Podcast Episode 35

From Product to Profit: Mastering Product-Led Sales

In this insightful podcast episode, host Ryan Davies engages in an insightful conversation with Yoav Einav, CEO and co-founder of Guidde, discussing the transition from product to profit through mastering a product-led sales strategy. Yoav shares insights on the importance of aligning product development with business growth, highlighting the demand for a data-driven approach and the pivotal role of user feedback in shaping strategies. They also discuss the key elements, such as implementing dynamic pricing strategies, leveraging AI and LLM technologies for customer support, and harnessing data analytics for a 360-degree view of customer behavior. With a focus on Guidde’s innovative solution, the discussion emphasizes the power of creating personalized, instructional videos effortlessly to improve user experience and drive business scalability.

Yoav Einav CEO and Co-founder at Guidde

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Introduction and Background

Ryan Davies: Welcome everyone to the Tech Business Roundtable podcast show. This is a podcast show dedicated to shining a spotlight on tech innovators, entrepreneurs, founders, and the compelling narratives behind the movements they’ve established. I’m your host, Ryan Davies. I’m hosting today’s discussion from From Product to Profit: Mastering Product Led Sales with Yoav Einav.Yoav, thanks so much for being here today.

Yoav: Thanks, Ryan, for having me. It’s great having everyone on board.

Overview of Guidde and Product-Led Sales

Ryan Davies:  I think this is going to be fantastic. This is a topic. You know, when we were talking before we started recording, as you said, this is something that is a big topic. It’s almost like a buzzword now, specifically around the industry. Lots of people are talking about it, but it’s not necessarily well-defined. It’s not necessarily in common conversation yet. So we want to make sure that we kind of define it a little bit more for people, and who better than you to have us help with that task today? A little bit about Yoav for our audience. He is the CEO and co-founder of Guidde and is a results-oriented, excellent, analytical, skilled CEO with both product management and software development, 13 years of strategic, hands-on experience in cloud networking, storage, big data, virtualization, you name it. Has an MBA and a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and the ability to really balance the needs of technical product development with business growth. And that’s exactly kind of what we’re looking for here. You know, he founded and scaled the company from 750 paying accounts to over 30,000 users in a year with product-led sales motion. So when we talk about somebody who is, you know, talking the talk and walking the walk here with this topic, Yoav, it’s our guy for this. Yoav, maybe give us a little bit more about the background, a little bit about Guidde, and we can kind of start there as our lead into today’s episode.

Yoav:  Cool, thanks. So, I think, in a nutshell, this guide is all about finding the right balance between your day-to-day tools. Let’s say you have PowerPoint on the one hand and you have a Zoom session on the other hand, where we’re looking for a day-to-day tool that you can actually create a video where video is probably the best or the closest format to a human interaction where you can pass information, pass knowledge, and creating a guide video today is really challenging, whether it’s like the voice quality, how you capture the screen, how you apply motion or transcript and stuff like that. So, with Guidde, we basically leverage AI to do all the heavy lifting for you. And in two seconds, you create a video. It’s as easy as you take a screenshot. Then, the best part is also the editing. Editing a guide video is like editing a PowerPoint. Anyone can do it fairly simply and very easy. And that makes your ability to create video at scale and use it as a great tool for your customer success team, customer support team, and your training or onboarding processes really, really a breeze. So that’s what Guidde is all about. I’m Yoav. I’m based in Israel. My co-founder, Dan, is based in San Francisco. So the company itself is basically a US Israeli company, and as you mentioned before, we’re growing pretty fast. We launched the product a year ago. We already have 35,000 active users and are growing 20% month by month. So it’s really exciting.

Rayan Davies: And have raised, what was it, over $11 million in your Series A fundraising as well?

Yoav: We’re a total of 15.6. We just announced two months ago, the A-Round funding led by Northwest and joined by Entry Capital. And I think we have some great investors that joined us to the team. And again, that’s part of growing the team, both on the business side and on the engineering side. And that’s really, you know, that’s what we’re all about, you know, scaling and going and listening to the user needs.

Implementing a Product-Led Sales Strategy

Ryan Davies:  I think we’re going to talk about exactly, again, you’ve instilled investor confidence that shows you have user confidence just in your insane growth numbers and how it’s been going there from that side. It really comes to a product-led sales motion, as you mentioned. Let’s talk about that. Can you start by explaining what a product-led sales motion is and why it’s become such a significant strategy in the tech industry?

