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Paradox of Choice & Myth That PLG Doesn’t Need A Sales Team

We promise this won’t be a series of chapters about funky paradoxes and how they relate to PLG, but what can we say… we’re nerds!

What is the Paradox of Choice?

Glad you asked. In short, as a society, we are less happy due to the abundance of choice. This paradox gave birth to the commonly used phrase, “Why More Is Less.” American psychologist Barry Schwartz coined the idea in 2004 with his well-titled book The Paradox of Choice - Why More Is Less. To best define Schwartz’s point of view, we’ll leave you with this excerpt from his book:

Autonomy and Freedom of choice are critical to our well being, and choice is critical to freedom and autonomy. Nonetheless, though modern Americans have more choice than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don't seem to be benefiting from it psychologically.

— quoted from Ch.5, The Paradox of Choice, 2004

Paradox of Choice Through a B2B SaaS Lens

Take a minute to think about the number of technologies and software solutions that today’s sales and marketing professional has to help them in their day to day efforts. We’ll help you paint a picture:

A quick search on G2 tells us that there are:

  • 206 Marketing Automation Platforms
  • 375 CRMs
  • 243 Sales Automation Solutions
  • 288 Live Chat Solutions
  • 149 E-Signature Solutions

Given those data points, there are 805 BILLION (that’s nine zero’s) distinct combinations to make up the modern sales and marketing tech stack. And this is just based on a small number of the types of tools out there! 

It’s no wonder sales and marketing leaders turn to their peers, analysts (organizations like Gartner and Forrester), and others for support and expertise in knowing what solution set will work best for them and their company. The next time you see a flustered or overwhelmed GTM executive or operations leader, you might know why.

Sales As The Product Sherpa

This notion of “less is more” and the paradox of choice can actually play to a PLG organization’s advantage. As we mentioned in the introduction, it is a myth that sales doesn’t have a leading role in the product-led growth motion, and this proves it. 

With so many combinations of technologies at their disposal, prospects are in desperate need of guidance and education on what variation makes the most sense for them. Note that this should take into consideration their other solutions (i.e., do they integrate well?), primary go-to-market motion (ahem, product-led growth?!), and more.

In PLG (and in general, really), a good salesperson can play the role of a guiding sherpa. Their role is to help the prospect understand if the product they sell is the right fit to solve the problem they have. These salespeople tend to have success and strong relationships wherever they go - people trust them because they’ll be upfront if what they are selling doesn’t meet their needs. On the other hand, a poor salesperson will shove their product and free trial down the person’s throat. 

There is only so much your marketing emails, in-app pop-ups, and automated on-boarding emails can do to educate freemium and free trial signups. In some cases, there isn’t a great substitute for the person-to-person conversations where a users’ unique pain points are heard and met with a helpful product expert.

So, the next time you think that sales is an unnecessary added cost to your PLG team, think again. Build your squad with solution sellers that lead with empathy and you’ll be one step closer to converting more of your product trials to paying customers. 

We can’t leave you without this warning: Be sure to focus these A-players on the right product leads. That’s where a solution like MadKudu can help. Learn how Chartio, a leading BI product with a PLG motion, did just that and saw a 40% increase in conversions from free trials to paying customers.

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