How to build your Product-led Sales team

We sat down with Dan McKnight who the Director of Sales for North America at Mixpanel. He shared best practices on building your Product-Led Sales team.

How to build your Product-led Sales team

What do Mixpanel sales motions look like?

We have  a product-led sales motion and enterprise sales motion.

As a Sales organization, we need to be nimble enough to handle both types. There are people who are signing up, getting value for free before they need to or want to talk to anyone. There are also people who want to talk to sales and have an enterprise sales conversation.

The Product-led Sales motion has always been important to us. Our freemium offering has been a great foundation for that. We are doubling down on our sales-assist motions because it’s been performing so well.

Why is a Product-Led Sales Motion so powerful for Mixpanel?

We want to get people into our product to see the value of it. It makes the Sales conversation a lot easier. When they see their data in Mixpanel reports, they get hooked. Customers are willing to make a bunch of the progress on their own. We’re there to remove obstacles and coach them to success.

Even in enterprise sales conversations, our goal is to get the customer into at least a proof of concept. Once they start using the product, they get it and it makes the Sales conversation so much smoother.

How does the Product-Led Sales motion look different between SMB and the Mid-Market?

For SMB, which is roughly companies with up to 200 employees, the decision maker, implementer, and end user is all in the same team. So they tend to move fast and our job is making sure they get through any hiccups and understand the full value of the product. This is very much a sales-assist motion.

For the Mid-Market, It gets more complex when you add more stakeholders. Our strategy is trying to target a specific team and run that similar product-led motion with that team to prove it out. You want to get that initial success in place and then grow it across teams. It’s very much land and expand. For example, we might first get success with the Mobile team. After that, the Web team will see the value and want to implement it as well.

For the Mid-Market, it can definitely be more like a traditional enterprise sale but we try to use elements of the Sales-assist motion because it can be very successful.

What are the challenges for a technical product like Mixpanel?

It can be a tricky balance for a technical product. You want to find the right balance of quick onboarding and time to value while at the same time setting them up for long-term success. If you rush a customer, they can end up with a bad implementation, which can actually lead to poor experience. So it’s really on the rep to guide the customer through the process.

What do you look for in a Product-Led Sales rep?

You need to be data driven, curious, and have the ability to balance wanting to help with keeping your Sales hat on. It’s a high velocity motion so you need to keep a bunch of conversations moving along and spend the appropriate amount of effort on the right deals.

Also, it’s not selling at all costs. Our goal is to land that customer and make them happy in the process. It’s okay to not extract all the revenue possible in the first sale. We know that once we land them, their usage will grow. You need to be thinking long-term.

How do you compensate your Sales-Assist reps to keep incentives aligned?

We believe it’s important to have both an individual component and a team component.

The personal component is key because you do want to give reps a reason to touch more accounts and close more deals. You want to incentivize hustle. You also need to make sure to give Sales-Assist reps an incentive to hand off a deal to the enterprise team when the deal warrants it.

The team component is in there because you want to make sure they don’t have a win at all costs mentality. We have NPS for customers publicly internally so it would be apparent to all if someone was taking that approach. We’ve never had an issue with that though.

How do you divide your Sales-Assist motions across freemium and paid accounts?

We have different teams and motions for each. One set is working freemium accounts and getting them onto paid plans. Another is working with paid plans that would benefit from a higher tier plan.

Each motion has different playbooks and messaging so it’s really important to specialize. You’ll see better results.

How do you score your Product Qualified Leads (PQLs) for these motions?

For anyone who signs up and is in our freemium tier, we look at:

  • How much they are using the product
  • What their use case is
  • Who they are

We use these attributes to tier our PQLs. It’s based on our ICP and the revenue potential. For example:

  • We may have a PQL that is high usage but from a 20 person startup. We want to talk to them because of their usage and we trust in their long-term growth.
  • We may have a PQL that has zero usage but it’s from an enterprise company. We want to talk to them based on who they are alone.

It’s important that you have different playbooks and cadences based on what type of PQL they are.

How much do you customize your outreach to customers?

We have a bunch of different cadences and playbooks that we’ve tested. So each rep doesn’t really need to do much customization at all when they are sending initial outreach.

Having access to product insights is most critical when it comes time to meet with the customer. We want to go into that conversation having an understanding of how they are using our product. Context builds credibility, and it helps us best guide the conversation.