Yoav: Cool, so I think if you look at, like how you sell software in general, it doesn’t matter if it’s B2B or B2C, there’s like two traditional approaches. There’s the sales-led approach and the self-service approach. And not every product fits each one of those scenarios. What is the last, I would say, year or two, we started to see more and more, and that’s what we adopted, which is a middle ground or somewhere in between where you use a self-service motion to acquire the user. The user starts using the product, and then you can loop in a sales rep to help them convert to a paying account or maybe app sales to a different tier. So basically, in the self, I would say in a product-led sales approach, the product is front and center. The acquisition process is always through the product. A sales guy will talk to a prospect only after he actually used the product, understands the product, and got the value firsthand, and then the sales cycle will be much shorter and more efficient because it’s not. You don’t need to explain what a guide is; you have already tried it, understand it, and it’s really about the what.

Ryan Davies: I think that’s an incredible change from that product-led sales and product-led growth, being able to really drive it in that sense forward. How has your company been able to embrace that so well? Can you maybe share some specific examples or experiences that really have highlighted the effectiveness of that strategy?

Yoav: For sure. I think, first of all, if you look at the best, even PRG companies in the world, like Figma or Miro, most of their revenue comes from some sort of product-led sales or a traditional sales approach. So, I think product-led sales is a great, super efficient way to create a pipeline in a costly manner. Like the cost, the acquisition cost is really low and it allows you to really scale the team with more marketing budget. You can bring more leads and enhance the pipeline. From our experience, I think what LightSales is, first and foremost, is about being data-driven, not just looking at those traditional. I would say sales metrics or SaaS metrics, like the cost of acquisition or LTV, like the duration or the lifetime value of the customer. But first and foremost, look at the usage metrics. From a company perspective, the Northern Star of Guide has three metrics. One is visitors to the website to sign up, like how many users from the website started using the product. Then, sign up for activation. In Guide, an activation means how many users created three videos in the first two days when they used the product. From activation to conversion for those activated users, how many of the activated users actually converted to a paying account? I think those three metrics are what everyone in the company is looking at across the board: marketing, product sales, customer success, and customer support. Then, that aligns everyone on the product and the value and how to scale the company and make sure it’s consistent, and there are no leaking buckets in the chain.

Ryan Davies: Excellent. And I think, you know, with that, you obviously have to have two sides to this. And it’s, you know, your team and the user as well. So, let’s start with your team, right? And being able to build the culture around that. So, how have you been able to instill that product-led mindset within your organization? Have you had any challenges aligning to that approach, or has it been, you know, fairly well received in terms of being able to approach it that way?

Yoav:  So I think if you look at more traditional sales B2B, there’s always like MQAs, like marketing qualified leads and sales qualified leads. In our world, everything is a PQA, a product-qualified lead. And even on top of it, we look at it at the account level, what you call the PQA, like a product-qualified account. If you think about it, a team of five users that created ten videos has more value than a single user that created ten videos. So that’s why we look at it at the account level. And that helps align everyone at the goal and what’s valuable for the user. So that’s, I think, the first part. From a company perspective, I think it’s both the user side and the product, but also the skill set of the actual team. The marketing team experience or the CS team experience is a really different approach than a traditional sales SaaS company that is doing a lot of Zoom sessions because you need to be much more data-oriented, and every process should be automated because you’re talking about scale handling tens of thousands hundreds of thousands of users you need to be like really focused laser focused based on the data and have all the both the BI capabilities and the triggers to make that happen. I think in terms of issues that you can probably see in the process, sometimes you feel that the self-service approach kind of cannibalizes the enterprise sales for the sales team. And that’s where I think people who are part of the process are starting to see how the self-service approach helps shorten the sales cycle and makes both the sale cycle and the time to close a deal and also the upsell opportunities much more efficient because, as opposed to reaching a code reach out on LinkedIn and explaining someone what’s guide, what’s the value, we actually reach out to someone that already used the product. So I think the sale cycle is really shorter, and that’s, I would say, probably the biggest value to drive revenue and scale the team.

