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Product-led sales is a huge growth segment in SaaS right now – it’s a topic many of us find fascinating, myself included. I’ll be highlighting some of the vendors who do it best in this series so we can all learn from each other in the PLG community. 

For this installment, I talked to Earl Lee who is the co-founder and CEO of HeadsUp to see what he does, what they do, and his thoughts on product-led sales. 

Earl’s Background 

He started his career at a company called FiscalNote, which is a B2B SaaS company focused on government affairs and regulatory affairs. He joined as one of the first software engineers and spent time on both the product and engineer sides. In his six years there, FiscalNote grew from just a handful of people up to several hundred employees. 

One of the biggest initiatives he led there was on internal customer analytic stacks: collecting data from product usage, from CRMs, and all the different tools that collect information on how the company interacted with their customers.

He got to work really closely with the sales and customer success teams to figure out how to use that data to drive better revenue outcomes. They also worked together to figure out which customers were likely to convert, which were likely to expand, and who was at risk of churning. 

That experience was really the inspiration for what he’s doing at HeadsUp today. At FiscalNote, he hacked together a bunch of different tools and had the luxury of having some amount of engineering resources to do that, but what he realized is that most companies don’t have that.

And this problem of trying to understand data and specific product usage and how that can affect better revenue outcomes is so much more prevalent and pertinent today, given this shift to product-led growth. 

What HeadsUp Does

HeadsUp helps product-led sales teams figure out their PLG motion. Specifically, they help companies define what a product-qualified lead is, how to identify those people by plugging into different data sources, and then how to operationalize the downstream workflows that AEs, SDRs, and/or product specialists might take against those PQLs. 

They can help organizations determine how to nurture leads into PQLs, as well as how to know when it’s the right time to have that pricing conversation or try to convert a fully qualified PQL into a paid customer. 

PQLs are also not just about converting free users to paid customers – there are also opportunities to expand contracts, or to convert from monthly to annual payments. These are all different PQLs that the HeadsUp system will analyze and serve up to the seller, and recommend what is the next best action they should be taking against those PQLs. 

Advice for Chief Revenue Officers 

The advice Earl would give to CROs is to partner really closely with the product team and marketing team, because product-led growth and sales is not just about sales specifically.

It’s actually a super cross-functional movement. You need the product team to really collaborate with the sales team to figure out: 

  • What is the new user experience?
  • How do we use that new user experience to guide people to learn about the company and the product on their own?
  • How can we get users to reach that point of activation and recognizing the product’s value?
  • What’s the way to drive towards a state where a lead goes from an anonymous user to someone who is fully primed and ready to purchase and talk to a salesperson? 

If your CRO comes from a much more traditional outbound sales background, it could be interesting to spin off and hire some kind of growth leader who has that cross-functional expertise – they need to understand the business side and also what’s possible with data and by changing the product itself to drive a product-led motion. 

Learn More About HeadsUp

They’re active on Linkedin, posting a ton of great content, and they just launched a podcast as well at PLGpodcast.com. And of course if anyone wants to chat, feel free to reach out to Earl directly: earl at headsup dot ai.

Photo by Clayton Robbins on Unsplash