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Will freemium fundamentally change sales?

Since customers will be able to learn about and use software before committing dollars to it, sales doesn't have the role of 'information source' or even 'closer' (read: helps get past obstacles) for an initial deal. So it seems like sales will need a new way to be a useful partner to customers. Do you agree? What could that new role be?


  • Doug Caviness
    Doug Caviness Member | Expert ✭✭✭
    edited April 2022

    @JasonSeals, you're absolutely right. I've had a lot of experience supporting companies that use freemium and free trial offers where we handle the automated transactions through ecommerce. Sales still plays a very important role to take those customer insights that are collected and then nurture what is often an individual user or a handful of individual users into a larger company license or subscription.

    Atlassian was of course largely built this way, as well as most of the fastest growing and largest PLG companies. One statistic I love is that of Zoom's $100K+ ARR accounts, 50% started as single seat licenses. In many cases it was Sales combined with their colleagues in CS, Data & Analytics, Marketing, Product and Account Mgt that grew those accounts together.

    Here's a great post from Kyle Poyar of OpenView Partners on this topic: https://openviewpartners.com/blog/product-led-sales/

  • Jason Seals
    Jason Seals Moderator | mod

    @DougCaviness Thanks for that insight. The deep cross-functional collaboration seems crucial in this example. I assume that means data flowing to the right people at the right time is also crucial. It also sounded like sales had to be a lot more like customer success in their version.

  • Doug Caviness
    Doug Caviness Member | Expert ✭✭✭

    Agreed. The concept you mentioned about "data flowing to the right people at the right time" is definitely critical. And doing this at scale is really only possible by digitalizing customer relationships. In addition to enabling vendors and partners to deliver value more successfully, it also helps empower the customer (e.g., usage and adoption dashboards, self-service tools).

  • Doug Caviness
    Doug Caviness Member | Expert ✭✭✭

    @JasonSeals, Kyle Poyar did a recent post about Sales-assist selling in PLG, which is common in a Freemium world. Thought you'd like to see it: https://www.linkedin.com/posts/kyle-poyar_productledsales-plg-growth-activity-6930879608825257984-t3gB?utm_source=linkedin_share&utm_medium=member_desktop_web