Revealed: Customer Self Selling; Strange Changes, Pt. 1

 Customer self-selling, product-led growth, bottom-up sales, and more recently growth plus sales.

Strange fascinations fascinate me 

Ah, changes are taking 

The pace I'm goin' through 

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes 

Turn and face the strange -- Changes, David Bowie

Life changed for everyone, did your enterprise sales model? 

Life changed. So has technology consumption by consumers in multiple areas, from telemedicine to early childhood education. Great for headlines, how does this affect enterprise technology? Millions of people are being directly affected by the AppStore style of buying enterprise technology. The AppStore style is referred to as a product-led sales cycle. The new sales cycle affects people across B2B business investor community WorkLife, or Andreessen-Horowitz. Enterprise technology vendors depend on those companies to guide their adoption of the new sales cycle. 

The product-led sales cycle of enterprise technology is a buyer behavior change. Product-led growth is upending traditional enterprise technology go-to-market (GTM) sales cycles. 

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Traditional GTM sales cycles start with engineers releasing a well-documented product to direct and channel marketing groups. Marketing groups create keen stories around buyer personas to develop a lead generation model. Lead models are aligned to sales structures composed of account managers and sales engineers. Sales structures create frameworks for leads to become prospects, and prospects to become customers. Customers require services and training on the enterprise technology in order to realize value. Customers who realize value require support and additional features not currently available. Support organizations notify engineers and customers notify sales, who notify engineers. Soon after, engineers release a well-documented product to marketing groups, again -- and repeat every 6 months. 

The product-led sales cycle asks enterprise technology vendors to do two things for buyers – community collaboration and realize value before purchasing. 

Enterprise technology must create value <period> 

In the traditional GTM, experiencing value comes after a sale, training and services, muddled together with support. Product-led growth buyers demand real value early. Our customers expect technology to create value prior to their purchase. Making technology work before buying is what enterprise technology buyers/evaluators and implementers are expecting. The examples are endless, here are a few -- GitHubGitLab, or HashiCorp. Those companies impact the development of enterprise technologies and they are embracing product-led sales in their principles and GTM. 

What does this mean for you? Development and engineering teams have been embracing product-led sales using GitLab, GitHub, and more. Meanwhile, enterprise technology buyers are expecting to realize value during the evaluation phase. Buyers want less marketing and more collaborating to realize value. It is clear that enterprise technology engineering teams, buyers, evaluators, and implementers no longer want to discover and buy enterprise technology based on marketed features. It is at this point, we realize most pre-sales, sales, marketing, and training teams are working to catch-up. 

Some sales, marketing, and training teams in enterprise SaaS companies have eliminated the traditional distinction of pre-sales and post-salesEmerging funds and vendors realize the new sales cycle requires community marketing, customer success, and post-sales share of wallet expansion. So the questions are: 

  1. How to realize value with complex enterprise technology? 
  2. How to support product-led sales within a top-down vendor? 

The answer to those questions is simple: 

  1. Create a test drive to make it clear how your technology is creates value. 
  2. Re-imagine a combined virtual sales, marketing, and training team to support the test drive experience. 

Imagine a single pre-buying team who collaborate and create a single test drive framework for buyers. The test drive’s sole focus is to make your technology and brand valuable to an evaluator who will become a buyer. 

In part 2, find out How to startup.

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