Creating the ultimate tech stack for your business is one of the biggest challenges for SaaS businesses in 2022.
Especially with different types of tools optimized to offer more and more advanced features, it is hard to decide what to do with which tool and feature.
What’s even harder is to create a tech stack that follows a product-led growth approach.
You need to count in the fact that whatever you do at whichever level, it all needs to put a spotlight on the product. That’s how PLG works, after all.
But let me tell you, nothing is impossible.
And today, we are taking a specific point of view to a PLG tech stack: that of your sales team as a product-led business.
Let me put you on some of the best tools out there you can seamlessly include into your product-led sales strategy.
But before we dive into a bunch of tools that’ll leave you baffled if you try to get them all, let’s answer one thing:
What tools do you need for product-led sales?
The thing’s called product-led growth for a reason, huh?
“All you need is your product!” Wrong.
You cannot go out there and find one product-led company that just focuses on improving their product and uses no tool other than the ones for their product team.
A product-led strategy NEVER equals just great product adoption or perfect user experiences.
It means all that and more.
It means leveraging customer success, sales, product, and marketing teams to work in a manner of cross-functional teams, putting in the effort to make the product at hand get the most attention and thus, through product usage, gain the most loyal customers while also making your existing customer base happier customers.
That means product-led sales market strategies serve exactly this cause as well.
What to look out for when choosing the PLS tools
So yes, in the end, you need all those state-of-the-art tools for marketing campaigns, product analytics, customer satisfaction, revenue acquisition, sales, and more.
But just like how you can’t properly adopt a product-led approach without a few good tools, you can’t do it with a ton of unnecessary and over-the-top tools either. That’s just overdoing it.
What to do then?
When purchasing a sales tool/any tool for your new product-led pipeline, be careful about 3 things:
👉 Is this tool usable for other teams as well?
More often than not, newly transitioned product-led businesses end up getting a bunch of cool tools without considering if it’s good for other teams as well.
And when it comes to creating a comprehensive documentation process within the company, getting different tools for different teams might make processes unnecessarily difficult and complicated.
👉 Does a tool you already have has the same features?
Today, so many tools have a range of features that you would never have even guessed they would have – like Facebook Marketplace; what’s up with that? – so, it is best to first run a check on all the tools you already use to figure out what you actually can salvage from them before getting a whole tool for the purpose.
👉 Does this tool really align with your new strategy?
When tool shopping, it is really easy to get distracted by a tool’s huge range of features I just mentioned above. To stay in line with your strategy and the purpose of your purchase, you need to keep asking yourself:
“How is this new tool going to help our PLG/PLS strategy?”
Not the most drastic measures, I would say.
For product-led sales that will bring in all the product-qualified leads, a wide range of tools exists. But we need only a few.
Let’s take a look at the 5 tools you absolutely need for a killer product-led growth model.
5 Product-Led Sales Tools for Your Product-Led Team(s)
Let me start off by saying that product-led sales tools aren’t necessary for your sales team. Product-led sales is an extension of product-led growth, but it is no less an approach to the way things work.
Keep in mind that product-led sales can be an effective factor for your marketing and customer success teams as well.
Now I won’t lie; there is a good range of tools for a sales team working with a product-led growth strategy. On top of that, there is a good variety of essential tools for a product-led sales approach.
But to start out strong, we need a small tech stack with the most amount of useful product features.
So, if you want to give your product-led growth sales team or the teams active in the customer journey the tools to nurture customers better, here’s my full list of fundamental essentials.
1- HubSpot Sales Hub – Sales & Customer Relationships Management
We are all aware of HubSpot’s popularity when it comes to its sales solution.
HubSpot as a general sales tool is already great for smaller companies, but as a product-led sales solution, it is not short of great either. It has analytics, automation, customization, and forecasting: basically, everything you’d need for user acquisition and customer retention in a PLG environment.
Still, the main reason why you might want to go with HubSpot as your go-to sales solution is that it offers a great number of integrations and companion tools like the HubSpot marketing Hub and HubSpot Service Hub.
HubSpot is pretty affordable for any size of business too. It owes half its popularity to its freemium plan (see my point?), and other plans aren’t too expensive. The Starter plan starts at 45$ monthly.
What’s a good alternative?
If you don’t think Hubspot is the one for you, Salesforce is a more advanced alternative with more customization options. Still, it is pricier and has a steeper learning curve.
2- UserGuiding – Onboarding
Any good product-led sales strategy would need to first acknowledge the need for one super important element in the customer journey: a good onboarding experience.
