, I need to make sure that these people are taken care of and I do a great job with them." The easiest test for you is to find somebody who cares as much, or at least a reasonable amount, and that you're comfortable potentially buying from. Hire somebody you would buy from.

Scott Smith:
Talking a little bit more about how product-led and sales meet together. They do. I just wanted to kind of walk through a couple of quick playbook ideas and really make it easy to understand what it is to be product-led in a sales environment. Old school way was come to our page, click, contact us, and do webinars and maybe buy some leads. Glengarry Glen Ross got the good leads. In the product-led world, you've got things like number of people who were at the company using the product, product qualified leads, people who use the product and might have a high title. You also have things like using NPS to follow-up on users and try to engage with them. You also have a huge community of people who are using your product potentially, that you might want to tap into.

Scott Smith:
What I wanted to do is just talk about three examples that I think might be really useful for you in the context of a product-led growth world. Product-led growth playbook number one. If you're not already doing this, I highly recommend it, which is to implement and start using an NPS tool. You can use an NPS tool. You can use a survey tool, like you could use Typeform. You could use Formstack to build your own, send emails out and just ask, "Hey, what do you think of our product?" You can also use products like Delighted, or Qualtrics, and Survey Monkey and many others.

Scott Smith:
Basically, all you're doing is saying, "Hey, would you recommend our product to a friend?" They can say, basically, from zero to 10, whether or not they would or they will. It's an amazing experience. You get so much incredible feedback that you would not have if you had directly asked them. It's a really strange thing. It's like, if you ask somebody how they're feeling today, they'll say great. But if you ask them to fill out a pseudo-anonymous form that they're not sure is actually going to get back to them, they're going to tell you more. The idea with NPS is you're getting more real, authentic, raw feedback that is actionable, which is incredible.

Scott Smith:
In this case, what I wanted to show is an example that we used, which is we get feedback from all of our customers. We try to ask all of our customers all the time with a reasonable cadence, what they think and how they would recommend us. This person [Italia 00:15:45] responded back and said, "It's great, but it does this thing that's annoying." I sent her an email at almost 10:00 PM. I think I was eating ice cream or watching Netflix with my wife. I sent them a note, and they actually got back to me really quick, and it developed this quick relationship. Interestingly enough, these relationships can really develop. Just as an aside, we were able to take an NPS feedback score just like this one and turn it into our second biggest customer with our biggest deal initially, ever at the company, literally by just responding back with [inaudible 00:16:19].

Scott Smith:
Playbook number two. Again, this one will probably seem pretty simple, but the idea is you just look at how many people from a specific company, let's say like google.com or acme.com or qualtrics.com, are using your product and actively using the product, engaging with it regularly. You start to track this. In our case, what we did was we write a SQL query, we put it into a spreadsheet, and then we track our outreach to those people, those active users. Over time what we start to realize is this company is never going to buy from us. This company, I think we have a shot. Wow, this company we're making real progress. As you do this over time, you start to develop an understanding of the types of companies, the size of the company that might be interested. You also realize a lot of companies that you can't sell to, at least directly.

Scott Smith:
A lot of these for example, are domains that are free email addresses. Companies like Slack call them social emails, which is like Gmail, Yahoo. It's not to say they don't matter. It's more to say that it doesn't represent an organization you can sell to. This is a really great one, and I'd highly recommend it, if you haven't already. Find out how many people are using your product at a domain, and then start to think about them as a target. The higher number of active users at a company, the potential higher number in terms of revenue, if they're the right type of company.

Scott Smith:
Playbook number three. This one at its face will probably seem pretty easy, but just to give you a little context, I want to share an anecdote about my time at Parse. Parse was, again, like a Y Combinator startup that I worked at when I was earlier in my career. It was incredible, one of the best, easiest, fastest developer products in the world. We had a lot of people trying it every day. We had about a thousand initially, and then it grew over time, signing up for and using the product. Me, as a sales guy, recently joined working with a bunch of engineers. I felt immense pressure and stress to figure out a way to develop revenue from those leads or from those sign-ups. When you look at the sign-up list, it's basically all Gmail addresses, just all of them. Occasionally, you'd see an @disney.com or you'd see an @salesforce.com.

