5 step outbound and sales-led strategy for product-led growth transitions

Jul 31, 2023
Selling SaaS Newsletter head page showing Duane Dufault smiling into the camera in a white button down shirt.

If you're here, you're weighing up product-led growth vs sales-led growth. You might call this transition from an inbound-focused PLG strategy to an outbound enterprise growth plan. Whatever your preferred term the journey from PLG to SLG is not quick; It needs careful planning, the right team, and realistic expectations.

This decision might be driven by financial constraints and limited growth potential in the SMB market. There are monetary and longevity reasons to expand. The first is evident, but the second might need explaining: If you only sell to SMBs, what will happen if they disappear? This does happen, and if your entire client base gets hit by an economic slump or total death of the industry (it does happen) how are you going to stay afloat?

Sales-led growth for resilience

Having a sales-led strategy to top up your product-led growth is good business acumen. I know this because I've done it with my portfolio of clients.

To successfully go upstream, follow these 5 steps:

1. First, segmentation is crucial.

Break down your customer base and identify those who fit the profile of larger customers. Gone are the days of mindlessly calling leads; now, strategic outreach is essential.

2. Next, define your ideal customer profile and persona for larger clients.

Their needs and pain points differ of course, so tailor your approach accordingly. To be able to personalize your messaging and strategy, you'll need detail at this stage. 

3. Thirdly, leverage channel partnerships.

Establishing trust and credibility through partnerships reduces acquisition costs and increases customer retention. There's a reason so many enterprise companies secure long-term, sustainable growth; they invest in channel partnerships.

4. After optimizing the channel partnership program, focus on large inbound leads.

Don't wait for those leads to convert; reach out immediately and provide personalized sales assistance. Combining product-led growth with sales-led efforts creates a powerful approach.

5. Finally, when your processes are refined, venture into a true outbound motion.

Use targeted accounts, invest in data enrichment tools, and dial the phone with confidence. The most important part of this step in the process is to review the data, and recalibrate on a regular basis.

For sales-led growth, patience is a virtue

Keep in mind that success in this transition requires patience. It can take 12 to 18 months to see consistent results and establish momentum. You might need to maintain combined sales and a product-led growth strategy initially, before leaning hardest into sales-led growth.

Nobody said the journey from SMB inbound to outbound sales and a largely enterprise clientele would be quick; It needs careful planning, the right team, and realistic expectations.

Help is on the way for PLG companies

If you want to embrace the challenge though, you don't have to alone. I coach companies who want to make the leap to million-dollar ARR by transitioning from solely PLG to SLG or a combination of the best of both worlds. Schedule your strategy call here for no cost.

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