Ryan Davies:  And with that, again, it’s a very user-centric approach, right? So, in this product-led sales motion, that experience is absolutely crucial. How do you ensure that the product is not only functional but user-friendly? As you said, you know, you’re getting customer feedback, and you are taking cycles of that to be able to consistently, and, you know, have a continuous improvement process. How have you been able to be so successful with that part as well?

Yoav:  So I think part of it is first of all, we use guide a lot inside guide. Like I think guide, the fact that we leverage video, like short videos, highly personalized videos based on the user journey, based on the persona, based on the phase in the life cycle of the user, it’s really effective, and we can see that the user that watches those videos are 40% more likely to convert. So that’s first of all, the core of guide use inside the guide. On top of it, I think those metrics, which I mentioned before, let’s say one of the metrics we’re looking at is the product stickiness. Like it’s how many of the monthly active users are actually using the the guide on a daily basis or on a weekly basis? So the more people that are using it on a daily basis or a weekly basis, the more likelihood for them to stay in the platform, expand and so on. The factor is what you call the K factor, which is how many users each user brings to the product that’s part of the Virality of the product and how you can scale without additional marketing spend. So for example, Slack, which is probably one of the best B2B products, their a K factor of 8.5, which means that every user brings almost nine more users to the platform, and in guide case, a lot of the internals of the product is how to help, how to make people that watch a guide actually sign up to guide, how to make people that create a guide invite more creators. And I think that’s a crucial part of growing in an effective way without just throwing more marketing budget.

Metrics and Indicators for Success

Ryan Davies: And you just touched on it there. It kind of goes right into my next. In fact, you’ve already answered most of it, but maybe we’ll just summarize it in one section here in terms of measuring the success of this approach. Right. You mentioned there are different metrics and indicators in terms of the product-qualified leads, that K rate, and things like that. So, what metrics and indicators do you think tech business founders should be monitoring to assess the success of this strategy?

Yoav:   Cool. So I think one of the, when you start scaling the revenues, I think one of the most effective ways, the CAG payback, like the cost of acquisition payback, which is basically your break-even point, how much money you spend on marketing, then acquiring the user, and then becoming a paying account and how long it takes them to bring back the cost. So, I think the industry benchmark is anywhere between five to six months to around 15 months. That’s the range of what is called the best, I would say, SaaS companies. But as you lower that bar, the more effective you are. So I think that’s one of them is one measurement. And in general, I think that the more you can track and attribute the marketing sources, the marketing campaign, and be able to really measure the LTV and COCK and all those metrics per campaign, the more scalable you can, or more, I would say, educated decision you can make on how to spend your marketing budget to acquire more users and apply your marketing strategy, whether you want to invest in TikTok, or YouTube, or Twitter or SEO or affiliate marketing. It really doesn’t matter what works for each product and its domain.

Ryan Davies: And so scaling again, you’ve done rapid scaling here, obviously, in terms of being able to implement this. And I think, correct me if I’m wrong, you started this early in your process. This was kind of always your strategy behind Guidde being able to do this. So, it was able to move with the scaling for tech founders looking to implement this strategy as they grow this business. What advice do you have for them on this? Because I think there’s a lot, again, as you mentioned. They have traditional sales methods and traditional B2B approaches. And, you know, they’re probably, again, they’ve heard about this, they’re now listening to you talk about this and going, this is where we need to go next. How do you make that change for them? Any advice that you have?

Yoav:  Yeah, I think at the end of the day, it’s a combination of the skill set of the team. You need like a team that is all about product-led sales and growth because if they look at more traditional tactics called to reach out, it won’t be a great fit. The same goes for marketing. It’s like different marketing people, different marketing skills. So I think first of all is how we build the team. Second of all are the KPIs around the company that we’ve mentioned before to make sure everyone is aligned, like product marketing, CS, anyone in the chain can impact the basic APIs and you need everyone to look in the same direction. And I think the crucial part is building the right data infrastructure and BI tools. So you can really make those decisions and attribute the right investment to the right feature or right marketing campaign. So I think, like the data infrastructure, building the team is probably the two core elements of making it right at the early stage. And then, you know, there’s a lot of iteration and testing and improvement over time. It’s not like one point in time, but you need to continuously measure it and improve it again and again and again.

Ryan Davies:  So would you say that’s kind of the common mistakes that you would see for people looking to implement this is A, either the wrong team or B, just that wrong change management process where they’re not continuously, you know, they try it once or twice and go, yeah, this isn’t for us. Is kind of those are your most common mistakes or there are other ones that you see that take place. .

