Vidyard’s VP of Revenue, Dan Wardle, joined the company in 2013 as its first salesperson. Since then, he’s helped the company transition from top-down enterprise sales to a successful hybrid GTM motion. Here he shares his top lessons learned along the way.
While most folks know Vidyard as a tool for creating sales videos, the platform started as a video hosting platform that integrates with popular marketing automation tools like Marketo, Eloqua, and Pardot. But when these tools were later acquired, our business virality from the partnerships and conferences began to show slower growth for us.
To pivot strategies, one of our sales reps started sending videos to prospects, recording in QuickTime before uploading them to our platform. It didn’t take long before our product leaders noticed, which ultimately led to building our video creation tool and, thus, began our Product-Led Sales (PLS) journey. These are some of the lessons I’ve learned over the six years since.
Your PLS and enterprise sales motions will naturally ebb and flow
It takes time to figure out the right balance between your PLS and enterprise sales motions. At Vidyard, we’ve ran a traditional enterprise sales motion for our video hosting product since the very beginning. But when we launched our video creation tool in 2017, the market readiness wasn’t there for a top-down motion. Instead, we implemented a PLG motion, making incremental improvements over the first few years.
Early on, it was hard justifying a large push for free sign-ups without knowing how it correlated to revenue. But all this changed in 2020 when market readiness hit. As the pandemic kept sales folks at home, we saw a significant uptick in videos created on our platform, as well as fast-growing demand in the market. Recognizing the opportunity in front of us, we decided to over-rotate on our PLG motion to drive full momentum. We positioned Vidyard as a product for sales reps, and we focused on acquiring free users and business users with business email addresses.
Since then, we’ve been able to correlate free business user signups to sales pipeline within a 60-day window. This has accelerated growth 200% for our business, and if you look at our sales product revenue growth specifically the growth is even more exponential. But with our video hosting product still representing 50% of our revenue, we’re intentional about not over-rotating for too long. Now that we have our teams where they need to be, we can ease back and begin re-marketing our hosting product.
When people don’t care about features, they won’t pay for them
Compared to a top-down sales model, the PLG motion gives Sales more influence over the product, and whether to feature gate or limit product usage. When we first launched the video creation tool, we decided to feature cap instead of usage cap. People could create an unlimited amount of videos in the product but with Vidyard branding. We could also advertise to their viewers. If folks wanted videos with their own branding, or to use premium features, they could upgrade to the paid tier.
But therein lies the problem with feature gating: people who don’t care about the features won’t pay for them. We learned this the hard way after one customer enabled their entire sales team on creating videos. While this led to huge successes for the company, it didn’t for us. Over this leader’s tenure, their team created 130,000 videos on our platform, for free, because we couldn’t get him to pay for the premium tier. We’ve evolved our business model since then, transitioning to usage limits. Free users get the full functionality of the product but have to upgrade after 25 videos once they’ve seen value from using our product.
Always make your selling motion simple for sales reps
Every successful PLG strategy shares this common principle: Don’t over complicate your selling motion. For us, this means not giving Sales access to every data point or having reps sort through it themselves. Rather than send our reps product qualified leads, we focus on giving them product qualified accounts.
To do this, we built out scoring based on product usage, and we look for accounts with monthly active users and/or users paying for our Pro plan. If an account has more than three monthly active users, we pass them over to Sales. Interestingly, we’ve found that these accounts convert higher if they also have two Pro users, such as two individual salespeople who pay for the product themselves. In these cases, the account will convert to an opportunity at twice the rate of other free users.
When we pass these accounts over to reps, we explain why the accounts are qualified: they have these users, created this much volume, and these are their names. Additionally, we have all their outreach cadences set up so it’s easy to reach out and engage with the account’s stakeholders.
Don’t disrupt your customer’s willingness to buy
Finally, don’t let your internal processes deter customers from buying or gaining more momentum in your product—just make it work and then make it better. We recently ran into a delay launching our Team pricing option on our website. In the interim, we added a “Buy Now” button with a form to sign up, much like a typical self-serve purchase. Except it wasn’t self-serve—on the back end, my team had to send DocuSigns to everyone who filled out the form. On average, this took around 30 to 45 minutes but the small break in the buyer experience led to only 35% of these deals being signed.
Here’s another example: One of our customers needed to add licenses for new hires they were onboarding. However, they just renewed their contract and their next renewal was months out. So, we decided to add in the licenses via a contract replacement, which sounded all sorts of internal alarm bells over invoicing friction and impacts to CSM quotas.
But none of these internal things should matter here. All that matters is making it work for the customer and then using their experience to make the self-serve journey better. In this case, we built self-serve into the product to let customers add more licenses at any time. Internal logistics such as invoicing, territories, quotas, and compensation? Those are all details you can sort out after you’ve taken care of your customer.
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