Be it for a specific part of your product or for the buying experience on your website, you can never even hope to be fully product-led unless your product can be used without the assistance of a sales rep.
UserGuiding is a no-code digital adoption tool you can use to create product tools, onboarding checklists, interactive guides, resource centers, and more. It also lets users look into analytics of the used elements, segment users, and do targeting. All no-code.
UserGuiding is among the most affordable onboarding tools out there, with a starting price of 99$/month. Plus, it has a free trial (that you can start with right now). You know a PLG tool is good when they also apply PLG tactics 😎
What’s a good alternative?
If you are looking for a cheaper option, Intro.js, as well as Shepherd.js, are two of the best free onboarding solutions. They are also open source with a pretty active developer community, so you know they get better with time.
A somewhat more advanced alternative would be WalkMe, but you might need to go through a very steep learning curve and pay thousands for a deal.
3- MailChimp – Email Marketing
Don’t let the marketing part fool you, a good product-led sales strategy is best supported by a good marketing initiative.
You need to attract your ideal customer profile to start with your product-led sales funnel, after all.
When it comes to email marketing, MailChimp is easily one of the best on the market.
To reach out to prospective customers with MailChimp you get to use cool integrations, MailChimp partner opportunities, and tons of main and additional features your marketers AND your sales reps can use.
The best part and the reason why MailChimp is still such a hit is probably the pricing. MailChimp is one of the greatest examples of product-led growth with its freemium plan and the other plans are still fairly affordable, ranging from $11 to $17, with the premium plan being $299.
What’s a good alternative?
HubSpot Marketing Hub, with its email marketing option, is a fairly good alternative to MailChimp, especially if you opted for Hubspot as your main sales&CRM solution.
4- Intercom – Engagement & Customer Support
With solutions like livechat, enhanced communications, personalized product experiences, and even a primitive user adoption option, Intercom is another choice of B2B buyers and customers of product-led companies.
But how does it work in a product-led approach?
Simple. Just like an onboarding solution is necessary for a PLG approach, customer support and engagement are also quite fundamental for product-led growth and sales.
What happens if a potential user can’t figure out the onboarding flow? What happens when an existing customer wants to solve their own problem? How do you avoid customer churn in PLG?
On top of all that, Intercom has a use case of visitor-to-customer conversion.
I don’t know about you, but this all reads product-led to me.
The pricing for Intercom is not publicly announced but getting a deal is pretty simple. It might be a little expensive, but it pretty much covers marketing, support, and sales with its use cases, so if you don’t think you have the features on another tool, it’s totally worth it.
What’s a good alternative?
Drift is a great alternative to Intercom, though it is also on the more expensive part of the spectrum. If you are looking for more affordable options, HubSpot Service Hub might be it. Plus, it can always be used in tandem with its companion tools.
5- Slack – Team/Company-wide Communication
You figured it all out, and you’re checking all the boxes of your PLS strategy.
How does it look in practice, though?
A great product-led sales plan requires good communication in-team and in-company. And the solution that can make this happen for you is definitely not Gmail.
Slack is a communication tool that was designed to take away the hustle and bustle of email strings, and it does so quite well. Slack lets users direct message one another, create channels, share files, use bots, and add add-ons to their channels. It’s safe and private too!
The pricing for Slack is quite affordable, but it also has a freemium plan that’s pretty much enough for any small business.
What’s a good alternative?
Microsoft Teams is a great Slack alternative, especially for teams already familiar with MS products. There is always Gmail and Outlook as well, but as we discussed right above, the freemium Slack is enough to get a conversation going.
To wrap it up…
You could pick all the HubSpot solutions out there and call it a day, or you could do some research on the tools you actually need and create a hell of a PLG tech deck. Both are good.
At the end of the day, it’s all up to you.
But what you always need to keep in mind stays the same: PLG means you put the spotlight on your product.
Hopefully, these tools will give you a good feel of what can be achieved with a good PLS strategy and a handful of good tools.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Product-led Sales tool?
A product-led sales tool is any tool that can be used to leverage a product-led sales strategy. Among these tools can be communication tools, analytics tools, CRM tools, sales tools, and more.
What features should a PLS tool have?
A PLS tool should first and foremost serve the purpose of making the product the star of the show. It must be a tool that will enable the product and the teams to work in this direction.
What is the best sales tool for PLG?
Among the best sales tools that can be used after adopting a product-led growth strategy are Salesforce, HubSpot Sales Hub, and other tools depending on the specifics of your strategy.