Yoav:  So I think, first of all, the focus is important. You need to if you want to try one approach; it doesn’t matter which one. You should keep doing it for at least three to six months before you start changing it. If you’re trying to do both or three of those in parallel, you’ll end up failing. Another approach I think that, or another key element, is talk to your users because I think in many product-led cells, the product-led growth teams, they’re heavily basing their decision on data, which is great, but there is no, I would say, alternative to still talking to your users, jumping on a Zoom call, interview them, and you’ll get a lot of valuable insights from them that you can’t really get from the data itself. Just as a few examples, I talked with a few of our customers, and they explained to us how they justify the buying guide internally, what their KPIs are, and how they measure ROI. Like for example, if I can tell a VP of support that the video can reduce 20% of their support ticket, that’s a huge saving right in headcount. If you can tell VPCS it can handle 10x more accounts with the same headcount, that’s great. So I think that’s something that you can learn mostly from talking to your user. It’s not in the data, and that’s also why we leverage those data points in ROI in the customer stories we have on our website. So anyone that can go to guidde.com can actually check out those stories and see how you can actually leverage and quantify the ROI, the return on investment using the product.

Ryan Davies: Incredible. I think, again, that’s great. Again, what’s in it for your users? What’s in it for them to be able to really, again, quantify it for them, define customer success for them, not just for you, but for them, and show them how to bring this all forward? And you mentioned, you know, guide, guidde.com has a lot of that information. Make sure you’re going there and checking that out. But before we send everybody there, we will talk a little bit more about Guidde as well. You know, we’re teed up for it. I mean, Guidde’s perfect for this question in terms of the role that technology plays in enhancing a product-led sales strategy. Tell us a bit about that as well, specific tools or technologies that you find particularly effective to help support it. And I know Guidde’s definitely one of those, right?

Yoav: Yeah, I think there’s probably a bunch of them. Maybe I’ll go over at least three of them. One of them is how to implement your pricing strategy. One of the things that you do on the go, and you need to do a lot of iteration and testing, is your pricing strategy. What makes people pay? How much are they willing to pay? And what will make them maybe go up here? And I think one of those is the infrastructure. We’ve put in place an infrastructure that allows the business side to iterate and test out different strategies, different plans, and different pricing without talking to the engineering team. So it’s really dynamic. So I think that’s really important, especially in the early days, but also when you mature, and you need to do more advanced A-B testing. That’s one aspect. I think the second aspect is to leverage AI and LLM, like OpenAI and other options in your support channels. I think today in Guidde, we have a mix of Guidde and Intercom Chat that allows us to offload almost 60% of the support questions in the chat, in the tickets using AI, and that allows you again to scale without recruiting more and more people and provide the users an instant response to a question. So we ask a question, you get a response, and you continue doing what you need to do without waiting for a supporter. The third part is probably like using some sort of a data warehouse with a segment to get this 360 view of the customer because the customer has his usage metrics in the product. He has his support and questions on the chat or in the support system. He has a different activity, the open rate of emails, and his action on Stripe. So the fact that you can aggregate like 10, 15, 20 different sources to one view, and then you can really understand the user behavior, churn risk, conversion, and probability, like all of those questions, is in one dashboard.

Ryan Davies:  Perfect. I think that that’s a great, you know, a great summary here. Now, we’re going to sum up two final points here. I always like to ask, you know, about that crystal ball question looking ahead. This kind of seems like where it’s transitioning, particularly for a majority of tech businesses. It might not work for all tech businesses and product-led sales, but because this industry is really focused this way. Right. This is kind of where you see this trend going. How should, you know, founders prepare for this? Where do you see this kind of going? Do you see this being the next kind of way to success for tech businesses moving forward, especially ones that are in that startup scalability stage?

Yoav:  So I think it really depends. It’s not a fit for every industry every product. It really depends. There are industries where you see different products with different motions. Sometimes, it depends on the persona. Let’s say you’re targeting healthcare, and there are a lot of compliance and legal issues and privacy issues. Probably, self-service is not the right approach. If you’re targeting engineers, they love to test out new products without talking to a sales rep. So, self-service can work great. So, I think, first of all, it depends on your industry and the persona or the ICP that you are targeting. And second of all is how easy it is to use the product. If you need someone in the process to help the user onboard, then you need some more sales, even a pre-sale guy, to process. Third and most important is probably the value, what I call time to value. If the user can see the value of your product in five to 10 minutes, that’s a great strategy for you. If it needs two weeks of onboarding iteration and integration, that’s you need to go probably to the more sales led approach.

