“The sales professional of 2020 is more than a seller — they’re a strategic advisor who can act as the North Star by guiding the buyer through the process, which results in a successful outcome for all parties involved.”
Forbes, November 2018
It’s been 2 weeks since I completed my first full quarter as an individual contributor on Pendo’s New York sales team (our fiscal year ended last Thursday, 1/31). This past business quarter was only my 18th as a professional, but without a doubt, the most enjoyable three months of my young career to date. As I left Raleigh (our HQ) late last week after an incredible end to our year ( > 120% of our collective goal) I took a moment to reflect on the quarter and why I found it particularly enjoyable. The flight back to New York City was only 65 minutes, but I found my answer in hardly half that time: letting my prospects trial Pendo’s software, and then using Pendo to optimize their Pendo trial experience, was the tactical highlight of my quarter.
If you’re a part of Product and/or Customer Success within your company, you’ve likely heard of Pendo and/or have already gotten value from our platform and our amazing team. If you’re in sales, however, you’re likely less familiar. Whether you’re a hungry Account Executive looking to roll up your sleeves with prospects, or a seasoned executive in search of ways to infuse innovation to your team, below are examples of how Pendo Account Executives (AEs) use Pendo on Pendo to run engaging, transparent, and value-add trial experiences all the way to close, and the intangible benefits it yields. Our hope is that Pendo helps you create a more delightful trial experience for your own prospects.
As soon as you install Pendo, Pendo’s Visitor and Account Reports give you real-time information about which users and logging into your product, which features they are engaging with, how long they are interacting with said features, pages, etc., and what type of feedback they are providing to your org (if you are asking for feedback, which all of you should, and which I address in the next section).
These reports provide visibility into the value (or lack thereof) every user within your prospect account is driving in the trial experience. Tracking your Champion’s usage, along with your Executive Sponsor if he/she is logging in, is table stakes. Truly stellar service mandates monitoring usage of every teammate within the prospect organization trialing your product, and making sure each of them is finding what he/she needs in the platform in an efficient fashion. If a user is logging into your product each day for more than an hour, but their usage of key features is low, that may be a red flag. If a technical evaluator is logging in infrequently yet still providing low sentiment feedback (ex: NPS response below 7), that could tank your deal. If your champion’s daily usage drops significantly week-over-week-over-week throughout the trial, they may be struggling to get buy-in internally or may have gone back to market to one of your competitors. Neither is giving you the confidence to commit the deal.
Using Visitor/Account reports in Pendo minimizes the likelihood of each of the above scenarios coming to fruition, and gives you 360-degree visibility into prospect product usage so you can triage any problems before they fester and jeopardize a deal.
Beyond observing product usage data, Pendo gives teams (yes, including Sales) the ability to build product guides to optimize feature adoption during the trial. You don’t have to be technical to build these guides (I built a half-dozen this past quarter and got the blessing of my product design team before pushing live to production) and prospects are usually impressed by two things:
1) The AE’s attention to detail and degree of personalized service, which reflect positively on your entire organization (buyers buy from people they like).
2) The ease-of-use when building Pendo guides. If a sales human can build guides, so too can my team, rightfully thinks the prospect.
Guides are especially impactful when:
1) Collecting feedback after a demo and/or technical discussion, and following up directly with those who felt the session missed the mark
2) Using Pendo’s segmentation capabilities to target specific guides to specific user personas within your prospect’s evaluation team
Ex: One guide for Product Managers, a second one for Developers, and a third for Account Managers, all guiding them to different relevant portions of your product based what you know they want to see, use, validate, etc.
3) Holding your prospects accountable to trial validation criteria or checklist:
Ex: If your prospect has given you a list of product criteria they want to validate before signing, you can base your guide-building efforts based on which pieces of your product they have yet to validate. This ensures they check all the boxes during the trial, feel comfortable, and are excited when signing, and sign in a timely manner.
Creating Stronger Relationships
Beyond the tactical Xs and Os of monitoring product usage and driving adoption via Pendo Guides, the feedback we hear most often during our trials is that our prospects genuinely enjoying the degree of service, transparency, and thought leadership we provide throughout the trial, and Pendo’s software plays a vital role in our ability to execute on all three of those pillars. Our prospects love that they can fully vet out our platform before paying us a dime, and they love that we use our software to create stronger relationships in the same way they hope to with their customers. In for-profit software enterprises, we’re all playing variations of the same game.
Despite the ways in which software purchasing and renewals have changed in the past 15 years — cloud migration, the rise of buyer research (i.e product review sites, referrals), lower switching costs, etc. — buyers and sellers on either end of the transaction share one unchanged fundamental: they are both human beings. So long as buyers remain human, they will seek a delightful experience, and if you’re a seller with a drop of decency, you too probably possess a redeeming desire to create this delightful experience for the buyer. Lest we forget, buyers and sellers are also mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, wives, and husbands. The more often we remind ourselves of this when creating business experiences and relationships, the better the results on both sides.
Beyond the benefits of delighting prospects and closing more deals, using Pendo throughout the trial experience is an enjoyable and mentally-stimulating experience. There’s a heightened degree of satisfaction in being able to show (product trial), not tell (slides) and prospects enjoy working with a (largely non-technical) sales team who are detail-oriented, tech-savvy consultants instead of abstract, pushy sales monkeys. New Pendo customers continue to remind us that one of their main reasons for working with Pendo is the people behind the software. This feedback not only brings on happy customers but also positively impacts sales culture, helps hire and retain top sales talent, and redoubles a commitment to creating amazing trial experiences. The positive cycle repeats itself on into the future.
Whether you’re an individual AE looking to run a better trial process, or an executive sales leader searching for innovative ways to hit your growth goals, bring in healthy new logos, and stimulate your AEs in the process, we’re always game to talk shop. Drop us a line, or stop by one of our offices in Raleigh (HQ), San Francisco, New York, London, and Tel Aviv.
Here’s to creating exceptional business relationships this year and beyond.