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CMO Coffee Talk ‘Aha! Moment’: Ditch Old-School Selling with PLG, a User-Centric Approach

3 min
CMO Coffee Talk ‘Aha! Moment’: Ditch Old-School Selling with PLG, a User-Centric Approach

Editor’s Note: CMO Coffee Talk is an open space for more than 1,200+ CMOs to come together weekly with their peers and discuss timely, crowd-sourced topics. Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing co-hosts these dynamic, illuminating conversations with 6sense CMO Latané Conant.

Our weekly live-streamed CMO Coffee Talk conversations always generate terrific questions and comments from our audience, but last week’s chat about product-led growth was especially mind-blowing. Aha! moments abounded.

Why? The conversation thoughtfully unpacked how revenue teams can streamline the sales process — and increase conversion and retention — by leveraging product-led growth (PLG) best practices. PLG uses the product itself to drive engagement typically associated with marketing and sales activities.  

Here are a few Aha! moments I spotted during the conversation. 

VITO’s Days are Numbered 

For much of recorded sales history, the prime directive has been: Sell to VITO (the organization’s Very Important Top Officer). Get to that person, old school sellers say, and you’ll get the deal.

Modern selling says otherwise. Now there’s a buying committee involved, with “VITO” playing the role of executive sponsor and check-writer after the buying team develops consensus around: 

  • Solving a problem 
  • And then selecting the vendor to help solve it 

This modern (account-based?!) selling approach recognizes various roles in the buying hierarchy and journey, including subgroups of the buying committee at various key stages and decision points. 

The Power of Product-Led Growth 

PLG is poised to change the paradigm again, this time to the very opposite of how old-timers may have sold to VITO. 

With PLG, the end-user becomes your primary target. This can be achieved in numerous ways, such as offering access to a free or slimmed-down version of your product at no cost to customers. When done right, the end-user becomes the catalyst, the internal educator and consensus driver, and the key influencer of other internal buying committee members. 

That end-user may in fact also have purchase authority to get the relationship started, especially in a land-and-expand go-to-market scenario. 

If this scenario is your current or near-future reality, it has massive implications for how you prioritize and execute on awareness, content and demand channels. 

Insights from CMO Coffee Talk 

During last Friday’s CMO Coffee Talk, we focused on PLG strategies and trends. With the end-user as your primary target, here’s what sales & marketing strategies you would prioritize: 

Deep Personas  

Your most valuable end-user PLG strategy will also be its very foundation — namely a detailed end-user persona that articulates detailed, early buying journey motivations, objectives, feelings, objectives, and more. 


Translate those persona insights into a deep focus on content and SEO tactics that will increase early and frequent value-added discovery by your end-user. This includes multimedia content, peer community engagement, partner co-marketing efforts and more. 

‘Deep Fakes’  

In the PLG world, this means creating a simulated, interactive product experience without letting your prospects into the product itself. It’s a proven tactic to help prospects get a direct feel for the product, which can have a significant impact on trial or entry-level product conversion rates. 

Peer Reviews  

Whether on your site directly or via third-party review and community sites, comparative peer evaluations will help mitigate risk and increase confidence. 

Coming Up on CMO Coffee Talk… 

In our next meetup (which is just around the corner!), we’ll take a close look at account-based measurement and change management

By definition, account-based go-to-market motions are complex, involving numerous integrated channels, cross-departmental connections, and more. How do you measure what’s actually working?  And how do you help make ABM more than a campaign, but a real culture change across your organization?  Find out next week! 

Join Our Thriving Community! 

If you’re a B2B CMO or head of marketing and want access to a community of your peers (1,200 strong and growing) as well as numerous specific PLG-related resources, benchmark reports, deep fake examples and more, we welcome you! Click here to apply for membership. 

Matt Heinz

Matt Heinz

Prolific author and nationally recognized, award-winning blogger, Matt is President and Founder of Heinz Marketing with 15+ years of marketing, business development and sales experience from a variety of organizations and industries. He is a dynamic speaker, memorable not only for his keen insight and humor, but his actionable and motivating takeaways.

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