Tools and Technologies Supporting Product-Led Sales

Ryan Davies:  Perfect. And so, to wrap up, we’re going to go to the final points here. One, maybe a final piece of advice, insight, something for tech founders. I mean, this whole entire episode has been fantastic advice and insights on, uh, on this idea, but who is considering adopting this process of a product-led sales strategy for their businesses? Any kind of piece of advice that you would have for them?

Yoav: Yeah, I think probably the best advice is always to test before you build as much as you can. There are a few great examples. You can test out new features or new ideas based on a prototype in Figma, based on user interviews, based on just even place a button and see how many people are actually clicking it before you actually implement the feature. So, I think testing before you build is a great idea. And then, everything you build, do it in a really small incremental. So you can always test it out, get to the production, see how it’s, it’s adopted by users and then decide if you want to double down or throw it away. Cause that’s something that you got like, especially founders are in many of the cases that are in love in there, with their ideas and they’re not actually put it into the test or be open to criticism and feedback.

Ryan Davies:  Excellent. And finally, Thank you so much for being here. But before we go and sign off, CEO co-finder of Guidde, guidde.com. Tell us a little bit more about guidde. I know you’re going to have people listening to this going. First of all, I need to talk to you about your approach. And second of all, I need to bring this into my business as well. So tell us a little bit about both those, how people get in contact with you, and a little bit more about how Guidde can help our listeners out to help their scalability and their sales approach. 

Yoav:  Cool, so first of all, Guidde in a nutshell, helps you in two or three seconds to create a video that explains any process, any feature, any workflow that you want. So instead of answering the same question again and again and again over Zoom, over email, over Slack, you basically click on a button, and in two seconds, we’ll create the video for you with the motion, with the voiceover, and the script, with the visual and everything you don’t need any skill, graphical or design skill. It’s really out of the box. So that’s something that I invite any one of our listeners to actually sign up to Guidde and try it out. We have a free version, the first 25 videos, free of charge. So you can actually test it out as much as you want. And, of course, if you have any questions inside the product inside the website, you can reach out to the team, and you’ll probably get an answer in a heartbeat. Again, I invite everyone to test it out and the product probably speaks better than any pitch that I can give you here. 

Ryan Davies:  Fantastic, and then to get in contact with you because I’m sure people are going to want to ask you a little bit more about, You know, your approach, your strategies, and things like that easiest way. 

Yoav:  Yes, so probably LinkedIn is the best way. Just connect to me on my LinkedIn profile. You can find Yoav Einav on LinkedIn, and I’ll be happy to chat with anyone who has questions, advice, or any recommendations on anything that we can do differently. 

Conclusion and Acknowledgments

Ryan Davies: There it is. Perfect, there it is. So, with that, a final minute to say thank you, Joav Ainev, for this amazing podcast from product to profit, mastering product-led sales. What a dream guest you were. Thank you so much. We covered so, so much here. I think we’re going to have to have you back again with, you know, we can off-shot that into ten different topics as well to really break it down. So, thank you so much for being here today. I know you’re incredibly busy. And congratulations on all your success. We’re going to have to do another follow-up here with another episode and just see where that user count continues to grow and grow. So thanks. Thanks again for being here. Really appreciate it.

Yoav: Thanks, Ryan, for having me. I really enjoyed the conversation. I’d love to come back, just pick the topic, and we’ll follow up.

Ryan Davies: I love it. That’s what I love to hear. Our listeners love to hear that, too. And speaking of our listeners, I want to thank them as well. As you know, we can’t do what we do without you. So until we meet again with another amazing TBR episode, I’m your host, Ryan Davies. Thanks, everybody. Take care.

About Our Host and Guest

Director of Marketing – Ekwa.Tech & Ekwa Marketing
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CEO and Co-founder at Guidde
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” First of all, the focus is important. You need to if you want to try one approach; it doesn’t matter which one. You should keep doing it for at least three to six months before you start changing it.”

– Yoav Einav –