Using Pendo

How Salesforce Reimagined Their User Experience With Pendo

Published May 4, 2017

What’s important for a trial experience? How might you prepare to improve your trial? Jonathan Pappas, Director of Product Management at Salesforce, addressed these questions and more at Pendomonium 2017. Jonathan discussed how Salesforce was able to reimagine and reimplement their user experience for Assistly, now known as Desk, and what they learned along the way.

In the original version of Desk, users figured out most of the product themselves and the onboarding experience didn’t exactly give the user best practices on how to use the application. There was some room for improvement.

Where to start?

There were three main questions Pappas wanted to ask as they reworked the experience.

  1. How can we improve our trial to paid customer conversion rate?
  2. How can we provide more “Aha” moments within the trial?
  3. How can we speed up time-to-value in the trial?


In the second version of the trial, Pappas used guided experiences or walkthroughs. This allowed the team to build funnels so they could see where people got lost, were confused or paused for a longer period of time. This new data allowed the team to drill into the details.

Create Small Value Moments

They built an improved trial based on small “setup” moments. In the middle of certain actions, they would show users how simple a task was, and then lead them seamlessly into another related task which helped set up parts of their account, like email. Finding these micro “setup” moments helped double the trial to paid customer conversion rate.

Get Organized, Be Intentional and Consistent

Pappas standardized the way the team tracked user behavior. They had clear naming conventions, consolidated under one project, and “instrumented with intention.” That meant having clear questions that they wanted the data to answer. But consistency shouldn’t be limited to how a team collects data. They also made sure that onboarding clues were consistent. Using Pendo’s designer tools, the UX team made sure all action steps had a similar look and feel.

Test, Iterate and Customize

For Pappas, a one size fits all onboarding experience is not innovative. His team recreated the entire trial with guides and data from Pendo. This allowed them to rapidly innovate and test walkthroughs. One example: Some of the walkthroughs were quite lengthy. They found that users responded better to progress bars rather than step bars for a long walkthrough because it was less intimidating. They also promoted best practices to users by offering targeted examples through Pendo to their users based on industry. By showing folks how other users in their industry utilized a particular feature, Pappas’ team not only showed users how to get basic value from a feature, they taught them the best practices specific to their needs. While this approach required a little more planning, it significantly improved the onboarding experience.

Demand Quality

At the end of the day, product managers are shipping product. By treating the onboarding experience like a product, Pappas required the same level of quality for the onboarding experience as he would a new feature or new product. You can view the entire talk here.