Scott Smith:
We'd see this list of people and sort of get overwhelmed. How are we going to turn this into revenue? We just sort of hope we reached out to everybody. We weren't really sure. Fast forward four or five years later, and I'm working at CloudApp, and I start hearing about a bunch of different tools other companies are using. I had friends that worked at Segment. I had friends who worked at GilApps. They mentioned companies like Clearbit, for example. You throw your emails into this magical tool. They take an email address and turn it into like, "Hey, this is actually the CEO of one of your customers," or, "it's a CEO of a company that you're trying to sell to."

Scott Smith:
The next thing we would do after we got the email address and a little bit about the company is we started to think about who was buying our product historically, who looked like a good potential target company customer. We made a simple lead score, maybe education and health and medical were not great targets for you, but other types were. In those cases, we made a very simple lead score within Salesforce, which we were using as our CRM. Then from there, we would basically set up some rules in another product that we're using called Outreach. Outreach is an amazingly excellent tool that helps you automate a lot of sales process that you would normally have to do manually, which I wish I had had when I was brand new out of college. But, thanks for making it, guys.

Scott Smith:
Basically, what you could do is you could say, "All right, if the lead score is an A or a B on your spectrum of quality of lead scores," you would trigger an email that you put together. In the case of the email, which I'm happy to send and share templates for, literally the template was subject, quick question, and then the body of that was like, "Hey, I saw that you signed up for the product. Would love to talk with you about it, walk you through a demo," et cetera. Then three days later you'd send a simple reply that said, "Hey, just wanted to follow up." Anecdotally, in our case, we would go from, literally when we implemented this, zero demos a week to 70 demos a week. It was simply just implementing a process that we could follow regularly and using technology.

Scott Smith:
Just to wrap up, I wanted to kind of reiterate what we discussed today. We basically covered three sales playbooks to accelerate your product-led business. The first was building relationships through NPS. You can use great products from lots of different companies. At CloudApp we use Delighted. Basically, what you can do is every time you get an NPS score, you can connect with the person if it's relevant and important for you if they're a target company, a customer that needs help. You can find ways to build deeper relationships that potentially may lead into opportunities to grow your business.

Scott Smith:
The second one is very simple. It's, keep track of how many people are using your product at different companies and use that as a way to potentially prioritize how you will sell into that business or sell into that company.

Scott Smith:
The third one is automating your sales demos with lead scoring. If you're getting lots of sign-ups, lots of different emails every day that come to your product, you can use tools like Clearbit to enrich those emails. They'll give you basic demographic information, like their number of employees, where the person works, their title, potentially. This will allow you to potentially prioritize these leads based on a score. For us at CloudApp, we might say we are going to prioritize people that are in the B2B world that are in SaaS companies, and we're not going to focus as much on medical or health, government, financial.

Scott Smith:
What can you do with these? Hopefully, I've provided a little bit of an overview, but the first thing I recommend is test one of these playbooks with a small sample of your customers. Start and incorporate NPS feedback, would be a great first step, and then start reaching out to folks as they give you feedback. Then you can start to engage with them. Don't just ask simple questions. Be willing to take phone calls. Take Zoom calls. Spend a half an hour, an hour with your customers. You'll learn a lot, and you'll get to know them.

Scott Smith:
The second one is, as you implement these playbooks, I would watch for improvement in areas that you care about and you're trying to focus on. If your outcome that you're looking for is to increase sales, see if these NPS opportunities help you get there. Similarly, if you're trying to book more meetings, maybe using the number three playbook with lead scoring, watch to see if that playbook helps increase those.

Scott Smith:
The last thing I'd say is, obviously, if you're going to start small, and once you figure it out and it's working great, scale it up. See if you can improve and do it greater.

Scott Smith:
Again, just to kind of close, I'm Scott Smith. I'm the CEO of a SaaS company called CloudApp. It makes it really easy for you to communicate visually using videos, screenshots and annotations sent instantly as a link. If you want to try the product, I'm including a 50% off coupon for the first year of using the product. It's just productled50%off. You just have to use that by the end of August and great talking to you. Thank you.

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Gretchen Duhaime
Scott Smith
CEO at CloudApp
Scott Smith is the current CEO at CloudApp, powering the modern and remote workplace with visual communication. Scott Smith is currently the CEO at CloudApp, powering the modern and remote workplace with visual communication. Scott has led various teams in sales, marketing, business development, and partnerships at Facebook, Parse, and Dyn. He has a B.S. in Economics from Brigham Young University and is a proud Father of 3 and foster parent to 1.