The War Against Sales in 2021

By February 5, 2021February 16th, 2021Blog

Customers and Product and Marketing Teams will wage war on their Sales Teams this year.


The Rise of Product-Led Growth. Why do we need salespeople when the product sells itself? This is the mantra from investors and advisors across SaaS right now. Get lean and get out of the way.

Your company will benefit. The touchless sales movement means less sales involvement, leading to lower customer acquisition costs. Enabling self-education will increase conversion rates in buyer segments and automatically dq bad fit prospects. More deals. Less work.

Your customers want it. Customers prefer this new kind approach to buying – why would they want to deal with gatekeeping and horsetrading just to try to give you their money? That’s not how the world works anymore, as the rise of B2C consumer tech on iPhones has trained a new set of rules for software buyers.

How will this play out?

The sales leader still has a very loud voice – and isn’t a fan of being replaced by an animated cartoon or clickable demo on your website. (Who can blame them?) We’re going to see more and more ‘old man yells at clouds’ style pontificating on LinkedIn. They’ll cling to “discovery before demo” and other old hat sales techniques. They’ll insult your customer base by saying your product is too expensive and complex to understand without their guidance.

Meanwhile, product leaders will continue investing their calories in low effort onboarding. They’ll build products that a user can turn on without sales’ help. They’ll break their big platform into point solutions, and start offering some for free. They’ll get a lead gen number.

Marketing leaders will follow suit: a lower cost of leads, and those leads convert faster? This is an easy win. As these early experiments prove useful, they’ll stop asking sales for permission. We’ll start seeing more CTAs that invite a user to try your tech instead of inviting a user to talk to sales.

How should you react if you’re in sales?

First off – get over yourself. It was never meant to be about you. Your job is to shepherd customers through. If they can do it without you, let them. If your customers find new friction points, adapt and help.

If not, find a team that still needs the hands-on approach. Some orgs will make this transition faster than others. Some will totally remove their team and some will just reduce headcount while reassigning your work. Stay open minded. Stay nimble.

Get your popcorn ready. I personally can’t wait.

Photo by Jaime Spaniol on Unsplash